Ganden Monastery to Samye Monastery Trek

Get in Touch


  • + 977-1-4811668
  • +977-9841416722
    +977-9841389464
  • This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
  • Jyatha, Thamel, Kathmandu, Nepal

Overview

The magnificent Ganden Monastery, situated in the Wangbur Mountain, on the southern bank of Lhasa River in Tagtse County, 47 km from Lhasa, stands at an altitude of 3,800 m above sea-level. It is one of the original and grandest Buddhist monasteries in Tibet, and stands atop of the six famous temples of Gelugpa - a branch of Tibetan Buddhism. After sightseeing in Lhasa and Ganden Monastery positioned, it crosses Shogu-La Pass at 5,250 m and heads towards the famous Samye Monastery 3,540 m, the first Buddhist monastery in Tibet.

This trek starts and ends at two monasteries of great significance to Tibetan Buddhism and follows in the footsteps of traditional herders and nomads. On this trek, you will be welcomed by turquoise sparkling holy lakes, majestic mountains peaks, high level passes, verdant alpine meadows, small secluded Tibetan villages, yak herds, ancestral sacred sites and barren landscape in Tibet.


Trip highlights

  • Adventure trekking journey into the innermost Tibetan high country
  • Breathtaking panoramic views of 7000 + meter peaks of central Tibet
  • Delightful transverse along scenic trail from Ganden to Samye across 5000 meter high pass
  • Visit the famous ruins of Ganden monastery
  • Samye Monastery, which is located on the banks of the Yarlung River
  • A peek at nomadic groups and their flocks of sheep and yaks
  • Discover the fabled Yumulhakang castle
  • Visit Yamalung hermitage where Guru Rinpoche is said to have meditated and received empowerment

Detailed Itinerary

Day 01: Arrival in Lhasa (3660m.)

Fly from Kathmandu to Lhasa from Kathmandu, Chengdu, Beijing, Shanghai, Xian or any nearby hub. Airplane will land at Lhasa Gonggar Airport (96km from the main city). If the weather is clear there are wonderful views of Everest, Nuptse, Lhotse, Makalu, Kanchenjunga and other peaks en route. Upon arrival, you will be received by our Tibetan guide at the airport. Then transfer to Lhasa. After checking in at your hotel, you are advised to take rest. Drink plenty of fluids and let your body get used to Lhasa’s high altitude.

Day 02: Sightseeing in Lhasa (3660m.)

This day you visit Potala Palace, Sera Monastery and Norbulinka. One of the highlights is the visit to the symbol of Tibet; the Potala Palace set high on Red Hill, the winter home of the Dalai Lama until 1959. The most sacred temple in Lhasa is the Lokhang, where people come from all over Tibet to visit and pray in this spiritual heart of the country. It was used as a military kitchen during the Cultural Revolution but has now been beautifully restored, with many priceless thangkas and statues adorning the chapels, and magnificent gilded roofs.

In the afternoon visit Sera monastery, which was created in 1419, has always been an important Buddhist seminary. As rose are planted everywhere in the monastery, it is also called “the court of wild rose”. Today still 200 lamas live in there. Another great treasure is the Norbulingka – the old summer palace of the Dalai Lama.

Day 03: Sightseeing in Lhasa (3660m.)

This day you are programmed to visit Drepung Monastery, Jorkhang Temple and Barkhor Street. This day you are programmed to visit Drepung monastery, one of the great monasteries of the Gelukpa (yellow hat) sect, just outside Lhasa. There is time to explore Lhasa on your own, perhaps visiting the Tibetan Medical College or the Ramoche temple (one of the oldest religious buildings in Tibet).

In the evening you visit Jorkhang temple, the center of the Tibetan Buddhism and the sacred land of Buddhist followers where innumerable pilgrims come for worship everyday. The temple, built in 647, is the earliest wood-and-masonry structure still existing in Tibet. Surrounding the Jorkhang Temple is the bustling Barkhor Market place which is the religious and social focus of Lhasa. Around the Barkhor there are numerous stalls selling all sorts of handicrafts: brightly colored boots and fur-lined hats, silver and turquoise jewelry, rosaries, prayer flags and charms, as well as beautiful Tibetan carpets and all manner of ordinary household ware.

