Mt. Kailash trek and Saga Dawa Festival 2017
Dates: June 1st – June 16th, 2017
Mt. Kailash, which is known as the Precious Jewel of Snows in Tibetan, is considered by Buddhists to be the abode of the deity Chakrasamvara. It is said that if one does 108 circumambulations, one will reach enlightenment. The great Tibetan poet-saint Milarepa once declared, “There is no place more powerful for practice, more blessed, or more marvelous than this. May all pilgrims and practitioners be welcome!”
We offer three options of entry:
1. By plane from Chengdu, China;
2. By train from any city in China;
3. By plane from Kathmandu, Nepal.
- Lhasa, the cradle of Tibetan civilization
- Holy lakes Manasarovar, Yamdrok and Peiku Tso
- Saga Dawa Festival 2017
- 3 Day Mt. Kailash Trek
- Ancient Guge Kingdom
- 16-day trip begins and ends in Lhasa
- 15 nights in hotels and guesthouses
- Altitude from 3000-5600m
- Price: from 1515 USD per person
- E-mail us for an exact quote
- See Prices & Booking for more information
- 01.06.2017 – 16.06.2017
Day 1: Arrive in Lhasa (3658 m)
Welcome to Lhasa! Transfer to your hotel and get settled.
Day 2: Lhasa sightseeing
In the morning, visit the Potala Palace, the greatest monumental structure in all of Tibet. Also visit the Jokhang Temple, which is located in Barkhor square in Lhasa. The Barkhor is a famous shopping street filled with goods and souvenirs from Tibet, Nepal, and India. Pilgrims from all over Tibet visit the Barkhor to pray in front of the Jokhang. Afterwards, visit Ramoche, a small monastery located in the city center.
Day 3: Lhasa sightseeing
Visit Drepung, one of the three most famous monasteries in Lhasa. Drepung is located just outside Lhasa on Gambo Utse Mountain. Once home to as many as 10,000 monks, the enormous monastic complex is the site of many prayer halls, dormitories, and temples. Just below the monastery is the Nechung temple, the former home of the state oracle. Afterwards, visit Sera monastery, where you can watch monks debate in the courtyard. If you enjoy hiking, walk the hour-long circumambulation path around the monastery complex.
Day 4: Lhasa – Yurlung Tsangpo / Brahmaputra River – Shigatse (3836m)
Beginning your adventure in the Himalayas, drive to Shigatse, Along the way cross Yurlung Tsangpo River and some local villages. Once we arrive Shigatse, visit Tashilhunpo Monastery which is famous for not only being the biggest Monastery in Shigatse Prefecture, but also it is the seat of incarnations of Penchen Lama, the second highest lama after His Holiness the Dalai Lama.
Afterwards, you can follow local pilgrims to do outer Linkor(circumambulation road around the Monastery) where you can see Shigatse Dzong and entire Shigatse town in the view. If time allows, take a walk along the old street where you can see many Tibetan traditional shops sell family and monastery necessities. You may find some interesting souvenirs in this old market.
Day 5: Shigatse – Langtso Lake – Saga (4640 m)
Drive up to high mountain passes with a great view of the Himalayas. You’ll be driving through the countryside and grasslands, where you can see small lakes and nomads camping with their yaks and sheep. About 180km you will reach a beautiful alpine lake called the Langtso at an elevation of 4300m / . There are yaks and sheep scattering at the lakeside. This is a great place to have a short break and stretch your legs for this long driving journey. In the late afternoon, cross over the Brahmaputra River on the way to typical Chinese and Tibetan town. Spend the night in Saga.
Day 6: Saga – Paryang (4700 m) – Darchen (4575m)
Drive through a wide valley along a scenic river and look out on the grazing lands of yaks and sheep. Towards the south, you can see sand dunes, rocky mountains, and snow-capped peaks. Depending on the season, nomads and other mobile shopkeepers will be attired in beautiful traditional costume. Join them for a cup of hot tea in their home. Continue drive West. In late afternoon you will catch your first sight of Holy Lake Manasarovar and Mt. Kailash. Prepare for the Mt. Kailash Kora once you arrive. Spend the night at Darchen where you can enjoy close-up view of Kailash at any point in this one street town.
