Kailash Saga Dawa Festival
21 days from Beijing to Kathmandu
From $ 5499
Duration21 days

Journey overland to Tibet and cross the "roof of the world" to Kailash — Asia's most sacred mountain — in time for the amazing Saga Dawa Festival. You'll embark on a demanding multi-day trek around the holy mountain, which is said to bring good luck to whoever completes it, then join pilgrims and celebrate the renewal of the Tarboche flagpole. Explore Lhasa and experience unparalleled vistas of Mt Everest at its base camp. Full of cultural treasures, remarkable Buddhist monasteries, and the colourful markets of Kathmandu, this adventure truly is a once-in-a-lifetime experience.

This tour is operated by

  • Duration: 21 days
    Service level: Standard
  • Starts in: Beijing
    Physical Grading: Demanding
  • Ends in: Kathmandu
    Ages: 12+
Kailash Saga Dawa Festival - Tour Map

Itinerary

Expand all
Day 1: Beijing

Start place: Beijing

There are no activities planned until an evening welcome meeting.
Arrive at any time.

End place: Beijing

Day 2: Beijing

Start place: Beijing

Set out early for the Great Wall at Mutianyu. Spend the day wandering from tower to tower along this magnificent feat of construction.

Opt to see a Shaolin Monk Kung Fu Show, the Beijing Opera, or the Beijing Acrobats. You can pre-book the Beijing Acrobatics Performance on the checkout page to include this optional activity on your tour.
Visit the Great Wall of China with time in the late afternoon to explore Beijing.

End place: Beijing

Day 3-4: Beijing/Lhasa

Start place: Beijing

Enjoy learning about Tiananmen Square and the Forbidden City before using some free time to explore more of the capital.

In the evening, depart on a 48-hour train journey to Lhasa. Enjoy watching the scenery completely change as you climb onto the Tibetan Plateau.
Take a guided tour of the Forbidden City and Tiananmen Square before boarding the Trans-Tibetan Railway to Lhasa. We aim to get the best sleeping berths available on each train journey. During peak season (summer) we cannot guarantee which beds will be available.

End place: Lhasa

Day 5: Lhasa

Start place: Lhasa

Arrive in Lhasa in the evening. Take an orientation walk around Barkhor Square and start acclimatizing to the altitude.

End place: Lhasa

Day 6-8: Lhasa

Start place: Lhasa

Over three days, explore all Lhasa and the surrounding areas have to offer. Visit Barkhor Square, the Jokhang Temple, the Potala Palace, and either Sera or Drepung Monastery. With free time, opt to visit the local markets or find a teahouse to spend a few hours relaxing.

End place: Lhasa

Meals: B
Day 9: Lhasa/Shigatse

Start place: Lhasa

The drive to Gyantse is a spectacular one, crossing three passes over 5,000m (16,404 ft) and skirting the shores of the beautiful turquoise lake, Yamdrok Tso.
Drive to Gyantse along the beautiful Yamdrok Tso lake, stop to visit Pelkor Chode Monastery and the Gyantse Kumbum before driving the rest of the way to Shigatse.

End place: Rikaze

Meals: B
Day 10: Shigatse/Tingri

Start place: Rikaze

Sakya is the base of the once politically powerful Sakya sect of Tibetan Buddhism. Its huge fortified walls are testament to the turbulent past of the region.

There is time in the late afternoon or early morning to explore the monastery and the ruins of north Sakya across the river.
On your way from Shigatse to Tingri stop in Sakya for a few hours to explore the Sakya Gompa and get your fill of history and religion for the day. Accommodation in these areas can be quite basic. Be prepared for shared toilet facilities, no running water, and often only multi-share rooms available.

End place: Tingri

Day 11: Sakya/Rongbuk

Start place: Tingri

Travel to Rongbuk Monastery, the highest in the world. Enjoy views of Everest from the Monastery and opt to go into the Rongbuk Monastery.

End place: Rongbu Si

Day 12: Rongbuk/Saga

Start place: Rongbu Si

Hike to Everest Base Camp in the morning. Later, make the scenic journey to Saga.

End place: Saga

Day 13: Saga/Tarchan

Start place: Saga

Take another travel day to reach Darchen, home base for the Kora Trek. Follow the road across grasslands for the first spectacular view of Mt Kailash and Lake Manasarovar.

End place: Darchen

Day 14: Tarchan/Kailas Range

Start place: Darchen

Begin the kora from Darchen. Staying in basic guesthouses, the full kora takes 2.5 days to complete. The experience and scenery are well worth the effort. If you are unable to participate in the kora, it is possible to remain in Darchen with our drivers. Accommodation on the kora is extremely basic and food options are limited in their variety. It is a good idea to bring snacks.

End place: Kailas Range

Day 15: Kailas Range

Start place: Kailas Range

Continue on the kora for the toughest stretch of the hike.

End place: Kailas Range

Day 16: Kailas Range

Start place: Kailas Range

After completing the kora, relax in Chiu Gompa for the evening.

End place: Kailas Range

Day 17: Kailas Range/Saga

Start place: Kailas Range

Stop in Saga for the evening and reflect on the magical experience you've had before continuing on.
Experience the Saga Dawa Festival. Over 1,000 years old, this festival celebrates the day Lord Buddha Sakyamuni was born, achieved enlightenment, and passed away. Afterwards, drive south across the grasslands to Saga. Please note: the departures of this trip starting May 16 2018 will visit the Saga Dawa Festival on Day 14 prior to starting the Kailash Kora hike.

End place: Saga

Day 18: Saga/Shigatse

Start place: Saga

Travel from Saga to Shigatse.

End place: Rikaze

Day 19: Shigatse/Lhasa

Start place: Rikaze

Visit Tashilumpo in the morning. Later, head back to Lhasa.

End place: Lhasa

Day 20: Lhasa/Kathmandu

Start place: Lhasa

Transfer to the airport and fly to Kathmandu, Nepal. Enjoy some free time to get to know the city.

End place: Kathmandu

Day 21: Kathmandu

Start place: Kathmandu

Depart at any time.

End place: Kathmandu

Inclusions

Included

  • Your Local Living Moment: Rongbuk Monastery Guesthouse, Rongpu Si
  • Great Wall entrance
  • Forbidden City tour
  • Trans-Tibetan railway
  • Kumbum visit
  • Potala Palace visit
  • Jokhang Temple visit
  • Sera Monastery visit
  • Yamdrok Tso visit
  • Sakya Gompa Visit
  • Pelkhor Chode Monastery visit
  • Kailash kora
  • Lake Manasarovar visit
  • Saga Dawa festival experience
  • Border crossing support
  • All transport between destinations and to/from included activities
  • Transport

    Train, Plane, Private bus, 4x4, Walking
  • Accommodation

    Hotels/guesthouses (11 nts), Very basic guesthouses (7 nts, possibly multi-share), Sleeper train (2 nts)

Save up to 50% on tours! Get exclusive access to members-only deals by email.

Subscribe to our newsletter