Tibet Kailash Mansarovar Tour - 25 days

Tibet Kailash Mansarovar Tour is a cultural, natural and spiritual journey to the most sacred mountain of Asia. Mount Kailash (6700m), located in far west corner of Tibet is a symmetrical cone shaped rocky mountain,is revered as the holiest pilgrimage site by Hindus, Buddhists, Jains and Bons. Different religious believers consider the mountain as the center/navel of the world. Hindus believe Mt.Kailash to be the abode of Lord Shiva, the supreme most God of Hindu pantheon. Jains believe it to be the place where Rishaba, the first of the twenty-four Tirthankaras attained enlightenment. Bon followers call the mountain Ti-se and believe the Sky Goddess Sipaimen resides here. For Buddhists its the home of the Buddha Demchok known as Chakrasamvara. The holiest lakes Manasarovar and Rakshastal, which are situated in its vicinity, add both beauty and religious significance to the mountain. The mountain is the origin point of four great rivers of Asia: the Karnali, the Indus, the Sutlej and the Brahmaputra. The circumambulation (Parikrama or Kora) around Mount Kailash is done clockwise by all believers except the followers of the Bon religion who do it anti-clock wise. A journey to this holiest mountain will give you a wonderful traveling experience along with the unforgettable moments of Tibetan plateau, culture, cliff-top monasteries, turquoise lakes, yak caravans, nomads and the Himalayan peaks.

Day 01: Arrival to Kathmandu and transfer to Hotel
Day 02-03: Visa preparation day in Kathmandu
Day 04: Transfer to Friendship Bridge to Nyalam O/N Guest house
Day 05: Rest day at Nyalam
Day 06: Drive to Saga. Overnight at Guest House
Day 07: Drive to Paryang Overnight at Guest House.
Day 08: Drive to Lake Manasarovar. Overnight at Guest House
Day 09: Rest at Lake Manasarovar. Overnight at Guest House
Day 10: Drive to Darchen. Overnight at Guest House
Day 11: Trek to Deraphuk Monastery. Overnight at Guest House
Day 12: Trek to Zuthulphuk crossing Dolma La 5600m. Overnight at Guest House
Day 13 Drive Tholing
Day 14: Tshaprang
Day 15: Guge Kingdom
Day 16: Drive to Saga
Day 17: Drive to Shegar. Overnight at Guest House
Day 18: Drive to Everest visit, Rongbuk Monastery. Overnight Guest House
Day 19: Drive to Shigatse Visit Tashilompo. Overnight at Hotel.
Day 20: Drive to Gyantse. Khumbumstupa and Palkhor Monastery. Overnight at Hotel
Day 21: Drive to Lhasa Via Yamdrok Lake. Overnight at Hotel.
Day 22: Visit Potala Palace, Norbulinka Barkhor. Overnight at Hotel
Day 23: Visit Drepung Sera Jokhang temple. Overnight at Hotel.
Day 24: Fly to Kathmandu
Day 25: Fly back to your home.

Day 01: Arrival to Kathmandu (1400m)

On a bright sunny day as the wide range of shiny Himalayas is visible from the window pane of your plane, you will know that you are flying above Nepal. Nepal opens up in air before your real arrival to Nepali soil. After few minutes of hide and seek with Himalayas you will land at Kathmandu. You will be cordially welcomed as per Nepali culture with garlands at the airport terminal by a company representative and a driver. A private vehicle will escort you through the boisterous streets of Kathmandu to your designated hotel. Our representative will help you in your check-in procedure and will thoroughly brief you about the trip beginning the next day.

Day 02-03: Visa preparation day in Kathmandu

While the visa process is going on, you will have the sightseeing tour of the cultural and historical wonders of Kathmandu valley. After your breakfast, there will be a full day guided sightseeing tour to the World Heritage Sites of Kathmandu Valley, namely Bouddhanath Stupa, the largest and the oldest Buddhist stupa in Nepal; and Pashupatinath, a mega Hindu shrine dedicated to Lord Shiva which is particularly famous for Hindu funeral rite; and Swoyambhunath, an ancient Buddhist temple at a hilltop overlooking the valley. You can also visit Kathmandu Durbar Square which is a magnificent repertoire of ancient craftsmanship. Because of its artistic grandeur, tt is  rightly called as the most impressive landmark of Kathmandu.