Day 7: Darchen – Zhada – Guge Kingdom – Tsaparang (3630m)
Drive 250km further west to Guge Kingdom, on the way we will drive through colorful mountains and last into the world of white clay land formation which date back to 1100 years ago. Once we arrive Guge Kingdom, we have rest of the day to explore the ruins of this ancient kingdom which dated back to 10th century. To visit Guge Kingdom palace takes 3-4 hours or more. In the lower reaches of the city are four main temples, wall paintings, and statues display some of the earliest examples of Tantric Buddhist art. Above these temples are the citadel of the kings. Afterward,drive 25km to Tsaparang which was once the capital city of Guge Kingdom and now morel like a village. where we visit the summer palace of Guge Kings as well as ancient Tantric murals and cave paintings which draw great interested to the people who are interested in ancient Tibetan arts. The ruins of this lost kingdom still be seen along the ridges of cliff mountains in this region. Stay in Tsaparang courtyard family guesthouse.
Day 8: Tsaparang – Toling Monstery – Tirthapuri – Darchen (4575m)
We drive about 25km to Toling in the morning, visit Toling Monastery which consists of two main temples and several other ruins of ancient stupas. Tholing Monastery which is built by Great Tibetan translator Rinchen Zangpo around beginning of 10th century. This Buddhist temples are became the the religious center for Guge Kingdom. Once you are there, do not miss a small back door which lead you to the river side where you can see ancient Toling Monastery and stupa of Padmasambhava. Afterwards, we drive back towards Darchen with a detour to Tirthapuri. Tirthapuri is said to be the gate of Mt. Kailash and many pilgrims visit Tirthapuri first and then make Kailash Kora. Tirthapuri, located on the Sutlej River just above the Tirthaburi hotspring. is famous for being the meditation site of Padmasambhava and his consort/student Yeshi Tsogyel. It was pure meditation caves 10 years ago, but they are two temples appeared on the meditation site. If you make a circumambulation around the monastery, you will see some other mediation caves and stupas scattering on the mountain slope. Then we drive back to Darchen and prepare for the trek. Stay in Darchen.
Day 9: Saga Dawa Festival in Tarboche [Full Moon]
Walk about 40-50 minutes, we will get to the ground of Saga Dawa Festival – the biggest festival in Ngari area. Many Tibetans all over the Ngari region come to join this festival. Many rituals like Buddhism, Bon and Hinduism will be taking place around Tarboche. The Saga Dawa Festival honors the life of Buddha Shakyamuni, and the main point of the festival is to pray for the long life of all the gurus, for the spreading of teachings of Buddha, and for the happiness of all the sentient beings. This festival also offers a great opportunity for photo shootings. Spend the night in a guest house in Darchen.
Day 10: 1st Day of the Mt. Kailash kora, trekking distance 19km and 6 -7 hours.
Walk along beautiful rocky cliffs, take deep breaths of fresh air. From time to time, the face of Mt. Kailash will appear. The trail passes the stone piled pass with colorful prayer flags, famous Tarpoche Flagpole, sky burial site and then enters Lha Chu valley. at the gate of this rocky canyon, a small monastery called Chugu Monastery with meditation cave of Tibetan Great Yogi Melaripa is on the left side of this canyon across the river. If you are a good trekker and interested in meditation, you can follow the small trail leading to this monastery at the left side of the river while others may continually go on main trail. Pay a visit to this monastery takes extra one hour. Afterwards, you can join the main trail cross the bridge below the monastery. Both sides of this canyon are high steep rocky mountains which are representing Bodhisattvas. Fox example, the three high rocky mountains at the left before reach Dirapuk Monastery represent “Rigsum Gonpo” in Tibetan or Three Bodhisattvas ( Manjushri, Avalokiteshvara and Vajrapani). After half hour of walking, you will reach sacred Dira Puk monastery which is located at an elevation of 5,000 meters by mid-afternoon. Here you can see the North face of the Mt. Kailash. This sight is also considered as a birthplace of Shiva – one of the primary forms of God in Hinduism. Spend the night in the monastery guest house.
Day 11: 2nd day of the Mt. Kailash kora – Dolma la pass (5650 m) – Zuthal Puk (4815m), Trekking distance 12km and 7 hours.
