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Saga Dawa Festival Tour in Kailash

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14 days
Availability : May 2024 & June 2025
Lhasa, Tibet
Min Age : 18
Max People : 6
Home » Holiday Packages » Tibet Tours » Saga Dawa Festival Tour in Kailash

Estimated reading time: 2 minutes

Saga Dawa is an important festival Buddhists celebrate, particularly in Tibet and other regions of the Himalayas. The celebration takes place on the full moon day in the fourth Tibetan month, usually in May or June.

Saga Dawa commemorates the birth, enlightenment, and passing away of Gautama Buddha. The festival is celebrated by performing various religious activities such as prayer recitation, offering alms, and participating in religious processions. Many devotees also engage in acts of kindness and generosity, such as releasing animals into the wild and donating to the needy.

One of the most significant events of Saga Dawa is the circumambulation of Mount Kailash, a sacred mountain located in Tibet. Thousands of pilgrims undertake the arduous journey to walk around the mountain, a distance of approximately 52 kilometres, in a single day. This event is considered to be a highly auspicious and meritorious act.

Overall, Saga Dawa is a time for Buddhists to reflect on the Buddha’s teachings and strive towards greater compassion, kindness, and understanding.

Kailash Saga Dawa Festival

The Kailash Saga Dawa Tour is one of Tibet’s most popular festivals. It is known as the Kailash Saga Dawa Festival tour. The Kailash Saga Dawa tour begins in Lhasa, the holy city of the Tibetan people and the capital city of Tibet, visiting the historical sites of the Potala Palace and Jokang temple, Unesco’s world heritage sites. The grand monasteries of Drepung and Sera monastic college.

During the Kailash Saga Dawa tour, on the way, you will be enjoying the most beautiful view of Yamdrok turquoise lake, Noejin Kangsang mountain, and its glacier. The historical old town of Gyantse and its giant Kubum pagoda stupa. The largest monastery of the Tsang region, Tashi Lhunpo, is also the seat of the Panchen Lama, the second-highest Lama of the Tibetan people. Continue the Kailash Saga Dawa Tour through the wilderness of the Tibetan plateau, nomad camps, beautiful stream river, wild animals, great Himalayan mountain range, beautiful lakes and many mountain passes, and you will finally reach the destination of great Mt Kailash and Lake Mansarovar.

The average elevation of the Kailash Saga Dawa Festival tour is around 4400 meters, and the road condition to Mount Kailash nowadays is very good and easy to drive. The three-day Mount Kailash Pilgrimage, known as Kailash Kora, is a pilgrimage tour and a venture to the remote part of western Tibet. In addition, you will participate in a great prayer flag pole-raising festival in Tarpoche on the 15th of the fourth month of the Tibetan calendar, joined by thousands of Tibetan pilgrims and tourists. For a detailed program, please visit the Kailash Saga Dawa Festival tour.

How to join the Festival Tour?

To Join the Kailash Saga Dawa festival tour, you can take a train into Lhasa, Tibet from Chengdu, Beijing, Shanghai, Xi’an, Guangzhou, Xining, Lanzhou or a flight in or out from Kathmandu, Chengdu, Beijing, Shanghai, Xi’an, Guangzhou, Kunming, Lanzhou.

Tour Details

You can join the Kailash Saga Dawa festival tour from anywhere in the world, and we will make your Tibet permits according to your arrival cities to travel to Tibet. We will send your Tibet permits to all the cities in mainland China, or we will issue your China visa in Kathmandu so you can join the Kailash Saga Dawa tour group in Lhasa no matter whether you arrive in Lhasa a couple of days earlier or you arrive in Lhasa alone.

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Departure & Return Location

Lhasa, Tibet

Departure Time

Between 7 – 9 am

Price Includes

  • Twin sharing accommodation at hotel/Guesthouses/tent as per the itinerary
  • 1 English speaking Local Tibetan travel guide
  • Breakfast for entire tour and full board during three days of Kailash trek
  • All entry fees to the sites and monasteries mentioned in the above Kailash trekking program
  • All necessary Tibet tour entry and road permits
  • Special Kailash permit
  • Yamdro lake conservation fee Karola glacier conservation fee
  • Mt. Kailash and lake Mansarovar conservation fee
  • Pack Yak and Yak men for Kailash trekking
  • Oxygen in the tourist vehicle incase needed
  • Tibet tour transportation by one good conditioned mini van or bus according to the group size

Price Excludes

  • Flight or Train tickets to Lhasa
  • Lunch and dinner for entire tour except three days Kailash trekking
  • China Tibet visa
  • Service of mainland China and Nepal site
  • Riding horses for Kailash trek
  • Sleeping bags and any trekking gears
  • Travel insuranceIncluding personal, medical, travel and evacuation insurance.
  • Personal expensesAlcoholic beverages, laundry, phone call, etc.
  • Any extra cost In the event of landslides and personal nature expenses need to be paid by clients themselves.


