The trip of Kailash can bring the person spiritual joy.
16 days Kailash Pilgrimage to Experience Saga Dawa Festival
Based on 359 Reviews
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, Norbulinka and Sera Monastery. 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 circle ride around Lake Manasarovar and the 2 and half days pilgrimage parikrama 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. And of course, the top highlight is .
Vacation Style Holiday TypeCulture, Discovery
Activity Level Challenging
Group Size Medium Group
“MOUNT KAILASH” the Really Ultimate Destination
Mount Kailash (also nicknamed as Kailas; Kangrinboqe or Gang Rinpoche in Tibetan) is a 6,638 m (21,778 ft) high peak in the Kailash Range (Gangdise Mountains), which forms part of the Transhimalaya in the Tibet Autonomous Region of China.
It’s said that the one has to be fortunate enough to take the Kailash yatra. The first darshan of Kailash gives you the EXCEPTIONAL DIVINE FELLING. The more you hike closer, the more you will be attracted and surrender yourself to this DIVINE POWER which attracts you more towards it. The place is worshiped by Hindus, Jain, Buddhists and Tibetans for their own religious reasons.
- 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;
Shambhala Hotel, Shambhala Palace or House of Shambhala or similar reputable and comfortable hotel in Lhasa;
Gesar Hotel or Shigatse Manasarovar Hotel or Tashi Choeta Hotel in Shigatse;
Best accommodation in Saga (West Grand Post Hotel or Saga Hotel), 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)
- Drinking water
- 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
Lhasa Arrival, Acclimatization
Welcome to Lhasa (3650 m)! 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.
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.
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.
Lhasa –Yamdrok-tso – Karola Glacier – Gyantse (4040m)- Shigatse (3840 m) 360 km
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.
Shigatse –Sakya Monastery - New Tingri (4300 m) 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.
New Tingri - Everest Base Camp (5150 m) 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.
Everest Base Camp –Old Tingri-Peikutso Lake (near Gyirong)- Saga (4600 m) 330 km
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.
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.
Lake Manasarovar – Darchen (4670 m) 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.
Mt. Kailash Trek Day 1: Darchen – Dira-Puk Monastery (5050 m) 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.
Mt. Kailash Trek Day 2: Dira-Puk Monastery - Zuthul-Puk Monastery (4790 m) 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.
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 Darch
Darchen - Saga 490 km
Return to Saga from Darchen. Overnight stay in Saga.
Saga - Shigatse 450 km
Return from Saga to Shigatse. Overnight stay in Shigatse.
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.
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.
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How can I get my Tibet Travel Permit?
It is critical to book your Tibet tour with a local travel agency like “Tibet local Guide travel service” for smooth travel permit application. Photo copy of your passport and the China visa copies are required for applying Tibet permits.
Please note that you will have to show the original permit in hand while asking for boarding pass and security checking in for flight to Lhasa or Copy of it while boarding the Train to Lhasa. However, Chongqing, Xi’an and Lanzhou railway station may also check original permits.
We will send it to your hotel in your flight departure city in China. While in urgent cases, we can send our permits delivery person to drop it to you at any China domestic airport if you just have few hours transit flight stop.
We do not send your Tibet permits to your home country, because permits come out regularly only 1 week to 2 weeks prior to your arrival date, and Tibet post companies have no efficiencies for handling international package delivery, so it is not trustworthy and not reliable to send your permits to your home county.
For more details of Tibet travel permits, you can email to email@example.com for instant Tibet local policy update.
What are the differences between travelling to Tibet from Nepal and entering Tibet from other Parts of China?
Foreign travelers have only two possible ways of getting to Tibet, one is from Nepal to Tibet by air or overland, while the other is from mainland city in China by train, air or car. Here below are the major differences.
