The circuit, or kora, of Mt Kailash (6714m) is one of the most important pilgrimages in Asia. It’s been a religious sanctuary since pre-Buddhist times, and a trek here wonderfully integrates the spiritual, cultural and physical dimensions of a trip to Tibet. Being able to meet pilgrims from across Tibet and other countries is another allure.
- Drepung Monastery, Sera Monastery
- Potala Palace, Jokhang Temple, Barkhor Street
- Yamdrok Lake, Karola Glacier, Pelkor Chöde Monastery with Gyantse Kumbum
- Tashilump Monastery
- Rongbuk Monastery
- Everest Base Camp, Peikutso Lake
- Mt. Kailash Kora
- Mt. Kailash Kora
- Mt. Kailash Kora, Lake Manasarovar
- Tibetan Incense Workshop in Nyemo
Day 01:Arrival in Lhasa.
Day 02:Lhasa Suburb.
Day 03:Lhasa City.
Day 04:Lhasa – Gyantse.
Day 05:Gyantse – Shigatse.
Day 06:Shigatse - Tingri - Rongbuk – Everest Base Camp.
Day 07:Everest Base Camp - Saga.
Day 08:Saga – Darchen.
Day 09:Trek from Darchen - Dirapuk(6hrs/ 20km/ 200m ascent) .
Day 10:Trek from Dirapuk – Zutulpuk (8hrs/ 18km/ 550m ascent/ 600m descent).
Day 11:Trek from Zutulpuk – Darchen (4hrs/ 14km/ 150m).
Day 12:Manasarovar - Payang – Saga.
Day 13:Saga - Lhatse – Shigatse.
Day 14:Shigatse – Lhasa.
Day 15:Departure from Lhasa.
- Lodgings: 6 Nights, twin room .
- 1 Night, twin room
- 1 Night, dorm bed at NOMAD TENT;
- 2 Nights, twin room en suite in GUESTHOUSE;
- 1 Night, twin room
- 2 Nights, dorm bed in by CAMP/GUESTHOUSE;
- 1 Night, dorm bed in GUESTHOUSE;
- Meal: 7 Breakfasts & 1 Welcome Dinner; 8 Breakfasts & 1 Welcome Dinner;
- Permit: Tibet Tourism Bureau Permit (TTB);
- Alien's Travel Permit (PSB) to be apply in Shigatse with your original passport which takes about 30mins;
- Military Permit;
- Free Lhasa Railway Station transfer at all time on first & last day;
- Free Lhasa Airport pick-up at 12:30pm or 15:30pm from Lhasa Airport on first day;
- Free Lhasa Airport drop-off at 07:30am or 12:00pm from hotel in Lhasa on last day;
- Travel-licensed vehicle according to group size & season as itinerary needed including gas and parking fee;
- Guide: experienced local English-speaking tour guide
- Attractions: all entrance fee mentioned in itinerary
- Travel Agency Liability insurance;
- Government Tax;
What's not Includes
- Lunch & Dinner
- Yaks & herders during 3-Day Mt Kailash Kora
- Shuttle Bus fee at Mt Kailash: CNY 110/person
- Shuttle Bus fee at Lake Manasarovar: CNY 280/person
- Private Lhasa Airport transfer if your flight isn’t within our free service time, USD 60/vehicle/time.
- Flight or Train
- China Visa
- Optional sights
- Super-fast express delivery of Tibet Entry Permit (eg. China Air Express)
- Additional days caused by unexpected nature disasters. eg. Land Slide, Avalanche, etc.
- Gratuities for guide & driver, abt CNY 50/day for each of them
- Personal expenses
- Personal travel insurance
- Anything not listed in INCLUSIONS
Day 1Arrival in Lhasa.Our staff will greet you at Lhasa Airport/Railway to transfer you to hotel. From Lhasa Airport to downtown Lhasa, usually takes abt 1.5hrs; from Lhasa Railway Station, abt 20mins. After transferred to hotel, the rest of the day you will be free to wander around the city on your own but try not to overtax yourself. The first day’s well-rest is crucial to acclimatize high altitude. Remember to drink lots of water, eat light, and not to shower if you can help it. For our free Lhasa Airport/Railway transfer, pls check the Inclusions for the information of our free Lhasa Airport/Railway transfers.
