Mt Kailash Kora with Mt Everest base camp Tour -14Days
Day 01: Arrival in Lhasa
Our local Tibetan guide will wait you at Lhasa airport holding your name sign. You will be greeted with a warm Tashidelek(meaning hello with blissing), and be presented with a white Hada(traditional Tibetan ceremonial by give you a white scarf). Then transfer to hotel in Lhasa city. To rest well on your first arrival in Lhasa(3650m) is essential to ease Acute Mountain Sickness(AMS, also known as altitude sickness). Try your best to resist the temptation of going out.Overnight in Lhasa.
Day 02: Lhasa City
Highlights: Potola Palace; Jokhang Temple; Barkhor Street; Tibetan Thangka Studio
Potala Palace: Lhasa’s cardinal landmark, Potala Palace is one of the great wonders of world architecture. As has been the case with centuries of Pilgrims before you, the first sight of the fortress-like structure will be a magical moment that you will remember for a long time. Entry to Potala is up two steep access ramps that will soon leave you wheezing in the oxygen-depleted air. Travel light and not to worry abt your water supplies for there are bottled mineral water for sell all along the way up to the top of Potala.
Jokang Temple: also known in Tibetan as the Tsuglhakhang, Jokhang Temple is the most revered religious structure in Tibet. Thick with yak butter, the murmur of mantras and the shuffling of wide-eyed pilgrims, Jokhang is an unrivalled Tibetan experience. In front of the entrance to Jokhang is a forecourt that is perpetually crowded with pilgrims polishing the flagstones with their prostrations.
Barkhor Street: Barkhor is a quadrangle of streets that surroungs the Jokhang complex. It is an area unrivalled in Tibet for its fascinating combination of sacred significance and push-and shove market economics. This is both the spiritual heart of the Holy City & the main shopping district for Tibetans.
Tibetan Thangka Studio: Thangka is a painting on silk with embroidery, usually depicting a Buddhist deity, scene, or mandala of some sort. The thankga is not a flat creation like an oil painting or acrylic painting but consists of a picture panel which is painted or embroidered over which a textile is mounted and then over which is laid a cover, usually silk. Generally, thangkas last a very long time and retain much of their lustre.Overnight in Lhasa.
Day 03: Lhasa City
Highlights: Drepung Monastery, Sera Monastery
Drive to visit the Drepung Monastery which is located at the foot of the Mountain Gambo Utse, 5 kilometers (3.1 miles) from the western suburb of Lhasa, the Drepung Monastery is known as the most important monastery of Gelugpa in Tibetan Buddhism. It was founded in 1416 by Jamyang choge, one of the Tsongkhapa’s main disciples.
Afternoon visit Sera Monastery which is located at the foot of Tatipu Hill in the northern suburb of Lhasa City; Sera Monastery is one of three famous monasteries in the city along with the Drepung Monastery and the Ganden Monastery. One of the main attractions of Sera Monastery is debating. As a part of their study, lamas must participate in debates to further their comprehension and proceed to more advanced levels of study. The debating usually is held at around 3 – 5 in the afternoon except for Sunday.
Day 04: Lhasa. Gyantse
Highlights: Yamdrok Lake, Karola Glacier
Yamdrotso Lake: dazzling Yamdro-tso(elev 4441m) is normally first seen from the summit of the Kamba-la(4700m). The lake lies several hundreds meters below the road, and in clear weather is fabulous shade of deep turquoise. Far in the distance is the huge massif of Mt. Nojin Kangtsang(7191m).
Karola Glacier: Mt Nojin Kangsang stands tall with an elevation of 7,191 m (23,592 ft) between Gyantze County and Nagarzê County, with several snow-capped mountains over 6,000 m (19,685 ft) surrounding it. Mount Nojin Kangsang is the most accessible glacier site on the Tibetan Plateau. The famous Kharola Glacier (elevation 5,560 m or 18,241 ft) is below the south ridge of Nojin Kangsang.
Pelkor Chöde Monastery with Gyantse Kumbum: the sprawling compound in the far north of town houses Pelkor Chöde Monastery and the monumental Gyantse Kumbum, a chörten filled with fine paintings and statues. Both are deservedly top of the list on most travellers’ must-sees. Palkhor lies at the foot of Dzong Hill. It is well-known for its Kumbum, which has 108 chapels in its four floors. The multi-storied Kumbum Stupa was crowned with a golden dome and umbrella, surrounded with more chapels filled with unique religious statues and murals.Overnight in Gyantse
Day 05: Gyantse. Shigatse
Highlights: Pelkor Chöde Monastery with Gyantse Kumbum, Tashilhunpo Monastery
Pelkor Chöde Monastery with Gyantse Kumbum: the sprawling compound in the far north of town houses Pelkor Chöde Monastery and the monumental Gyantse Kumbum, a chörten filled with fine paintings and statues. Both are deservedly top of the list on most travellers’ must-sees. Palkhor lies at the foot of Dzong Hill. It is well-known for its Kumbum, which has 108 chapels in its four floors. The multi-storied Kumbum Stupa was crowned with a golden dome and umbrella, surrounded with more chapels filled with unique religious statues and murals.