Patan or Lalitpur (City of Artisans) is 5km away from Kathmandu. You will walk through Patan Durbar Square, and delight in the architectural wonders of Malla era. Mahaboudha Temple, Kumbeshwor Temple, Krishna Temple and Golden Temple are the major attractions of the square. Bhaktapur, “City of Devotees”, 12 km south-east of Kathmandu is the smallest of the three valley cities. However, it is incomparable for its unparallel art and architecture. Bhaktapur Durbar Square, which is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site is an open museum of the Golden Age of Nepali art and architecture. The Nyatapol & Dattaraya Temples, Golden Gate, Palace of 55 windows etc are the finest examples of sculpture, woodcarving and pagodas.

Day 04: Transfer to Friendship Bridge to Nyalam (3750m). Overnight in Guest House.

Today you will drive from Kathmandu to (Kodari) Nepal Tibet border along Araniko Highway. Kathmandu to Kodari trip is about 4/5 hours. Travelling through the meandering hill road with Bhote Koshi flowing down is a thrilling experience. Once you reach Kodari, you will see Friendship Bridge linking Nepal and China. After your immigration formalities, you will be received by your Tibetan Guide. You will be briefed about the whole trip before driving to Nyalam.

Day 05: Rest day at Nyalam

Today is a rest day at Nyalam for acclimatization since you have gained considerable altitude from Kathmandu (1400m) to Nyalam (3300m). You can look around the town in the afternoon.

Day 06: Drive to Saga (4640m). Overnight at Guest House

You will drive to Saga through Tibetan desert terrain. The views of nomad camps, yak herders, snow capped mountains, villages, some patches of barley, wheat and potato will offer you a rewarding spectacle. From Labung La pass at 5050m, you can see Gaurishankar, Shishapangma and  Langtang. You will pass through Khunmen Tso, Sinling, Karru Ongchen, Peiku Tso (4400m) and Brahmaputra locally known as “Yarling Tsangpo” to reach Saga (4600m).

Day 07: Drive to Paryang (4600m). Overnight at Guest House.

You will continue driving today through Tibetan plateau, villages, grazing yaks and sheep and fluttering prayer flags. You will come across a small town of Zhongma ahead of Paryang. There is Zadun monastery, a 1300-year-old Sakya monastery, nearby the village. The monastery and its courtyard is full of statues of guardian deities, Guru Padmashambhava, Sakyamuni Buddha etc. Once you reach Paryang, today’s trip comes to an end.

Day 08: Drive to Lake Manasarovar (4556 m). Overnight at Guest House or tented Camp

Today is one of the most important days of the trip as you will have the first glimpse of Lake Mansarovar and Mt Kailash. The more you drive closer, the view becomes clearer. Once you reach near the tranquilizing lake, you can see historic Chiu Monastery at North West shore of the lake. From this point, you can have a rewarding view of sacred Mount Kailash, Manasarovar, Mt.Gurula-Mandala and Lake Rakchyas. There you can find roadside stalls and meet groups of pilgrims.

Day 09: Rest at Lake Manasarovar. Overnight at Guest House or tented Camp

As today is a rest day, you can spend the day observing the unparallel beauty of turquoise colored Manasarovar, the highest fresh water lake; along its surrounding areas.

Day 10: Drive to Darchen (4575m). Overnight at Guest House

Today, you can do holy dip in the lake. After the morning ritual, leaving the sacred Lake Manasarovar behind, you will drive to Darchen from where the pilgrims start the circumambulation of Mt Kailash. On the way, you can see the panoramic view of Rakshas lake. Darchen, which is about 40 km from Manasorovar, is the administrative center of Kailash region. You can stroll round the town and see the groups of pilgrims making preparation.

