Wechat: TibetTravelExpert

+8618080158435 (cell phone)

+868916349360 (Lhasa Tel/fax)

Top 3: 16 days Kailash Pilgrimage Expedition to Experience Tibetan Saga Dawa Festival


The 16-Day Lhasa-Mt. Everest-Manasarovar and Mt. Kailash Pilgrimage Group Tour takes you from Lhasa into the Himalayan Mountain Ranges and then to Ngari region in the far west and eventually back to Lhasa. Your time spent in Lhasa will include visits to the world famous Potala Place, Jokhang Temple, Barkhor Street, as well as multiple important monasteries. You will then take the next few days to travel towards Mt. Everest. On the way, there is holy lake and glacier to see. The next exciting phase of the trip will take place in Mt. Kailash and Lake Manasarovar area. The 3-day pilgrimage trek around the holy Mt. Kailash will give you the most unique spiritual experience. This route will allow you to learn about Tibetan culture in depth while taking in as many miraculous natural sights as you can. You will have the memory of a truly unforgettable journey.  

Day 1: Lhasa Arrival. Transfer to hotel and rest for acclimatization. Quality hotel in downtown Lhasa.
Day 2: Lhasa unique Tibetan cultural experiences: Jokhang Temple, Barkhor Street, Sera Monastery.
Day 3: Lhasa top highlights experience: Potala Palace, Norbulingka Palace.
Day 4: Landscape driving: Lhasa-holy lake Yamdrok Tso, Karola Glacier, Gyantse Monastery-Shigatse city. Overnight in Shigatse Gesar Hotel or similar.
Day 5: Shigatse (Tashilhunpo Monastery)–Sakya Monastery-Tibetan Lhatse town-New Tingri (Shegar). Overnight at Mt. Everest Hotel or similar. 
Day 6: New Tingri – Everest North Base Camp Rongbuk Monastery, Everest Base Camp (trekking or take bus, 5200 m), Guesthouse or nomad tent (dormitory basis)
Day 7: Rongbuk (view to Cho Oyu, Shishapangma, Peikutso lake) Saga, Saga Hotel or The West Grand Post
Day 8: Saga – Lake Manasarovar Sand dunes, Lake Manasarovar, overnight at local guesthouse.
Day 9: Lake Manasarovar-Darchen Chiu Monastery, prepare for trekking, overnight at Kailash Hymalaya Hotel (best available)
3 days SAGA DAWA FESTIVAL & Mt. Kailash Kora Trekking around Mt. Kailash
Day 10: Darchen-Dira Puk ([20 km, 5-6 hours, 5050 m] overnight at guesthouse (dormitory basis)
Day 11: Dira Puk-Trek to Zuthul Puk Monastery, [18Km, 6-8 hours, 4820 m] overnight at guesthouse (dormitory basis)
Day 12: Zuthul Puk-Darchen [14 Km, 3-4 hours, 4670 m] overnight at Kailash Hymalaya Hotel (best available)
Day 13: Darchen – Saga (530 km), Saga Hotel or The West Grand Post
Day 14: Saga – Shigatse (405 km), Gesar Hotel or similar
Day 15: Shigatse -North Scenic Snow mountain Route- Lhasa 340 km
Day 16: Departure Day in Lhasa

  • Note1 : Beside the holy Saga Dawa festival, we also run this tour with full moon date available in other months, please send email to us for the departures and tour pricing information: or 
  • Note2: If travelers have one extra day, we could spend the extra day/night at Gyantse, however the altitude of Gyantse is slightly higher than the second largest city of Shigatse, and there are more comfortable hotel options in Shigatse city rather than the small town of Gyantse. So normally we prefer to continue to drive 90 km (in 1.5 hours) from Gyantse to Shigatse city. Learn more about the altitudes of Tibet travel destination.