Overnight in Lhasa.
Day 2Lhasa Suburb. Today you will visit totally 2 attractions in Lhasa suburb. In the morning, we will arrange you to see Drepung Monastery. In the afternoon, we will visit Sera Monastery. You will stay long hour on sightseeing today under the fierce sun of Tibet, do arm yourself with sunglasses/ hat/ sunscreen.
Also a welcome dinner will be held tonight to introduce you to the whole gang that you are going to travel with. We have customers from all over the world. Shall be fun to meet people from different countries, culture and background.
Located abt 8km west of central Lhasa, Drepung Monastery was once one of the world’s largest monasteries. The word Drepung literally translates as ‘rice heap’, a reference to the huge numbers of white monastic buildings that once piled up on the hill side.
Sera Monastery is located in the northern suburb of Lhasa City. The monastery was named Sera which means wild rose in the
Tibetan language, because the hill behind it was covered with wild roses in bloom when the monastery was built. From of
Mon ~ Fri, every afternoon, you’ll be able to see monks debating at Sera Monastery.
Overnight in Lhasa.
Meal: breakfast and dinner.
Day 3Lhasa City. This morning, visit Potala Palace. It is more than 3,700 meters above sea level and it is the highest palace in the world! At the top the palace called golden roofs; you can have a bird-eye view of the whole of Lhasa. In the distance there are undulating mountain ranges, the beautiful Lhasa River, tracts of fields, tree-shaded villages and the glistening Jokhang Temple.
Afternoon, visit Jokhang Temple, it is the first built during the period of Sontsan Gambo in the 7th century, features Buddhist prayer wheels, reclining deer, golden sutra streamers. You'll find that many Pilgrims pray before the monastery.
The circuit around it called Barkhor Street, a famous local handmade crafts market, which is a good place to purchase souvenirs.
Overnight in Lhasa.
Day 4Lhasa – Gyantse.Yamdrotso Lake: dazzling Yamdro-tso(elev 4441m) is normally first seen from the summit of the Kamba-la(4700m). The lake lies several hundred meters below the road, and in clear weather is fabulous shade of deep turquoise. Far in the distance is the huge massif of Mt. Nojin Kangtsang(7191m).
Karola Glacier: Mt Nojin Kangsang stands tall with an elevation of 7,191m between Gyantze County and Nagarzê County, with several snow-capped mountains over 6,000m surrounding it. Mount Nojin Kangsang is the most accessible glacier site on the Tibetan Plateau. The famous Kharola Glacier (elev 5,560m) is below the south ridge of Nojin Kangsang.
Pelkor Chöde Monastery with Gyantse Kumbum: the sprawling compound in the far north of town houses Pelkor Chöde Monastery and the monumental Gyantse Kumbum, a chörten filled with fine paintings and statues. Both are deservedly top of the list on most travellers’ must-sees. Palkhor lies at the foot of Dzong Hill. It is well-known for its Kumbum, which has 108 chapels in its four floors. The multi-storied Kumbum Stupa was crowned with a golden dome and umbrella, surrounded with more chapels filled with unique religious statues and murals.
Overnight in Gyantse.
Day 5Gyantse – Shigatse.After arrival in Shigatse, we will first go to apply the Alien's Travel Permit (PSB) with your original passport presented which usually takes abt 30mins before sightseeing. Bear with us.
Tashilunpo Monastery is one of the Six Big Monasteries of Gelugpa (or Yellow Hat Sect) in Tibet. Also called the Heap of Glory, the monastery is located at the foot of Drolmari (Tara's Mountain), Shigatse. Founded by the First Dailai Lama in 1447, the monastery's structure was expanded by the Fourth and successive Panchen Lamas. It covers an area of nearly 300,000 square meters. The main structures found in the monastery are Maitreya Chapel, Panchen Lama's Palace and Kelsang Temple. Tashilhunpo is the seat of Panchen Lama since the Fourth Panchen Lama took charge in the monastery, and there are now nearly 800 lamas.
