Cultural & Religious Tours

Saga Dawa Festival Tour From Tibet

Tibet

Saga Dawa Festival Tour From Tibet

Trip Rating

N/A

Trip Duration

15 Days

Trial Access

Private and Comfortable Drive

Country

Tibet

Max Altitude

EBC 5,200 M

Activity Level

easy

Group Size

Min 2 Pax

Best Season

Spring (Mar, Apr)

According to the Tibetan lunar calendar, the Saga Dawa festival starts on a full moon day in the fourth month, also the month of birth, of Buddha Sakyamuni. This festival has a high degree of religious importance among Tibetans and Buddhists.

Mount Kailash and Lhasa city are holy places to Buddhists and these places attract a considerable number of pilgrims during this period. Saga Dawa festival lasts for a month. 

The fourth of the month is also when Lord Buddha attained both Enlightenment and Maha Nirvana. Hence, the festival is celebrated to commemorate these extraordinary phases in the life of Buddha.

Encircling Mt. Kailash in the practice of Kora as a religious tribute has increased value according to Buddhism during this time of the year. Visiting Mt Kailash at this particular moment lets you transcend into a different realm.

You arrive in Lhasa and also depart from Lhasa and the maximum altitude you gain on this tour is 5,200 m (EBC).

Along with the Saga Dawa festival, other attractions include sightseeing in Lhasa - historically and culturally important to Tibetans and Buddhists. One of the most important monuments, the Potala Palace, welcomes you from a distance as you enter Lhasa.

Jokhang Temple, Drepung and Sera Monastery, Everest Base Camp (EBC) from the north side, crossing the holy waters on the Mansarovar Lake and the southern base of Mt. Kailash are the major highlights of this trip.

Himalayan Trekkers considers this occasion to be an exclusive opportunity for the tourists to connect with the culture and explore deeply. An alternative to this package is Saga Dawa Festival From Kathmandu which also includes additional sightseeing of Kathmandu.  

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$ 3,150

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Itinerary

Day 1

Arrival in Lhasa

30 min private drive

3,600 m

Lhasa is the capital and the largest city of Tibet. You can take a train to Lhasa from mainland China or travel by flight. A local guide of Himalayan Trekkers will be waiting for your arrival at the station or airport according to your convenience and will take you to your hotel. 

The city is about 25 km away from the station and further away from the airport. You will follow a road cutting through the trans-Himalayan range along the Tsangpo or Brahmaputra River followed by the Lhasa River.

The first day in Lhasa is for you to rest and acclimatize yourself to the high-altitude plateau climate with a very thin atmosphere. We have to take things slow due to the low concentration of oxygen.

Dinner

Hotel

Day 2

Lhasa sightseeing: Potala Palace, Jokhang Temple & Barkhor street

5-6 Hrs

3,600 m

Lhasa is historically and culturally important to Tibetans and Buddhists because it has some of the greatest monuments. One of the most important monuments, the Potala Palace, welcomes you from a distance as you enter Lhasa. We will be visiting this palace resting atop the red hills on this day. 

The palace was built in the 7th century by the 33rd Great King and later renovated in the 17th century by the Dalai Lama. Since the 17th century, it has become the winter palace of the Dalai Lama.

The palace is huge and will take most of your morning for a thorough walkthrough. In the afternoon we will be visiting the holiest temple in Tibet, the Jokhang Temple. It is situated at the center of the old Lhasa city and surrounded by the rustic Barkhor Street. 

The 33rd Great King was the one to have built it in dedication to Buddha. Within the temple, you will find an image of Buddha Sakyamuni at the tender age of 12. Pilgrims take on a Kora (encircle) around this temple to convey their offerings to Buddha. Being one of the most important sites in Buddhism, the temple attracts a huge number of pilgrims during the Saga Dawa festival.

Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

Hotel

Day 3

Sightseeing continue: Drepung & Sera Monasteries

5-6 hrs

3,700 m

You will also find two of the grandest monasteries in Lhasa. Both these monasteries are part of the “Great Three” Gelug monasteries in Tibet. The first one, Drepung Monastery was founded in the 15th century by one of Tsongkhapa’s main disciples- Jamyang Choje. It is a huge monastery that can house over 100,000 monks and features the biggest monastery kitchen in the world.

