Ganden to Samye Trekking 12 days
Ganden is situated 45 km East of Lhasa on the Highway which follows the south bank of the Kyi Chu to Medro Gongkar. This is one of the most beautiful trekking sites in central Tibet and is considered as an abode of Champa, the future Buddha. Ganden monastery is perched on a ridge (Gokpo Ri), which was chosen by Tsong Khapa (1357-1419) for his first meditation, the monastery was built later. This is one of the great monasteries of six which were built by Gelukpa sect.
This unforgettable tour will lead you through much of Tibet's magic, history, and culture. Along the way you will immerse yourself the true beauty, which is Tibet. Our trip will begin with 3 nights in the ancient city of Lhasa. While in Lhasa we will explore many of the city's attractions ranging from The Potala Palace to bustling market streets. For further acclimatization we will drive to Ganden and explore the Gelugpa Monastery. The actual trek we will follow is one of the most beautiful and popular treks in all of Tibet. Along the way we will cross two high passes and experience some amazing and remote regions of Tibet.
The terrain is difficult, but easily done if properly acclimatized. AMS is common along the way, so stay hydrated and be careful while climbing through the passes and large valleys. It is possible to do the trek at any time throughout the year. However, any time between May and October is best. Our final destination of our trek is the ancient Samye Monastery and its surrounding attractions. Our last day will be spent exploring the Yarlun Valley, or valley of the tombs. You can learn a lot from these Tibetan people. You can start this trip from Kathmandu, Nepal, as well as by train or air from Beijing, Shanghai, Chengdu, Canton (Guangzhou), Chongqing, Kuming, Xian, Xining, please choose the way into Lhasa for your convenience in China.
Day 1: Arrival in Lhasa by train or air. Once you arrive at Gonggar airport or Lhasa Train Station, an easy one hour or half hour drive will take you to your final destination of the traditional Dhood Gu Hotel or Yak Hotel or Shangbala Hotel, etc. The remainder of the day can be spent relaxing and exploring some of the many sights in Lhasa.
Note: Please be aware of that you can take overland train tours from China side, and of course you can enter Tibet by air.
Day 2: Exploring Lhasa. Haven't you always dreamed of visiting the ancient Tibetan monasteries? Our knowledgeable English-speaking guide will show you everything there is to see in some of these renowned sights. First off we will explore the beautifully preserved Sera Monastery. Many of the pictures you see of Tibet are of these buildings with their white washed walls and golden roofs. To this day several hundred monks live and study in this architecture. The afternoon will be spent exploring the Jokhang temple and Norbulingka.
The Norbunglinka is another astounding piece of architecture and was once the summer palace of the Dalai Lama. Jokhang Temple will provide you one of your first sights of devout Tibetans, as hundreds visit this sacred shrine each day. The central market of Lhasa, the Barkor, surrounds the Jokhang Temple. In these cobbled streets you can experience more Tibetan culture and even purchase some amazing crafts.
Day 3: Further exploration of Lhasa. To explore some of the ancient quarters of the Dalai Lama we will visit Potala Palace in the morning. Be prepared for astonishment as this grand palace has been around since before the 17th century. To add even more history and culture we will also visit Drepung Monastery. Once home to over 10,000 monks, the Drepung Monastery is still a beautiful sight to see. Miraculously it was one of the few sights to escape the Cultural Revolution without widespread damage.
Day 4: Free day in Lhasa. Today is a day for you to relax, fully acclimatize, and see more of Lhasa. Many of our clients choose to explore Lhasa further, relax in the various monasteries, or simply enjoy a great meal at one of the many restaurants in Lhasa. Enjoy yourself!
Day 5: Drive to Ganden (4500 m). After only a short drive we will arrive in Ganden. The day will be spent acclimatizing further and exploring this wonderful area. There are many attractions in this ancient town. However, the highlight for most is the first Gelugpa Monastery. Although this monastery has been destroyed over the years, there is still much to see. Many pilgrims walk the kora around this holy place and one can observe their many rituals along the way.
Day 6: Trek to Yama Do (5 hours). Our first day of trekking begins at the highest point on the Ganden Kora. From here we walk along a saddle trail. After leaving this trail with wondrous views we traverse the west side of the ridge before passing through an ancient Hepu village. Later in the day we pass through Ani Pagong, a narrow bottleneck in the trail and former site of a nunnery. We will end the day with an ascent towards Yama Do, where we will set up camp.
Day 7: Trek to Tsotup Chu Valley (4 to 5hours). In the morning we leave the valley floor and make our way through a steep gully rising form the stream bank. Finally, we climb over the Shug La and begin our climb down through treacherous boulder fields. Later, we cross Tsotup Chu, a large stream winding through the valley floor. A comfortable camp will be set up in one of the many herder fields.
Day 8: Trek to Herder's Camp (5 hours). Today we 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 9: Trek to Wango (6 hours). The trail gets wider and easier as we follow it through scrub forests in the main valley. Beautiful streams and lush forests surround us as we walk. However, the desert is close by. The next few hours are arguably the most beautiful part of our 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 we will trek pass the Changtang village. Less than an hour away participants can choose to make the one-hour hike to the Yamalung Hermitage. Yamalung is an ancient and holy Buddhist meditation site, but is completely up to you whether you want to go. Later in the day we join the Samye valley along the babbling tributary stream. The night will be spent at another comfortable campsite, not far from Samye.
Day10: Trek to Samye (2 hours), Drive to Tsetang. In the morning we will admire the widespread views from Pisha. The entire Samye valley can be seen from here. After reaching the summit of Dragmar we can explore the numerous temples nearby. However, the Cultural Revolution ravished the temples. Prepare for an awe-inspiring site as we meet up with the jeep trail and get even closer to Samye. Samye monastery, representing the Buddhist universe, is the highlight of the trip for many. There will be plenty of time to explore this intricate network of buildings. At the end of the day we will get in Jeeps and spend the night in Tibet's third largest city, Tsethang. Enjoy the beds and the showers!
Day 11: Explore the Yarlung Valley. This majestic area is widely believed to be the cradle of all of Tibetan civilization. The valley of the tombs is located at the origin of the Tibetan people. You are being given a rare opportunity to explore this majestic site. It was here where both the massive burial grounds and Yumbulakhang. Yumbulakhang is an amazing architectural site perched on a cliff. It is one of the oldest buildings in all of Tibet! You will spend your last night sleeping well back in Tsethang.
Day 12: Drive to Gongkar and depart. This remarkable flight last only an hour while crossing the Himalayan range. As you may expect the striking mountain views surround you the entire time. An amazing way to end a life-changing journey! Come join us in this land of religion and history!
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