Overnight in Shigatse.
Day 6Shigatse - Tingri - Rongbuk – Everest Base Camp.Tibet has serious rule about speed-limit. Though from Shigatse to Everest region is only abt 350km or so in book, the no-more-than-40km/hr regulation, and the many road checks dotted on the way, really slow us down. So be prepared to spend around 10~12hrs on the road including meal time. The upside is the view along the way is superb. Get your camera ready. Also prepare some snacks with you to bring along.
You will arrive at Rongbu Monastery in the late afternoon. The monastery itself is quite tiny, but from here the view of Mt Everest is fantastic. You can choose to just hang around Rongbuk to take photos or visit it.
Rongbuk Monastery is located in the Shigatse Region, southwest of the mysterious Tibet Autonomous Region, and to the north of the oblate Mt. Everest, the highest peak in the world. Seen from here, Mt. Everest appears like a lofty pyramid surrounded by mountains that touch the sky. On sunny days, a pile of thick clouds, just like a white flag floats lightly above the peak, which is known to be the miracle of 'The Highest Flag Cloud in the World'. Nowadays, with the golden travel boom to Mt. Everest, Rongbuk Monastery is gradually becoming a highlight for the tourists in its own right.
Overnight in EBC, Nomad Tent (Dorm Bed).
Day 7Everest Base Camp - Saga.We didn’t include breakfast this morning. You will understand why when you’re at the spot. Tibetan breakfast, such as noodle, zanba, etc. abt CNY 30 is available here. You are highly suggested to bring along some cookies, instant coffee. etc. of your own.
Everest Tent Camp is the furthest point vehicles can drive to. From here you will have to take the shuttle bus for the last glorious 4Km which is incredibly scenic. You’re hemmed in by high grey ridges to the east and west and as you look to the south, Everest’s north face dominates the skyline. Endowed with springs, Everest Base Camp (elevation 5150m) has a couple of permanent structures and a small army base. Clamber up the small hill festooned with prayer flags for great views of the star attraction, Mt. Everest, then have your photo taken at the base camp marker, reads ‘Mt. Qomolangma Base Camp’.
Peikutso Lake: the beautiful turquoise Peiku-tso(4590m) is one of Tibet’s magical spots with stunning views of the snowcapped
Shishapangma (8012m) and the Langtang range bordering Nepal to the south.
Overnight in Saga, Guesthouse.
Day 8Saga – Darchen.The sprawling town of saga is the last of any size on the route and your last chance to eat a lavish meal. A photogenic section of dunes, lake and mountains kicks in 60km from Zhongba. About 23km before Paryang you create a pass and drop past more dunes to Paryang. Photos taken along this route can often get steppe, streams, desert dunes and snowcapped mountains in the same shot.
Overnight in Darchen, Guesthouse.
Day 9Trek from Darchen - Dirapuk(6hrs/ 20km/ 200m ascent) .The kora path begins on the western edge of Darchen. Quickly leaving all traces of the village behind, you head westward across the Batkha plain, a sandy expanse speckled with greenery like a massive camouflage jacket. To the north, the east-west ridge blocks your view of Mt Kailash, but to the southeast are clear views of huge Gurla Mandata(7728m). Api and other peaks in Nepal are visible to the south, while look to the southwest for the twin, sharp humps of Kamet(7756m) in India.
Only 4km from Darchen the trail climbs up over the southwest end of the ridge to reach a cairn at 4790m. the cairn is bedecked with prayer flags and marks the first views of Mt Kailash’s southern face, the first of the kora’s four prostration points.
Very quickly the trail bends round to the north and enters the barren Lha-chu Valley. The valley is so open at this point you can see ahead to the tall Tarboche flagpole(4750) in the distance, one of the most significant sites for Saga Dawa Festival.
Just west of Tarboche is the ‘two-legged’ Chorten Kangnyi. It’s an auspicious act for pilgrims to walk through the small chorten’s archway. A short climb above Tarchorten to the east is the sky-burial site of the 84 mahasiddhas(Tantric practitioners who reached a high level of awareness). The first of the kora’s three Buddha footprints is here, but hard to find. The views of the valley are superb from here.