This place is the the closest place to view Mt. Kailash in entire kora. It’s right behind the guesthouses, so enjoy this last time close-up view of this holy mountain, then we start the day. Hike across a valley up to the Dolma-La Pass. The trail is much more dramatic today as you are ascending from 5050m to 5650m above sea level. Though this numbers are not big difference but given the altitude in this area, it is the most difficult part of the trek. When you reach at the top, make an offering, take a break (or meditate), and leave behind all your problems and worries. Let the prayer flags at the mountain pass bring the positive energy to you and your families. Afterwards, begin descending. A mirror – like turquoise lake will appear in front of you in the middle of black rocky mountains, which said to be water offering for the holy mountain. By the late afternoon arrive at Zuthal Puk , the cave of miracles where Milerepa once stayed.
Day 12: 3rd day of the Mt. Kailash kora, view of Mt. Nemo Nani and drive to lake Manasarovar
Start the day by following one of the most clear river you have ever seen. The trail is flat and much more greener. At the end of the valley before turning right, a stunning view of snow mountain Nemo Nani (altitude 7728m) will appear in your eyes. After finishing your circuit of Mt. Kailash, your car will pick you up and take you to the Lake Manasarovar – one of the highest freshwater lake in the world. This turquoise-colored lake is full of fish and swans. Holy Mt. Kailash, Mt. Gurula-Mandala, and Lake Rashekshi surround Manasarovar. The region is considered rich in gold and other minerals, hot springs and hundreds of wild living creatures. Then visit Rakshas Tal lake and Chiu Monastery, a small monastery located upper on a hillside. You can dip into a hotspring there. If your group stay until sunrise, a walk to the mountain slope to see full view of the lake is recommended.
Optional: Manasarovar lake bus kora /depend on time and bus availability
Day 13: Holy Lake Manasarovar – Paryang – Saga
Begin the journey back to Lhasa. Enjoy a beautiful view of Himalaya ranges. Most travelers usually take this long driving road back as rest time after 3 days of incredible trek. But this zig-zag scenic drive always bring some surprises such as suddenly appear rain bowls in front of your vehicle, flock of yaks or sheep may stop your bus which gives you a chance to close-up look at this animals , a wild animal running cross the road, a beautiful lake or snowy, sunrise or sunset.etc. make your journey alive.
Day 14: Saga –Sangsang – Yurlung Tsangpo River – Lhatse – Shigatse
Continue driving back towards Lhasa. This is another long driving journey, due to the traffic speed limit, your vehicle will stop several minutes from Tibet to time when you have a chance to stretch your legs. Along the way, you will cross Yurlung Tsangpo River before Lhatse. Arrive in Shigatse in the late afternoon.
Day 15: Shigatse – Gyantse – Karo-la Glacier – Yamdrok Lake – Lhasa
Start the day by following southern road about 2 hours to get to Gyantse, Gyantse is a midsize town in the southwest of Lhasa. When you entry town of Gyantse, the first landmark will be Gyantse Dzong or Gyantse Castle which once used as the residence of Gyantse Kings. The famous Pelkor Chode and Kumbum Stupa are at the north end of the town. The Pelkor Choede once was the largest non-sectoring Buddhism learning center, but today only two main temples are left. Next to the main temple is the Kumbum Stupa, this Mandala (Buddhism cosmos) shaped stupa is largest in it’s kind in Tibet. There are many chapels which you can visit each of this chapels walk clock-wise from one storey to another. Once you made up to the top storey, Gyantse Old town and Dzong castle cab be seen not far distance. Afterwards, we will head towards east to Yamdrok Lake. Along the way you will pass Simig- la(4353m) with artificial lake and Karo La with Glacier (5010m ) passes, after arrive Yamdrok Lake, you can stop at the lake side where you can touch the lake and then drive up to Kamba la (4794m) where you have another stunning overlooking view of this turquoise – colored Yamdrok Yumtso lake and snow caped Mt. Nyenchen Kelsang. Afterwards, following a zig-zag road we descend down to Yurlung Valley and finally to Lhasa again.
Day 16: Depart Lhasa
Say goodbye to Tibet!
Itineraries are subject to change without prior notice