Tashilhunpo Monastery: it is a real pleasure to explore the busy cobble lanes twisting around the aged buildings. Covering 70,000 sq meters, Tashilunpo is essentially a walled town in its own right. from the entrance to the monastery, visitors get a grand view. Above the white monastic quarters is a crowed of ochre buildings topped with gold—the tombs of the past Panchen Lamas. To the right, and higher still, is the festival Thangka Wall that is hung with massive, colourful thangkas during festivals.Overnight in Shigatse
Day 06: Shigatse. Tingri. Rongbuk. EBC
Highlights: Rongbuk Monastery, Everest Base Camp
Rongphu Monastery: Rongphu(elev 4900m) is the main Buddhist centre in Everest region and once coordinated the activities of around a dozen smaller religious institutions, all of which are now ruined. It was established in 1902 by a Nyingmapa lama. While not of great antiquity, Rongbu can at least lay claim to being the highest monastery in Tibet and thus the world. Some of the interior murals of Rongphu are superb. Rongphu and its large chörten makes a great photograph with Everest thrusting its head skyward in the background.
Everest Base Camp: endowed with springs, Everest Base Camp(elev 5150m) has a couple of permanent structures and a small army base. Clamber up the small hill festooned with prayer flags for great views of the star attraction, Mt. Everest, then have your photo taken at the base camp marker, reads ‘Mt. Qomolangma Base Camp’.Overnight at EBC.
Day 07: EBC. Peikutso. Saga – Highlights: Peikutso Lake
Peikutso Lake: the beautiful turquoise Peiku-tso(4590m) is one of Tibet’s magical spots with stunning views of the snowcapped Shishapangma(8012m) and the Langtang range bordering Nepal to the south. Overnight at Saga.
Day 08: Saga. Darchen
Nested in the foothills of Mt Kailash, the small town of Darchen is the starting point of the kora. It is rapidly expanding settlement of hotel compounds, restaurants and newly built blocks. Also there are yaks and herders for hire here to carry your luggages during the 3-day kora. Overnight at Darchen.
Day 09: Trek from Darchen. Dirapuk(6hrs/ 20km/ 200m ascent)
Highlights: Mt. Kailash, Chuku Monastery, Dira-puk Monastery
The kora path begins on the western edge of Darchen. Quickly leaving all traces of the village behind, you head westward across the Batkha plain, a sandy expanse speckled with greenery like a massive camouflage jacket. To the north, the east-west ridge blocks your view of Mt Kailash, but to the southeast are clear views of huge Gurla Mandata(7728m). Apiand other peaks in Nepal are visible to the south, while look to the southwest for the twin, sharp humps of Kamet(7756m) in India.Only 4km from Darchen the trail climbs up over the southwest end of the ridge to reach a cairn at 4790m. the cairn is bedecked with prayer flags and marks the first views of Mt Kailash’s southern face, the first of the kora’s four prostration points.Very quickly the trail bends round to the north and enters the barren Lha-chu Valley. The valley is so open at this point you can see ahead to the tall Tarboche flagpole(4750) in the distance, one of the most significant sites for Saga Dawa Festival.Just west of Tarboche is the ‘two-legged’ Chorten Kangnyi. It’s an auspicious act for pilgrims to walk through the small chorten’s archway. A short climb above Tarchorten to the east is the sky-burial site of the 84 mahasiddhas(Tantric practitioners who reached a high level of awareness). The first of the kora’s three Buddha footprints is here, but hard to find. The views of the valley are superb from here.Beyond Tarboche the valley narrows dramatically at an area calledSershong. You can begin to get clear shots of Mt Kailash now, standing to attention above the eastern ridge.Chuku Monastery(4820m), founded in the 13th century by Gotsangpa Gompo Pel, a Kagyupa-order master, is perched high above the valley floor on the hillside to the west. It bends so secretively into its rocky background you may not able notice it’s there.From the Chuku it’s abt 3hrs to Dir-puk Monastery. Take your time between this stretch for it has some of the best scenery of the entire kora. High sedimentary faces, wonderfully puckered and dented, and chiseled into shapes that seem alive, hem you in on both sides. When the weather is warmer there’s even the occasional ribbon of water tumbling down the slopes from hundreds of meters high. Along the routem you will find the second prostration point, with its prayer flags and clear view of the east side of Mt Kailash. 30mins later, just past a tea tent selling the usual drinks and snakes, look for the second Buddha footprint, anda carving of the god Tamdrin, a wrathful horse-headed deity, on a black stone smeared with aeons of yak butter.From the rock, the trail starts to clim and heads northeast toward Dira-puk Monastery.Dira-puk(Lhalung Dira) Monastery(5080m) sits in a superb location on the hillside north of the Lha-chu. It directly faces the astonishing north face of Mt Kailash, which from this angle appears as a massive, jet-black slab of granite ornamented with alabaster-white strips of snow. Three lesser mountains are arrayed in front of Mt Kailash: Chana Dorie to the west, Jampelyang to the east and Chenresig in the centre. Overnight at Dirapuk Guesthouse
Day 10: Trek from Dirapuk. Zutulpuk(8hrs/ 18km/ 550m ascent/ 600m descent)
Hightlights: Mt. Kailash, Zutul-puk Monastery
No doubt when you wake in the morning and step outside you’ll want to revel in the glory of your surroundings. Mt Kailash’s dramatic black face dominates the skyline, while the middle slopes echo with the moans of yaks.
