You are here -ยป   Home » Our Trips » Trekking in Tibet » 10 days Ganden Samye Trek

10 days Ganden Samye Trek

Ganden Samye Trek

A trek from Ganden to Samye is the most popular trek route in Tibet. During this trek, you will see lakes, beautiful alpine forests and meadows, as well as two centers of Tibetan religious culture. The best time for this trek is from May to Mid of Oct. Summer will be wet but the mountains are at their greenest and wild flowers spangle the alpine meadows. Before you start this trek you need a couple of days at Lhasa to acclimatize.

Trip Outline

Day1: Arrival

Day2: Lhasa sight seeing visit Potala Palace, Jokhang Temple

Day3: Lhasa sight seeing visit Drepung Monastery, Norbulinga, Sera Monastery

Day4: Lhasa- Gaden Monastery

Day5: Gaden-Hepu-Yamadu 

Day6: Yamadu-Tsotops Chu valley-Chitul Gang

Day7: Chitul Gang-Herders Camp

Day8: Herders Camp- Nyango

Day9: Samye Monastery-Tsedang

Day10: Tsedang-Lhasa Airpor


Trip Detail Itinerary day to day

Day 01: Arrival at Lhasa, rest for the acclimitization

Upon your arrival at Lhasa airport or train station our representative will meet and transfer to your hotel in Lhasa. Afternoon have a good rest to acclimatize the high altitude. Overnight at Lhasa.

Day 02: Lhasa City sightseeing visit Potala Palace, Jokhang Temple, Barkhor Street

Visit Potola Palace & Jokhang Temple. Today is your first day of sightseeing on the high plateau, so we have purposely arranged only to visit Jokhang temple and Potala Palace. Potala Palace built on a rocky hill overlooking the city of Lhasa, the Potala Palace has a sturdy fortress-like appearance. It contains more than a thousand rooms spreading over an area of 1,300 feet by 1,000 feet. The stone walls are 16 feet thick at the base, but more finely constructed (without the use of nails) in the upper stories. The Potala Palace is made of two main parts, easily distinguished by their color: the Red Palace and White Palace. The two are joined by a smaller, yellow-painted structure that houses the sacred banners hung on the exterior for the New Year festivals. The rooms inside the palace are identified by numbers as well as names. Jokhang Temple was founded in 647 by King Songtsen Gampo (r.617-49), the first ruler of a unified Tibet, and his two foreign wives who are credited with bringing Buddhism to Tibet. The king's first wife, Princess Bhrikuti (married in the 630s), was the sister of the Nepalese king, while his second wife, Princess Wencheng (married 641), was the niece or daughter of the Chinese emperor. Jokhang Temple is a very important pilgrimage destination for Tibetan Buddhists. Pilgrims come from all corners of Tibet, usually on foot and often performing austerities for penance along the way. The most devout pilgrims cover the last several miles prostrate on the ground. More prostrations are undertaken in the plaza in front of the temple. Before entering, most pilgrims circumambulate the temple on the Barkhor, a sacred path that is also lined with market stalls selling yak butter and jewelry.

Day 03: Lhasa City sightseeing visit Drepung Monastery, Norbulinga, Sera Monastery

Drepung Monastery was founded in 1416 by Tsongkapa's disciple Jamyang Choeje. It was the home of the Dalai Lamas before the Potala palace was built in the 17th century. Resembling a heap of white rice from a distance, it was dubbed "Monastery of the Collecting-Rice" (Drepung Gompa) in Tibetan. Drepung lost a major source of income with the death of the charismatic teacher Gen Lamrim in 1997, whose lectures drew devotees from all over the Tibetan world. The monastery therefore gratefully accepts donations from pilgrims and visitors, which can be made in the kitchen.The Sera Monastery at the foot of Tatipu Hill is located in the northern suburb of Lhasa City. It is one of three famous monasteries in Lhasa along with the Drepung monastery  and the Ganden monastery The Sera Monastery is dedicated to the Gelugpa or Yellow Hat Sect, a branch of Tibetan Buddhism, founded by Tsong Khapa. Jamchen Chojey, one of Tsong Khapa's disciples built the monastery in 1419 during the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644). The monastery was named Sera which means wild rose in the Tibetan language, because the hill behind it was covered with wild roses in bloom when the monastery was built. Norbulingka Palace, situated in the west side of Lhasa is just around a km southwest of Potala Palace. Norbulingka meaning 'Treasure Park' covers an area of around 360000 sq. m. and is considered to be the biggest man made garden in Tibet. You will be amazed to know that there are more than 370 rooms inside its premises. It is called summer palace because after the 7th Lama, Dalai Lamas used to visit here during summers to hold religious and government related activities. As a part of "Historic Ensemble of the Potala Palace", UNESCO added Norbulingka in its list of world heritage sites.

Day 04: Lhasa-Ganden Monastery 

Morning drive about 60 km eastwards to Ganden Monastery, which ranks the first among the six largest monasteries of Gelugpa. In addition to its magnificent architecture and religious importance, there is a extremely fabulous view on top of the Ganden Wangpo Hill, and Kichu valley is behind Ganden monastery, it is strongly suggested to hiking around the monastery and take a bird's-eye view of the valley. Today you will spend time at Ganden to acclimatize further, you guide will prepare for the trekking in the afternoon. Overnight at Ganden monastery guesthouse.

