12 Days Exploring Ganden and Samye Monastery

Tour Route: Lhasa - Ganden - Yama Do - Tsotup Chu Valley - Herder's Camp - Wango - Samye - Tsedang
12 Days Exploring Ganden and Samye Monastery
Duration 12 Days
12 Days Exploring Ganden and Samye Monastery
Accomodation Hotel BB & Camping (BLD)
12 Days Exploring Ganden and Samye Monastery
Start Lhasa
12 Days Exploring Ganden and Samye Monastery
End Lhasa
12 Days Exploring Ganden and Samye Monastery
Transportation Flight & Private Vehicle
12 Days Exploring Ganden and Samye Monastery
Max Altitude 5,248 m
12 Days Exploring Ganden and Samye Monastery
Best Season April to October
12 Days Exploring Ganden and Samye Monastery
Group Size 2 - 15
Grade Moderate

Trip Overview

The 12-day Ganden Samye trek is the most spectacular journey in Central Tibet. As one of the most well-traveled trekking trails in Tibet, it links the two largest monasteries in Tibet, the Ganden and the Samye Monastery. Even though this journey is well-known and offers a lot to explore, you shouldn’t undervalue its difficulty because it takes place in high-elevation wilderness areas.

This captivating journey also offers a unique opportunity to immerse yourself in the local culture. It passes through small Tibetan villages inhabited by warm, inviting people, barley fields, and nomadic grasslands. The route takes you through Tsotup Chu Valley and some of the highest passes, including Shug La (5100 m) and Chitu La (5100 m).

With its breathtaking landscapes and rich culture and traditions, this is undoubtedly a once-in-a-lifetime tour. At Tashi Delek, we take pride in our meticulous organization of the itinerary, ensuring you can savor every moment of this exclusive journey to famous and historical places. Our expertise and attention to detail will make you feel privileged and unique on this journey.

Contact our expert directly to learn more about the packages and customization of itineraries.

Trip Highlights

  • Discover the sunshine city of Lhasa to the fullest, including the renowned Potala Palace and the revered monasteries of Sera, Drepung, and Jokhang Temple.
  • Excellent location to see the wonders of nature and nomads.
  • Explore the vast remnants of Ganden, perched on a cliff within a naturally formed amphitheater.
  • Witness the stunning view of Tibet’s holiest mountain, Nyenchen Tanghlha (711m).
  • Travel via Changtang, Yamalung village, alpine meadows, and wooded hills.

Detailed Itinerary

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Day 01

Fly to Gonggar airport then drive to Lhasa O/N Hotel (BB)

Upon reaching the airport, our amiable Tibetan guide will extend cordial greetings and present you with a Hada, the customary Tibetan ceremonial scarf.

You will then be transported to Lhasa, where you will rest for the day and prepare for the tour.

Overnight at Lhasa.

Day 02

Lhasa - Visit Potala Palace, Jokhang Temple and Barkhor Market O/N Hotel (BB)

Today, we will visit Potala Palace and Jokhang Temple, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. We will also visit Barkhor Square market. Potala Palace, the winter home of the Dalai Lama, is a 13-floor building with more than 1000 rooms, several statues, artifacts, murals, and stupas.

Later, we will visit the Jokhang Temple, named Jo for Jowo Buddha and Khang for Chapel. It was built in 642 by the first King of Tibet, Songtsen Gampo, to place the image of Akshobhya Buddha, the gift of a Nepalese wife, Bhirkuti. Later, the temple was known for the gift, a statue of Shakyamuni Buddha, by the King’s second Chinese wife.

We will stroll around the Barkhor market that encircles the Jokhang Temple. Pilgrims usually do the kora(circumambulate) of Jokhang temple in a clockwise direction. Also, you can buy gifts to take home, as numerous artifacts and cultural items like Buddha relics are available in this market.

Overnight at Lhasa.

Day 03

Lhasa - Visit Drepung and Sera Monastery O/N Hotel (BB)

After breakfast, our guide will take you to two great Gelug monasteries in Tibet, Drepung and Sera Monastery.

Drepung Monastery is one of Tibet’s “great three” Gelug Monasteries. It was established by Jamyang Choge Tashi Palden in 1416. Before the Fifth Dalai Lama constructed the Potala Palace, this monastery served as Tibet’s political hub and the residence of the Dalai Lamas.

Later, we will visit the Sera Monastery, built in 1419 by Tsongkapa. This monastery’s most significant architectural features are the 3 Buddhist colleges, 29 monk dormitories, and Coqen Assembly Hall. If you visit between Monday and Friday, you can witness Monks debate in the monastery’s courtyard. Also, watching the 9-meter statue of Maitreya, constructed in 1419, is one of this monastery’s fascinating features.

In the evening, we will visit the Norbulingka Palace, also known as the “Jewel Park.”, built by the 7th Dalai Lama and the Summer Palace of the Dalai Lama.

Overnight at Lhasa.

Day 04

Drive to Ganden O/N Tented Camp (BLD)

Early in the morning, we will have breakfast and drive about 55km to Ganden. Once we reach Ganden, we will visit Ganden Monastery, one of the important monasteries of the Geugpa sect.

The monastery was constructed in 1409 atop the Gokpo Ridge, where Tsong Kappa had first meditated to choose the location of the sect’s main monastery.

After visiting Ganden Monastery, we will place our camp nearby.

Camping at Ganden Monastery.

Day 05

Acclimatization day O/N Tented Camp (BLD)

Today, we will acclimatize in Ganden. Something is fascinating about meandering around Ganden. Many of the structures have plain orange walls that provide striking photo backgrounds. As you stroll around Ganden, taking a kora (walk) is essential. This circuit starts in Ganden’s southwest corner. takes at least an hour to complete and begins with a giant rocky chasm that is covered in prayer flags. You may stroll up a nearby hillside after Kora to see Ganden and the surroundings.