After going through the immense Drepung Monastery we will be visiting the Sera Monastery. This monastery houses a monk’s debate every day between 3:00 PM and 5:00 PM except Sundays. This debate includes many philosophical discourses and will imbibe great wisdom into you.

Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

Hotel

Day 4

Drive to Shigatse (3800 m) via Gyangtse (3900m)

6-7 hrs drive

4,790 m

On this day we will be undertaking a long drive of 360km and thus have to start early. You will come across many sites that are only possible in high-altitude travel. You will also be traveling through many high-altitude passes that will give you extraordinary views of the trans-Himalayan ranges in a backdrop of clear blue sky. 

The first pass you will be crossing is the Gampa La at 4790m and you will get a view of the electric blue Yamdrok-Tso from there. You can also spot Mount Nyenchen Khangsar standing at an elevation of 7191m along the lake, a holy peak for the Tibetans.

The Koro La Glacier Pass will be the next one to come on your way followed by Simila Mountain Pass. After this, you will enter Gyangtse, the third-largest Tibetan city where we will visit the Pelkor Monastery and Kumbum Stupa.

Shigatse, the second-largest city in Tibet is about an hour and a half drive from Gyangtse. After the hectic travel of the day, you can spend the remaining time resting and acclimatizing yourself for the increased elevation on the following days. You can also have a pleasant walk through the barley fields over here.

Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

Guest House

Day 5

Drive to Everest Base Camp

6-7 hrs drive

5,248 m

We have to obtain an Alien’s permit to enter Everest Base Camp (EBC) area which is available at Shigatse. On the morning of the fifth day, we will visit the Tashilunpo Monastery which was the seat of the Panchan Lama and then continue our journey forward.

Tso La at 4600m and Gyatso La at 5248m are two high mountain passes with a majestic view that you will traverse through today. Once you have reached Gawu La (5198 m) you will get an unhindered view of the gigantic Himalayas on all sides and have officially entered the Everest National Nature Reserve. You can stay the night in tents or in the guesthouses.

Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

Guest House or Tented camp

Day 6

Drive continues to Saga from EBC

7-8 hrs drive

4,640 m

Saga is about 450 km away from the EBC and thus we have to start really early. This ensures that you get to see the extravagant sunrise with the first light of the sun falling upon Everest, and the mountain glowing in a red blaze. 

We commence our journey after watching this unforgettable serene and you will also get a glimpse of Mt. Shishapangma (8012 m) on the way. It is the 14th highest peak in the world.

This place also has attractive fauna and if you are lucky you will get to see wild animals en route.

Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

Guest House

Day 7

Drive Darchen (4575 m) via Mansarovar Lake (4590 m)

6-7 hrs drive

5,112 m

The Saga Valley lies in between the Himalayas on one side and the Gangdise Range on the other side. You will be traveling along this valley on your way to Darchen. Crossing the Mayom La at 5112 m will open your view to Mt. Naimonanyi standing tall at 7694 m. You will soon be crossing the holy waters on the Mansarovar Lake and then reach the southern base of Mt. Kailash, the holiest mountain in Tibet, attracting both Hindus and Buddhists.

Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

Guest House

Day 8

Trek to Diraphuk (5210 m)

8-9 hrs

5,210 m

The morning starts with you getting a slice of the Buddhist culture. The old prayer flag is taken down and a new one is erected in its place in a flag hoisting ceremony at Tarboche. This marks the beginning of the Saga Dawa festival.

Following the impressive flag hoisting ceremony, you will trek to Sarshung Valley from where the trek to Drirapuk commences. Drirapuk Monastery is a calming site beside the Lachu Valley after the moderate 13km trek. Both the west and the north face of Mt. Kailash are open to you.

Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

Guest House

Day 9

Trek to Zuthulphuk via Drolma La pass (5630 m)

7-8 hrs trek

5,630 m

We will continue with our Kora around Mt. Kailash and will pass through Droma La at 5630m, the highest point in this trek. There are many teas stops along the way and you can see pilgrims offering their prayers on the way. The pristine Kadoe Lake is going to take your breath away and if there is time we can take a visit to Zutulpuk Monastery.

Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

Guest House

Day 10

Trek back to Darchen

6-7 hrs walk & 45 min drive

4,575 m

The last day of the Kora will have you walk 7km up to Zongto. Buses depart from Zongto for Darchen at regular intervals or you can walk your way up to Darchen which is just 5km away. Mani stones are piled all along the Kora.

Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

Guest House

Day 11

Drive back to Saga

4-5 hrs drive

4,590 m

We will be following the same route back to Saga after crossing the Mansarovar Lake.

Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

Tea house

Day 12

Scenic drive to Sakya (4300 m)

6-7 hrs drive

4,300 m

The distance between Saga to Sakya is about 350 km through appreciable hilly terrain interspersed with wonderful sights. So, enjoy the pristine view and keep it forever etched in your heart.

Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

Guest House

Day 13

Scenic drive to Shigatse

6-7 hrs drive

3,836 m

Sakya is an old town in Tibet and has a rich cultural tone. You can go through the ancient town at your leisure and also visit the Sakya Monastery which is filled with murals and scripture, all beautifully crafted and preserved. You will also find this monastery to have a unique design as it features a Mongolian style of architecture- something that is not seen in the other places you have visited.

Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

Guest House

Day 14

Return drive to Lhasa

6-7 hrs drive

3,600 m

The Yalong Valley is an exceptional route back to Lhasa filled with glorious views of the mountains. There is a raised platform that gives a grand view of the Yalong River bed. We can also visit an incense workshop conducted by a local family on the way. 

Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

Hotel

Day 15

Final Departure from Lhasa

30 min private drive

3,600 m

The Saga Dawa festival tour from Tibet has come to an end and it is time to say goodbye. We will see you off at the train station or the airport. 

NoteWe can also take you to Gyirong Border if you want to visit or go to Nepal at the end of this tour. The journey from the 12th day onward will be different as Gyirong falls on a different route. We will also make one extra stop at Kelong valley, a truly remarkable site near the foothills of the Himalayas and one that attracts lots of tourists all year round!

Breakfast

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Customize Your Trip

Accommodation

Himalayan Trekkers promises to manage the best, most comfortable and preferable accommodation.

Generally, in cities like Lhasa, we arrange basic three-star facilities. If available, you can opt for a more budget-friendly option or upgrade to a more luxurious hotel by paying a little extra. 

Although all the places might not have all the modern facilities, we will make sure to arrange safe and comfortable accommodation. In general, hygienic and safe tea houses/local lodges/ home-stays with all the basic facilities are arranged. But you can, if possible, personalize according to your preference. 

If your itinerary includes camping or you choose to experience camping during your travel, a proper camping-site will be pre-decided. If required, we also provide the basic equipment which is refundable. Please check the Gear-List and Requirement List for more information.

Meals

Breakfast is usually included with your B&B Accommodation within the cost that is evident.
For other meals in the city, you would have to pay separately. Often in the cities, you can choose from many different cuisines and varied food services. We can always help you find the right place to fit your taste.

In more remote areas, usually, there are not many options. But you can always find hygienic and well-prepared food. Moreover, almost all the meals during the trek are included in the cost. We can help you make changes according to your preference and budget, but only if choices are available!

On top of that, Himalayan Trekkers also organizes Welcome and Farewell Dinners as a symbol of warm greetings.

Please go through the detailed itinerary for more information. We are always there to help you travel to your heart’s content.

Inclusion

Whats Included

  • Permits and Visa Applications for Tibet.
  • Hotel with breakfast.
  • English speaking Tibetan guide per as the itinerary.
  • Entrance fees.
  • Guide Fees.
  • Land cruiser for transportation.

Whats Not Included

  • Drinks, Tips, Insurance and any extra cost occurring from the Unfavorable Circumstances such as weather, road blockade, flight cancellation Etc
  • All personal nature expenses such as tips, donations, bar bills, etc.
  • Meals.
  • Travel insurance.
  • Airfare to Lhasa and back.

Gearlist

Gears required for the trek vary upon destination and season. Trekking shoes, down jacket, sleeping bag, hiking poles are the essential ones. 

A comprehensive list of gear for all activites is listed on our dedicated page of Complete Gear List For Trekking and Climbing