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Ganden to Samye Trek

12 days 11 nights

Code TTT64

Category Tibet Trekking

  • Group Size 2-16
  • Difficulty Level 3
  • Rating Popular
  • Highest Altitude 5210 m. (17089 ft.) at Zukar La
  • Trip Starts From Lhasa
  • Trip Ends At Lhasa
  • Accommodation Hotels in the cities and tent during trekking
  • Type Trekking
  • Season April to October
  • Destination Lhasa Ganden monastery Samye Tsedang Gonggar Airport
Dates & Prices
No available seat


You will have 3 days in Lhasa to tour around while getting properly acclimatized to the altitude before you hit the trail. The trekking begins at the Ganden Monastery which is the principal seat of Gelugpa head. You will get to visit the monastery and take warm up Kora hike on the pilgrims circumambulating circuit.

This is an excellent trek, combining the historical and religious sites with the natural beauty of the high nomadic areas. This trek has a lot to offer such as the lakes, beautiful alpine forests, meadows, and it connects the two major religious centers of Tibet: the Ganden and the Samye Monasteries. The trek is graded medium to difficult and attains the highest altitude of 5250m (17, 220 ft.) at Shuga La. Although it’s a short trek, it shouldn't be underestimated and trekkers should plan and prepare well. Previous high altitude trekking experience would be an advantage. Trekkers should be physically fit and in an optimum health condition. It is suggested that you should start some physical exercises like jogging, swimming, hiking, cycling, etc. a couple of months ahead of the trip.

From Samye, you will take shorter route to Tsedang that requires crossing the Yarlungdzanbo River by ferry. Tsedang is the gateway town to the ancient Yarlung Valley civilization. You will have an extra day in Tsedang to visit the Tibet’s first palace the Yambulakhang. Also on the visit is the Tradruk Temple as well as many other highlights.

Detailed Itinerary

Day 01~Flight to Lhasa (Alt 3,595m/11,792 ft.)

Arrival at the Gonggar Airport in Lhasa. You are met and greeted by your local guide and transferred to your hotel in the city (1 hr.). Check into the hotel and take rest for acclimatization of the altitude. You may experience mild symptoms of the altitude sickness such as headache, dizziness, disorientation, breathlessness, etc. but it should go away within a day or two. Please drink plenty of water and consume liquid food.

Overnight at Dekhang Hotel or similar 3*.

Day 02~Sightseeing in Lhasa

Full day sightseeing in Lhasa- visiting the Dalai Lama’s Potala Palace, which is the principal attraction of Lhasa. Visit Sera Monastery, the last of the three Yellow Sect Monasteries to be built in Lhasa. And Norbulinkha, the summer palace of the Dalai Lama. If you are hiking enthusiast and if you are not experiencing any signs of altitude sickness, the Sera Monastery Kora hiking pilgrimage path around the monastery would be worth trying. You may also get a chance to attend the debating ceremony of Sera Monks.

Overnight Kyichu Hotel, 3* or similar.

Meals : Breakfast
Day 03~Continue sightseeing in Lhasa

Today, you will visit the Drepung Monastery. It is the largest, richest, and the most powerful of the three major Yellow Sect monasteries of Tibet and was the power center of Tibet before the 5th Dalai Lama moved to Potala Palace. In Drepung, you will visit the Ganden Palace, main assembly hall, and colleges of Drepung. An optional hike would be a 1 hr. long circuit but you need to be fully acclimatized. Visit the ancient Jorkhang Temple in the old Tibetan quarter of Lhasa and the Barkhor Street which forms the pilgrim circuit around the Jorkhang Temple.

Overnight Kyichu Hotel, 3* or similar.

Meals : Breakfast
Day 04~ Transfer to the trail head at Ganden Monastery

Today you will leave Lhasa early in the morning for Ganden with the crews, supplies, and gears. Arrive in Ganden early in the day, as it is only a 40 kilometer drive from Lhasa. Spend the rest of that day exploring and acclimatizing or if you choose you can hike the Kora of the Ganden. Ganden was the first Gelugpa Monastery and has remained the main seat of the order ever since. Today, you hike the Ganden Kora which is the traditional pilgrimage path that begins at the south west corner of Ganden. A large rocky cleft draped with prayer flags marks the start of this scenic circuit, which takes at least 1 hr. to complete.

Tonight, you will overnight in a local guesthouse with basic facilities.

