14 Days Tibet-Nepal Overland Tour with Saga Dawa Festival and Mount Kailash

The highlights of this 14 Days Tibet-Nepal Overland Tour with Saga Dawa Festival  and Mount Kailash are Mount Everest Base Camp, Saga Dawa Festival and 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. Then, head for Mount Everest Base Camp to enjoy the most beautiful sunrise and starry sky of Mt. Everest. After Mt. Everest, move to Saga to join the celebration of Saga Dawa Festival with the tranquil blue Lake Manasarovar. 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 festival of Saga Dawa marks the enlightenment of Sakyamuni, and occurs on the full moon day of the fourth Tibetan month. The festival is expected to last a month, during which a sizable number of pilgrims will turn out to celebrate it by staging various religious events, the most attractive of which is the circling around Mt. Kailash for worship. And this event is the most sacred way to show their deepest respect to Buddhism. 


  • Experience the Tibetan Buddhism in the main monasteries in Lhasa city and along your way;
  • Enjoy the starry sky and stunning sunrise of the highest mountian in the world-Mt. Everest;
  • Take part in the Saga Dawa Festival;
  • Trekking the most sacred and mythical mountain in the world-Mt. Kailash;
  • Meet snown mountains, tranquil lakes, shimmering rivers, Tibetan villages and rare animals on your way.

Brief Itinerary

  • Day 1: Lhasa Arrival
  • Day 2: Lhasa
  • Day 3: Lhasa
  • Day 4: Lhasa-Yamdrotso lake-Gyangtse
  • Day 5: Gyantse-Shigatse-Sakya
  • Day 6: Sakya-Rongbuk Monastery
  • Day 7: Rongbuk-Everest Base Camp-Saga
  • Day 8: Saga-Lake Manasarovar
  • Day 9: Manasarovar Lake-Darchen
  • Day 10: Trek to Drirapuk
  • Day 11: Kailash Kora
  • Day 12: Trek to Darchen
  • Day 13: Darchen-Zhangmu
  • Day 14: Zhangmu-Kathmandu

Google Map

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1 Arrival in Lhasa (3650m)

Sightseeing and Activities:Arrive in Lhasa

When you arrive in Lhasa either by train or flight, your guide will greet you and take you to your hotel .An route to viewing the Yarlung Tsangpo River/ Bhamaputra river (the Longest and largest river in Tibet) and Lhasa river. After arrive in lhasa, you can take rest and acclimatize. If you feel to go out, then you can go to the Potala square, where you will enjoy the fountain with different color and get amazing photos of the Potala and around. Stay overnight in Lhasa. 

Day 2 Lhasa

Sightseeing and Activities:Potala Palace, Jokhang Temple, Barkhor Street
Meals:Breakfast, Lunch

Today’s tour will first bring you to the Potala Palace, the winter palace of the Dalai Lama. It has been used since the 7th Century by the 33rd great king of Tibet. The most valuable collection are the gilded burial stupas of past Dalai Lamas and meditation Cave of the 33rd great king of Tibet.  
After you take lunch and then head to Jokhang Temple which was founded by the 33rd great king of Tibet in the 7th century, in order to promote the Buddhist religion. Inside you can see the statue of Buddha Sakyamuni at the age of twelve, perhaps the single most venerated object in Tibet Buddhism.
Around the temple Barkhor Street where you can do kora (circling the Barkhor street) with pilgrims and locals and buy the souvenirs. Stay overnight in Lhasa.

Day 3 Lhasa

Sightseeing and Activities:Drepung Monastery, Carpet factory, Sera Monastery
Meals:Breakfast, Lunch

In the morning, you are going to visit Drepung Monastery which was one of the “three greet” Gelug monasteries of Tibet and was founded in 1416 by Jamyang choge, one of the Tsongkhapa’s main disciples. Ganden palace is used as Dalai lama’s palace in the Drepung before moving to the Potala palace.
Afternoon, Sera Monastery—It was one of the “three great” Gelug monasteries of Tibet and was founded in 1419 by Jamchen chojey, one of the Tsongkhapa’s main disciples. The highlight is the Monks debate at around 3 – 5 in the afternoon. Stay overnight in Lhasa.