Camping at Ganden.

Day 06

Trek to Yama Do O/N Tented Camp (BLD)

Today, we started our journey on foot to Yama Do village (17 km) from Ganden. On the way, we will pass through several nomad communities, including Trubshi and Hebu villages.

As we progressively ascend the hill, we will see the highest pass of the trek, Shuga La Pass(5250m). Before reaching Yama Do, we walk through the lowlands and mountain river bridge.

Camping at Yama Do.

Day 07

Trek to Tsotup Chu Valley O/N Tented Camp (BLD)

Today, we will trek towards Tsotup Chu Valley. After leaving Yama Do, we will reach the highest pass of this trek, Shuga La Pass (5250m). We can still view the Ganden Monastery before reaching the top of the pass. This pass is famous for the massive memorial adorned with prayer flags and yak horns. From this pass, we will descend to the bottom of the hill, from where we will cross the mountain river, and in a short distance, we reach the Tsotup Chu Valley.

To settle the camp, we will walk half an hour further.

Camping at Tsotup Chu Valley.

Day 08

Trek to Herder's Camp O/N Tented Camp (BLD)

After breakfast, our destination today will be the second-highest point of the Ganden to Samye Monastery Trek, Chitu La Pass (5100m). We will leave the Tsotup Chu Valley and cross the Tsotup Chu stream. The ascent is more accessible and shorter than the Shuga-La pass. We’re almost to the top of Chitu La, where you can enjoy the fantastic view of three lakes. Once you pass these lakes behind, the river will quickly descend as it flows through a gorge, returning you to a typical drop area. The landscape is already more moderate here, and you can see their herds grazing.

Camping at Herders Camp.

Day 09

Trek to Wango O/N Tented Camp (BLD)

After breakfast, we will move towards Wango. The trail to Wango is home to many species, including more than 15 types of trees and shrubs. Vibrant junipers flourish on the southern slopes of the route, while rhododendron grows on the shadier slopes.

Perhaps the most breathtaking portion of our hike is what comes next. After traversing this magnificent countryside, our walk continues via Changtang village. Next, you have the option of hiking to Yamalung, a sacred location for Buddhist meditation. You can get to this historic hermitage in less than an hour. Later, we will eventually enter the Samye Valley. Not far from Samye, there is a campsite called Wango, where we will set our camp.

Camping at Wango.

Day 10

Trek to Samye, visit Samye Monastery then drive to Tsedang O/N Hotel (BB)

After breakfast, we will walk towards Samye in the early morning. Not far from Wango is Pisha, from which we get a birds-eye view of the lower Samye Valley.

Later, we ascend to the top of the Dragmar, exploring the number of temples. There is a partially reconstructed palace, which was home to a magnificent temple in the past and is well known as King Trisong Desten’s birthplace.

Following the trail, we will reach Samye, where we will visit the Samye Monastery. Buddha, Dharma, and Sangha are the three Buddhist jewels housed at the Samye Monastery, the first Buddhist monastery constructed in Tibet in the 8th century. These exceptional qualities have made this magnificent temple popular with local and foreign tourists. This monastery is immensely gorgeous, resembling a cosmic quality with the Sun and Moon Temples, four continents and their subcontinents, and the main temple, Utse, depicting Mount Meru.

After visiting Samye Monastery, we will drive to Tsedang, Tibet’s third-largest city and a historically rich town at 3,100 m. This place is home to some of the most significant and ancient Tibetan cultural monuments.

Overnight at Tsedang.

Day 11

Sightseeing of Yamublakhang and Yurlung Valley O/N Hotel (BB)

After breakfast, we will visit the Yambu Lakhang Palace, first built for a Tibetan monarch on a steep mountaintop. Here, we can view the ancient artifacts and learn more about Tibetan Buddhism’s culture and history.

While inside the Palace, we might be astounded by the sound of monks chanting and the view of Yarlung Valley from the Yambu Lakhang’s summit.

Overnight at Tsedang.

Day 12

Drive to airport for flight to onward destination

Today is the last day of your trek. After breakfast, you will be transferred to the Gonggar airport, where you can return to your desired destination.

Please Note

We have updated our dates and price list, which you can find above. But if you cannot find a perfect date for the trip or want to customize it, then you can Contact Us here.

Also, we are offering a discount for those travelers who come in a group of 3 or more. You may also get a discount if you book the trip earlier. Contact Us for more.

Cost Includes

  • Airport transfers to hotel.
  • Accommodation on a twin-sharing basis.
  • Private and public vehicles used for the trip
  • Any required permits and entry fees during the trip
  • Professional guide, profound in English, and approved by the Tibetan Travel Bureau.
  • All meals that are mentioned in the itinerary.
  • Any applicable government taxes.

Cost Excludes

  • Any International flights and Visa Fee (not included in the trip)
  • Travel and medical insurance or any evacuation during the trip.
  • Any gratitude or tips in any form to guide, porters, or any other.
  • Personal expenses like phone calls, groceries, liquors, etc.
  • Extra day staying or traveling expenses other than those mentioned in the itinerary.
  • Any expenses incurred due to unforeseen events such as illness or a delayed or canceled flight.

We value your well-being and comfort trip

Surely, you may have researched a lot regarding the trip to Mt. Kailash and have gathered much more information. But, with all the information and your confidence in completing the trip will not be enough. We, our team, and guide with years of experience will do anything to make sure that you are safe and you experience a comfortable travel. Also, we have some other value-added services that will assure you had the perfect trip of lifetime.

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12 Days Exploring Ganden and Samye Monastery - $1450

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