Day 11: Trek to Deraphuk (4860m). Overnight at Guest House

After early breakfast, you will start the trek. All pilgrims, including those who are not doing circumambulation can also pass through Yama Dwar. From this point they can have a very close view of Mt. Kailash. But those who don’t want to do the circumambulation will return back to Darchen and wait for the parikrama group. You will continue the trek on foot. Horse/Yak is also available on hire. The trail starts ascending gradually along the Glacier River. After 4-5 hours of trek, you will reach Deraphuk. Deraphuk is a nice vantange point to see the north face of Mt. Kailash dominating the sky.

Day 12: Trek to Zuthulphuk (4760m) crossing Dolma La 5600m. Overnight at Guest House

Today is the toughest and longest trek day as you have to walk steep uphill and steep downhill in rocky trail for 9-10 hours. You need to wake up very early as you also have to cross Dolma La pass before the strong afternoon wind. But the early waking up is rewarding also as you can witness the first sunlight on Mt. Kailash offering the most mesmerizing view of your life. After climbing up continuously for 3-4 hours, you will reach Dolma-La high pass (5600 m). Then you will start the steep descent to Gauri Kunda and walk straight on the flat land for about another 2-3 hours before finally reaching Deraphuk. The travelers who are riding horse or yak should also walk for 2 to 3 hours during the downhill descent from Dolma-La pass.

Day 13: Drive Tholing (3723m). Overnight at Guest House

Today is the last day of the circumambulation. After about 4-5 hours of trek, you will reach Darchen town. From there you will continue your drive to Tholing, which is also known as Zada, Tsanda or Tsada. It is the former capital of Guge kingdom. You can view unbelievably extended colossal canyons from here. There is also a historical monastery at Tholing established in 997 AD. It is full of wall murals linked closely to Ladakh and Kashmir.

Day 14: Tshaprang, Overnight at Guest House

Tsaparang is only about 26 km from Tholing. It was also once the capital of ancient Guge kingdom. Sutlej river flows through the place. You can see the ruins of huge fortress based on conical shaped rock. It’s actually a vertical city built on a cliff. The cliff, now eroded is full of meditation caves, old walls with empty pockets (which must have been the royal quarters) and tunnels. At the top, there are the white painted walls of the King’s summer palace. You can still see two intact chapels: the Lhakhang Marpo (Red Chapel) and the Lhakhang Karpo (White Chapel), and quarters for the monks. The view of Sutlej valley from the top of the cliff is breathtaking.

Day 15: Guge Kingdom. Overnight at Guest House

You will have a day excursion of Guge kingdom, an ancient Tibetan kingdom that covered some parts of western Tibet and was stretched to northern Ladakh. Once a vibrant kingdom, is now in ruins with some remarkable sculptures, monasteries, meditating caves and chapels, that survived the history. You are sure to have an insightful experience about ancient Tibetan history and its cultural grandeur. You can have the awe inspiring views of the valley, colossal canyons and Sutlej river.

Day 16: Drive to Saga (4640m). Overnight at Guest House

After the memorable visit of Guge kingdom, you will drive to Saga. On the way you will encounter Yarlung Tsangpo (Brahmaputra River), Peiku Tso, a huge turquoise lake with a spectacular backdrop of Mt. Shishapangma.

Day 17: Drive to Shegar (4330m). Overnight at Guest House

Following the mountainous road of the Tbetan plateau, you will drive to Shegar, passing through some of the most breathtaking sceneries in the world. You will drive past Gyamtso La pass (5220m) and a small town of Lhatse. The journey will never cease to amaze you as you will also see many monasteries and camps of nomadic herders.

Day 18: Drive to Everest Base Camp, Rongbuk Monastery (4980m). Overnight Guest House

Today you will drive towards South crossing through Pang La pass (5150m). Throughout the journey, you can feast your eyes with the majestic views of Mt. Everest (8848m), and other peaks over 8000 meters including Makalu (8481m), Lhotse (8516 m) and Cho Oyu (8201m). Once you reach Everest Base Camp (5150m), you can see the north face of mighty Everest dominating the sky. After the exploration, you will drive back to Rongbuk, a town which is just 8 km away from the Base Camp. You will visit Rongbuk Monastery, the highest monastery in the world.

Day 19: Drive to Shigatse (3800m), visit Tashilompo. Overnight at Hotel.