Day 4 Lhasa – Yamdrotso lake – Gyangtse

Sightseeing and Activities:Yamdro-tso lakes, Kubum Monastery
Meals:Breakfast, Lunch

Passing by the green farmland of Nyangchu Valley, Yamdro-tso lakes, Karo-la Glacier roadside at 4960m, we move westwards to the second biggest city of Tibet, Shigatse, the area spiritually hosted by Pamchan Lama. The most important attraction for today is Yamdro-tso Lake, and Kubum Monastery in Gyantse. Yamdro-tso Lake is shaped like coiling scorpion with deep blue in colour and Kubum monastery has a 35m-high chorten (stupa) with its white layers trimmed with decorative stripes and its crown-like golden dome. Stay overnight in Gyangtse.

Day 5 Gyantse – Shigatse – Sakya

Sightseeing and Activities:Tashilhunpo Monastery, Sakya Monastery
Meals:Breakfast, Lunch

Drive from Gyantse to Shigatse in the morning. In Shigatse, you will visit the famous Tashilhunpo Monastery where you can see the well-preserved largest statue of Jampa (future god) in the world. The monastery itself is abiding place for the successive Penchen Lamas.

Then drive to the Sakya county where you can visit the famous Sakya Monastery. The most interesting thing in Sakya sect is that the sect do not believe in reincarnation and the head of Sakya sect will wear white cassock and also marry and have children. Then take a good rest in Sakya. Stay overnight in Sakya.

Day 6 Sakya – Rongbuk Monastery

Sightseeing and Activities:Rongpuk Monastery, Mt. Everes Base Camp
Accommodation:Rongbuk Monastery
Meals:Breakfast, Lunch

Tibet Hiking and Climbing Tour to Eastern Slope of Mount Everest-22

There is about 5-6 hours driving from Sakya to Rongpuk. The road is under construction. From Tingri to E.B.C the road is extremely bumpy and we have to pass the wild grassland, cross the torrent and high mountains.

If it is in clear whether, you can have a glimpse of 4 mountains which are 8000m high or more, i.e. Mt. Lhotse (8516m), Mt. Everest (8848m), Mt. Cho Oyu (8201m) and Mt. Mayalu (8463m). Stay overnight in Ronguk Guest House or Tent.

Day 7 Rongphu Monastery – Everest Base Camp – Saga

Sightseeing and Activities:Everest Base camp, sunrise of Mt. Everest, Peiku-tso Lake
Meals:Breakfast, Lunch

Tibet Hiking and Climbing Tour to Eastern Slope of Mount Everest-14

We wake up early in the morning to enjoy the sunrise from Rongphu, then to view Mt. Everest, whose scenery is fabulous and splendid.

After walking, we need to catch the local bus and it takes about half an hour to arrive at Everest Base Camp (Or you also can trek to Base Camp around 1.5-2 hours one way. It’s more interesting and much warmer, but hard to breath because of low oxygen). Tourists can find good places to take pictures of the splendid Mt. Everest.

Then in the afternoon go down from EBC and drive to Saga. The road condition gets worse from old Tingri and it runs parallel to the Himalayan ranges. Leaving the Bum-Chu basin, it then descends into the depression of Peiku-tso (4600m), a cobalt blue lake. Stay overnight in Saga.

Day 8 Move from Saga to Lake Manasarovar (500km)

Sightseeing and Activities:Lake Manasarovar
Accommodation:Camping tonight
Meals:Breakfast, Lunch

Photos Gallery of Lake Manasarovar, Ngari

Then you are moving towards the Drongpa county, the region around the sources of Brahmaputra river, which is about 167km from the Saga town.

Then you will reach a tiny and dusty town on the main road, with a couple of basic guest houses, restaurants and a small monastery called “Old Drongpa”. Around the monastery you can see a pile of yak heads carved with “sutras” and “mantras” like “OM MA NI PAD MEY HUM” that is mantra of god of compassion. And new Drongpa is a small town with a couple of shops, hotels and restaurants. It is about 25km apart from the Old Drongpa.

Then move towards the Baryang with 4750m above sea level and then drive to Lake Manasarovar.Camp by the lake.

Day 9 Spend a day around Manasarovar lake, then to Darchen

Sightseeing and Activities:Manasarovar lake
Meals:Breakfast, Lunch

You can relax around the lake shore and experience the natural beauty of the lake. In the summer time, flocks of swans will gather on the lake, bringing grace and life to the area. You can also see so many Tibetans and Hindus praying and circling around the lake shore for the whole day with snow capped mountains in the background. Meanwhile hundreds of swans gather on the lake, attracting hundreds and thousands of tourists from all over the world.