Day 04: Lhasa to Ganden Monastery 60 kilometers east of Lhasa

Today, we shall explore the Ganden Monastery (Ganden Namgyan Ling) which is one of the Tibet’s three great and pristine Gelug university monasterie. Ganden was founded by the Great Tsongkhapa in 1409 and lies 40km northeast of Lhasa. On our drive to Ganden, we’ll enjoy the views of beautiful Kyichu River (Lhasa River). The mountain views continue on throughout the drive and you can see the spectacular monastery located peacefully on the mountain top.

The, we shall visit the Genden Monastery chapels. Later, visit the tomb of the Gelupa founder, Tsongkhapa. After we end our Ganden Monastery exploration, we will move towards Tibetan farmer’s village to get to know their life better.

Day 05: At Ganden (4180m.) for acclimatization

Ganden is an interesting place to explore. The ochre walls of many of the buildings make a great backdrop for photographs. A large rocky cleft draped with colorful prayer flags, a religious destination among the locals of Ganden, is worth a visit. The locals can be seen circumambulating (kora) clockwise around this cleft.

Day 06: Trek to Yama Do (4250m.) – approx. 5/6 hours

Today, we set out on foot from Ganden in the direction of Yama Do village (17km). We will pass by numerous small nomad settlements, like Trubshi and Hepu villages. Then we will gradually ascend the slope until we can see the Shuga-la Pass (5250 M), the highest point of the hike. We will take the route through the valleys, cross the bridge across the mountain river, and then begin the ascent to the settlement of Yama Do, where we will set our camps and spend the night.

Day 07: Trek to Tsotup Chu Valley via Shuga La Pass (5250m. ) – approx. 5/6 hours

Leaving behind Yama Do, you climb eastwards negotiating boulders along the final climb atop 5250 meters of the Shug La, the highest point on this trail. The pass is distinctively marked with its large cairn wrapped in prayer flags and yak horns. After a brief stop at the pass to savor the grand vistas you make a sharp descent walking past a boulder field. The trail eventually opens into the valley. Up ahead in a distance the trail crosses the Tsotup Chu, a large stream with rich pastures of yaks, goats and sheep. You encounter several herders on the way. After trekking for 5-6 hours, you reach the Tsotup Chu Valley.

Day 08: Trek to Herder's Camp (3800m.) – approx. 5/6 hours

Follow the Tsotup Chu down through its tributary and head towards the Chitu La pass. After ascending this rocky pass, we will quickly descend down and find a beautiful place to camp in one of the fields surrounding the stream. To find our campsite we will meander through quiet herder camps for nearly an hour. Another beautiful day of our trek is over!

Day 09: Trek to Wango – approx.

Traversing through the lush scrub forest along the wide trail, you trek ahead, taking in the refreshing sights of verdant vegetation. The trail is dotted with fragrant junipers growing on southern slopes and rhododendron on the shadier slopes. Further ahead the village of Changtang comes into view, where the majority of the local villagers are engaged in animal husbandry. Yarlung Tsangpo valley can be viewed on the south. You can ascend steeply up to Yamalung Hermitage for one hour. But if you choose not to climb this ascent, you can simply wait near the bridge. Ancient history has it that Guru Rinpoche, after rigorous meditation attained spiritual enlightenment with the blessings from the deity of Amitayus (Tibetan: Tsepame) at Yamalung (also called Emalung). This hermitage houses small temples which shelters monks, sacred springs and stone carvings of 8th Guru Rinpoche, King Trisong Detsen and Indian pundit Shantarakshita. Stone houses come into sight after walking for one hour to the village of Nyango. The trail overlooks the tributary streams cascading from the north-west to join the Samye valley. The old trade route from Lhasa to Samye via the Gokar La follows this valley. The trail further proceeds towards Wango. You further head towards Pisha.

Day 10: Trek to Samye (3600 m.)

Pisha offers picturesque view of the lower Samye valley. At its lower end an undulating hill called Hepo Ri appears into picture. This is regarded very sacred. The trail winds through the ridge of Dragmar towards verdant fields and villages of Samye reviving ancient history. A partially rebuilt palace is nestled on the summit. History boasts that the palace is the birthplace of King Trisong Detsen and had a grand temple in the ancient time. Further off the road, you will find a small red and white temple which is believed to have been built under the shade of white sandalwood tree and nourished by the buried placenta of King Trisong in the ancient time but was chopped off during Cultural Revolution. Further on, the trail overlooking amazing spires leads to Sangbu village. You will find a well trodden track to Samye.