 Ganden means "joyful" and is the Tibetan name for Tushita , the heaven where the bodhisattva Maitreya is said to reside. It was the original monastery of the Gelugpa order, founded by Je Tsongkhapa  himself in 1409, and traditionally considered to be the seat of Gelugpa. It was the original monastery of the Gelug order, founded by Je Tsongkhapa  himself in 1409,and traditionally considered to be the seat of Gelug administrative . The Ganden Tripa or 'throne-holder of Ganden' is the head of the Gelukpa school.?Tsongkhapa's preserved body was entombed there in a silver and gold encrusted tomb by his disciples in 1419. Being the farthest from Lhasa of the three university monasteries, Ganden traditionally had a smaller population with some 6,000 monks before 1959 (although Waddell reports an estimate of about 3,300 in the 1890s and there were, apparently only 2,000 in 1959.At this time there are about 300 monks.?Ganden Monastery consisted of two principal original colleges, Jangtse and Shartse, meaning North Peak and East Peak respectively. The three main sights in the Ganden Monastery are the Serdung, which contains the tomb of Tsongkhapa, the Tsokchen Assembly Hall and  the chapel where  Tsongkhapa traditionally taught. The monastery houses artifacts which belonged to Tsongkhapa.It contained more than two dozen major chapels with large Buddha statues. The largest chapel was capable of seating 3,500 monks.

Day 05: Ganden-Hepu-Yama Do

The first day of trekking begins at the highest point of the Ganden Kora. From here walk along a saddle trail. After leaving this trail with wondrous views traverse the west side of the ridge before passing through an ancient Hepu village. Later in the day pass through Ani Pagong, a narrow bottleneck in the trail and former site of a nunnery. You will end the day with an ascent towards Yama Do, a few nomads families used to dwel their tents in this area for whole summer time, set up camp and overnight camping.

 Day 06: Yama Do-Tsotup Chu Valley-Chitul Gang

In the morning leave the valley and make our way through a steep gully rising form the stream bank. Finally, we climb over the Shug La [5250m] and begin our climb down through treacherous boulder fields. Later, we cross Tsotup Chu, a large stream winding through the valley floor. Notice that the Tibetan mastiffs of the namad family on the other shore of the river is little aggressive. A comfortable camp will be set up in one of the many herder fields and overnight camping.

Day 07: Chitul Gang-Herders' Camps

 Today follow the Tsotup Chu down through its tributary and head towards the Chitu La pass [5100m], then trek through the rocks along a beautiful lake just after the pass. After ascending this rocky part quickly descend down through several twisted curves in the valley, and encounters some nomads settlements within the valley, find a beautiful place to camp in one of the fields surrounding the stream. Over night in camping.

Day 08 Herders' Camps- Nyango

The trail gets wider and easier as we go through scrub forests in the main valley where beautiful streams and lush forests surrounded. However, the desert is close by. The next few hours are arguably the most delightful part of the entire trek. More than 15 types of scrub trees, blooming rhododendrons, and vast meadow will amaze you every step of the way. After passing through this wondrous landscape arriving at the first permanent village Changtang since Hepu. From Changtang walking another 1.5 hours to arrive Nyango, where you can take a tractor or your landcruiser will pick you up to Samye Monastery. Visit Samye Monastery in the afternoon. Overnight at Samye Monastery guesthouse.

About Samye Monastery: Built in the 8th century, Samye Monastery was the first Buddhist monastery to be founded in Tibet. It is also notable as the site of the "Great Debate" (792-794) between the Indian Mahayanists and Chinese Chán (Zen) Buddhists.

Samye is famous for its sacred mandala design: the central temple symbolizes the legendary Mount Meru, center of the universe. It is a popular pilgrimage destination for Tibetan Buddhists, some of whom travel on foot for weeks to reach it. A unique monastery and village rolled into one, Samye is a highlight of a visit to Tibet. Situated amidst breathtaking scenery, the journey to Samye is splendid no matter how you arrive. The layout of the huge monastery complex forms a giant mandala, a representation of the Buddhist universe, and is modeled after the Indian temple of Odantapuri in Bihar. The complex is surrounded by a strong wall topped by 1008 (108 is a sacred number) tiny chortens and pierced by gates at the four cardinal points. The main temple in the center represents Mt. Meru, the mythical mountain at the center of the Buddhist universe. The four continents in the ocean around Mt. Meru are represented by the four lingshi temples at the cardinal points, each flanked by two smaller temples (lingtren) to symbolize islands in the ocean.

Day 09: Samye Monastery-Yumbulakang-Trandruk Temple-Tsedang [3500m]

Drive from Samye to Tsedang, the ancient capital of Tibet prior to Lhasa and fertile valley of Yarlung is the cradle of Tibetan civilization, afternoon visit Yumbulakang Palace and Trandruk Temple near the town. Drive and visit Yambulakhang Palace, Yumbulhakhang palace is an ancient palace in the Yarlung valley. According to legend it was the first building in Tibet and the palace of the first Tibetan king, Nyatri Tsenpo. Yungbulakang stands on a hill on the eastern bank of the Yarlung River in the Yarlung Valley of south east Naidong County, about 192 km southeast of Lhasa, and 9 km south of Tsetang. Overnight at Tsedang

Day 10: Tsedang to the Lhasa airport (100km, 2hrs drive)

Today drive to Lhasa airport according to your flight estimate time of departure meanwhile it is time to say your farewells to your guide and driver. Tibet warmheartedly welcome you back home forever . All the best wishes for your continue happy journey.




Book your Tibet trip to local travel agency in Lhasa.

Text and photographs on this website are copyrighted materials of Songtsan Travel, so please do not use any images or text from this website without our written permission.