Meals : Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 05-09~Trekking from Ganden Monastery to Samye Monastery

You will follow the well-trodden trail heading south along the side of Angor Ri, the highest point on the Ganden Kora. You leave behind the last village and take a gradual but steady climb. You will cross the first pass on the second day and come into the high altitude pastures inhabited by the nomads with their yaks in the summer months. The next two days takes you over a lower pass and into a sheltered valley containing the hidden retreat site of Yamalung. Finally, you shall enter the broad valley of the Yarlungdzangbo, which is Tibet’s major river that runs west to east draining all of central Tibet before dropping south and becoming the Brahmaputra River in India. Samye Monastery is Tibet's first Monastery and was founded in the 8th century by the Indian master, Guru Rinpoche. The entire monastic complex is designed as a structural Mandala and contains a wide range of architectural and artistic styles from India, China, and Tibet.

Camping on the Trek.

Meals : Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 10~Transfer to Tsedang

You will have more time to explore the villages and the monastery today. In the afternoon, you take tractor ride to the ferry point at the Yarlung Tsangpo River. Cross the river by traditional ferry, meet your transport, and then you are driven to Tsedang. Check into the hotel and in the afternoon you will have time to take a leisurely stroll through the Tibetan quarter of town.

Overnight in Tsedang Hotel, 4*.

Meals : Breakfast
Day 11~Sightseeing of Tsedang

Today, explore the historical and cultural sights of Tsedang and the Yarlung Valley. The Yarlung Valley is also known as "the cradle of Tibetan Civilization", mainly for two reasons: First, the mild weather and fertile land in Shannan gestated the great Tibet dynasty. Second, it's the birthplace of the first Tibetans who were said to be the offspring of a monkey and an ogress. So Tsedang literally means "monkey's playground".

Next, you will visit the ancient Trandruk Temple (7 km, 4.5 miles). It is one of the earliest Buddhist Monasteries in Tibet, and is contemporary in style to the Jorkhang and Ramoche of Lhasa. In Tradruk, you will visit the courtyard area, ringed by cloisters, the principal chapel with statues of Tara or Drolma, the 5 Dhyani Buddhas, and the famous Thangka painting of Drolma in the chapel upstairs. From Trandruk, head south to the Yumbulgang Palace (6km, 1.8 miles) which is a fine tapering finger of a structure that pops up from a rocky ridge overlooking the patchwork of fields of the Yarlung Valley. You will visit the ground floor chapel consecrated to the ancient kings of Tibet. The upper floor chapel has an image of Chenresig (Avalokityaswora). You will also see some excellent murals depicting the descent of Nyentri Tsenpo from heaven to Yumbulagang. Walk up along the ridge above the building to enjoy fabulous views of Yarlung Valley.

Today, the next destination is the Chongye Valley (approx 11 miles from Yumbulagang). In Chongye Valley, you will visit the tombs of ancient Tibetan kings that give evidence of the pre-Buddhist culture of the Tibet assimilating with Buddhism. The most revered and the largest of the burial mounds is the Tomb of King Songtsen Gampo, there also is a small Nyingmapa temple here. Late in the afternoon, you will retrace the drive to Tsedang and with time permitting, you may be able to stop by Tangboche and Rechung-puk Monasteries.

Overnight in Tsedang Hotel, 4*.

Meals : Breakfast
Day 12~Depart Tibet

You are transferred to the Gonggar airport in Lhasa for your flight to your next destination.

Meals : Breakfast

Trip Map

Trip Info

Trip Includes

  • 5 nights in mid-range hotels in Lhasa and Tsedang and 6 nights camping.
  • Breakfast only in the cities and full board during camping.
  • All transfers and sightseeing by private van and supporting vehicle for gears and supplies for group size 4 persons and above.
  • All camping gears and kitchen equipment including camp set up and breakdown services.
  • English speaking local guide.
  • Local Tibetan cook. Additional helpers are provided for group size 4 persons and more.
  • Pack animals with animal driver.
  • Tibet entry permit and all other necessary permits for the trip.
  • Sightseeing admission fees.

Trip Does Not Include

  • International and internal air fare into and out of Lhasa.
  • Airport Taxes.
  • Chinese visa fee.
  • Lunch and dinner during hotel portions of the trip.
  • Travel & health insurance.
  • Medical Immunizations.
  • All extra expenses caused due to nature or unforeseen events. Excess baggage charges.
  • Optional tipping to local staffs, hotels etc.
  • Items of a personal nature (sodas, alcoholic beverages, laundry, telephone etc.).