After bidding farewell to Everest, you will head towards Shigatse (3900m), the second biggest city of Tibet. You will reach the city in about 7-8 hours. You can stroll round the city and visit the famous Tashilompo monastery, a historically and culturally important monastery in Tibet. Tashilompo is a major pilgrimage site throughout Tibet. Walking through the pilgrimage circuit  (about 1.6 km) around the monastery is a wonderful thing to do as you can get the great views of the monastery and Shigatse city.

Day 20: Drive to Gyantse (3900m), visit Khumbumstupa and Palkhor Monastery. Overnight at Hotel

Gyantse is just about 90 minutes’ drive from Shigatse. This wonderful town was once the third biggest town in Tibet. However, the significance of the town has not been diminished.  Gyantse is the home of historically significant Gyantse Dzong, Kumbum and Palkhor monastery. Gyantse Dzong, a fort built in the 14th century sits on a hilltop and overlooks the entire town and Nyang Chu Valley. Palkhor monastery  is an important monastery of Shakya sect of Tibetan Buddhism. The monastery complex has Kumbum, the largest chorten in Tibet. It’s an iconic architectural wonder in itself.

Day 21: Drive to Lhasa Via Yamdrok Lake (3656m). Overnight at Hotel.

After breakfast, you will drive to Lhasa, the capital city of Tibet. While travelling ahead, you will see Karola Glacier, which is situated at an altitude of 5560m. Today’s major en route attraction is Yamdrok Lake, one of most famous holy lakes in Tibet. For Tibetans, it is the home of the “wrathful deities”. The view of the turquoise fresh water lake surrounded by snow-capped mountains is simply enlightening.  Leaving Yamdrok Lake, you will drive ahead to Lhasa.

Day 22: Visit Potala Palace, Norbulinka and Barkhor Street. Overnight at Hotel

Lhasa will give you the feel of a spiritual journey. The streets full of devotees, the aroma of juniper incense, lulling hymns will fill all your senses. Today you will visit the two eminent landmarks of Lhasa; The Potala Palace and Norbulinka Barkhor. The Potala Palace, a World Heritage Site, was the main residence of Dalai Lama till the 14th Dalai Lama took refuge in India during Tibet uprising in 1959. The imposing thirteen stories imposing building is raised on the top of “Red Hill”. Norbulinka, which means “Treasure Park” in the local language, is a palace. It was the summer palace of Dalai Lama till 14th Dalai Lama’s exile. The palace consists of several complexes, and gardens; and is considered the biggest one of its kind in Tibet. Barkhor Street, is a street around Jokhang Temple. It is about a kilometer and the devotees make circumambulation of the temple through this street. As a busy public square, the street gives you a closer look at the day to day life of Tibetans.

Day 23: Explore around Lhasa-Visit Drepung monastery, Sera monastery and Jokhang temple. Overnight at Hotel.

Today you will spend the day visiting the famous monasteries of Lhasa. Drepung monastery, situated in the outskirts of Lhasa, is the biggest of all monasteries in Tibet. Founded in 1416, the monastery is especially known as the site of the annual Shoton Festival, during which a giant thangka painting will be unfurled on the hillside. Another highlight of the day is Sera Monastery, one of the biggest monasteries, located in the northern foothills of Lhasa. This magnificent monastery comprises of big halls, college and dormitories. One of the highlights of the monastery is the daily scholarly debate of the resident monk scholars (From 3 p.m., Monday to Friday). Jokhang Temple is also a World Heritage Site as an extension of Potala Palace. This four storey temple is the fusion of Nepali and Tibetan architectural style. The two days sightseeing in Lhasa is sure to give you premium historical and cultural insights of Tibet.

Day 24: Fly to Kathmandu

You will take a flight to Kathmandu. After a spectacular flight of about 1.5 hour over the Himalayas, you will land in Kathmandu. Once again the company representative and driver will receive you. You can spend the rest day strolling in the streets of Thamel- hunt the souvenirs, capture the moments in your camera or just wander around, the choice is yours!

Day 25: Departure back home.

Your tour officer and a driver will be at your hotel reception to pick you up three and half hours prior to your departure. You will be transferred to the airport for your final departure back home.