Day 11: Explore the Yarlung Valley (5400 m.)

This outstanding area is widely believed to be the cradle of all of Tibetan civilization and the valley of the tombs is located at the origin of the Tibetan people. During the day you are being given an opportunity to explore this splendid site. It was here where both the huge burial grounds and Yumbulakhang can be seen.  Yumbulakhang is an amazing architectural site hovered on a cliff. It is one of the oldest buildings in all of Tibet.

The tour continues to the west of Tsedang, crossing the Tsangpo River on a boat to Samye Monastery, founded in 779 AD, is in a green valley among barren mountains surrounded by a village. Samye Monastery is one of the most imposing sights of Tibet. Built between 763 and 775 AD modeled on the University of Otantapuri in India and planned as a representation of the universe, it has a collection of pagodas and temples.

Day 12: Drive to Gongkar Airport and Depart

Drive to Gongkar Airport and fly from Lhasa to Kathmandu. You will be escorted to the airport in time for your flight home. The flight from Lhasa to Kathmandu takes one hour and during your flight, you can see Yarlung Tsangpo River, Yamdrok Tso [Lake], Mount Kanchanjungha (8,586m.), Mount Makalu (8,463m.) and Mount Everest (8,848m.). But the visibility depends on the weather condition. Your Tibet Tour ends on your arrival at Kathmandu Airport.

  • Trip facts

  • Trip duration : 12 days
  • Grade : Moderate
  • Activity : Sightseeing Tour & Trekking in Tibet
  • Starts in : Lhasa
  • End in : Lhasa
  • Max Altitude : 52050 m
  • Location Covered: Lhasa, Ganden, Yama Do, Tsotup Chu Valley, Wango, Samye, Yarlung, Tsedang
  • Best Season: Spring / Autumn

Cost Includes

  • Airport pick-up and drop off services by private A/C vehicle
  • Flight tickets Kathmandu - Lhasa – Kathmandu
  • Sightseeing tour in Tibet
  • Monasteries entry fees
  • Accommodation in 3 star hotels with breakfast on twin sharing basis in Lhasa & Tsedang
  • Guesthouse/Tented camp accommodations during the trek
  • All meals during the trek
  • English speaking Tibetan Guide
  • All ground transportation throughout the Tibet trek/tour by private vehicle
  • Travel Permits
  • China/Tibet visa
  • All trekking equipments
  • Yak & Yak Men required during trek

Cost Excludes

  • Travel Insurance
  • Tips, drinks and expense due to unforeseen circumstance
  • Service other than mentioned above
  • Meals and hotel accommodation in Kathmandu


Extension Tours

Paragliding
Jungle Safari
Pokhara Tour
Rafting

Necessary Information

1. Arrival in Lhasa

Tibet is connected by railway line from Chengdu, Beijing, Xian, Xining and Shanghai. Air China and Sichuan Airlines operate regular flights between Kathmandu and Lhasa. This flight offers spectacular views of Mt. Everest, Makalu and many other Himalayan giants. We will organize your pick up once you reach Lhasa and drive you to your hotel.

2. Visa & Entry Procedure

Via Kathmandu

For Tibet, we organize a group visa, and in order to do this we will need a copy of your passport at least 30 days prior to the commencement of your trip. Tourism regulations in Tibet are subject to change without prior notice. As per current regulation Chinese Embassy issues visa from Monday to Friday (9am – 11am) in Kathmandu, and it takes 4 days for visa processing. We will need your original passport 1 day before the visa processing day.

Via Mainland China

Those entering Tibet from mainland China (Beijing, Shanghai, Chengdu, Xian, Guilin etc) have to get Chinese visa from their country (please ask us for the best way of doing it).

3. Group Size

We bring together a small group of like-minded people. During the trip, not only do they gain a memorable and insightful travel experience but also get an invaluable opportunity to interact with each other. On our fixed scheduled departures, group comprises of maximum 12 & minimum 2 persons. You are likely to join a group from different countries. Average age ranges from early 20s to mid 50s. For private trips, no minimum and maximum number apply.

If you would like to travel independently or with your friends, families and colleagues you are invited to choose any of our trips at your convenient time frame for any number of people (min 1 to max 100 at a time).

4. Accommodation

In Lhasa, accommodation will be at 3 star hotel. Elsewhere along the route, accommodation will be at the available hotels. If you would like to book a single room, please do inform us. A supplement charge will incur in that case.

