15 Days Kailash and Manasarova Small Group Tour

The highlights in this 15-day Kailash and Manasarova tour are Mount Everest Base Camp & Mount Kailash. The first three days are spent in Lhasa visiting the iconic Potala Palace and other famous places at this holy city till you get acclimatized sufficiently.

Enroute from Lhasa towards Mount Everest, Lake Yamdrok with its beautiful turquoise water is the first impressive place to see. In the town of Gyantse you feel like arriving in the past with its walls and Dzong Castle in the surrounding hills. After visiting the Panchen Lama’s Tashilumpo Monastery, then you will reach Mt. Everest Base Camp after one more night acclimatization at Tingri. At Mount Everest, you can enjoy the hike from the tourist base camp to the mountaineer base camp and see the golden sunset and the starry sky during the night. The way from Mt. Everest to Mt Kailash goes through the nomadic area in western Tibet. Herds of grazing yaks and sheep pass by the window with magical snowcapped lakes and Himalaya ranges at the background.

The three days trek around sacred Mount Kailash will be a unique experience physically and spiritually, beautiful sceneries from different faces of Mount Kailash, golden sunset view, pilgrims doing full-body length prostrations, challenges enduring the snowy Dolma-La Pass and etc, all those could be your lifetime memory.

Highlights

  • Visit all the holy cultural landmarks in Lhasa;
  • Five days’ acclimation before reaching EBC;
  • Trekking the base camp of the highest mountain;
  • Trekking the most sacred and mythical mountain in the world.

Brief Itinerary

Day 1: Lhasa Arrival
Day 2: Lhasa
Day 3: Lhasa
Day 4: Lhasa – Gyantse – Shigatse
Day 5: Shigatse – Tingri 
Day 6: Tingri – EBC
Day 7:  EBC – Saga
Day 8: Saga – Lake Manasarovar – Darchen
Day 9: Darchen – Diraphuk Monastery
Day 10: Diraphuk – Dolmala Pass – Zutruphuk Monastery
Day 11: Zutruphuk Monastery – Darchen
Day 12: Darchen – Saga
Day 13: Saga – Shigatse
Day 14: Shigatse – Lhasa
Day 15: Lhasa Departure

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1 Lhasa Arrival

Sightseeing and Activities:Train station or airport pick-up, Lhasa city tour
Accommodation:Lhasa
Meals:none

Arrival at Lhasa at airport or train station, our guide and driver will pick you up and transfer you to hotel for acclimatization; you can have your free time hanging out at this holy city to get the first impression of Tibet

Day 2 Lhasa

Sightseeing and Activities:Potala Palace, Johkang Temple,Barkhor Street
Accommodation:Lhasa
Meals:breakfast

In the morning, visit the symbol or landmark of Lhasa – Potala Palace , the successive Dalai Lama’s winter residence since the 7th Century by the 33rd great king of Tibet. In the afternoon, visit the center of Tibetan Buddhism – Johkang Temple , where you will come across lots of devoted pilgrimages coming from every corner of Tibet. Both sites are under the list of the world cultural heritages by the UNESCO. Afterwards, free time for you to wander through the Barkhor Street, the busiest street in old Lhasa quarter.

Day 3 Lhasa

Sightseeing and Activities: Drepung Monastery, Sera Monastery
Accommodation:Lhasa
Meals:breakfast

In the morning, we will visit Drepung Monastery which is the biggest Tibetan Buddhism College with the biggest number of monks in Tibet. The monastery used to be the winter residence of the Dalai Lama before the 5th Dalai Lama moved his residency to the Potala Palace. And in the afternoon, we will visit another influential Gelugpa Monastery – Sera Monastery , where you can see the largest scale of sutra debating among monks is famous all across Tibet.

Day 4 Lhasa – Gyantse – Shigatse

Sightseeing and Activities:Yamdrok Lake, Pelchor Monastery, Karo Glacier, Gyantse Pelkor
Accommodation:Shigatse
Meals:breakfast

In the morning, drive to the historic town of Gyantse via Yamdrok Lake, according to local mythology, Yamdrok Lake is the transformation of a goddess, on the Gangbala Pass, you will have a clear picture of this Tibetan holy lake in turquoise, in distance you can also see the snowcapped Summit of Ninjingkangsang. In Gyantse, you will find the largest stupa in Tibet – Kumpa Stupa (Ten-thousand stupa), just next to the Stupa is the Pelchor Monastery. Another important site in Gyantse is Dzong Castle which once was a battle field where Tibetan fought against British invasion. Continue drive to Shigatse and stay overnight there.

