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Forbidden Lhasa-EBC-GUGE-Mt. Kailash

Guge Kingdom (western Tibet)

Explore the Holy City of Lhasa & journey overland to Mt. Kailash via Everest Base Camp & the ruins of ancient Guge Kingdom
Best Season: May - October
Mt. Kailash, at 6714 m also known as Tise, Kailasa & Kang Rinpoche(Jewel of the Snows), has since time immemorial been celebrated in many Eastern cosmologies as Mt. Meru, the axis mundi. And as the center of the physical & metaphysical universe, Mt. Meru is sacred to the Buddhist, Jains, the Hindus & the Bonpos. For the Hindus, the mountain represents the seat of Lord Shiva; for the Buddhists, a terrestrial projection of the cosmic mandala of Dhyani-Buddhas & Boddhisatvas. The Wheel of Life; for the Bonpos, Kailash was the sacred nine storey Swastika Mountain, upon which the Bonpo founder Sherab alighted from heaven. Four of the great rivers of the Indian subcontinent originate from here: the Karnali, which feeds into the Ganges (south); the Indus (north); the Sutlez (west) & the Brahmaputra (Yarlung Tsangpo, east).

This trip explores the fabled city of Lhasa & other important towns en route and also takes you to Everest Base Camp & the ancient ruins of the Guge Kingdom in western Tibet including the sacred Mt. Kailash & Lake Manasorovar.

Tibet Travels & Tours offers special fixed trips to Mt. Kailash & Lake Manasorovar to facilitate pilgrims & foreign tourists. We are probably one of the few outfits that provide Nepali Sherpa staff support for all of our treks in Tibet so as to ensure similar high quality trek services that exist in Nepal. All trips are planned to arrive at Kailash on a full-moon day to obtain total & unhindered view of the holy mountain.

Fixed Departure Dates Year 2009

  1. May 26-June 16
  2. Sept 22-Oct 13

Fixed Departure Dates Year 2010

  1. May 15-June 5
  2. Sept 11-Oct 02
Private tour dates available on request


Day 1: KATHMANDU-LHASA (3650 M), 90 KMS
Transfer to airport to connect CA 408 KTM-LXA flight. Upon arrival you will be met by our Tibet representative and transfer to Kyichu/Ramoche Hotel.

DAYS 2-3: Lhasa
We will have two full days in Lhasa to make excursions to the following places:
The Jokhang-The Jokhang is the principal and holiest Buddhist temple in Lhasa, as well as all of Tibet. It is the focus of devotion of hundreds of Tibetans from near and far who circle it to gain spiritual merit. The Jokhang was first constructed in the 7th century and has a large gold image of Sakyamuni Buddha.

Sera and Drepung-Sera, founded in 1419, is a monastery of the Gelugpa order. Its many white buildings sit at the base of a rocky hill. Gilded, bell-shaped gyamtschens grace the roofs of many of the larger buildings. Drepung used to have 8,000 monks who were taught in the traditions of Vajrayana, Mahayana, and Sutrayana, the three vehicles of Tibetan Buddhism.

Potala Palace-The 13-story Potala Palace is reputed to contain 1,000 rooms and hundreds upon hundreds of brilliant thangkas, frescoes, and images built in an era when religious art was created anonymously as a means of gaining merit for future lives. It's one of the world's most extraordinary buildings and completely covers the mountain it stands upon.

Drive to Shigatse. En route visit Shalu Monastery. Visit Tashilhunpo Monastery, the seat of Panchen Lama who is the 2nd in the Buddhist religious hiearachy and Shigatse Market.

Today we visit the Tashi Lhunpo Monastery, one of the biggest Gelukpa monastery & the seat of Panchen Lama. In the afternoon, we drive to Sakya, the seat of the Sakyapa School of Tibetan Buddhism.

Drive via Pangla Pass to Rongbuk Monastery. O/N Rongbuk Monastery Guest House.

Excursion to Everest Base Camp & then drive to Lhatse. O/N Camp/Guest House.

DAY 8: SAGA, 4280 M
We follow the vast expanse of the northern grassland & arrive at the town of Saga. Saga is the last town before you reach Darchen.

DAY 9: PARYANG, 4750 M, 250 KMS, 8-9 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 town on a hill. From Zhongba onwards 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.

From Paryang to Lake Mansorovar is a long drive of 10 hrs or more. 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.

DAY 11: DARCHEN (4560 M), 30 KM
About 30 kms north of Lake Manasorovar is Darchen, the main gateway and the village. 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.

This Kailash circuit covers 53 kms 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 visit Tarboche where annual flagpole raising ceremony takes place during Saga Dawa.

DAY 13: DIRAPHUK - ZUTRULPHUK , 4790, 6 hrs
Toady 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.

The final end of the parikrama is an easy 2-3 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 Tirdapuri where there is a hot spring. For the Tibetan Buddhist pilgrimage to Mt. Kailash is not complete without visiting Tirdapuri .

Day 15: Tirthapuri-Tholing (Zanda).
Altitude: 11,972 ft, distance 170 miles, 7-8 hrs. Today, you will have a long drive along a rough road that first climbs over a high pass, zigzags down into a series of gorges and climbs up the other side before eventually making a long winding and very rough descent down a fantastically eroded gully where the hills on the both sides are worn into incredible shape. The side valley emerges into the wider Sutlez Valley and after crossing a bridge, the road finally reaches the oasis like town of Zanda .

Day 16: Excursions of the ruins Tsaparang and Tholing of Guge kingdom.
Today, you will explore the ruins of Tholing and Tsaparang monasteries. Tsaparang lies 21 km further down the Sutlez River to the west.

Day 17: Tsaparang to Lake Manasorovar (Chiu Gompa)
Day 18: Lake Manasorovar - excursion

DAY 22: Across Friendship Bridge to Kodari border where you will be met by our Tibet Travels representative and driven to Kathmandu.

Cost in USD Per Person: (MIN 2 PAX)

2 PAX: USD 3990 per person
3 ~ 4 PAX: USD 3675 per person
5 ~ 7 PAX: USD 3250 per person
8 ~ 9 PAX: USD 3050 per person
10 ~ 15 PAX: USD 2850 per person

Single supplement - USD 350
Airfare KTM-LXA - USD 273+83($356)

Cost Includes:
● Tibet permit, entrance fees
● Twin sharing accommodation in Lhasa on BB Plan
● All meals outside of Lhasa & during camping
● All camping services provided by Sherpa staffs from Nepal
● Transportation by Toyota landcruisers (1 X 4) & 1 support ruck
● Yaks & Yak herders during Kailash parikrama
● Portable altitude Chamber (PAC) + oxygen

Cost Excludes:
● Airfare & airport tax
● Insurance & emergency rescue charges
● Tibet visa fee + rush fee, if applicable
● Extra porter & transport charges in the event of landslides
● Personal clothing & accessories including sleeping bags
● Others not specified in above cost inclusions list