Kailash Manasarovar Trip Highlights:

  • Handpicked Tibetan English speaking local guide (some of them speak Hindi);
  • Comfortable Tourism Licensed vehicle;
  • Favorable among Hindu religious travelers and many Buddhist travelers; 
  • Using reputable accommodation recommended on TripAdvisor;
  • 4-12 pax per group (normally 6 travelers per group, if you want to upgrade to a private tour, please consult with your consultant)


Day 1: Lhasa Arrival, Acclimatization

Welcome to Lhasa (3650m)! Our local Tibetan guide and driver will pick you up and take you to your hotel. You will spend the rest of the day acclimatizing to the high altitude. Tips: drink a lot of water and have a good night of sleep. Overnight stay at a premier Tibetan style hotel in downtown Lhasa. 

Day 2: Lhasa Sightseeing: Jokhang Temple, Barkhor Street, Sera Monastery

We start our day with a visit to Jokhang Temple, one of the most sacred sites in Tibet. It was founded in the 7th century by the first great Buddhist king Songtsen Gampo. Afterwards, we explore the surrounding Barkhor Old Quarter, where you will see pilgrims from all over the Tibetan plateau doing rituals on the street. In the afternoon, we go to visit Sera Monastery, one of the three great Gelugpa universities. You will have the chance to observe one debating session of the monks. Overnight stay in Lhasa. 

Day 3: Lhasa Sightseeing: Potala Palace, Norbulingka

Today we visit the two world famous palaces of Dalai Lama: Potala Palace and Norbulingka. Potala Palace, also known as the winter palace, was built in the 17th century by the fifth Dalai Lama. Perched on the hilltop, Potala Palace gives you amazing views of the entire Lhasa city. You will visit private residential quarters of Dalai Lama, numerous grand state rooms and chapels. Norbulingka, on the other hand, is the summer palace of Dalai Lama. Built in the 18th century by the seventh Dalai Lama, it has a tradition of hosting picnics in its beautiful garden. It is also the major venue for various Tibetan opera performances and dances during Shoton Festival (August-September). Overnight stay in Lhasa. 

Day 4: Lhasa –Yamdrok-tso – Karola Glacier – Gyantse (4040m)- Shigatse (3840m) 360km

Our adventure into the grand Tibetan plateau starts today! We head west towards the second largest city in Tibet, Shigatse. On our way, we cross Kampala Pass (4797m) and then Karola Pass (5050m). We will first encounter the stunning holy lake of Yamdrok-Tso and then Karola Glacier only steps off the main road. We will visit Pelkhor Chode Monastery in Gyantse that houses the most important Tibetan paintings in Kumbum Stupa, and the majestic Gyantse Dzong (fortress) that overlooks the valley. We will finally reach Shigatse before dinner. You will have plenty of time to rest. Overnight in Shigatse. 

Day 5: Shigatse –Sakya Monastery - New Tingri (4300m) 240 Km

We visit the prominent Tashilhunpo Monastery in Shigatse. Built in the 15th century by the first Dalai Lama, it has since been the seat of Panchen Lamas. We recommend that you do Kora pilgrimage around the monastery. We then drive to New Tingri today to move closer to Mt. Everest. Our trip involves crossing the high pass of Gyatso La (5220 m), where we will have the opportunity to see Mt. Everest and the Himalayas for the first time! We will also stop by Sakya Monastery. It has a unique Mongolian style of architecture that you will find mesmerizing. Overnight stay in New Tingri. 

Day 6: New Tingri - Everest Base Camp (5150m) 120 km

This is going to be an exciting day! We will finally reach one of the biggest highlights of our trip, the Mt. Everest Base Camp. Located at the foot of the Everest is Rongpuk Monastery (4900m), the highest monastery in the world. In its background, we will catch a glimpse of several other peaks like Makalu, Lhotse, Cho Oyu. When we get ourselves settled down in the camp site, it will be just in time to see the sunset turn the Everest peak into golden color. Overnight stay at Mt. Everest camp site or Rongpuk Monastery guesthouse subject to availability and weather condition. 

