Lhasa to Mountain Kailash Tour Itinerary
Prices from $1650
Main Attractions: Potala Palace, Jokhang Temple, Drepung and Sera Monasteries, Yamdrok Lake, Kumbum Stupa, Tashi Lumpo Monastery, Everest Base Camp, Rongbuk Monastery, Manasarovar lake, Chiu monastery and mountain Kailash.
Duration: 15 days
Cost: prices start from $1650 (standard accommodation, double occupancy in the room in hotels)
Maximum Elevation: 5,640 m/ 18,600 ft
Day 1 – Arrival in Lhasa
We meet at the Lhasa Gonggar airport or the train station. The airport is 62 km/ 39 miles away from the city and it takes approximately 1 hour to get to the hotel from there. On the way to Lhasa, you will enjoy beautiful views of mountains. The train station is located in Lhasa and we will only need a short transfer to hotel.
Depending on the time of your arrival, you might have some free time to spend in Lhasa. Our guides will be happy to advise you on what you can do in Lhasa. After you check in the hotel, you are welcome to explore the city, visit nearby temples, do some shopping, try delicious Tibetan food in one of the local restaurants, or just take a rest.
Walking around Bakhor street can be an excellent choice for your first day in Lhasa. You will join crowds of pilgrims, local Tibetans, and monks circumambulating the Jokhang temple.
Most importantly, on your first day in Tibet, relax, enjoy your day and allow some time for acclimatizing.
Day 2 – Lhasa city tour: Potala Palace and Jokhang Temple
We are visiting two most important religious sites in Tibet.
The Potala Palace was the seat of the Dalai Lamas since the 7th century. First, the guide will take you to the Chak Pori hill to take photos of the majestic Palace. After that, we will go inside and spend approximately 1.5 – 2 hours there. You will see many of artifacts.
In the afternoon you will have lunch.
If time permits, you can walk around the Potala Palace and joins many Tibetans.
After that, we will walk towards the Jokhang temple. It was build in the 7th century to display the Jowo Shakyamuni Statue of the 12-year-old Buddha the time before the enlightenment. The statue was created at the time when historical Buddha lived. It is elaborately decorated with gold, jewels, and precious stones.
After visiting the temple we recommend you walking around the Bakhor street.
Day 3 – Lhasa city tour: Drepung and Sera Monasteries
We are visiting two most important monasteries in the capital.
First, we will visit Drepung monastery which once was the biggest monastery in the world with over 10,000 monks living there. It was the residence of Dalai Lamas before the Potala Palace was built.
We have lunch after the visit.
In the afternoon we are visiting Sera Monastery. It was founded by Tsongkhapa’s disciple in the 15th century. Nowadays it is famous for monks debate that you can witness. Debates are a very important part of learning and understanding Buddhism. Monks gather in the courtyard in the shade of trees to refine their knowledge.
Day 4 – Driving to Shigatse: Yamdrok lake and glaciers
Today we will take some of the most beautiful roads in Tibet to drive to Shigatse.
Prepare your cameras to capture the breathtaking views when we will be going up to the highest point of the day – Kamba la pass (almost 4800 meters).
Our next stop will be at the Yamdrok Lake. It is one of the holy lakes in Tibet, and it is famous for its turquoise color water.
After that, we will head towards Gyantse. On the way, we will make a stop to see the spectacular glaciers.
In Gyantse, we will visit the monastery and the biggest stupa.
Finally, we will reach Shigatse late in the evening and stay there overnight.
Day 5 – Driving to the Everest Base Camp: night by the Everest
In the morning we will visit Tashilumpo Monastery, the seat of Panchen Lamas. After that we will be driving through high mountain ranges, go through several high passes and Everest viewpoints. We will reach tent camp near the Everest Base Camp in the evening. Depending on the traffic and weather conditions, we might have time to visit the Rongbuk monastery – the highest monastery in the world. There is a meditation cave, dating back to 7th century, where Padma Sambhava meditated. We will stay there for a few quiet minutes to relax after a long day. If time permits, we will hike to the Everest Base Camp and meet the sunset there. We will stay in the tent for the night. You can order dinner and breakfast there, there is an English menu.
Day 6 – Driving to Saga
On the way to Saga, we will see the Phelku Tso lake surrounded by snow peaked mountains. You can also see Shishapangma mountain, one of the mountains above 8,000 meters (8027 m).
After that, we are driving up to the high pass to get the view of the grasslands.
We arrive at Saga in the evening to have dinner and check into the hotel.
Day 7 – Saga to Manasarovar Lake
On the way to the lake, we visit the 7th-century local temple. We will also stop at the desert area filled with sand dunes (an unexpected change of landscape!).
