Time: Middle April-to middle October 2016
Duration: 19 days (3 days Mt. Kailash Trekking, covering 52 km)
Start: Lhasa, Tibet
Finish: Kathmandu, Nepal
Highest point: Drolma La [5630m]
Accommodation: Camping and Monastery guesthouses in West Tibet, hotels in downtowns
What you can expect
Day 1 Arrival by train or air, transfer to Lhasa, check in hotel, rest for acclimatization
Upon your arrival at Lhasa Gonggar Airport or Lhasa Newwu Train Station, your Tibetan local guide and driver will pick you up with your name sign, and then they will transfer you to Lhasa city safely. Please be not so anxious to walk much around hotel to see this that, but you do need a good rest in your hotel for needed acclimatization, otherwise you maybe under the weather little bit and easy get mountain sickness. Accommodation: 3 stars standard and centrally located hotel (or any kinds of accommodations as per your idea)
Day 2 Guided sightseeing tour in Lhasa
Today what we will visit in Lhasa is the vital Potala Palace and the Jokhang Temple with her vicinities. Potala palace is Lhasa's most important landmark and she a wonder of Eastern architecture. Your first site of this massive structure will be a magical moment which will be remembered for your rest life time. It has been a palace since the fifth or sixth century and was once the home to the Dalai Lama. Well another visit we will take is to Jokhang Temple which locoates at Barkhor Bazaar. This temple is the most revered shrine in Tibet and is constantly bustling with devout worshippers. We will also be given the opportunity to shop in Barkor Bazaar, the crowded central market in ancient section of Lhasa where is the residence of many local people.
Day 3 Guided sightseeing tour in Lhasa
After breakfasts in hotel, we will drive to west Lhasa city section (about 11km) and give a visit to the Drepung Monastery, which was once the world's largest monastery. Housing 10,000 monks, Drepung monastery lies hidden in rocky ridges just beyond the city. Surprisingly much of the building was left untouched throughout so many hundred of years.
In the afternoon, the site we will visit is Sera Monastery, a fifteenth century sprawl of golden roofs and whitewashed walls. This well preserved monastery is located just a few miles North of Lhasa and is home to several hundred monks. Its famous debating activities are happening 3-4pm quite regularly every working day, we will not give it a miss.
Day4 Lhasa-Lake Yamdrok Tso-Gyantse-Shigatse [3900m], 350 km, 5-6 hrs
In the morning our group departs for Gyantse. We will get through the Karo La Pass (5010m) and the Khamba La Pass (4800m) with a beautiful panorama of the Yamdrok Yum Tso Lake (also named Lake Yamdrok Tso). And at around 11:30 am, we will get to Gyantse, visit Pelkor Choede Monastery and Gyantse Kumbum. After lunch in Gyantse, a very easy drive about 1 and half hours will take us to Shigatse City, the second largest city in Tibet, which is also the hometown of Panchen Lama. At around 3:30 pm, we will visit Tashilhumpo Monastery. Over night stop in Shigatse.
Day5 Shigatse-Ngamring [5220 m], 160 km, 6-7hrs
Drive to Ngamring. En route visit Sakya Monastery. Over night stop in this small county.
Day6 Ngamring -Saga, [4280m], 190 km, 7-8 hrs
The road follows south of the Pai-ku-Tso, continues across the plain with stunning Himalayan views. The route then follows a narrow gorge before climbing to a pass and dropping steeply down to a ferry crossing over the Yarlung Tsangpo.
Day7 Saga-Paryang- Lake Manasarovar, 4560 m, 260 km, 9-10 hrs
From Saga it is 145 km to Zhongba. The road is good and the trip can be completed in 4-5 hrs. There is also a small monastery at the western end of Old Zhongba on a hill. From Zhongba onwards to the southern road deteriorates. There is also danger of vehicles getting stuck. But this section of the road has panoramic views of mountains on either side of the road. There will be several river crossings and we drive past Mayum la pass (4600 M). The scenery is stunningly beautiful with panoramic views of the Himalayas.
Day8 Lake Manasarovar –Darchen (4560 m), 30 km
About 30 kms north of Lake Manasarovar is Darchen. The town of Darchen, the starting point for the Mt Kailash Kora, is 6 km north of the main Ali-Paryang route and about 12 km from Barkha, 107km north of Purang, 330km south-east of Ali and a lonely 1200 km from Lhasa. The monastery at Darchen, Darchen Gon, is a part of the Drukpa sect. The two-story monastery structure in the center of the town serves as a trading post and shelter for pilgrims. Within the dukhang assembly hall are new and old thangka paintings and some statues, the main image being Sakyamuni. West of the gompa is the Mani Lhakhang that has a large, new mani prayer wheel. This is the site where the original old flagpole (a Darchen is a flagpole for prayer flags) of Darchen was located. When beginning their Kora pilgrimage around Kailash, many pilgrims often circumambulate the Darchen Gon monastery and the Mani Lhakhang before setting out. We organize yaks or ponies for the Kailash circuit trek at Darchen.
