Ganden to Samye Trek
Journey to the most scenic and sacred places in Tibet. Trek from Ganden, the seat of the earliest Geluk monastery, to Yama Do, Tsotup Chu Valley, Wango, the legendary Samye monastery and the city of Tsetang. Explore the Yarlung Valley, the cradle of Tibetan civilization. Take in the magnificence of the Potala Palace, Jokhang Temple, and the legendary Drepung and Sera monasteries in Lhasa. Savour the scenic beauty on the road to Zhangmu at the border.
Tour Duration: 14 to 16 days
(16 to 20 day tours are also available; please contact us to enquire about tour prices for 16 to 20 day tours)
June – September
Tour Price Per Person ( please see what's included and what's not ):
Based on an 14 day tour:
2,650 US dollars per person, for groups of 2 to 4 people
2,250 US dollars per person, for groups of 5 to 10 people
550 US dollars
The following itinerary is based on an 9 day tour:
Day 1: Arrival
Pickup at Lhasa airport, drive to a comfortable hotel in Lhasa. The rest of the day is free, to explore Lhasa on your own. Overnight at the hotel.
Day 2: Lhasa sightseeing:
Jokhang Temple and Sera Monastery
Jokhang Temple is the holiest temple in all of Tibet. Barkhor, the market adjacent to the temple, is a haven for shopping. One can buy exotic items like yak skulls encrusted with corals and rubies, traditional hand-woven cloth, traditional hand-carvings in stone, hand-crafted leather, exquisite bronze items, and much, much more.
Sera Monastery dates back to the 15th century. It is located a few miles outside Lhasa. It is well-preserved; its architecture a symphony of white-washed walls and golden spires. From about 3 p.m. to 4 p.m. daily, lamas debate various points from their traditional scriptures in the courtyards – a very unique sight, and not to be missed if you are there at that time. Overnight at the hotel in Lhasa.
Day 3: Lhasa sightseeing:
Potala Palace and Drepung Monastery
Potala Palace is a massive palace-fortress that towers over the city of Lhasa, and has done so from the 7th century. The first sight of the Potala is truly awe-inspiring. Potala Palace is the very acme of Tibetan culture, religion and architecture.
Drepung monastery was the world's largest Buddhist monastery, once home to over 10,000 monks. The white lime-washed walls of the monastery shine from a hilltop about 8 km from Lhasa. It is an easy walk up the hill to the monastery. Assembly halls and chapels of great solemnity can be found within its walls. Along with Sera, it is one of two greatest monasteries of the Gelugpa ("Yellow Hats") sect of Tibetan Buddhism. Overnight at the hotel in Lhasa.
Day 4: Free day in Lhasa
The city of Lhasa boasts many more unique places, such as the Norbulingka Palace, the Blue Buddha (Medicine Buddha), Tsapa Lakhang temple and the adjacent Ramoche temple and monastery. Or you may want to spend an afternoon exploring Lhasa’s unique street markets, or visit the institute of Tibetan Traditional Medicine.
Overnight at the hotel in Lhasa.
Day 5: Ganden
It is a short drive from Lhasa to Ganden, which lies at an altitude of 4,500 metres (14,760 feet). Explore the attractions in and around the ancient town of Ganden. Ganden is home to the earliest monastery of the Gelugpa sect of Tibetan Buddhism, and although the monastery is mostly in ruins, it is a fascinating place. Pilgrims arrive in Ganden from all over Tibet to walk around the site of the monastery, and one can observe the rituals they perform on this 'kora' around the monastery.
Camp overnight in Ganden
Day 6: Trek from Ganden to Yama Do
This is a 5 hour trek. From the highest point of the Ganden kora, trek along an ancient trail and take in scenic views of unusual beauty. Walk along a ridge to reach the ancient Hepu village. In the afternoon, walk through Ani Pagong, a narrow part of the trail that was once home to a nunnery. In the late afternoon, ascend to Yama Do.
Camp overnight at Yama Do.