Chinese visa and Tibet permits.

Chinese visa and Tibet Permits are not as complicated as they sound to be like. If your travel begins in Nepal, we will pre-process your visa well ahead of time but final visa work will be done in Kathmandu once you arrive in Kathmadnu. We will take care of all the visa process. If your travel begins in Bangkok or Hong Kong or any other mainland Chinese cities, all you have to care is obtain Chinese visa on your own from the nearest Chinese embassy or consulate in your home country and provide us a copy of the photo page of your passport and Chinese visa about a month ahead of your travel. Then, leave rest of things to us. Make sure your passport will have validity more than 6 months at the time of your travel and that they have enough blank pages for entry and exit seals.

Accommodation in Tibet

Our preferred properties in Lhasa are Tibetan managed mid-range hotels which are located in Barkhor area. We use Gyangyen, Denkang, Yak best wing, Dhodgu and Kyichu hotels which are staffed with friendly locals and rooms have Tibetan décor. In Tsedang, we use Tsedang hotel which is the only best hotel and recently upgraded to 4 star standard. We will have en suite bath rooms with running hot and cold water. Hot water may be available only certain hours of the day only and sometime may be disrupted due to electric outage. For trekking, we provide complete camping gears that include 2 persons sleeping tents, kitchen tent, dinning tent, toilet tent, camping chairs and tables, mattresses and kitchen utensils. On request, we can also provide sleeping bags but usually we recommend bringing your own.


Our tour features breakfast only when you are in the hotels. Breakfast can be western or Chinese or Tibetan style. There are choices of restaurants in the cities serving western, Chinese, Indian and Nepali dishes. You can expect to spend US$ 8-10 per meal in regular restaurants. Meals in the hotels can be priced higher. During trekking, there will be a special cook and some helps (depending on group size) to prepare 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 omelet, 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 vegetable, 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 produce 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.

Besides, it's advisable to bring on your own some dry fruits, energy bars, chocolates, supplement vitamins etc. to eat on the way.

Guide and Crews

Right upon arrival at Lhasa airport, we will be met by your guide who will accompany you throughout the trip. We pick knowledgeable, friendly and flexible guides who are also recommended by our former clients. The guide, besides working as an interpreter and giving a valuable insight into the Tibetan way of life, he helps you check in hotel, co-ordinates with drivers and other crews and deals with local bureaucracies as and when required. Your guide carries all necessary documents required for check posts or hotels during your trip. On trekking trips, we will also have a special cook and additional help depending on group size. During trekking, gears and supplies are transported by pack animals driven by animal drivers. The drivers and animal caretakers may or may not speak English but you will be impressed by their sense of hospitality and service.

Transportation in Tibet

There might be rehabilitation works going on in Tibetan roads. So, at times, it can become quite rough and impassable for many vehicles, so for this reason we use Land cruiser 4WDs (Toyota 4500). These vehicles are extremely reliable and will make the journey as comfortable as possible. As for the trekking trips, depending on the duration of the trip, we might require to hire additional vehicle, usually a truck to transport gears and supplies to the trail head and again bring them back from the finish point. As road condition is not so good, we might come across flat tires or other mechanical issues but the driver will fix it while you are engaged in capturing the scenes or chitchatting.

About our Trekking Trips in Tibet

Our all trekking trips in Tibet are fully catered by our qualified and experienced crew from Tibet, led by an experienced English speaking Tibetan Guide. Depending on group size, we may also hire professional Nepalese Sherpa crews who are well renowned for organizing trekking trips.

A typical trekking day begins with a hot cup of tea or coffee served at your tent early morning. You are provided a bowl of hot water for washing. You will pack up your stuff and appear in the breakfast table by 7 or 7.30am. We leave the campsite usually from 8 to 8.30 am for days trekking. Your luggage is carried by porter or pack animal and all you need to carry is a small daypack containing a water bottle, camera, sun cream, hat, rain-jacket and a warm jumper, just in case. The afternoon's walk is generally shorter and we arrive at camp in time for a nice cup of tea. The remainder of the afternoon can be spent exploring the nearby villages, doing a bit of washing or simply relaxing with a good book or give hands to the kitchen crews to add your taste. Dinner is usually served between 6 and 7pm and after dinner, the evening is often spent playing cards or talking with the crews. If it’s a large group, the crews might take initiative in singing and dancing before turning into the tent for a well-earned sleep.