- If you travel to Tibet from other provinces of China, you will need a valid China visa which allows you to travel, work or study in China, with this visa you can come to Tibet (but journalist, diplomats, public government service people, military persons and reporters, etc. must travel via Chinese government specified authorities, in most cases, these people are not allowed in), any Tibet travel agencies here in Tibet do not organize tours for those people whose jobs are listed as above. And the regular China visa categories are “L” tour visa, “Z” or “M” “Q” visa etc.
- Foreign travelers from a few countries such as Singapore and Japan may not need a China visa for specific period of time, in this case, these travelers can get Tibet entry permits without China visa. But please be noted that, you need to double check with your local china consulate to assure how long you can travel in China without a visa.
- Once you can travel in China legally, you can also get Tibet entry permits from local Tibet travel agency like us easily.
- To apply travel permits for foreign travelers entering Tibet from a city in China, none-restricted occupation travelers need to provide valid passport, valid China visa at least 2-3 weeks prior to arrival date to Tibet, and different travel destination in Tibet may require you to provide these documents even 30-40 days prior to arrival date because of many more complicated permits application process. These destinations are Kailash, North-loop-the Grand of Tibet, east Tibet bordering Kham (Sichuan province).
- Foreign travelers entering Tibet from mainland China can choose flight, train or overland driving. All the trains to Tibet will go through Xi’ning, Qinghai province, while the popular driving route is from Chengdu and Shangri-La or Kashgar or Xi’ning. The most picturesque driving adventure is between Tibet and Sichuan or Yunnan.
- If you enter Tibet from Nepal, you can go only by air from Kathmandu to Lhasa or by overland driving via Gyirong port or Purang (Taklakot) border, these are the only open borders between Nepal and Tibet. Currently the Indian-Tibet Sino border is not open for public.
- All foreign travelers from Nepal to Tibet must have 3 working days in Kathmandu to wait for the “Tibet Group Visa” prior to departure date for Tibet. This A4 size Tibet group visa (actually it is a china visa) document paper can only be issued through a registered travel agency in Kathmandu, but the important point is: any registered travel agency in Nepal has to obtain an official visa invitation letter photo copy issued from Tibet tourism Bureau here in Lhasa. To get this visa letter, a local Tibet travel agency like us can apply together with the Tibet permits around 2-5 weeks before visitor’s arrival in Tibet. So, travelers only need to bear in mind that, they do not apply any visa or permits by themselves, they just need to provide passport photo copies to Tibet based agency like us and we will handle all the rest.
- There is no train between Nepal and Tibet however. Kathmandu-Lhasa airfare is more expensive than via Chengdu, Chongqing, or Xi’an city in most cases.
- The overland driving between Kathmandu to Tibet border Gyirong is time consuming. The overall short distance may take around 10-15 hours especially in rainy seasons of July and August.
- No matter you enter Tibet from Nepal or mainland China, valid China visa (or Tibet group visa from Nepal) and Tibet permits are mandatory. And different permits are for different travel itineraries and specified schedule.
- When you fly from a city in China to Lhasa, original permits will be needed, however, if you fly from Kathmandu to Lhasa, you only need Tibet group visa for flight checking in(our Tibetan tour guide will take original permits to pick you up)
What documents do I have to send to you to secure all necessary Tibet Travel permits?
A short document list as below:
- Photocopies of valid passports data page for all travelers.
- Photocopies of valid China visa.
- Working certificate or student Id card copies if you do not hold “L” China visa but Z or F type of China visa.
- Marriage certificate or relatives’ statement with signature if you hold Q category China visa.
While booking your Tibet tour, we would like you to send us the copy of your Passport and China Visa for every member of the group. The copy of passport should be the same one you will be using to get your Chinese visa. If you renew your passports, but the China via is on the expired passport, please provide both passports photo copies.
If your visa is not the “L” category, i.e., tour category china visa, you will need to provide us the additional supporting document such as student certificates, resident and Work Permit and so on.