  • T-Shirt
  • Farewell dinner

What to Expect

The Saga Dawa Festival is a major religious event celebrated by Tibetan Buddhists in Tibet. It is particularly significant at Mount Kailash, considered sacred for Buddhists, Hindus, and Jains. Here are some of the main highlights of the Saga Dawa Festival in Kailash:

  • Circumambulation of Mount KailashDuring the festival, thousands of pilgrims undertake the kora or circumambulation of Mount Kailash, a 52-kilometre trek. Completing the kora during the festival is believed to be particularly promising and can lead to spiritual liberation.
  • Prayer flags and offeringsPilgrims also make offerings and hang prayer flags at various sites around Mount Kailash, including the Dirapuk Monastery, the Dolma La Pass, and the Jhonger Monastery. The colourful flags and offerings are believed to carry the prayers and wishes of the pilgrims.
  • Cham dance performancesCham is a traditional Tibetan dance performed during the Saga Dawa Festival. The dance is believed to have the power to drive away bad spirits and bring good fortune. The performances usually occur at monasteries and other sacred sites around Mount Kailash.
  • The lighting of butter lampsAnother important ritual during the festival is lighting butter lamps at various temples and monasteries. The lamps symbolize the dispelling of darkness and the spread of enlightenment.

Day 1Arrival in Lhasa, transfer to downtown (3650m / 60km).

You will be warmly welcomed by your Tibetan guide and driver and accompany you to the holy city of Lhasa with the view of Bharmaputra, known as Yarlung Tsangpo in Tibetan, overnight at Yak hotel or similar on bed and breakfast plan.

Day 2Lhasa sightseeing

Visit Potala Palace, the winter Palace of the Dalai Lama, Jokang temple, the oldest and most sacred temple of Tibet, Bharkor, the ancient Bazaar in Lhasa and the oldest and sacred pilgrimage trail in Lhasa. Stay overnight at Yak hotel or similar on bed and breakfast plan.

Day 3Lhasa sightseeing

Visit Drepung monastery, the largest monastery in Tibet and one of the six biggest monasteries of the Gelukpa sect in Tibetan Buddhism. Sera monastery is the second largest monastery in Tibet, and it is very interesting to watch the monks debating in the monastery during your Tibet travel. Stay overnight at Yak hotel or similar on bed and breakfast plan.

Day 4Drive from Lhasa to Gyantse (3950m / 280km)

You will start your tour at around 9 am from your hotel and then drive towards Gyantse through 3 big mountain passes, Kampa La, Karo La, and Simila, respectively. Karola is the highest pass, over 5000m; with its most beautiful glaciers, beautiful Yamdrok lake emerged as coral from the top of Kampala pass. You will have lunch at Nakartse country, between the Yamdrok lake and Karola glaciers. Then, visit Gyantse in the afternoon. Stay overnight at Yuthok Hotel or similar on bed and breakfast plan.

Day 5Drive from Gyantse to Shigatse (3900m / 90km)

Morning visit a Tibetan carpet factory in Gyantse to witness what the Tibetan Carpet is made of and then drive from Gyantse to Shigatse, visit Tashi Lhunpo monastery. After visiting Tashi Lhunpo monastery, you will walk around the monastery and finish your Kora at the foot of Shigatse Dzong, where there is a beautiful local market. Stay overnight at Mansarovar hotel or similar on bed and breakfast plan.


Day 6Shigatse - Lhatse- Ngamring Tso - Saga (4640m / 440km).

After breakfast, continue your Kailash pilgrimage by crossing several mountain passes, including Ngamring la 4650m and some beautiful villages. The road condition is good, and it will take you around 8 hrs to get to Saga. Stay overnight at a local guesthouse on bed and breakfast plan.

Day 7Drive to Mansarovar - Chiu Gompa (4750m / 435km).