Day 5 Shigatse – Tingri 

Sightseeing and Activities:Tashilumpo Monastery
Accommodation:Tingri
Meals:breakfast

In the morning, visit Tashilhunpo Monastery which is the seat of Panchen Lama, the equally important religious figure in Tibet as Dalai Lama. The monastery was built by the first Dalai Lama in 1447, and inside the Monastery placed the highest statue of Buddha in Tibet which is 26.8 meters high. Afterwards, drive to Tingri, the nearest county to the EBC; acclimatize one more night here before reaching 5200 meters high.

Day 6 Tingri – EBC

Sightseeing and Activities:Mt Everest, Rongbuk Monastery
Accommodation:EBC
Meals:breakfast

Today’s drive is not long at all, we can have a really good sleep and wake up late, leave hotel around 10 AM after breakfast. On the way towards Mt. Everest, you can see 4 of the highest mountains over 8000 meters (Mt. Everest; Mt. Makalu; Mt. Lotse; Mt. Cho Oyu) in the world at the same time on the top of the Gyalpo-la pass, what a great view! Before arriving at the EBC, you will first visit the highest monastery in the world – Rongbuk Monastery, which is also a good position to watch the Everest; continue drive till the tent guesthouse area, check in the guesthouse. The sunset view is fantastic when weather is good. Wish you a good luck to see the sunset.

Day 7 EBC – Saga

Sightseeing and Activities:the sunrise of Mt Everest, Everest Base Camp, Peikutso Lake
Accommodation:Saga
Meals:breakfast

In the morning, if weather is good, you can choose to wake up early to watch the sunrise over the base camp. After breakfast, we will drive to western Tibet of Saga County directly. On the way, we can see the beautiful Peikutso Lake and Mt. Shixiapangma. Today, we will cover some bumpy part of road, but not very long.

Day 8 Saga – Lake Manasarovar – Darchen

Sightseeing and Activities:Lake Manasarovar
Accommodation:Darchen
Meals:breakfast

In the morning you will head to Lake Manasarovar, Tibet’s holiest lake which sits at 4590 meters. We will go on following the upper reaches of the Brahmaputra River going through vast expanses of grasslands before arriving in Paryang, elevation 4590 meters. And Lake Manasarovar is an important pilgrimage destination for Tibetans and Hindu’s from India and Nepal. From the lake, you can see Kailash in the distance. Then we will make the short drive to Darchen Town, the starting point of the trek around Mt. Kailash.

Day 9 Darchen – Diraphuk Monastery

Sightseeing and Activities:Dira-phuk (Lhalung Dira) Monastery
Accommodation:Dirapuk guesthouse
Meals:breakfast

In the morning start the trekking trip to Diraphuk. On the road you will see the face of Mt. Kailash appear from time to time. You may pay a visit to Chuku Monastery (4820m), founded in the 13th century by Gotsangpa Gopo 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. Diraphuk (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 center.

Day 10 Diraphuk – Dolmala Pass – Zutruphuk Monastery

Sightseeing and Activities:Dolmala Pass, Zutruphuk Monastery
Accommodation:Zutruphuk
Meals:breakfast

 In the morning we will trek across a valley up to the Dolma-La Pass (5630 meters). By the late afternoon arrive at Zutrulphuk Monastery, the cave of miracles where the Tibetan poet-saint Milarepa once stayed.

Day 11 Zutruphuk Monastery – Darchen

Sightseeing and Activities:Darchen
Accommodation:Darchen
Meals:breakfast

In the morning we will hike back to Darchen, today’s trekking is very easy, just a relax and enjoy after two days long walk. We will finish early today around 1 or 2 PM. A good rest for you at Darchen.

Day 12 Darchen – Saga

Sightseeing and Activities: Brahmaputra River
Accommodation:Saga
Meals:breakfast

In the morning, we will head back to Lhasa by following the Brahmaputra River back to Saga as we pass through the nomadic regions of western Tibet.

Day 13 Saga – Shigatse

Sightseeing and Activities:scenery along the way
Accommodation:Shigatse
Meals:breakfast

Nothing special to visit, simply drive back to Shigatse.

Day 14 Shigatse – Lhasa

Sightseeing and Activities:Lhasa arrival
Accommodation:Lhasa
Meals:breakfast

Drive back to Lhasa along the road with Brahmaputra River flows along; the free time is on your own after arrival Lhasa.

Day 15 Lhasa Departure

Sightseeing and Activities:Depart from Lhasa
Accommodation:none
Meals:breakfast

Tour ends, our guide and driver will drop you off at airport in Lhasa. Welcome to Tibet next time.