Beyond Tarboche the valley narrows dramatically at an area called Sershong. You can begin to get clear shots of Mt Kailash now, standing to attention above the eastern ridge.
Chuku Monastery(4820m), founded in the 13th century by Gotsangpa Gompo Pel, a Kagyupa-order master, is perched high above the valley floor on the hillside to the west. It bends so secretively into its rocky background you may not able notice it’s there.
From the Chuku it’s abt 3hrs to Dir-puk Monastery. Take your time between this stretch for it has some of the best scenery of the entire kora. High sedimentary faces, wonderfully puckered and dented, and chiseled into shapes that seem alive, hem you in on both sides. When the weather is warmer there’s even the occasional ribbon of water tumbling down the slopes from hundreds of meters high. Along the route you will find the second prostration point, with its prayer flags and clear view of the east side of Mt Kailash. 30mins later, just past a tea tent selling the usual drinks and snakes, look for the second Buddha footprint, and a carving of the god Tamdrin, a wrathful horse-headed deity, on a black stone smeared with aeons of yak butter. From the rock, the trail starts to clim and heads northeast toward Dira-puk Monastery.
Dira-puk(Lhalung Dira) Monastery(5080m) sits in a superb location on the hillside north of the Lha-chu. It directly faces the astonishing north face of Mt Kailash, which from this angle appears as a massive, jet-black slab of granite ornamented with alabaster-white strips of snow. Three lesser mountains are arrayed in front of Mt Kailash: Chana Dorie to the west, Jampelyang to the east and Chenresig in the centre.
Overnight in Dirapuk, Camp/Guesthouse (Dorm Bed)
Day 10Trek from Dirapuk – Zutulpuk (8hrs/ 18km/ 550m ascent/ 600m descent).No doubt when you wake in the morning and step outside you’ll want to revel in the glory of your surroundings. Mt Kailash’s dramatic black face dominates the skyline, while the middle slopes echo with the moans of yaks.
The main kora path heads off to the east, crossing the Lha-chu by bridge and then climbs on to a moraine to meet the trail on the east bank. The long ascent up the Drolma-chu Valley that will eventually lead to the Drolma-la has begun.
Less than an hour along is the meadow at Jarok Donkhang(5210m). Near Jarok Donkhang a trail branches off to the southeast, leading over the snow-covered Khando Sanglam-la. Also nearby, Polung Glacier descends from the east ridge off the north face of Mt Kailash, down through the Polung Valley between Chenresig and Jampelyang.
Only a short distance above Jarok Donkhang, is the rocky expanse of Shiva-tsal(5330m). Pilgrims are supposed to undergo a symbolic death at this point, entering in the realm of the Lord of the Deas, until the reach the top of the Drolma-la and are reborn again. It is customary to leave sth behind at Shiva-tsal, an item of clothing, a drop of blood or a lock of hair, to represent the act of leaving this life behind.
After Shiva-tsal the trail mercifully flattens for a time and proceeds along a glacial ridge. There are a number of interesting sights ahead, such as the sin-testing stone of Bardo Trang(a flat boulder that pilgrims are supposed to squeeze under to measure their sinfulness).
Abt 30mins from Shiva-tsal the trail turns eastward for the final ascent. Allow around an hour for the 200m climb to the top of the Drolma-la(5640m). After a few false summits, the rocky pass is reached. The great cubic Drolma Do(Drolma’s Rock) that marks the top is barely visible behind an enormous number of prayer flags.
Weather permitting, most pilgrims and trekkers pause at the pass for a rest and refreshment before starting the steep descent. Almost immediately, Gauri Kund(5608m), the Lake of Compassion.
It takes approximately an hour to make the long and steep 400m descent to the grassy banks of the Lham-chu Khir. En route there is a much-revered footprint of Milarepa. When the trail reaches the valley, you may find nomad tents and a teahouse selling drinks and noodles. A huge rock topped by the kora’s third Buddha footprint stands nearby.