Please provide passport copies at least 2-4 weeks before arrival date. For Tibet tour without Kailash, eastern Tibet, North-loop Grand Tibet, we can accept urgent tour booking 2 weeks before your arrival date, but if your trip covers the places mentioned here, you’d better send us your passport photo copies 4 weeks to 5 weeks in advance at least, most of our Kailash travelers provide us passport copies half year in advance. And they can provide China visa copies 1 month in advance.
If you travel to Tibet from Nepal, we will only need your valid passport copies. Yet, we will have to apply for the Chinese Group Visa from the Chinese Embassy in Nepal.
Can I apply for Tibet Travel permit or Tibet group visa by ourselves?Definitely No, you cannot apply for Tibet travel permit or Tibet group visa directly. Tibet Travel Permit is only issued by Tibet Tourism Administration in Lhasa, together with other Chinese authorities such as military office, and foreign affairs office, national security office, public security bureau, etc. Therefore, an only local registered travel agency based in Lhasa can help you apply for it. Hence it is impossible for you to apply permits by yourself, and you will have to book your Tibet tour directly or indirectly with a local travel agency in Lhasa.
What is the Tibet travel documents list so I can check before coming?
During your traveling in Tibet, the three main primary documents are passports, China visa (or Tibet group visa) and Tibet entry permits. Different tour destination will need further document such as military permits, foreign affairs border passing permit, alien’s travel permits,
- Valid Passports.
- Valid China visa (for entering from China);
- Tibet group visa (for entering from Nepal);
- Tibet entry travel permits for all Tibet tours;
- Alien’s travel permits for trip covering Everest. Tsetang (Samye monastery), Kailash and north-loop Grand Tibet, eastern Tibet such as Draksumtso lake;
- Foreign affairs permit (policy keeps changing on this section)
- Border defense passing allowance permit (trip between Nepal and Tibet)
- Military permits.
Can a foreigner travel Tibet without travel permit?
Definitely No. it is not possible to travel to and in Tibet without a Tibet travel permit. No international travelers can visit in Tibet autonomous region of China without Tibet travel permit. It is mandatory for all the foreign nationals to get this permit prior to your arrival in Tibet. Only a local Tibet travel agency here in Tibet can help you make this document in Lhasa.
At all the entry and exit point to Tibet, the authority people will check the permit, passport, and Visa.
Can I have a few days as my own free time in Lhasa without hiring a guide?
Definitely Yes. it is possible but your activity is very limited. You can have some days free time in Lhasa to walk around, and do your shopping, try some local food, drink tea, coffee, and spend your leisure time, etc., BUT never enter a tourist attraction if without a tour guide. Furthermore, you cannot leave Lhasa for any other places in Tibet individually, especially when there is no tour guide and a licensed tour vehicle. You cannot extend further since there are many permits and identity checking points for exiting Lhasa.
How can I apply for a Chinese visa from my home country?
You can apply it through the Chinese Embassy or Consulate in your country. Tibet local guide travel service team strongly recommend applying it without mentioning about your travel plan to Tibet. Your application might get rejected as Tibet is a sensitive region of China. We helped many foreign travelers providing China tour itinerary references together with their own flights booking references, hotel booking references, etc., they can normally get China visa without any hassles.
If you do mention your trip covers Tibet, we will have to apply and send the Chinese Visa Invitation from Tibet Tourism Bureau office here in Lhasa. For this, you will need to go to the Chinese Embassy, not the consulate to apply China visa. The Visa invitation will only address to Embassy, not to the consulate. So, we suggest you try to avoid complicated and time-consuming process but choose the simplified and workable process. However, China visa application is beyond our Tibet travel agency, and policy keeps changing due to many factors such as political climate, international relationship, etc., please consult with your local visa agent for more information.
For your reference, the Visa invitation letter can be only applied after Tibet permits application approval. Therefore, you will have to book the tour with us and send us the Passport copies to start making the permit at least 2-3 months beforehand. Please remember, we can never complete the Permit process without the copy of your China visa. So, you will have to email your passport copies to us as soon as you get it.