In the afternoon, you will reach Tarchen. Stay overnight in Darchen.

Day 10 Trek to Drirapuk (Outer circuit) – 11km

Sightseeing and Activities:a traditional ceremony for Saga Dawa, Kailash Kora
Accommodation:Drirapuk Guset House
Meals:Breakfast, Lunch

There will be a traditional ceremony for Saga Dawa in the morning at the start point of Kailash Kora. You can visit monasteries and see hundreds of Tibetans gather at Chorden karpo(white stupa), Lamas chanting the prayers in traditional Tibetan style. Tourists can join Tibetans to hang prayer flags on the vertical prayer flag before it erected. Lamas circulate around the erected vertical prayer flag by reciting special prayer.

After the ceremony, Tibetans will start to walk about 52 km trekking circuit around Mount Kailash, commencing at Darchen (4574m) and crossing the Dolma-la Pass on the second day of the three day walk.

After two hours from Darchen, you come upon a grassy plain populated by nomads. There you can refresh yourself in nomadic tent and drink some soft drinks there. For this turn in the valley it is another two hours at least before reaching Drirapuk(4920m). Stay overnight at Drirapuk (guest house).

Day 11 Kailash Kora

Sightseeing and Activities:circuit with the Dolma-la Pass
Meals:Breakfast, Lunch

Dolma La Pass of Mount Kailash in Nagri

The second day is the hardest and most tough circuit with the Dolma-la Pass lying 6.4km ahead but 762m above Drirapuk. The peak of Dolma-la pass is about 5630m above sea level, so it is better to set off earlier in the morning as the sun rays break over the ridges above.

After taking a rest at the peak of Dolma-la pass, you will be decending staircase that brings you to Lhachu valley floor, taking about one hour from the pass. From here it is still four hours trekking to the today’s final destination with no shelters on the way. It is better to walk on the right side of the river and finally get to Dzultripuk (with miracle cave of milarepa). It is advisable to get there before other groups because limited number of rooms are available there in Dzultripuk. Take a good rest in the guest room and prepare for next morning’s departure. Camping tonight.

Day 12 Trek to Darchen – 11km

Sightseeing and Activities:Milarepa’s cave
Meals:Breakfast, Lunch

The tour guide will help you to arrange your time and ask he/she to visit the caves, the temple and shrines that have been built around Milarepa’s cave. The walk back to Darchen is easy and the exit from the valley can be reached within three hours.

At the end of the valley, the driver will come to pick you and take you back to Darchen. Stay overnight in Darchen.

Day 13 Drive from Darchen to Zhangmu

Sightseeing and Activities:sightseeing on the way
Meals:Breakfast, Lunch

Crossing the grasslands, we come back down east to Saga. Then cross one of the most spectacular mountain passes, topped with prayer flags and wind- driven prayer wheels. You will truly feel as if you were on top of the world. Stay overnight in Zhangmu.

Day 14 Zhangmu to Kathmandu

Sightseeing and Activities:None

It takes about 5 hours to complete 130km rough asphalt road from Zhangmu to Kathmandu. Your Tibetan tour guide will see you off at the Chinese Border, and you can continue your trip in Nepal.

Recommended Hotels

Destination 5 Star 4 Star 3 Star
Lhasa Luxury St. Regis Lhasa Resort Lhasa Gang Gyan Hotel Lhasa Xiongbala Hotel
Gyantse / / Gyantse Hotel
Saga / Xibu Yizhan Hotel Brahmaputra Hotel
Darchen / / Darchen New Hotel
Zhangmu / / Zhangmu Jiaotong Hotel

Service Included:

  • Admission fees for all of the sightseeing spots listed in the itinerary;
  • Meals as listed in the itinerary;
  • Accommodation with breakfast as listed in the itinerary;
  • Private English-speaking tour guide and vehicle for transfers & sightseeing;
  • Service charge & government taxes;
  •  Luggage transfers between airports and hotels;
  • Two bottles of mineral water each day.

Service Excluded:

  • Any arrival and departure international airfares or train tickets;
  • Chinese visa fees;
  • Excess baggage charged by Airlines;
  • Single room supplement;
  • Tips to guides and drivers;
  • Personal expenses and gratuities to service staff;
  • Personal travel insurance;
  • All optional programs;
  • Domestic air tickets fares with airport tax and fuel extra fee based on economy class mentioned in the program.

Travel Tips:

  1. 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.)

  1. 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.

  1. 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.

  1. 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).

  1. 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.