Recommended Hotels

City 5 Star 4 Star 3 Star

Quotations

Group size(person) 5 Star ($) 4 Star ($) 3 Star ($)

Service Included:

  • Free group pick-up from airport & free group drop-off from hotel, BUT only three times available, surcharge (RMB 450) occurs if your flight schedule does not meet the free transfer time. Stay at airport for 1-2 hours to await other tourists is possible since this is a group pick-up service.
    Group Pick-up Time at airport 09:30 – 10:30 12:30 – 13:30 15:30 – 16:30
    Group Drop-off Time leaving hotel 06:30 from hotel 08:30 from hotel 12:30 from hotel
    A. The drive length is about one hour between airport and downtown
    B. It’s free to have pickup and drop-off between train station and downtown
  • Entrance fees of all tourist sites listed in the itinerary.
  • Meals as specified in the itinerary (B=Breakfast, D=Dinner)
  • Local tour Transfers, 4WD, Mini Van or Tourist Bus according to Group Size and seasons
  • Local Tibetan English-speaking guide
  • Accommodations(The quote is based on 0.5 room per person, twin sharing.
  • Economy hotel based on twin-sharing in Lhasa/Shigatse/Tingri/Saga
  • Basic guest house at EBC, Darchen and during the trekking around Mt. Kailash
  • Service Charge & Government Taxes
  • One welcome Tibetan style dinner in local restaurant.
  • Water and hot water provided when necessary along the trip
  • Necessary oxygen supply.

Service Excluded:

  • Tips to tour guide and driver, you are suggested to tip them 7 USD/day in total.
  • Lunch and dinners, breakfast at EBC, Saga and Darchen.
  • All meals during the trekking
  • Porters, trekking animals (Yaks or horse) during the trekking
  • Air and train tickets into and out of Tibet.
  • Single supplement.

Travel Tips:

1. What Are the Features of Our Group Tours
Our Group Tours are budget tour packages with great service which have covered the most popular destinations in Tibet with reasonable trip lengths. Joining in our group tours, you will choose your travel dates from our fixed departures and travel in a small group with maximum members of 12 people.

2. Tibet Permits
There are several permits required to visit Tibet. Tibet Entry Permit, issued by Tibet Tourism Bureau, is the most important one which has to be obtained before your trip because you must have it to take your flight/train to Tibet. To get the permit, you have to book a Tibet tour with us, and send us your passport and Chinese visa about 20 days in advance, and then let us apply for the permit (all Tibet permits can only be applied by travel agency). If you travel to other prefectures like Shigatse, Nyingchi, Shannan, etc, you also have to obtain an Alien Travel Permit. If you travel to Mount Everest, you have to obtain a Border Permit. (Tibet Discovery, with office in Lhasa, has always kept up with the latest news on Tibet Permits. Traveling with us, all your permits are guaranteed as long as you are qualified to the requirements.)

3. Available Months to Visit Tibet
Generally speaking, May to early October is the best time to for a Mount Kailash trip. July and August are the peak season and rainy season. It may be too cold to travel in Kailash area from November to March. There is usually heavy snow. The conditions in Namtso Lake and Mount Everest area are quite similar with Kailash. While other places like Lhasa, Gyantse and Shigatse are suitable for travel all year around.

4. High Altitude Sickness
The average altitude of Tibet is about 4000 meters above the sea level (Lhasa: 3700m; EBC: 5200m; Namtso: 4718m). You may suffer a bit from High Altitude Sickness in the beginning days of your Tibet trip if you haven’t had rich high plateau travel experience. But don’t worry too much, the high altitude can be acclimatized usually in 2~3 days. Our suggestion is to take a physical examination and get suggestions from your doctor, and also bring some medicines to prevent from High Altitude Sickness before your trip. While in Tibet, you should keep warm all the time, avoid strenuous activities, drink more water and eat more vegetables and carbohydrates. You’d better not take showers during the first two days after your arrival at Tibet. If you don’t feel well, get help from your tour guide or go to the hospital without any delay.

5. How to Go to Tibet
Basically you have two options – flight and train. Currently, you can take a flight to Lhasa from Beijing(4.5hrs), Xian(3.7hrs), Chengdu(2.5hrs), Chongqing(3hrs), Kuming(3hrs), etc. Among all these cities, Chengdu and Xian have more frequent flights to Lhasa. Kathmandu also has several flights to Lhasa each week.
If you a train travel, you can take a train to from Beijing(40.5hrs), Xian(32hrs), Chengdu(43hrs), Shanghai(47hrs), Chongqing(42hrs), Lanzhou(25hrs), Xining(22hrs), Guangzhou(54hrs).

6. Packing and Wearing Ideas
Firstly you can’t forget your passport and Chinese Visa. A large backpack and a smaller one are recommended (the smaller one can be used for daily activities). Also bring the necessary medicine you need. Other stuffs like sunglasses, snow glasses, hats, lip balm, sun block are recommended.
As for wearing, you are suggested to dress in layers (both thin and thick jackets). Down jacket is necessary in Spring and Autumn. A pair of durable and comfortable shoes is necessary.