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Home>Tibet Tours>15 Days Tour Kailash in Saga Dawa Festival
15 Days Tour Kailash in Saga Dawa Festival

15 Days Tour Kailash in Saga Dawa Festival

(TFT006) Lhasa - Shigatse - EBC - Saga - Lake Manasarovar and Mt. Kailash - Zhangmu - Kathmandu


The festival of Saga Dawa marks the enlightenment of Sakyamuni, and occurs on the full moon day of the fourth Tibetan month. The festival is expected to last a month, during which a sizable number of pilgrims will turn out to celebrate it by staging various religious events, the most attractive of which is the circling around Mt. Kailash for worship. And this event is the most sacred way to show their deepest respect to Buddhism. At that time, not only can you see solemn Buddhist activities like chanting, dancing and playing religious instruments, and worship, etc. Tourists may have a chance to watch the Kailash Kora (circling around religious sites ) and join Tibetans to pray, offer tips to the poor, and tour monasteries, etc.

Day by Day Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive in Lhasa

Upon you arrival, your tour guide will hold a board with your name on it to welcome you at the exit of the train station and escort you from the train station to your reserved hotel in Lhasa.

Stay overnight in Lhasa.

Day 2: Lhasa Tour - Potala Place, Johkang Temple and Barkor Street (B)

In the morning, we are about to do the Kora(Circling religious sites while praying) around Potala Palace and Barkhor Street, both of which are highly iconic attractions of Tibet. Tourists can burn incense, and even kneel down and prostrate yourself in Jokhang Temple as well as along the kora route of Barkhor street. Not only is Barkhor street a well-known kora route, but also serves as an ideal place for commerce and sightseeing. You may listen to the mumbling of pilgrims and watch the bustling street full of people of all walks of life as tourists may sip your sweet tea in local tea house. Of course, a good bargain for a Tibetan souvenir is also a must for oversees tourists.

Another important event of Saga Dawa festivities is to free living creatures, like small fish. In the afternoon, we can go to the local market and buy some fish and later set them free in Lhasa River.

The rest of the day is for tourists to explore Lhasa freely.

Stay overnight in Lhasa

Day 3: Lhasa Tour - Drepung and Sera Monastery (B)

In the morning ,you are going to visit Drepung monastery which is one of the “great three” Gelug monasteries of Tibet, founded in 1416 by Jamyang choge, one of the Tsongkhapa’s main disciples. Ganden palace used to be Dalai lama’s palace in the Drepung before he moved to the Potala palace.

In the Afternoon, Tourists will visit Sera Monastery which is another one of the “great three” Gelug monasteries of Tibet, founded in 1419 by Jamchen Chojey, one of the Tsongkhapa’s main disciples. The hot attraction is the Monks debate at around 3 - 5 in the afternoon.

Stay overnight in Lhasa.

Day 4: Lhasa - Yamdrotso lake - Gyangtse (B)

Passing by the green farmland of Nyangchu Valley, Yamdro-tso lakes, Karo-la Glacier roadside at 4960m, we move westwards to the second biggest city of Tibet, Shigatse, the area spiritually hosted by Pamchan Lama. The most important attraction for today is Yamdro-tso Lake, and Kubum monastery in Gyantse. Yamdro-tso Lake is shaped like coiling scorpion with deep blue in colour and Kubum monastery has a 35m-high chorten (stupa) with its white layers trimmed with decorative stripes and its crown-like golden dome.

Stay overnight in Gyangtse.

Day 5: Gyantse - Shigatse - Sakya (B)

Drive from Gyantse to Shigatse in the morning. In Shigatse, you will visit the famous Tashi Lhunpo monastery where you can see the well-preserved largest statue of Jampa (future god) in the world. The monastery itself is abiding place for the successive Penchen Lamas.

Then drive to the Sakya county where you can visit the famous Sakya monastery. The most interesting thing in Sakya sect is that the sect do not believe in reincarnation and the head of Sakya sect will wear white cassock and also marry and have children.

Then take a good rest in Sakya.

Stay overnight in Sakya.

Day 6: Sakya - Rongbuk Monastery (B)

There is about 5-6 hours driving from Sakya to Rongpuk. The road is under construction. From Tingri to E.B.C the road is extremely bumpy and we have to pass the wild grassland, cross the torrent and high mountains.

If it is in clear whether, you can have a glimpse of 4 mountains which are 8000m high or more, i.e. Mt. Lhotse (8516m), Mt. Everest (8848m), Mt. Qowowuyag (8201m) and Mt Mayalu (8463m).

Stay overnight in Ronguk Guest House or Tent.

Day 7: Rongphu Monastery - Everest Base Camp - Saga (B)

We wake up early in the morning to enjoy the sunrise from Rongphu, then to view Mt. Everest, whose scenery is fabulous and splendid.

After walking, we need to catch the local bus and it takes about half an hour to arrive at Everest Base camp (Or you also can trek to Base Camp around 1.5-2 hours one way. It's more interesting and much warmer, but hard to breath because of low oxygen). Tourists can find good places to take pictures of the splendid Mt. Everest.

Then in the afternoon go down from EBC and drive to Saga. The road condition gets worse from old Tingri and it runs parallel to the Himalayan ranges. Leaving the Bum-Chu basin, it then descends into the depression of Peiku-tso (4600m), a cobalt blue lake.

Stay overnight in Saga.