The main kora path heads off to the east, crossing the Lha-chu by bridge and then climbs on to a moraine to meet the trail on the east bank. The long ascent up the Drolma-chu Valley that will eventually lead to the Drolma-la has begun.
Less than an hour along is the meadow at Jarok Donkhang(5210m). Near Jarok Donkhang a trail branches off to the southeast, leading over the snow-covered Khando Sanglam-la. Also nearby, Polung Glacier descends from the east ridge off the north face of Mt Kailash, down through the Polung Valley between Chenresig and Jampelyang.
Only a short distance above Jarok Donkhang, is the rocky expanse of Shiva-tsal(5330m). Pilgrims are supposed to undergo a symbolic death at this point, entering in the realm of the Lord of the Dead, until the reach the top of the Drolma-la and are reborn again. It is customary to leave sth behind at Shiva-tsal, an item of clothing, a drop of blood or a lock of hair, to represent the act of leaving this life behind.
After Shiva-tsal the trail mercifully flattens for a time and proceeds along a glacial ridge. There are a number of interesting sights ahead, such as the sin-testing stone of Bardo Trang(a flat boulder that pilgrims are supposed to squeeze under to measure their sinfulness).
Abt 30mins from Shiva-tsal the trail turns eastward for the final ascent. Allow around an hour for the 200m climb to the top of the Drolma-la(5640m). After a few false summits, the rocky pass is reached. The great cubic Drolma Do(Drolma’s Rock) that marks the top is barely visible behind an enormous number of prayer flags.
Weather permitting, most pilgrims and trekkers pause at the pass for a rest and refreshment before starting the steep descent. Almost immediately, Gauri Kund(5608m), the Lake of Compassion.
It takes approximately an hour to make the long and steep 400m descent to the grassy banks of the Lham-chu Khir. En route there is a much-revered footprint of Milarepa. When the trail reaches the valley, you may find nomad tents and a teahouse selling drinks and noodles. A huge rock topped by the kora’s third Buddha footprint stands nearby.
About 30 mins south, a valley comes down from the Khando Sanglam-la to join the western trail. This valley provides the only glimpse of Mt Kailash’s eastern or crystal face. The kora’s third prostration point is at the valley mouth.
Grassy fields start to appear alongside the river. A couple of hours from the third Buddha footprint a side valley enters from the left. From here on the river changes name to the Dzong-chu, translated as ‘Fortress River’.
Soon you will see Zutul-puk Monastery(4820m). The miracle cave that gives the monastery its name is at the back of the main hall. Milarepa’s footprint and handprint can still be seen today. Overnight at Zutulpuk Guesthouse
Day 11: Trek from Zutulpuk. Darchen(4hrs/ 14km/ 150m)rive Darchen. Manasarovar
Highlights: Mt. Kailash
From Zutul-puk Monastery the trail follows the river closely for an hour or so then climbs above the river and enters the lovely Gold & Red Cliffs, a narrow canyon whose walls are stained purple, cobalt and rust.
When the canyon narrows look for holes gouged into the cliff walls. These are not natural but made by pilgrims looking for holy stones. Also look for prayer flags festooned across the river, and in the far distance the blue waters of lake Raksas Tal.
Where the trail emerges onto the Barkha plain, close to the fourth prostration point, Gurla Mandata is again visible in the distance. It’s now an easy 1hr walk back to Darchen along a dirt road.
Your driver will be waiting for you at Darchen. Transfer to Manasarover. Overnight neat Manasarovar.
Day 12: Manasarovar. Paryang. Saga
Highlights: Lake Manasarovar
Lake Manasarovar: or Mapham Yum-tso(Victorious Lake) in Tibetan, is the most venerated of all Tibet’s many sacred lakes and one of its most beautiful. With its sapphire-blue waters, sandy shoreline and snowcapped-mountain backdrop, Manasarovar is immediately appealing. Overnight at Saga.
Day 13: Saga. Kyirong, Sightseeing today, drive to kyirong. Overnight at kyirong
Day 14: Kyirong. Nepal Border and Kathmandu
Tour guide will assist clients to exit China. And see clients off at Kyirong border. Transfer from Kyirong to Kathmandu..