Kailash Saga Dawa Festival

Classic, Beijing to Kathmandu

Image by G Adventures

Tour description provided by G Adventures

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

What’s included

  • Your Local Living Moment: Rongbuk Monastery Guesthouse, Rongpu Si
  • Great Wall entrance
  • Forbidden City tour
  • Trans-Tibetan railway
  • Kumbum visit
  • Potala Palace visit
  • Jokhang Temple visit
  • Sera Monastery visit
  • Yamdrok Tso visit
  • Sakya Gompa Visit
  • Pelkhor Chode Monastery visit
  • Kailash kora
  • Lake Manasarovar visit
  • Saga Dawa festival experience
  • Border crossing support
  • All transport between destinations and to/from included activities


  • Witness pilgrims replace the tarboche flagpole
  • Hike the ancient kailash kora
  • Visit spectacular palaces and incredible monuments
  • Spot everest from the rongbuk monastery.


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. You can pre-book the Beijing Acrobatics Performance on the checkout page to include this optional activity on your tour. Included Activities: Great Wall Mutianyu Visit Transport: Travel out to the Great Wall and back. Private Vehicle
Days 3-4 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 Transport: 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.
Days 6-8 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/Shigatse (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. Included Activities: Pelkor Chode Monastery and Gyantse Kumbum Visit Transport: Private Vehicle (8.00 hour(s), 267km) Private Vehicle (1.50 hour(s), 90km)
Day 10 Shigatse/Tingri 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: Sakya Gompa Visit Transport: Private Vehicle (4.00-5.00 hours, 172km) Private Vehicle (136km)
Day 11 Sakya/Rongbuk Travel to Rongbuk Monastery, the highest in the world. Enjoy views of Everest from the Monastery and opt to go into the Rongbuk Monastery. Included Activities: Rongbuk Monastery Guesthouse Transport: Private Vehicle (2.00-3.00 hours, 100km)
Day 12 Rongbuk/Saga Leave the Rongbuk Monastery behind and make the scenic journey to Saga. Transport: 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. Transport: Private Vehicle (7.00 hour(s), 500km)
Day 14 Darchen to Kailash 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 Transport: Hike 20km (12.4 mi) from Darchen around the base of Mt Kailash. Hiking (20km)
Day 15 Kailash Range Continue on the kora for the toughest stretch of the hike. Included Activities: Kailash Kora Day 2 Transport: Hike 18km (11.2 mi) to the highest pass of the trek and back down into the valley. Hiking (14km)
Day 16 Kailash Range After completing the kora, relax in Chiu Gompa for the evening. Included Activities: Kailash Kora Day 3 Lake Manasarovar Visit Transport: Hike the last 14km (8.7 mi) to make it to Chiu Gompa. Hurrah! Hiking (14km)
Day 17 Kailash 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 16 2018 will visit the Saga Dawa Festival on Day 14 prior to starting the Kailash Kora hike. Included Activities: Saga Dawa Festival Transport: Private Vehicle
Day 18 Saga/Zhongba Travel from Saga to Zhongba. Transport: Private Vehicle (330km)
Day 19 Zhongba/Kyirong Travel from Zhongba to Kyirong. Get ready for the most scenic drive of your trip tomorrow and some more ink in your passport! Transport: Private Vehicle (6.00 hour(s), 340km)
Day 20 Kyirong/Kathmandu Prepare for another beautiful driving day on your way to Nepal. There's plenty of lush green forests along the highway towards the Tibet – Nepal border at Rasuwa Gadi. After immigration, cross the bridge joining Tibet and Nepal by foot. Jump on a bus and make the winding, bumpy, yet extremely scenic drive to Kathmandu. Additional Notes: Kyirong is the main customs border crossing between Tibet and Nepal, for tourists and for commercial purpose. As such, it can be quite busy and there can be long wait times. Included Activities: Border Crossing (Kyirong to Kathmandu) Transport: Private Vehicle (1.00 hour(s), 30km) Private Vehicle (9.00 hour(s), 140km)
Day 21 Kathmandu Depart at any time.