Day 1: Arrive in Kathmandu
Meet and greet by Snow Leopard Adventures representatives at the airport and transfer to your hotel. Day free for independent activities. In the evening, welcome dinner at an authentic Nepali restaurant followed by briefing and orientation on the programme. Overnight at a Hotel in Kathmandu
Day 2: In Kathmandu
Morning after breakfast, we proceed for a half-day sightseeing tour of Kathmandu, which includes, Pashupatinath, Bouddhanath and Kathmandu Durbar Square. Rest of the day is free for independent activity. Overnight at a Hotel in Kathmandu.
Day 3: Kathmandu – Lhasa
Morning, transfer to the airport for flight to Lhasa. The spectacular flight crosses the main Himalayan range and the mountain views are magnificent. Meet and greet on arrival at Gonggar Airport by our Tibet representatives and drive for about an hour to Lhasa and check in at the hotel. Overnight at the hotel in Lhasa.
Note: It’s advisable to take it easy the rest of the day for acclimatization.
Day 4: In Lhasa (Visit Jokhang Temple and Bakhor Street)
Post breakfast, we start off easy given that we are still acclimatizing. We set out to explore Tibet’s spiritual epicentre the Jokhang Temple – always full of pilgrims. Post Lunch visit the oldest street in Lhasa Bakhor Street also called the “a saint road” by the Tibetans as it was a part their circumambulation circuit for centuries. Now it’s also a shopping centre with traditional characteristics and colourful Tibetan elements. Overnight at the hotel in Lhasa.
Day 5: In Lhasa (Visit Potala Palace and Norbulingka Monastery)
Today after breakfast, we head out to explore the incredible 17th century Potala Palace. This palace, the former home of the Dalai Lama, is an architectural delight. Post Lunch we visit Norbulingka Monastery. Overnight at the hotel in Lhasa.
Day 6: Lhasa – Yamdrok-tso – Gyantse (3,950m/12,956ft – Drive/ 261 kms)
Gyantse – Shigatse (3,840m / 12,600ft, Drive/ 90 kms)
Today, we start the traveling by jeep along the Friendship Highway we cross the Khamba La [4794m] from where we get stunning views across the waters of Yamdrok-tso (lake) to the snowy summit of Nazin Kang Sa [7252m]. We continue westwards over another high pass the Karo La [5045m] where we are treated to the spectacular sight of a huge glacier tumbling down to within a few hundred metres of the road. After passing through beautiful valleys and colourful Tibetan villages, we arrive in the town of Gyantse. From Gyantse, we continue the drive to Shigatse. En route we visit the Gyantse Dzong and Gyantse Kumbum. The Dzong is a fort dating to the 14th century. You get amazing views of both Gyantse and the surrounding Nyang Chu Valley from here. The Kumbum is a large gold-domed stupa and its many small chapels house an impressive array of Tibetan Buddhist murals. Overnight at the hotel in Shigatse.
Day 7: Shigatse – Saga (4,300m / 11,104ft, Drive/ 495 kms)
Today, we continue along the Friendship Highway, marvelling once more at the barren yet spectacular landscape of Tibet. Beyond the small town of Lhatse we cross the highest pass on our journey, the Gyamtso La [5220m]. After lunch, we continue to drive following south of the Pelgu-Tso then follow a narrow gorge before climbing to a pass and dropping steeply down to a bridge over Brahmaputra. After crossing the Bramaputra River, we drive for another 10 minutes to Saga town, where we meet our Nepali camping staff with all necessary camping equipment. Overnight at the hotel in Saga.
Day 8: Saga – Prayang (4360m/14300ft) – Lake Mansarovar (Drive/ 478 kms)
Today we drive to Prayang for lunch. Post lunch, we continue drive to Lake Mansarovar via Mayum La Pass (5151m/ 16890 ft). We drive past Kongyu Tso through the village of Thongchen to camp near Hor village by Lake Mansarovar. Overnight in Camp at Mansarovar.
Day 9: Lake Mansarovar (4,727m/ 15,510ft)
Full day at leisure for acclimatization. Overnight in camp at Mansarovar.
