Kailash Saga Dawa Festival

Journey overland to Tibet and cross the roof of the world to KailashAsia's most sacred mountainin time for the amazing Saga Dawa Festival. You'll join pilgrims and celebrate the renewal of the Tarboche flagpole, then embark on a demanding multi-day trek around the holy mountain, which is said to bring good luck to whomever completes it. 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.

Duration: 21 Days Guaranteed Departure: Yes
For lovers of: Physical rating: Demanding
Accommodation standard:   Budget% Traveller Tour Rating: 0%  
Your Guide: English speaking Tour code: 126281
Starts: Beijing, China Finishes: Kathmandu, Nepal
You will Visit
  • Beijing
  • Kathmandu



Day 1: Beijing

There are no activities planned until an evening welcome meeting.

Included Activities:
Arrival Day and Welcome Meeting


Day 2: 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.

Included Activities:
Great Wall Mutianyu Visit

Travel out to the Great Wall and back.
Private Vehicle (2.00 hour(s))


Day 3: Beijing/Lhasa

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.

Additional Notes:
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.

Included Activities:
Tiananmen Square
Forbidden City Tour

The train trip is a long, yet rewarding, journey through the heart of northern China then south across the Tibetan Plateau. The spectacular scenery make this a once-in-a-lifetime train journey.
Basic overnight train (beds) (48.00 hour(s))


Day 5: Lhasa

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


Day 6: 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.

Included Activities:
Barkhor Square Orientation Walk
Potala Palace Tour
Jokhang Temple Tour
Sera Monastery Tour


Day 9: Lhasa/Gyantse (1B)

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.

Private Vehicle (8.00 hour(s), 267km)


Day 10: Gyantse/Sakya

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.

Additional Notes:
Accommodation in these areas can be quite basic. Be prepared for shared toilet facilities, no running water, and often only multi-share rooms available.

Included Activities:
Pelkor Chode Monastery and Gyantse Kumbum Visit
Sakya Gompa Visit

Private Vehicle (6.00-7.00 hours, 242km)


Day 11: Sakya/Rongbuk

Travel to Rongbuk Monastery, the highest in the world.

Additional Notes:
Rongbuk is the highest monastery in the world and its guesthouse offers very basic accommodation, but the views that surround it more than compensate. Lie in bed and watch the moonlight illuminate the mountain.

Included Activities:
Rongbuk Monastery Visit and Stay

Private Vehicle (5.00-6.00 hours, 233km)


Day 12: Rongbuk/Saga

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

Included Activities:
Everest Base Camp (North)

Private Vehicle (10.00 hour(s), 293km)


Day 13: Saga/Darchen

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.

Private Vehicle


Day 14: Darchen/Kailas Range

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.

Additional Notes:
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.

Included Activities:
Kailash Kora Day 1

Hike 20km (12.4 mi) from Darchen around the base of Mt Kailash.
Hiking (20km)


Day 15: Kailas Range

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

Included Activities:
Kailash Kora Day 2

Hike 18km (11.2 mi) to the highest pass of the trek and back down into the valley.
Hiking (18km)


Day 16: Kailas Range

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

Included Activities:
Kailash Kora Day 3
Lake Manasarovar Visit

Hike the last 14km (8.7 mi) to make it to Chiu Gompa. Hurrah!
Hiking (14km)


Day 17: Kailas Range/Saga

Stop in Saga for the evening and reflect on the magical experience you've had before continuing on.

Additional Notes:
Please note: the departures of this trip starting May 27 2017 and May 16 2018 will visit the Saga Dawa Festival on Day 14 prior to starting the Kailash Kora hike.

Included Activities:
Saga Dawa Festival

Private Vehicle


Day 18: Saga/Shigatse

Travel from Saga to Shigatse.

Private Vehicle (10.00 hour(s), 488km)


Day 19: Shigatse/Lhasa

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

Included Activities:
Tashilunpo Monastery Visit

Private Vehicle (6.00 hour(s), 272km)


Day 20: Lhasa/Kathmandu

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

Included Activities:
Border Crossing (Tibet - Nepal)

Plane (1.50 hour(s))


Day 21: Kathmandu

Depart at any time.

    • Great Wall entrance
    • Forbidden City tour
    • Trans-Tibetan railway
    • Kumbum visit
    • Potala Palace visit
    • Jokhang Temple visit
    • Sera Monastery visit
    • Yamdrok Tso visit
    • Tashilunpo Monastery visit
    • Sakya Monastery visit
    • Pelkhor Chode Monastery visit
    • Rongbuk Monastery visit and stay
    • Kailash kora
    • Lake Manasarovar visit
    • Saga Dawa festival experience
    • Everest Base Camp visit
    • Border crossing support
    • Internal flight
    • All transport between destinations and to/from included activities
    • Hotels/guesthouses (11 nts), very basic guesthouses (7 nts, possibly multi-share), sleeper train (2 nts)
    • 4 breakfasts
    • Train, plane, private bus, 4x4, walking
    Group Leader
    • Chief Experience Officer (CEO) throughout, local guides
Why book with us?

Trusted by travellers since 1979

We guarantee to beat any price

Low deposits, Book now. Pay later.

24/7/365 Help on the road

Tour Highlights:
  • Witness pilgrims replace the Tarboche flagpole
  • Hike the ancient Kailash kora
  • Visit spectacular palaces and incredible monuments
  • Arrive at Everest Base Camp