You will follow the road towards Kailash in breathtaking landscapes with beautiful Tibetan nomad camps and many animals on the grasslands. Reaching Lake Mansarovar and Kailash is an amazing view of Mt. Kailash and Mansarovar lake when you see them from Chaktsalkang for the first time. You will feel extremely peaceful, calm, joyful and great when you see beautiful Lake Mansarovar and Mt Kailash right before you. Stay overnight at a local guesthouse on bed and breakfast plan.

Day 8Enjoy the Kailash Saga Dawa Festival at Tarpoche - Dharchen

The Saga Dawa festival is to commemorate the birth, death and enlightenment of Buddha Shakyamuni. Therefore, thousands of Tibetan pilgrims gather in Lhasa, circumambulate the Lingkor (Outer circumambulation), Bharkor (Middle circumambulation) and Nangkor (inner circumambulation), including the Potala Palace. They also climb to Bumpari and Gephel Utse in Lhasa to make incense and prayer flag offerings. At the same time, during the Saga Dawa festival, thousands of pilgrims and tourists also gather at Mount Kailash, and they raise a great prayer flag in Tarpoche to pay homage to the great deeds of Buddha. Stay overnight at a local guesthouse/camp on bed and breakfast plan.

Day 9Trek from Tarpoche to Dira Phuk (18 km / 5210m)

Today is the first day of your Kailash Kora, around 53km. You start your Kailash Kora from Tarpoche. During your first Kailash trek, you will see Trulku monastery on your left side up the hillside. You can also see ibex and blue sheep running in the rocky hillside while you are walking. Then you will reach Dhira Phuk, which was a monastery before. Still, nowadays, you can only see the ruins of the monastery as the monastery was destroyed in the cultural revolution. Stay overnight at a local guesthouse/camp on full board plan.

Day 10Trek to Zutrul Phuk (4810m) via crossing Drolma La Pass (5636m / 15km).

Today is the second day of your Kailash trek, the hardest day during those three days of Kailash trekking. First, you must climb up to the top of Drolma La pass, which is 5636m. There will be three sloppy hikes to the top of Drolma La pass from Dhira Phuk, then a steep downhill with a rocky path down to the Zutrulphuk valley. On the right side of the Drolmala trail is a small lake called Thukje Lake, meaning compassionate lake. Zutrul Phuk was the cave where Mila Repa and Nagro Bonchung debated their religious sects, and nowadays, it is a small monastery. Stay overnight at a local guesthouse/camp on full board plan.

Day 11Trek to Dharchen and then drive to Mansarovar - Baryang - Saga (4450m/435km).

Today is the easiest and last day of your Kailash trekking as you will trek down in the valley with the beautiful distant scenery of Rakshas Tal lake. From here, you will depart your Yak men and kind Yak and meet your Tibetan drivers. Then, continue your Mt. Kailash journey back towards Lhasa. Stay overnight at a local guesthouse on bed and breakfast plan.

Day 12Saga - Lhatse - Shigatse (3900m / 405km).

It’s in the vastness of the Changtang, Tibetan plateau, that you will measure the Tibetan space from where herds of gazelles or Kyang, wild donkeys suddenly emerge. Stay overnight at Mansarovar hotel or similar on bed and breakfast plan.

Day 13Drive from Shigatse to Lhasa (3650m / 430km).

Start your Tibet tour early in the morning and drive along the Bharmaputra river with a landscape of sandy hills, villages, and Rulak Yungdrung ling on the river’s other side. Rulark Yungdrungling is a Bon monastery in the Tsang region. You will have lunch in a small town called Nyenmo which is the border point between Shigatse and Lhasa. Free afternoon for shopping. Stay overnight at Yak hotel or similar on bed and breakfast plan.

Day 14Drive from Lhasa to Gongkar airport (3600m / 60km ).

Board your flight to your onward destinations. End of Tour!

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Group Traveller

Joining the Saga Dawa Festival in Kailash, Tibet, was an incredible travel experience! The festival’s vibrant atmosphere, spiritual rituals, and the majestic backdrop of Mount Kailash made it truly awe-inspiring. Witnessing the devotion and cultural traditions of the local people was a privilege. I highly recommend this once-in-a-lifetime journey to anyone seeking a profound and transformative adventure. Thank you, Nepal Hiking, for organizing such a remarkable experience!

14 June 2023
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