Day 10: Mansarovar – Darchen – Drira Phuk (4890 m/ 14,950 ft, Drive & hike / 6hrs)
Today we drive to Chukku Gompa via Darchen for lunch. Post lunch, we meet with our porters & yaks. After reorganizing the load, we start the trek. The normal pilgrims’ route stays on the east bank of the Lha Chu. But for better views of Kailash and generally better campsites, we cross the west bank and hike across a scree slope to arrive at a good camping ground at Damding Donkhang (4890 m / 16040 ft), a grassy spot that offers good views of the West face of Mt. Kailash. It is also known as the “valley of yaks”, as here one can see hundreds of yaks grazing on the meadow. We continue on a rocky path walking along the Belung Chu and Dunglung Chu streams as the North face of Kailash comes in view. On the opposite side of the Lha Chu you can see several groups of nomads tending their herds of goats and yaks. As one reaches the Gompa and a frugal guesthouse at Drira Phuk, we are rewarded with a fine view of the North face of Mt. Kailash. The three lower hills in front of Mt. Kailash from this vantage point are the Manjushree, Avalokitesvara and Vajrapani representing wisdom, kindness and power.
Overnight in camp at Drira Phuk.
Day 11: Drira Phuk – Zhutulphuk Gumba (5,630 m/ Trek)
Today, we start our trek from Drira Phuk and immediately cross the Lha Chu on a wooden bridge. If one continues to trek up the Lha Chu, we can eventually reach the true source of the Indus. The Kora route is a steep climb on to a moraine leading to the Drolma La pass (5,430 m) and eventually meeting the trail from the East bank. After crossing the stream of the Khado – sanglam, we arrive at another Chaksal Gang, the third prostration point and from where we get our final view of the east face of Mt. Kailash during the circumambulation. After about 3 hrs we arrive at the Zutul-puk Gompa (4790m / 15710 ft) where there is a cave in which the saint Milarepa is said to have meditated. It is said that he adjusted the height of this cave to make it more comfortable. His footprint, according to legend, still remains on the roof. Overnight in Camp at Zhutulphuk Gumba.
Day 12: End Parikarma and drive to Lake Mansarovar (Trek & Drive/ 5 hrs)
Today, we trek along the Jhong Chu River to a bridge and cross it before descending to 4610 m, the last prostration point (Chaksal Gang) from where we get good views of Mansarovar lake. After completing Parikarma of Mt. Kailash, we meet waiting vehicle in Chaksal Gang and drive back to Lake Mansarovar. Overnight in Camp at Lake Mansarovar.
Day 13: Mansarovar – Saga (Return Drive)
Today, we start our return drive to Saga. Overnight at the hotel in Saga.
Day 14: Saga – Zhangmu (Drive)
Today, we drive for about 6 hours to Zhangmu and check in at the hotel for a hot shower.
In the evening, we enjoy a celebration party with our Sherpa team, Tibetan Guide & drivers to cherish the success of the trip. Overnight at the hotel in Zhangmu.
Day 15: Zhangmu – Kodari Border – Kathmandu (Drive)
Today, we drive down to Friendship Bridge at Kodari to complete our Chinese Immigration formalities. After clearing our formalities, we walk across to Nepal and meet with our waiting vehicles and representative from Nepal to start the 4 hours scenic drive back to Kathmandu. Upon arrival in Kathmandu check in at a hotel. Rest of the day at leisure. Dinner and Overnight stay at the hotel in Kathmandu.
Day 16: Departure Kathmandu
In time transfer to Tribhuvan International Airport to board the flight for onward destination.
What to Bring Along
- Trekking shoes (not new)
- Small knapsack
- Long trousers
- Lockable duffel bag
- Track pants & T-shirts
- Personal medical kit and toiletries
- Warm clothes for evenings, early mornings
- Sun shade/ cap
- Sun block lotion
- Retainers for prescription glasses/ sun glasses
- Water bottle
- Rain gear (raincoat/ poncho)
- Musical instrument/ reading/ writing material
- Your Spirit of Adventure and sense of humour!