About 30 mins south, a valley comes down from the Khando Sanglam-la to join the western trail. This valley provides the only glimpse of Mt Kailash’s eastern or crystal face. The kora’s third prostration point is at the valley mouth.
Grassy fields start to appear alongside the river. A couple of hours from the third Buddha footprint a side valley enters from the left. From here on the river changes name to the Dzong-chu, translated as ‘Fortress River’.
Soon you will see Zutul-puk Monastery(4820m). The miracle cave that gives the monastery its name is at the back of the main hall. Milarepa’s footprint and handprint can still be seen today.
Overnight in Zutulpuk, Camp/Guesthouse (Dorm Bed).
Day 11Trek from Zutulpuk – Darchen (4hrs/ 14km/ 150m).Drive Darchen - Manasarovar
From Zutul-puk Monastery the trail follows the river closely for an hour or so then climbs above the river and enters the lovely Gold & Red Cliffs, a narrow canyon whose walls are stained purple, cobalt and rust.
When the canyon narrows look for holes gouged into the cliff walls. These are not natural but made by pilgrims looking for holy stones. Also look for prayer flags festooned across the river, and in the far distance the blue waters of lake Raksas Tal.
Where the trail emerges onto the Barkha plain, close to the fourth prostration point, Gurla Mandata is again visible in the distance. It’s now an easy 1hr walk back to Darchen along a dirt road.
Meet your driver at Darchen. Drive to Lake Manasarovar, which is the most venerated of all Tibet's many sacred lakes. It is especially sacred to Hindus, who have been walking round it for approaching 2,000 years. Buddhists associate the lake with Maya, Buddha's mother.Hindu and Buddhist cosmology had it that nearby Mt. Kailash is the centre of the world and that Manasarovar is the source of four of Asia's great rivers.
Overnight in Manasarovar, Guesthouse (Dorm bed)
Day 12Manasarovar - Payang – Saga.Enjoy the ride back with leisure. Our vehicle will stop along the ride for you to take photos.
Overnight in Saga, Guesthouse.
Day 13Saga - Lhatse – Shigatse.Enjoy the ride back with leisure. Our vehicle will stop along the ride for you to take photos.
Overnight in Shigatse.
Day 14Shigatse – Lhasa.Tibetan Incense Workshop in Nyemo: with a unique harmless formula—adequate water supply, favorable climate and various plants, the Tibetan incense produced in Tomba Township, Nyemo County has a history of more than 1,000 years. Except for sacrificial ceremonies, this fragrant incense also can be used to prevent infectious diseases like flu and influenza, for its ingredients contain herbal medicines such as saffron, Sandalwood, Chinese Usnea and borneol.
Overnight in Lhasa.
Day 15Departure from Lhasa.Your 15-day Mt.Everest & Mt Kailash Kora Pilgrimage Group Tour ends today. After breakfasts, you will be free for the morning. Our staff will collect you at your hotel to transfer to Lhasa Airport/Railway.
- Tibet Tourism Bureau Permit (TTB) usually takes about 12-working-day to apply. If you couldn’t provide the required docs & info on time, an extra about USD 50-80/permit will be charged.
- We reserve the right to change the itinerary order and attractions in Lhasa.
- If you prefer to book your own hotels over those included in our group tour, please meet the rest of the group at their daily hotel on time. We don’t include the transfers to your own hotels.
- We need to pickup and drop off all tour members of the group on first & last day from Lhasa Airport/Railway, thus there may not always have guide presence but driver.
- Due to the special nature of Tibet travel, any unforeseeable and unavoidable objective circumstances, including but not limited to natural disasters, war, terrorism, riot, civil commotion, strikes, public health emergencies, government action, major traffic jams, delay or cancellation of flight/train, attractions temporarily closed. etc., resulting in change of itinerary, the increased cost will be paid by travelers; if any attraction visits has to be cancelled due to the same reasons above, Himalayan Asia Treks won’t be hold responsible for refund except certain attraction entrance fee which will be solely decided by Himalayan Asia Treks.
- Single Supplement: our quote is based on twin rooms. For single travelers, single supplement is required at the time of booking. If later we manage to match you with another traveler to share the twin rooms, single supplement will be refunded.