Tibet: Trekking » Ganden to Samye Trek

Ganden to Samye Trek

Ganden to Samye Trek

Outline Itinerary

Day 01: Fly from Kathmandu to Lhasa.
Day 02: Sightseeing Lhasa. Overnight hotel.
Day 03: Sightseeing Lhasa. Overnight hotel.
Day 04: Free day, optional excursions
Day 05: Driven to Ganden, visit Ganden Monastery. Start camping trek
Day 06: Ganden to the base of Shuga La Pass
Day 07: Trekking cross Shuga La Pass
Day 08&09: Trekking cross Chitu La Pass
Day 10: Trekking to Samye monastery. Overnight in guesthouse
Day 11: Tour of the Monastery and Tsetang. Overnight in hotel
Day 12: Drive to Gonggar and fly back to onward destination

  • Trip Code: NT-T203
  • Duration: 12 days
  • Distance: 140 Kilometers
  • Standard: Medium to Difficult
  • Max. Altitude:
  • Start: Ganden
  • End: Tsetang
  • Summary: This trek demands

Day 1: In the morning you will be transferred to the airport to depart on your 1hr and 10 min flight to Lhasa.
Of course this tour can also be booked excluding the flight when you are arriving at Lhasa from a different destination. Please let us know at our booking form when this is the case. While you land at Lhasa Airport, a representative of Nature Trail Trekking will be waiting for you at the airport and he will clears/help you to check you in Tibet/Lhasa and he will transfer you to your hotel in Lhasa. Please note that the distance between Lhasa Airport and Lhasa is 93 km and takes about 2 hours, a very scenic drive and your first experiences with Tibet. Overnight stay your desired hotel.

When you land in Lhasa, you might feel a small headache and some of you could feel uncomfortable due to the altitude and it might take some time to adapt (depending on the person and their physical conditions). Note that Kathmandu is only 1300m while Lhasa is situated at 3600m above sea level.

This evening you will discuss your program with your tour guide and may be shown around before or after your meals if desired.

Day 2-3: With a relaxed pace to allow for the effects of altitude,
explore this fantastic city on the roof of the world. The spiritual heart of Tibet is the Jokhang Temple and every morning is full of life as pilgrims bring offerings of butter and barley flour. The Potala Palace rises above the city and, more than any other sight, symbolizes the history and culture of Tibet. Nearby are the huge monastic universities of Drepung and Sera – still active institutions.

Day 4:
oday you can choose to explore at your own or go on one of the following optional excursions. You can choose for example between the Shurpa Monastery (75 kms from Lhasa), Yangbajing (the highest altitude hot springs in the world, 120 kms) or to the Drakpaya Cave (50 kms). We will have a picnic lunch on the excursions and you will be returned to Lhasa in the afternoon.

Day 5: Ganden (4500m) is the seat of the head of the Gelukpa order, the Ganden Tripa. Founded by Tsong Khapa in 1417, the monastery has exercised powerful political influence and perhaps because of this suffered almost total destruction in the 1960s. Rebuilding is well underway, but the extent of the damage is quite evident. The kora, pilgrimage curcuit, here is one of the most fascinating with numerous pilgrims and great views of the Kyi Chu valley.

Day 6:
From the high point of Ganden kora continue to ascend towards the top of the ridge, marked by a cairn. From here the view is down the Kyi Chu Valley to Lhasa. Pass through Hepu village with its red and yellow protector-deity residence on the edge of the village – the Divine White Yak. The trail continues along the stream as the valley narrows to the site of a ruined nunnery before emerging onto marshy meadowland and Yama Do.

Day 7: Damp alpine meadows continue to the pass, Shuga La (5250m)
where cairns, prayer flags and yak horns mark the summit. Descend past a small lake into the Tsotup Chu Valley, an area of rich pasture supporting yak, sheep and goats. There are often herders camped here and it is an ideal opportunity to get a glimpse of this traditional Tibetan lifestyle.

Day 8: Climbing a wide basin the Chitu-La (5100) is visible as a rocky rampart at the head of the valley.
On the far side small lakes dot a shrub area where herders have carved out small level areas for their tents. A narrow gorge leads out onto the wider meadows where there are larger herder’s camps along the river.
Day 9: Scrub willow and rosebush forest become thicker as you descend down the river, into forest of juniper and rhododendron. This is one of the most attractive sections of the trek, especially in May and June when the rhododendrons are in flower and the hillside is a blaze of color. There is a shrine to the protectors of the area, Dorje Yudronma, and further down the valley, the first permanent settlement since Hepu – Chanda. Looking south the mountain range across the Yarlung Tsangpo is visible in the distance.

Day 10:
A detour leads to Yamalung hermitage where Guru Rinpoche meditated and received empowerment from the Buddha Amitayus. There are several small temples, a sacred spring and numerous carvings; the temple enclosing Guru Rinpoche’s meditation cave contains a hand and footprints of the saint.

From the tiny hamlet of Pisha you can see Hepo Ri, one of Tibet’s most sacred mountains, in the middle of the Samye Valley below. From here the valley is a tapestry of fields, woods and villages contrasting with the sandy river bank. Tiny temples and shrines dot the path down towards the golden roofs of Samye. Samye, built in the form of a mandala, was the first monastery to be built in Tibet and where Guru Rinpoche subdued many local demons, converting them to Buddhism.

Day 11: Today we will have a guided tour to the Samye Monastery,
the first Monastery ever built, and the surroundings of Tsetang. Among others we will make a visit to Yambulakhang and the Tombs of Tibetan Kings. We will stay overnight in a hotel in Tsetang.

Day 12: Drive to Gonggar and fly back to onward destination

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Please note that this itinerary is just an example of how your trek could look like. It can be customized to your wishes if you want to skip certain attractions, add other ones or make your trek longer or shorter. Please let us know at our booking form so we are able to offer you your perfect trip! You can request the detailed itinerary by e-mail and a lot of information on the places you will visit can be found at our places of interest section.

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