Day 8: Move from Saga to Lake Manasarovar (500km) (B)

Then you are moving towards the Drongpa county, the region around the sources of Brahmaputra river, which is about 167km from the Saga town.

Then you will reach a tiny and dusty town on the main road, with a couple of basic guest houses, restaurants and a small monastery called "Old Drongpa". Around the monastery you can see a pile of yak heads carved with "sutras" and "mantras" like "OM MA NI PAD MEY HUM" that is mantra of god of compassion. And new Drongpa is a small town with a couple of shops, hotels and restaurants. It is about 25km apart from the Old Drongpa.

Then move towards the Baryang with 4750m above sea level and then drive to Lake Manasarovar.

Camp by the lake.

Day 9: Spend a day around Manasarovar lake, then to Darchen (B)

You can relax around the lake shore and experience the natural beauty of the lake. In the summer time, flocks of swans will gather on the lake, bringing grace and life to the area. You can also see so many Tibetans and Hindus praying and circling around the lake shore for the whole day with snow capped mountains in the background. Meanwhile hundreds of swans gather on the lake, attracting hundreds and thousands of tourists from all over the world.

In the afternoon, you will reach Tarchen.

Stay overnight in Darchen .

Day 10: Trek to Drirapuk (Outer circuit) - 11km (B)

There will be a traditional ceremony for Saga Dawa in the morning at the start point of Kailash Kora. You can visit monasteries and see hundreds of Tibetans gather at Chorden karpo(white stupa), Lamas chanting the prayers in traditional Tibetan style. Tourists can join Tibetans to hang prayer flags on the vertical prayer flag before it erected. Lamas circulate around the erected vertical prayer flag by reciting special prayer.

After the ceremony, Tibetans will start to walk about 52 km trekking circuit around Mount Kailash, commencing at Darchen (4574m) and crossing the Dolma-la pass on the second day of the three day walk.

After two hours from Darchen, you come upon a grassy plain populated by nomads. There you can refresh yourself in nomadic tent and drink some soft drinks there. For this turn in the valley it is another two hours at least before reaching Drirapuk(4920m).

Stay overnight at Drirapuk (guest house).

Day 11: Trek to Dzultripuk - 22km (B)

The second day is the hardest and most tough circuit with the Dolma-la pass lying 6.4km ahead but 762m above Drirapuk. The peak of Dolma-la pass is about 5630m above sea level, so it is better to set off earlier in the morning as the sun rays break over the ridges above.

After taking a rest at the peak of Dolma-la pass, you will be decending staircase that brings you to Lhachu valley floor, taking about one hour from the pass. From here it is still four hours trekking to the today's final destination with no shelters on the way. It is better to walk on the right side of the river and finally get to Dzultripuk (with miracle cave of milarepa). It is advisable to get there before other groups because limited number of rooms are available there in Dzultripuk.

Take a good rest in the guest room and prepare for next morning's departure.


Day 12: Trek to Darchen - 11km (B)

The tour guide will help you to arrange your time and ask he/she to visit the caves, the temple and shrines that have been built around Milarepa's cave. The walk back to Darchen is easy and the exit from the valley can be reached within three hours.

At the end of the valley, the driver will come to pick you and take you back to Darchen.

Stay overnight in Darchen.

Day 13-14: Drive from Darchen to Zhangmu (B)

Crossing the grasslands, we come back down east to Saga. Then cross one of the most spectacular mountain passes, topped with prayer flags and wind- driven prayer wheels. You will truly feel as if you were on top of the world.

Stay overnight in Zhangmu.

Day 15: Zhangmu to Kathmandu (B)

It takes about 5 hours to complete 130km rough asphalt road from Zhangmu to Kathmandu.

Your Tibetan tour guide will see you off at the Chinese Border, and you can continue your trip in Nepal.

Service Guide

Service Included:

  • Tibet travel permit and all other necessary permits to Tibet;
  • All entrance ticket fees for all tourist sites listed in the itinerary;
  • Personal knowledgeable English-speaking Tibetan local tour guide;
  • Personal comfortable, clean and safe vehicle with reliable Tibetan local driver; vehicle ranging from 4WD land cruiser to minibus depending on your group size;
  • All lodging listed in the itinerary; it’s your decision about the accommodation class: luxury 5-star international hotel, comfortable 4-star hotel, economic 3-star hotel or budget hostel, guesthouse or tent. Please tell us your accommodation preference when submitting the enquiry; we will arrange the best-value hotels for you.
  • Domestic flight/train tickets listed in the itinerary;
  • All meals listed in the above itinerary;
  • One shared big Oxygen tank in the car;
  • Tourist accident/casualty insurance;
  • First aid kit;

Service Excluded:

  • International flight to and out of China;
  • Chinese visa (Note: we could help you with the Chinese visa application, like providing the invitation letter, presenting the hotel or domestic flight reservation copies, etc that you may need. )
  • Domestic flight/train not listed in the itinerary. (We can provide you the domestic flight/train ticket booking service at the BEST discount price; please contact us our travel experts for the details.)
  • Meals not specified in the itinerary; usually it costs about USD3-15 per person for one meal in TAR (Tibet Autonomous Region).
  • Tips and gratitude to tour guide and driver;
  • Personal expenses, like laundry, phone call, snacks, soft drinks (please do the best to avoid the alcoholic beverages during your Tibet trip), optional tour activities, etc.

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