8 Days Ganden to Samye Trek
Discover the pearl on the roof of the world – the Potala Palace
Explore Tibet's two greatest monasteries – the Drepung and Sera Monasteries
Trek from Ganden to the Samye Monastery and enjoy Tibetan camping
Experience Tibet’s historic first-built temple at the Samye Monastery
- Itinerary Details
Transfer to Lhasa downtown after arriving at the Lhasa Gongar airport or the Lhasa train station. Relax with free time after your arrival in Lhasa to acclimatize to the high altitude.
This is your 2rd day in Tibet, so you should be physically ready for Potala Palace—the palace with a lot of steps.
Climb up to Potala Palace, Tibet’s iconic landmark. You’ll see a lot of precious decorated statues, Buddhist scriptures and murals inside. Your guide will reveal to you the interesting history of the palace.
Visit Jokhang Temple (elevation 3,700 m), said to be the spiritual heart of Tibetan Buddhism. You will see many pilgrims prostrating themselves near the temple. Take part with locals in the 20-minute walk with prayer wheels, clockwise around Jokhang Temple. Take a stroll round Barkhor Street and see some Tibetan handicrafts.
There are 1,080 steps up to Potala Palace and climbing steps on the plateau is not easy. If it’s too demanding physically, you don’t have to climb all the steps, and your tour guide will adjust your route accordingly.
Enjoy a hotel breakfast, and visit Norbulingka in the morning; formerly the summer palace for the Dalai Lamas. Nowadays, Norbulingka is a beautiful public park and a good place to see locals camping and picnicking in summer.
Watch a monks’ daily debate in Sera Monastery (elevation 4,000 m), the second most important monastery in Tibet. The debate not to be missed is held at 15:30 every day, except Sundays. Monks are happy to live in the monastery and study Buddhist scriptures there.
Later you will visit Drepung Monastery, renowned as the site for the annual Shoton Festival. If you visit in early August, you will have a chance to see for yourself this largest of Tibetan festivals.
General rules for visiting temples in Tibet: Cameras are not allowed in the temples or in the debate field, but taking photos with a cell phone is ok. When visiting a temple, your shoulders should be covered, and you should not wear shorts. Walk clockwise when visiting Barkhor Street.
In the morning, we will leave the valley floor and make our way through a steep gully that rises from the stream bank below. Through beautiful scenery, we will climb the Shug La Pass and carefully begin our climb down through treacherous boulder fields. After we cross the Tsotup Chu, a large stream winding through the valley floor, we will set up a comfortable camp in one of the sheep herder’s fields for a rustic and fun overnight stay.
Today we will follow the Tsotup Chu down through its tributary and trek towards the Chitu La pass. After ascending this magnificent rocky pass, we will go back down amongst the quiet herder camps to find a comfortable campsite in one of the fields surrounding the stream.
Today the trail gets wider and easier to follow as we work our way through scrub forests in the main valley. Beautiful streams and lush forests surround us as we walk towards our next destination. The next few hours may very well be the most beautiful part of our trek. More than 15 types of scrub trees, blooming rhododendrons, and vast meadows will be a feast for the eyes every step of the way! After passing through this wondrous landscape, we will trek through the Changtang Village. Tour participants can also choose to take a one-hour hike to the Yamalung Hermitage. Yamalung is an ancient and holy Buddhist meditation site, but it is completely up to you as to whether you want to go there. Later on we will continue on through the Samye Valley as we walk along the babbling tributary stream. We will spend the night at another comfortable and picturesque campsite, not far from Samye.
The Samye Monastery is the first temple built in Tibet and the first to contain the three Buddhist jewels of the Buddha, Dharma and Sangha. With these unique features, this splendid temple has become an attraction for visitors from all over the world. After visiting Samye, our trek will be complete after we take a ferry across the across the Yarlungzongpo River to board our vehicle for the scenic ride back to Lhasa.