For what kind of Tibet tour do I need additional permits?
Technically Tibet entry permit is enough to go if you are only visiting the Lhasa Prefecture. If you are visiting other prefectures in Tibet, you will need the additional permit depending on the region you will be visiting.
The military permit is required if you are traveling to Mount Kailash, traveling overland from and to Xinjiang and traveling overland to and from Yunnan and Sichuan.
Alien’s Travel Permit (ATP) is needed if you are visiting from Lhasa to other prefectures in Tibet. Therefore, Mount Kailash in Ngari prefecture, Mount Everest in Shigatse prefecture, Samye Monastery in Lhoka prefecture and Nyingchi prefecture.
Additionally, there is another permit called Borders Permit. You will require it if you are traveling to any border region and arriving from Nepal to Tibet by flight.
But you will not need to worry about it all. Experienced Tibet travel agency in Lhasa will know which permits are required as per the tour itinerary.
How long does it take to apply our Tibet travel permit?
The duration of the Tibet travel permit application process varies from 2 weeks to 4 weeks prior to your arrival date. The authorities do not accept very early permits application submission. Sometimes those people in authority slow down the process without prior notice and all agents have to wait. As professional and experienced Tibet local travel agency and tour operator, “Tibet Local Guide travel service” team always suggest foreign travelers book Lhasa tour at least 3 weeks before arrival date, and book Kailash tours or other restricted regional tours at least 4-6 weeks prior to arrival date. To submit permits application for any Tibet tours around 4 weeks in advance can ensure on time application. If you have urgent booking, please talk with our consultants and see if it is doable or not, and urgent handling cost may occur. Every year, we did help some travelers for last minute Tibet tour booking.
Do I need multiple entry China visa to continue with china tour after Tibet?
Definitely No, Tibet is a part of China, called TAR (Tibet Autonomous Region of China) , single entry China visa or the Tibet group visa can allow your China tour after Tibet. BUT, please remember that, if you hold Tibet group visa (entering Tibet from Nepal) but want to travel to China after Tibet, you will need to hold individual pieces of the group visa to travel individually in China by yourself; while if you travel with the name listed group members together, all people can hold one “Group visa paper documents) since all are travelling together. Otherwise you will get issues when checking in hotel in China. Since 2019, most hotels in China need passengers to have face scanning and ID and or passports registry to check in a hotel room. Most travel agencies in Tibet do not know this, especially many agencies out of Tibet do not have this kind of experiences.
Do you provide Tibet Permit only service?
No, we don’t sell Tibet Permit service only since it is illegal. No agent is allowed to sell the Tibet Travel Permit. Even though on the permits itself, it says free and no commission fee, the permits application process and responsibility of managing foreign traveler’s travel in Tibet is strictly regulated. Tibet permits application is locally and lawful per the China local rules in Tibet for foreign travelers to ensure Tibet long run development, we have to obey the local rules and respect local policy regulations. So do not just book a permit only service, as local experienced Tibet travel agency, we can organize your trip with your maximum free time in Lhasa, meanwhile, not requesting you to hire a guide all the time. This is good for LHASA tours, if your trip covers places out of Lhasa, you will need to book tour including guide, driver and car at least.
Furthermore, we are only allowed to apply the permit when we provide Tibet tour service, which includes professional tour guide, tourist licensed vehicle with a driver and/or hotel accommodation.
All Tibet travel permits application is submitted by local registered travel agencies here in Lhasa, Tibet. No matter the agency is Han Chinese registered or Tibetan registered, if there is legal tourism license, permits can be applied. However, an agency like “Tibet Local Guide Travel Service” official name is Tibet Norpel Lin Travel service has many years experiences with focus on serving only foreign travelers, we can provide hassles free permits and quality Tibet tour services. It is one-stop shop Tibet tour solution with better local prices.
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