Health Issues

There are no mandatory vaccinations required to travel to Tibet but you may consider vaccination against rabies and Hep A. Travelers with cardiac-pulmonary issues or any other medical conditions are recommended to consult their physician before you sign up a trip to Tibet. The main health consideration in Tibet is altitude related illness or Acute Mountain Sickness (AMS). You may experience some mild symptoms initially, such as headache, lethargy, nausea and sleeplessness, but these should lessen within a few days. A supply of bottled oxygen is carried in the vehicle at all times should it be required. We also carry a Portable Altitude Chamber (PAC) on all our Tibet treks. We also carry basic first aid kit, but it’s good to bring your own as well. Hotels in Lhasa are equipped with oxygen. Doctors will also be available on call.

Based on our experience, less than 1% percent of our clients got altitude sickness but that was nothing serious. In case of a serious sickness or a casualty, which generally does not happen; you shall be driven by a land cruiser to nearest Nepal border or flown out of Lhasa. It’s recommended that you should bear a valid travel insurance covering emergency medical transportation.

You should start some physical exercises like jogging, swimming, cycling, hiking and aerobics about several weeks ahead of the trip that keeps you fit and lessens the chance of getting altitude sickness. You should have a good sleep the night before you fly to Lhasa and take complete rest on the first day. It's also advisable to drink 3-4 liters of water daily and consume liquid food.

Best Time to Trek in Tibet

While trekking trips can be undertaken from April through late October, May, June, September and early October are the best periods. High Himalayas blocks the monsoon cloud and Tibet is generally dry during summer but still there is some chance of rain during July and August. Trekkers must be prepared for the extremes in climate, even in the middle of the summer. Weather can change very quickly and unexpectedly. Night temperatures at 4500m (14,760 ft.) and above can fall below freezing even in July and August and it’s very much windy on high passes.


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. Below is the general clothing and equipment list for trekking in Tibet.

  • Down jacket or warm fleece top.
  • Thermal underwear (top and bottom).
  • Cotton shirts (short and long sleeved).
  • Warm and cotton trousers.
  • Sun polarized sunglasses.
  • Beanie or warm woolen hat and gloves.
  • Scarf (to keep out dust as well as cold).
  • Sandals (flip-flops).
  • Towel.
  • Sleeping bag (for camping/trekking).
  • Rain jacket.
  • Strong sun cream and lip protector.
  • Moisturizer.
  • Water bottle.
  • Camera (and plenty of film and spare batteries).

Note on Itinerary

Although we will do our very best to adhere to the itinerary schedule as listed; it is subject to change for numerous reasons beyond our control.

Booking and Cancellation

When you are sure you are traveling, please don't delay in booking. The internal flights are the key factor in determining whether your trip can be realized or not. A deposit of US$200 on land plus the cost of internal airfares is requested along with complete trip application form and passport copies.

Balance Payment

Balance payment is due 90 days prior to your departure. Depending on the number of applicants, we may set an early payment date. If balance of payment is not received by the requested date, we reserve the right to cancel your booking without prior notice.


  • 90 days prior departure: Administrative fee US$ 150 per person.
  • 60-89 day's prior departure: US$ 250 or 25% of the land cost whichever is higher.
  • 45 days to 59 days prior departure: US$ 450 or 50% of the land cost whichever is higher.
  • 30 days to 44 days prior departure: US$ 600 or 75% of the land cost whichever is higher.
  • Less than 30 days: 100%.

Travel Protection Plan

While we plan and do our best to make your trip smooth and seamless, there may be chances of unforeseen events and conditions such as illness, accident, inclement weather, and flight cancellation or missed connection or loss of baggage etc. that may cause interruption or delay or total cancellation of your trip putting your hard earned travel investment in jeopardy. It’s also possible that you may need medical assistance, emergency evacuation or medical transportation when you get ill or involve in an accident when you are traveling in remote areas. Our trip does not cover any of these expenses or losses and so we strongly recommend you that you should protect yourself and your travel investment against those unfavorable conditions.


Lhasa: Dekhang Hotel or Kyichu Hotel or similar 3*

Tsedang: Tsedang Hotel, 4*

Ganden Monastery: Guest house or camping.


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