Day 7: Trek from Yama Do to Tsotup Valley
This trek takes 4 to 5 hours. Early in the morning, trek from Yamo Do through a steep gully to the banks of a stream. Climb to Shug La pass and begin the descent from there through treacherous fields of glacial boulders. Tsotup Chup is actually a large stream that flows through the valley, and we will cross this stream towards the end of the trek.
Camp overnight in Tsotup Chu valley.
Day 8: Trek from Tsotup Chu valley to Herder's Camp
Follow the Tsotup Chu towards the rocky mountain pass of Chitu La. Descend from there into the exquisitely beautiful camping grounds and fields around the tributary of the Tsotup Cho, walking through the picturesque herder camps along the way.
Overnight at the Herder's Camp.
Day 9: Wango
Trek from Herder's Camp to Wango. This is a 6 hour trek. The trail widens and the walking becomes easier. Follow the trail through beautiful rivulets of water and fertile forests. There are many varieties of trees, scrub, rhododendrons in full bloom, and vistas of meadows that will take your breath away.
There is also a desert not too far away. This part of the trek is really amazing. Along the way, you will pass the village of Changtang, and you can choose to hike to the holy Buddhist meditation site of Yamalung, an ancient hermitage.
Eventually, the trail goes to the Samye valley along a beautiful stream.
Camp at a site near Samye.
Day 10: Samye and Tsetang
From the camp site, a 2-hour trek takes you to Samye, with the spectacular views from Pisha and the vista of the Samye valley along the way. From the high point of Dragmar, explore many temples, and ruins of temples. At Samye itself, explore one of the oldest and holiest Buddhist sites, Samye Monastery. It’s ancient buildings are a Tibetan architectural masterpiece.
Drive from Samye to Tsethang, the third largest city in Tibet.
Overnight at a hotel in Tsethang.
Day 11 - 12: Explore the Yarlung Valley
Tibetan civilization began in the Yarlung Valley. The valley is riddled with ancient Tibetan tombs, and there are many great burial grounds. The ancient Yumbulakhang building is also in the Yarlung Valley – it is the most ancient building in Tibet, situated on a cliff and featuring unique architecture from Tibet’s distant past.
Return to Tsethang and the hotel for the night.
Day 13: Drive to Zhangmu
Drive to Zhangmu on the Tibet-Nepal border, enjoying some truly spectacular scenery along the way.
Overnight at a hotel in Zhangmu
Day 14: Border Crossing at Zhangmu
Cross the border the next morning, past Zhangmu customs / border check, into Nepal.
Tour Prices quoted include the following:
- All accommodation as listed
- Airport -hotel-airport transfers in Lhasa
- Sightseeing and entry fees for Potala palace, Jokhang temple , Sera monastery, Drepung monastery, Pelkhor chode and Gyantse Khumbum, Tashilhunpo Monastery, Sakya Monastery, Kailash and Manasarovar Breakfast in Lhasa, and meals while camping
Tour Prices DO NOT include:
- All visa fees (The required Tibet Permit fee is approximately 114 US dollars - we will advise you of the exact cost for this, and any other required visas or permits at the time of your booking / enquiry)
- Flight cost from your home country to Nepal or China (entry points into Tibet)
- Flight cost to Lhasa from Nepal or China (It is possible to fly to Lhasa from these cities in China: Beijing, Shanghai, Chengdu, Canton (Guangzhou), Chongqing, Kuming, Xian, Xining or Chengdu. It is also possible fly to Lhasa from Kathmandu, Nepal. As a price guide, the flight cost from Kathmandu to Lhasa is approximately 399 US dollars, but we will advise you of the exact cost for your flight from China or Nepal to Lhasa at the time of your booking / enquiry).
- Travel and medical insurance
- All meals except breakfast in Lhasa
- Emergency evacuation
- Personal spending money for sovenirs, extra sightseeing, laundry etc
- Meals other than breakfasts in Lhasa, and those provided during camping
- Expenses arising from events outside the control of Everest Kailash Treks & Tours and/or their agents and suppliers, such as trip delays / trip extensions because of inclement weather, equipment failure. illness or other causes beyond our control
- No refunds can be made for any unused services or accommodation on the trip