Day 7: Everest Base Camp –Old Tingri-Peikutso Lake (near Gyirong)- Saga (4600m) 330km

After spending some more time enjoying the spectacular view or trekking at the base of Mt. Everest, we will head northwest towards Saga. On the way, you can continue to enjoy the Himalayan peaks such as Mt. Shishapangma, and discover the turquoise water of Lake Peikutso. From this lake to Saga county it is about 60 km, on the way you will see few small Tibetan villages, and also the black lake near Tsozuolong which is about 20 km to the northeast of Gyirong town (currently the main gateway from Nepal to Tibet, the other one is Taklakot). We stay overnight in Saga to prepare for another day of driving in the Ngari region. 

Day 8: Saga - Yarlung Tsanpo River - Lake Manasarovar (4560m) 480 km

We will enter the nomadic regions of Tibet’s far west today. We will appreciate the Tibetan landscapes during this long drive journey. We follow Yarlung Tsanpo River (Brahmaputra in India) west until we reach Lake Manasarovar, another one of the three most sacred lakes in Tibet. Indian pilgrims believe that bathing in the lake will rid them of sins and attract auspicious karma. This photogenic spot will allow you to capture the perfect combination of Tibetan lake, mountain and landscape. Overnight stay at guesthouse (dorm bed without bathroom) near the lake. Sleeping bag is recommended. 

Day 9: Lake Manasarovar – Darchen (4670m) 60 km

In the morning, we watch sunrise in front of Lake Manasarovar. After a brief stop at Chiu Monastery, we drive to Darchen at the foot of the holy mountain Mt. Kailash. For the rest of the day we will get ready for our upcoming 3-day trek. You will want to organize your belongings and do some last minute shopping, before getting a good night of sleep. Overnight stay in Darchen. 

Days 10: Mt. Kailash Trek Day 1: Darchen – Dira-Puk Monastery (5050m) 20 km, 5-6 hours

We begin the Mt. Kailash Pilgrimage in the clockwise direction. 4km into the path, we reach the height of 4790m and the first prostration point that marks the first views of Mt. Kailash’s southern façade. The next important landmark is Tarboche flagpole (4750m), where the main rituals of Saga Dawa Full Moon Festival takes place here every year. You can pay visit to the nearby Chorten Kangnyi and Sky-Burial Site Of The 84 Mahasiddhas. Coming up next is Chuku Monastery (4820m), where you can find a revered marble statue inside. After some break time when you can take in more views, we will head towards the second prostration point, where you see prayers flags and views of the west side of Mt Kailash. The second Buddha footprint is a short distance ahead. There are several trails to reach our final destination of the day: Dira-Puk Monastery (5080m). It faces the north side of Mt. Kailash, and also provides viewpoints for peaks in other direction. Overnight stay at guesthouse (dorm bed without bathroom) near Dira-Puk Monastery. Sleeping bag is recommended. 

Day 11: Mt. Kailash Trek Day 2: Dira-Puk Monastery - Zuthul-Puk Monastery (4790m) 18 km, 6-8 hours

We continue on the main Kora path towards the east. We pass through Kangkyam Glacier and Jarok Donkhang (5210m) meadowland. A short distance above is Shivatsal (5330m). Pilgrims go through a symbolic death here and are reborn at Drolma-la (5630m), which is half an hour away. After some rest and refreshments, we soon arrive at lake Gauri Kund. We gradually descent to the grand valley of Lha-chu, and begin a long journey in the grassland. The day concludes at Zuthul-Puk Monastery. Overnight stay at guesthouse (dorm bed without bathroom) near Zuthul-Puk Monastery. Sleeping bag is recommended. 

Day 12: Mt. Kailash Trek Day 3: Zuthul-Puk Monastery- Darchen (4670 m) 14 km, 3-4 hours

We follow the river and then climbs the Gold & Red Cliffs. Pilgrims search for holy stones on these cliff walls. We will see prayer flags across the river, and Lake Rakshas Tal in the far distance. After reaching the fourth prostration point, the final walk back to Darchen is quite easy. Overnight stay in Darchen. 