We shall try our best to provide the best accommodation available but please do keep in mind that you are taking an adventure tour, and sometimes the arrangement may be basic. Traveling in Tibet is a fantastic experience but sometimes you have to put up with a bit of discomfort. To enjoy this trip you need to have an adventurous spirit and the ability to adapt to minor discomforts.

Tented camps supported and catered by Nepali Sherpa crews shall be provided during the trek.

5. Guide & Trekking Crew

For your sightseeing tour in the cities, a knowledgeable English speaking guide will accompany you.

On your trek, you will be accompanied by either Nepalese or Tibetan trekking crew. Their aim is to make the trek as hassle-free and enjoyable as possible. They all speak some English and, although it may not be perfect, communication won't be a problem. Under the leadership of the sirdar, the crew consists of several assistants depending on group size who will ensure you don't take the wrong path. There will also be a cook and kitchen crew to keep you well fed with delicious and nutritious meals. To transport all the gear from camp to camp, we use yaks in Tibet.

A typical trekking crew consists of one guide and one cook and the kitchen crew, porters and yaks. The ratio of trekking crew to group members is generally 1:4. At the end of the trek, it is customary to tip the crew as a sign of your appreciation for the work they've done.

6. Food

All breakfasts are included in our package. Your guide will help you find good restaurants with reasonable price. You can try ethnic Tibetan cuisine. Have some momos or gyantok, and wash it down with a cup of salted Tibetan butter tea. Meals will either be in the hotel or at a restaurant of your choice (where available). While on the road, lunch will be at one of the many Chinese tea shops along the way which generally serve a variety of noodle and vegetable dishes and meat where available.  Expect to spend around 25-30 US$ per day for meals.

Apart from when you are staying in hotels, during the trek ,your cook will provide 3 tasty, plentiful and nutritious meals daily with a variety of local and Western dishes. To start the day, breakfast consists of a choice of porridge, muesli and cereal followed by omelette, fried or scrambled eggs with chapattis or bread. Lunch is generally a selection of salad, cooked vegetable dishes, pasta and traditional breads. After a long day on the trail, dinner is a hearty 3 course meal - soup, followed by a variety of vegetables, meat, rice and pasta dishes and completed with a simple dessert. Tea, coffee and hot chocolate are also provided at all meals.

We use as much fresh products as possible and our cooks and kitchen crew maintain exceptional standards of cleanliness and food preparation hygiene. Special dietary requirements can always be catered for.

7. Transportation

The roads in Tibet can at times become quite rough and impassable for many vehicles. It can at times become quite rough and impassable for many vehicles, so for this reason we use best Land cruiser 4WDs. These vehicles are extremely reliable and will make the journey as comfortable as possible. As for the trekking and climbing there will be a truck for carrying luggage and trek equipments. We’ll drive for several hours, stopping along the way for photographs or places of special interest, before stopping for lunch at around midday. After lunch we continue our journey, generally arriving at our destination by 3 or 4pm.

8. Communication

Communication facilities in Tibet have been improved over the past few years. All the hotels we use in Lhasa, Gyantse and Shigatse have international IDD phone and fax services. Phone calls can also be made from public booth in bigger towns. Internet cafes are also available at bigger towns, check with your guide for the best cyber cafes in each town.

These days, mobile phones work fine up to the Everest Base Camp. You can also have a roaming facility added to your mobile phone. If you buy a Chinese SIM card at the border, you could stay in touch with your family and friends most of the time. Please ask us for the latest facilities and schemes on Chinese mobile phones.

9. Best time to do this Trek

Despite the high altitude of the Tibetan Plateau, the daytime temperatures are actually quite mild. Between April and November the average temperature ranges form 15-25 degrees Celsius and the skies are generally clear and blue. From July to August though there can be the odd shower during the day. The nights, however, can be very cold and temperatures can drop below 0 degrees Celsius. During the day a light shirt or jumper and lightweight pants will be suitable, but a warm fleece or down jacket is recommended for the evenings.

The best time of year for overland tours in Tibet is from April to November and for treks and Mt. Kailash tour from April to the beginning of October.

10. Clothing & Equipment

During the day a light shirt or jumper and lightweight pants will be suitable, but     a warm fleece or down jacket is recommended for the evenings. For trekking you will need walking boots, sleeping bags (3 seasons), waterproof jackets and trousers, fleece jackets, warm hat and gloves, sunglasses, water bottle, suns cream and day pack. Comprehensive list of equipments will be provided once you book your trip.

