Ganden to Samye trekking is a best place for challenging of your trekking in Tibet that covers 80km from Ganden monastery to 1st ever Tibetan Buddhism monastery Samye, covering Lhasa, Samye, and Tsetang is a window into Tibet.
All three destinations have a deep connection with the Tibetan history, culture, and religion. Fly into Lhasa and drive to Tsetang (138 miles), south-east to Tsetang which is a gateway town to the ancient Yarlung valley, the base from which the Yarlung kings unified Tibet. It was only later that the power center moved to Lhasa when King Songtsen Gambo of 7th century moved his capital to Lhasa.
On the way from Tsetang to Lhasa, you will take a ferry ride across the Yarlungd Tsangpo River and visit the Samye Monastery. It is the first Buddhist monastery of Tibet and it is a testimony of acceptance of Buddhism in the BÃ¶n dominated Tibet.
Transfer to Lhasa downtown after arriving in the Lhasa Gongar airport or the Lhasa train station. Have a rest in Lhasa to acclimatize the high altitude.
Stay overnight in Lhasa
In the morning, visit the most splendid museum, the Potala Palace, and explore the grandest of its myriad chapals. Appreciate the jeweled burial chorten of past Dalai Lamas as well as statuary, frescoes and paintings.
Later, visit the Jokhang Temple, which is considered as the most sacred temple in Tibet. It draws tremendous number of pilgrims from all over Tibet each year for it houses a magnificent image of Sakyamuni at 12 years old.
Then stroll around Barkhor, a pilgrimage circuit that encircles the Jokhang, and it also serves as the biggest bazaar in Lhasa, where you can find some handicrafts, ambers, jewery, Tibetan clothes, ect.
Stay overnight in Lhasa
Explore Tibet’s two greatest monasteries, Drepung and Sera, which once housed about 10,000 monks. Drepung monastery is situated at the foothill of a mountain and was founded by Jamyang Choeje in 1416. The monastery is divided into two different colleges, that is, Drepung loselling and Drepung Gomang college. The Ganden podrang is famous as it is the government centre and later moved to the famous Potala palace during fifth Dalai lama. In the afternoon, explore the Sera monastery, which was founded in 1419 by Tsongkapa’s disciple Jamchen Choeje. The whole monastery is divided into two colleges and there are Sera ‘jhe’ and Sera ‘may’ respectively. The ‘Tsokhang chenmo’ where the monks from all the colleges assemble and pray together. You can also see monks debating in the courtyard at around 6-7:30 in the afternoon. (Note: if you don’t feel tired, you can try the Kora (Circling around the religious sites) Drepung and Sera monastery.) Then drive back to your hotel.
Drive to Ganden Monastery in late afternoon to prepare the trek (1.5 hours).
Stay overnight in Ganden Monastery Guest House
In the morning, leave the valley floor and make our way through a steep gully rising form the stream bank. Then, climb the Shug La and begin our climb down through treacherous boulder fields. Later, cross Tsotup Chu, a large stream winding through the valley floor. A comfortable camp will be set up in one of the herder fields.
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!
The trail gets wider and easier as we follow through scrub forests in the main valley. Beautiful streams and lush forests surround us as we walking. 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 your every step of the way! After passing through this wondrous landscape, we will trek through 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 join the Samye valley along the babbling tributary stream. The night will be spent at another comfortable campsite, not far from Samye.
The Samye Monastery is the first temple built in Tibet and the first contains the three Buddhist jewels of Buddha, Dharma and Sangha. With these unique features, this splendid temple has become an attraction for visitors from near and far. After visiting Samye, we finish the trek and go back to Lhasa. You may take ferry to cross Yarlungzongpo River to the opposite side of the river to catch the minivan to Lhasa.
Transfer to Lhasa airport (about 1.5 hours driving), and fly to your next destination.