Day 13: Darchen - Saga 490 km

Return to Saga from Darchen. Overnight stay in Saga. 

Day 14: Saga - Shigatse 450 km

Return from Saga to Shigatse. Overnight stay in Shigatse. 

Day 15: Shigatse -North Scenic Route- Lhasa 340 km

We will choose the North Scenic Route to go back to Lhasa. On our way is the famous Yangpachen Hot Springs, as well as a number of ethnic villages off the beaten path. Overnight stay in Lhasa. 

Day 16: Departure Day in Lhasa

You will enjoy your final moments in Tibet. Our guide and driver will then pick you up and transfer you to the airport or train station. We hope you have gathered precious memory of your time in Tibet, and we wish you the best on your future adventure. 

Dates & Price

Top Spiritual Lake Manasarovar + Mountain Kailash Pilgrimage Schedules 2019/2020/2021
This holy trip can be done any time between middle April and the first week of October. However you can expect the best views between mid April and mid June and again from late August to early October. Well, obviously in the month of April and after Oct.5, it is snowy and very cold on the Kailash mountain range. We suggest clients begin the trip as early as on April 15, while finish the Kailash kora by end of September. 

We will arrange this spiritual journey for clients in groups of 4 to 12 people. Price varies depending on individual case, and the pice is discounted for groups of 4 people or more per booking. If you travel solo or just have 2 people per booking, the price will be slightly more expensive. Please contact us for the details for this pilgrimage at  

If you want to combine the Guge Kingdom Ruins (Tsaparang), Tholin Monastery in Zanda, and many more places such as Taklakot (to visit the grave of Zorawar Singh), Lake Pangong,etc, it can be further customized to 20 days more or less.  

Available Departure Dates

2019 Saga Dawa Festival on June 17(June8 as Arrival date) From $2395

2020 Saga Dawa Festival on May26 (May17 as Arrival date) From $2395

2021 Saga Dawa Festival on June 14(June5 as Arrival date) From $2395

If your schedule is not flexible to cope with the above unique dates, you can consider the spiritual tour with the other full moon dates on day 10 as on the itinerary, meanwhile we can also customize the trip for your own convenience.

Service Details

Group tour Price includes
  • Local Expert Tibetan guide handpicked;
  • All Necessary Tibet Travel Permits;
  • Local tourism driver handpicked;
  • Transportation in Tibet: Ranging from mini van to bus (15 to 29 seats) according to final group size;
  • Tour Vehicle gasoline and parking fee;
  • All Entrance tickets for programs listed in the itinerary;
  • Accommodation:
    Shambhala Palace or House of Shambhala or similar reputable hotel in Lhasa;
    Gesar Hotel or Shigatse Manasarovar Hotel in Shigatse;
    Best accommodation in Saga, Darchen, budget guesthouses (dormitory basis) in remote towns;
  • Oxygen canisters: 2 portable oxygen cylinder for each person;
  • Oxygen cylinder (10-15 L compressed oxygen) in the tour vehicle for emergency use;
    Lodging and meals for guide and driver;
  • Travel Agency Liability travel insurance;
  • China domestic flight/train (Optional per further requests)
  • Mineral Water (2 bottles per person a day)
Group tour Price Excludes
  • Travel insurance covers trip cancellation and emergency and evacuation(recommended);
  • Expenses of a personal nature (alcoholic beverages, laundry, phone call, etc.);
  • International flight/train (Note: we accept flights and train tickets bookings in advance, please check the updated cost and ticket availability with your travel consultant);
  • Yaks and porters during the trekking days (Optional per further requests);
  • Meals that are not specified in the itinerary (Averagely a meal in Tibet cost USD 6-20 per person);
  • Tibet group visa fees: We can help you to obtain the Tibet group visa through our partner agent in Nepal
  • Gratuities for the guide and driver

Photo Gallery

Please click on thumbnail photo to have a larger view.