11. Personal Expenses

Besides Chinese Yuan, only US dollars can be accepted in Tibet. Also shops that accept American currency are very limited and you might not be able to get a good deal for an exchange rate. Credit cards can only be used at some hotels. The Bank of China also accepts credit cards. ATM is not widely available. Exchanging your money to Chinese currency will be the best option for you, which can be done at the Bank of China. While changing money at the local money exchange centers, please make sure that you are accompanied by your guide and do consult him as you may easily be duped with counterfeit notes.

Tibet is becoming more expensive every year. There are many shops in Lhasa, Shigatse and Gyantse that sell traditional Tibetan handicrafts. We recommend you to bring extra money to spend on souvenirs.

Tips are appreciated by your support team, after completion of the trip. The amount you give depends on your budget and appreciation of their work. For this you can allocate around 5% of your total tour cost.

12. Health

Vaccination requirements change frequently, so we suggest you consult your doctor at least 2 months prior to your trip. The main health consideration in high altitude is Acute Mountain Sickness (AMS). You may experience some mild symptoms initially, such as headache, lethargy, nausea and difficulty sleeping, but these should lessen within a few days. To avoid Acute Mountain Sickness (AMS), people take pills called ‘Diamox’. You can also use these pills after consulting with your doctor. A supply of bottled oxygen is carried in the vehicle at all times. Chinese doctors will also be available at places like Lhasa, Gyantse, Shigatse, and Shegar. Our itinerary will allow your body to acclimatize properly and to handle the low oxygen rate. We have been organizing trips in Tibet since 1998, and only negligible numbers have suffered from severe AMS.

13. Rescue and Evacuation

In case of a serious sickness or a casualty, which we hope will not happen; you shall be transferred to the nearest hospital. Since you are entirely liable for all the expenses incurred in evacuation please make sure that it is covered by your insurance before assigning for it or be prepared to pay on your own after getting back to Kathmandu.

14. Itinerary Changes

One should keep in mind that this is an adventure trip that takes you into one of the remotest corners of the Tibetan plateau, where many unforeseen events may contribute to the need for a change in the itinerary. Depending on the prevailing situation, the itinerary can be modified to some extent after consulting with your guide. However, the date of tour completion should always coincide with the original itinerary.

15. People and Culture

The Tibetans are classified as belonging to the Mongoloid family of people. They are probably descendents of a variety of nomadic tribes who migrated from the north and settled along sedentary cultivation of Tibet’s river valleys.

The Tibetans living within the borders of present day Tibet are easily identified by their distinctive dialects, social customs and dress. The Topas live in the highland regions (Lato and Ngari), the Tsangpas in the West Tibet (Tsang), the Upas live in central Tibet, the Horpas comes from the north (Nagchu/Jangtang), the Kongpowas from the south, the Khampas live in the east, the Amdowa in the northeast, and the Gyarongwa in the extreme east.

Travelers to Tibet inevitably find Tibetans to be friendly and possessing a great sense of humor. It is appreciated when you try and use Tibetan language when communicating with Tibetans. The further from Lhasa you travel, the more often is Tibetan used.

Religion is extremely important to the majority of Tibetans, and travelers should endeavor to respect their customs and beliefs. Always circumambulate Buddhist religious sites or monastery in a clockwise direction, and when in a monastery do not wear a hat, smoke or touch frescoes. In addition, refrain from climbing onto statues, mani stones or other sacred objects. Tibetans are warm and friendly people. Some speak a bit of English and are happy to have a chat with you. Don't photograph people without permission, and be aware that some locations prohibit photography.

Travel With Rajbala

Since we began in the early 90s we have always strived to keep our environmental footprint as small as possible and to give back to the many villages we pass through on our trekking itineraries. Today we still embrace this responsible travel approach when devising and operating our small group travel holiday experiences in Nepal. We invite you to trek in Nepal with the Himalayan trekking specialists Raj Bala Treks and Expeditions.

Destinations

Contact Details

  • + 977-1-4811668 , + 977-1-4812377
  • P.O.Box : 24450
  • Fax: + 977-1-4812377
  • +977-9841416722 , +977-9841389464
  • This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
  • Budhanilkantha – 10, Kathmandu, Nepal

Copyright © . Rajbala Treks and Expeditions