Your guide and driver will take you to Lhasa’s airport/train station on time for your departure and escort you to the correct security gate. Relax and leave any hassles to your tour team.
- Service Included
Tibet travel permit and all other necessary permits to Tibet;
All entrance ticket fees for all tourist sites listed in the itinerary;
Personal knowledgeable English-speaking Tibetan local tour guide;
Personal comfortable, clean and safe vehicle with reliable Tibetan local driver; vehicle ranging from 4WD land cruiser to minibus depending on your group size;
All lodging listed in the itinerary; it’s your decision about the accommodation class: luxury 5-star international hotel, comfortable 4-star hotel, economic 3-star hotel or budget hostel, guesthouse or tent. Please tell us your accommodation preference when submitting the enquiry; we will arrange the best-value hotels for you.
Domestic flight/train tickets listed in the itinerary;
All meals listed in the above itinerary;
Tourist accident/casualty insurance;
First aid kit;
International flight to and out of China;
Chinese visa (Note: we could help you with the Chinese visa application, like providing the invitation letter, presenting the hotel or domestic flight reservation copies, etc that you may need. )
Domestic flight/train not listed in the itinerary. (We can provide you the domestic flight/train ticket booking service at the BEST discount price; please contact us our travel experts for the details.)
Meals not specified in the itinerary; usually it costs about USD3-15 per person for one meal in TAR (Tibet Autonomous Region).
Tips and gratitude to tour guide and driver;
Personal expenses, like laundry, phone call, snacks, soft drinks (please do the best to avoid the alcoholic beverages during your Tibet trip), optional tour activities, etc.
- Trip Notes
1.Tibet Travel Permit;
You will need a Tibet Entry Permit. Its cost is included in the tour quotation. Send your passport and China visa copies to us 20 days in advance, and we will apply for your permit once you book a Tibetan tour with us. In our experience, we can virtually guarantee to get your permit during times when Tibet is open to foreign travelers.
We’ve selected heritage hotels in the more traditional area of Lhasa, near Jokhang Temple and Barkhor Street, so that travelers can experience more of the local life and culture. If you prefer to stay in a hotel with special oxygen supplies, other hotels in Lhasa are recommended (as above).
The accommodation in Dingri is poor (see above).
Our English-speaking guides are natives of Tibet with good knowledge of Tibetan culture, history, and Buddhism. Most are trained to offer Western-standard service.
Enjoy local Tibetan, Western Chinese and Nepalese food on the tour.
You will have standard western hotel breakfast in Lhasa, and specially prepared breakfasts outside of Lhasa: including butter, bread, coffee, tea, etc.
After the first day, lunch is included every day. Your guide can recommend some good local restaurants for dinner. Outside Lhasa, we suggest you have dinner in the hotels where you are staying.
Before your trip, ask your doctor for any suggestions in relation to altitude sickness and bring some medicine just in case. The most popular altitude medicine among foreigners is Acetazolamide/Diamox.
We recommend that during the first two days after arriving in Tibet, visitors should keep warm, not take a bath, not smoke or drink alcohol. Drink plenty of water (>4 litres per day) before going and at altitude, and eat lots of vegetables and carbohydrates. Slow down, even if you feel energetic. Moving slowly is the best way to avoid altitude sickness.
If you don’t feel well after entering Tibet, go and see a doctor as soon as possible. There are doctors in major hotels in Lhasa, and you can call your tour guide for help at any time. We offer a free oxygen bag in the car.
6. What to Pack
Seek medical advice about altitude effects and pack any medicine you might need. Sunglasses, snow glasses, hats, lip balm, sun block, walking boots, and down jackets are all recommended.
Comfortable private cars/vans with experienced drivers will be arranged for you. All our vehicles meet the requirements of the Tibet Tourist Bureau, and are equipped with GPS and speed-limiting equipment.
Take into consideration the time you need to apply for your Tibet Entry Permit. It’s best to book a tour with us at least 30 days before your tour starts.
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