In the evening you can spend some time by the lake, walk y its shore.
Alternatively, you can visit a hot spring (approximately 10 min walk). The hot spring provides bathtubs and clean facilities.
We are staying at the guesthouse overnight. The guesthouse has dormitory rooms.
Day 8 – Manasarovar Lake to Darchen
In the morning we will visit 8th century Chui monastery. The monastery houses an important meditation cave where Padma Sambhava was meditating. Unlike most of the monasteries that we visited earlier, Chui monastery belongs to the Red Hat sect of Tibetan Buddhism and the statue of Padma Sambhava is the main one there.
After the visit, we are driving to Darchen. It is a short drive (approximately 40 minutes). From Darchen you can see the Southern side of Mt. Kailash. We have enough time to walk around the city and take photos of Kailash and prepare for the trek.
We have to pack for the 3-day trek, and we are leaving everything else in the hotel.
There is a company in Darchen that can arrange porters if needed for some fee.
Staying in the hotel (a hot shower is available for a fee).
Day 9 – Trek, 1st day (20km/ 12.4 miles)
We start trekking very early. First, we are walking to the area with the main prayer poll and the sky burial place. We stop by for lunch at the tea shop. In the afternoon we continue to the Dira Puk monastery and stop there for the night (guesthouse).
Day 10 – Trek, 2nd day (22 km/ 13.6 miles)
The second-day trek starts very early to go through the highest pass. We are walking to the tea house first to prepare for crossing the pass. The Dolma La pass is 5630 meters high. Once you get there, you can see the stunning view of the mountains and the lakes.
On the way down, we will cross the river and continue to the next tea shop for lunch and a short break.
After that, we are walking to the Zutiulpuk monastery where we are staying overnight (guesthouse).
Day 11 – Trek 3rd Day (14 km/ 8.7 miles)
Today is the shortest and easiest day. We are walking through a gorgeous valley following the mountain river. Throughout the day we are seeing the East side of Mt. Kailash.
We are staying overnight in the hotel in Darchen (hot shower available for a fee).
Day 12 – Driving from Darchen to Saga
Today we are driving from Darchen to Saga. We will make some stops along the way to take photos. Staying at the hotel in Saga.
Day 13 – Saga to Shigatse
We are driving back from Saga to Shigatse. We make a stop at the Langtso lake.
Staying in Shigatse (hotel).
Day 14 – Shigatse to Lhasa
On the way back to Lhasa we will take the Friendship highway. It is the direct route and usually takes approximately 6 hours to reach the capital. We will make several stops on the way to enjoy the views of Brahmaputra river. In the afternoon you might have some free time and prepare for departure the next day.
Day 15 – Departure From Lhasa
Please prepare in advance for departure. It takes approximately 1 hour to drive to the airport and 30 minutes to reach the train station. We will arrive at the airport 3 hours before your departure flight if you are traveling to Nepal, and 2 hours before any domestic flight takes off.
Packing for the trip
- Sleeping bag (optional)
- Inner sheet for your sleeping bag (optional)
- Hiking boots, ideally waterproof. Gore-Tex could work great in a range of temperatures and even in snow.
- Water bottle or thermos
- Rain gear (poncho, backpack cover)
- Small first aid kit and medications
- Camera with spare memory card and battery
- Power bank
- Sunglasses and sunscreen
- Hat and/or baseball hat for sun protection
- Personal toiletries, such as toothbrush and toothpaste, soap, wipes, hand sanitizer, shampoo, toilet paper, etc.
- Money: Chinese Yuan is the only currency accepted in Tibet and there are virtually no ATMs when you leave the cities. Be prepared in advance and take necessary amount for all the duration of your trip outside of Lhasa
- Personal Journal for making notes and writing the diary
- flashlight or headlamp
Included in Tour
- All necessary Travel Permits to travel in Tibet
- All accommodations based on double occupancy. Contact us for a quote on a single room supplement
- Breakfast when staying in hotels
- Assistance with your Chinese visa application
- Airport pick up and drop off
- Ground transportation in a clean and comfortable vehicle
- English speaking Tibetan guide
- All entrance fees, tickets to the attraction sites and monasteries outlined in the itinerary
- First Aid Kit
- Oxygen supply
Not Included in Tour
- Passport and Chinese visa fees
- International airfare to and from China or Nepal
- Photography fees inside monasteries
- Flight or train tickets to Tibet
- Lunch and dinner in the cities and all meals outside of the cities
- Travel insurance
- Medical expenses
- Tips for guides, drivers, and porters
- Porter fees
- Personal expenses: laundry, shopping, phone calls, etc.
Why choose us?