Day9 Kailash Circuit Trek (Darchen-Dira-Puk Monastery), 6 hrs, 20 km, 200 m ascent
This Kailash circuit covers 53 km and can be done in 3 days. We head west in clockwise direction and after a few kilometers the trail climbs up to a cairn at 4730 m from where the southern face of Mt. Kailash comes to view. En route we will visit Tarboche where annual flagpole raising ceremony takes place during Saga Dawa Festival.
Day10 Dira-Puk Monastery-Zuthul-Puk Monastery[4790m], 6-7 hrs, 18 km, 550 m ascent, 600m descent
Today we cross Drolma la pass (5630 M) and Gauri Kund Lake (5608 m) where Hindus worship and immerse themselves in the icy waters of the lake.
Day11 Zuthul-Puk Monastery-Darchen (3-4 hrs, 4 km, 150 m descent) then we drive to Tirthapuri Hot Spring
The final end of the Parikrama is an easy 3-4 hrs walk down to where the river emerges on to the Barga plain. We complete the 3 day circuit trek of Mt. Kailash and drive to Tirthapuri Hot Spring. On the bank of Sutlej, only a few hours' drive north-west of Darchen, the Tirthapuri Hot Spring enjoy close associations with Guru Rinpoche. Pilgrims traditionally bathe here after the Mt Kailash Kora. So pilgrimage to Mt. Kailash is not complete without visiting Thirthapuri for the Tibetan Buddhists.
Day12 Thirthapuri Hot Spring - Khojarnath Monastery - Purang
Visit Tirthapuri Monastery, finish the pilgrim circuit and have a bathe in the hot spring, then we will drive to Purang. En route visit Khojarnath Monastery. Overnight in budget guesthouse
Day13 Purang-Lake Manasarovar (Chiu Monastery)
Rest day and excursion around the Lake, our driver and guide would love to transfer you around the lake and stop to visit the monastery in-between. Our routing is: Purang-Chiu Monastery-Hor Qu [4560m]-Seralung Monastery- Trugo Monastery-Chiu Monastery. Camping or stay in local budget guesthouse
Day14 Chiu Monastery - Paryang [4750 m]-Saga [4280 m]
Accommodation: Budget guesthouse
Day15 Saga-Kyirong [2100m]
We will be given opportunities to view Shisha Pangma peak [8012m], known to the Nepaleseas Gosaintha, the only 8000m-plus mountain planted completely inside Tibet. The road passes just a few kms south of the huge lake, Peiku-Tso. We rejoin the main Lhasa to Kathmandu Highway. And finally we reach the newly open border of Kyirong and have overnight stop at a basic hotel.
Day16 Kyirong- Kathmandu, 123km
After breakfasts in Zhangmu, we will wait till 10:30 am for the pick up by our Nepal staff (due to the tough road condition from KTM to Kodari), but before this time, we will go through all the formalities of China Customs. Please prepare 2 small photos of yourself as we need to apply the Nepal visa in immigration office in Kodari, and then our friendly Nepalese staff will take you safely to KTM at around 6 pm, local time. One night accommodation service will be from us.
After Breakfast sightseeing Tour of Swayambhunath Stupa (Monkey Temple) and Kathmandu Durbar Square where you will visit Kumari -the Living Goddess of Nepal, Legendary Kasthamandap Temple, Hanuman Dhoka Palace and many other shrines. You will proceed to Tour of Patan City to have a look and study many beautiful and interesting arts and architecture and historic and cultural phenomena. In the evening, typical Nepali dinner with folk dance performances will be served. O/n at Hotel.
After Breakfast sightseeing tour of Pashupatinath temple the holiest Hindu Temple on the bank of Bagmati River. Cremation services take place on the banks of Bagmati River. Then proceed to the tour of The biggest of the Buddhist Stupa architecture. Erected in the 7th century and is believed to be a "must visit" pilgrimage site for Buddhist in their lifetime. Boudhanath area is densely inhabited by Tibetan refugees and carries the name as Little Tibet. Then after Sightseeing Tour of Bhaktapur City is just a 14 km east of Kathmandu. Bhaktapur means the city of devotees and is a center of potter and intriguing masks. The major sight seeing places are, Durbar Square, of 55 windows, Nyatapola, Bhairavnath Temple, and Dattatreya Temple etc.
Day19 Hotel-KTM international airport transfer, tour ends with our agency.
Breakfasts will be served in hotel. your guide and driver will pick you up on time and transfer you to KTM airport to catch flight for next stop.