This trek will provide you with a real taste of Tibetan highland adventure and an insight into Tibetan Buddhism. Interspersed with excursions to ancient monasteries, this trek is also recommended for the aficionado of Tibetan theology.
Ganden Samye Trek
You will be met at Gonggar Airport by your Tibetan guide. After completion of immigration formalities, you will be driven to Lhasa . After checking in at your hotel, you are advised to take rest and take it easy. Drink plenty of fluids and let your body get used to Lhasa’s high altitude. The day is free to acclimatize to the altitude.
Day 2 – B
Today you will get a guided tour of Lhasa’s sights. At first you will drive to Sera monastery, one of the best preserved monasteries in Tibet. It belongs to the Gelugpa sect and is one of the three great monasteries of Tibet, the other two being Drepung & Gande.
Then pay a visit to Norbulingka, the summer retreat of the Dalai Lama. Completed in 1956, the handsome building is ornately decorated with Tibetan carvings and paintings.
Later you will see the Jokhang Temple, an unrivalled Tibetan experience: Assimilate the smell of Yak butter and the murmur of mantras. The temple is surrounded by the Barkhor market, where you will stroll through the busy lanes that seem to have resisted all invasions of the modern world.
The temple originates from the 7th century and has architectural features from the Tang Dynasty and from Indian & Nepali Buddhist Temples. It houses many historical relics since the Tang Dynasty and statues of King Songsten Gompo, Princess Wencheng from China and Princess Bhrikuti from Nepal.
Day 3 – B
After an early breakfast take an escorted tour to the majestic Potala Palace. The imposing structure of the palace dominates the landscape of Lhasa. As you are guided through the ancient chambers of the palace, you get to see Tibetan art at its best. The Potala Palace has a vast array of intricate Tibetan murals and beautiful statues. You will also get to view the tombs of the eight Dalai Lamas.
Later in the day you will visit the beautifully landscaped Drepung Monastery where you can observe nuns and monks chanting and performing religious discourses. After the day’s tour is over, you are escorted back to your hotel for a well- earned rest.
Day 4 – B L D
Lhasa | Ganden [4500m]
Ganden is only around 40km from Lhasa and you will arrive quite early in the day. You will have the afternoon for rest and acclimatisation. You have the possibility to explore Ganden which was the first Gelugpa monastery and has remained the main seat of the order ever since, but do take it easy.
Day 5 – B L D
Rest the day to acclimatize. Ganden suffered the most of all the great monasteries of Tibet during the Cultural Revolution; however, it is still a fascinating place to explore.
Its ochre hues are stunning and there is a very active pilgrim presence. While on their kora around the monastery pilgrims perform unusual rituals that test their faith and earn religious merit. A large rocky cleft draped with prayer flags marks the start of this scenic circuit, which takes at least one hour to complete.
Day 6 – B L D
Ganden | Yama Do [4300m] (5 hours)
Today you begin your trek by following the well trodden trail south along the side of Angor Ri, the highest point on the Ganden kora. You gradually ascend for about 1 ½ hours before reaching a saddle from where you can look west down the Kyi Chu valley towards Lhasa.
You then traverse the west side of the ridge and descend towards Hepu village, a village of about 30 houses. You climb for about an hour in the direction of the Zhukar La (‘la’ means ‘pass’) to reach Ani Pagong, a narrow, craggy bottleneck in the valley, where a small nunnery used to be located. From here, you continue climbing for about an hour through marshy meadows to Yama Do, with suitable campgrounds where you will stay the night.
Day 7 – B L D
Yama Do | Tsotup Chu Valley [4880m] (4 to 5 hours)
After breakfast you proceed along the valley floor for about an hour before ascending to a shelf on the eastern side of the valley, avoiding a steep gully. You continue climbing to the Zhukar La (5200m), marked by a large cairn covered in prayer flags and yak horns. Crossing the pass you descend quickly across a boulder field, reaching the valley floor about 1 ½ hours from the pass.
You cross the large stream, the Tsotup Chu, which flows through the valley. The pastures in the area support large herds of yaks, goats and sheep, and during the trekking season the drokpa, the herders, are often camped here. So this is an ideal place for your camp and to meet the herders.
Day 8 – B L D
Tsotup Chu Valley | Herder’s Camp [4400m] (5 hours)
From your camp by the Tsotup Chu you follow a tributary to the south-west, climbing steeply for about ½ hour up to a basin and a broad valley. Following this valley you turn to the south and can soon see the Chetur La in the distance, a rocky rampart at the head of the valley. As you continue towards the pass, the trail switches to the east side of the valley and you have fairly easy terrain up to the Chetur La (5100m) which is marked by several cairns.
As you leave your second high pass behind you circumvent a sheer rock wall to descend down into a basin with three small lakes. From here you drop down through a valley passing several herders camps on the way. At the first of them, the herders have carved out level places for their tents.
Below this, the valley becomes very narrow and you pick your way through the rock-strewn valley floor, squeezed in by sheer rock walls. As the valley widens you come to a flat and another seasonal herder’s camp in the east side of the valley. As you continue down the valley the camping places become more numerous and you will choose your camp for the night here.
Day 9 – B L D
Herder’s Camp | Nyango 
Today your trail is wide and easy and you will walk through an area where the combination of elevation, moisture, and aspect create a lush environment, while just a few kilometres away the alpine desert prevails.
You have entered into what may be the most beautiful part of the entire trek. Local woodcutters say that more than 15 types of trees and shrubs are found here, some growing 6 meters tall. Fragrant junipers grow on exposed southern slopes while rhododendrons prefer the shadier slopes. At the end of May the forest is ablaze with pink and white rhododendron blossoms.
After passing through this wondrous landscape you will arrive at Changtang, the first permanent village since Hepu. From Changtang walk another 1 ½ hours to arrive at Nyango.
Day 10 – B
Nyango | Samye | Tsetang [3510m]
Today you will walk about 2 hours to Samye. Samye Monastery is designed to represent the Buddhist universe, and many of the buildings in the courtyard are cosmological symbols. You will have ample time to explore this fascinating monastery before heading to Tsetang, the third largest city in central Tibet.
Day 11 – B
Today you will wrap up our remarkable journey visiting the Yarlung Valley, which is also known as the “Valley of Tombs” and considered to be the cradle of Tibetan civilisation. The creation myth locates the valley as the origin of the Tibetan people and it was from Yarlung that the early Tibetan kings unified Tibet in the seventh century. We see the massive burial mounds of these kings in Chongye.
Also visit Tandruk Monastery, which is widely believed to be the first Buddhist chapel ever constructed in Tibet. It was built during the reign of Songtsen Gampo and later underwent large scale reconstruction post its conversion into Gelukpa monastery. After a day off exploring in the Yarlung Valley you return to Tsetang for the night.
Day 12 – B
Tsetang | Lhasa | Kathmandu
In the early morning you leave Tsetang to drive to Gonggar airport for the spectacular flight back to Kathmandu. Your guide will help you and bid you farewell.
J F M A M J J A S O N D (Month to visit with Bold letter)
11 nights/12 days
Hotel |Guest House |Camping
From £1423 p/p*
*on twin share basis
Airfare KTM/LXA/KTM- £621 p/p
EXTRAS: To pay in Kathmandu
China / Tibet visa fee: USD 114.00
5 nights standard hotel/guest houses on BB basis
6 nights / 7 days Trek on full board basis
Airport transfers in Kathmandu and Lhasa
English speaking local guide throughout the tour
Monument entrance fees for one time entry
Land cruiser and supporting truck (3+ pax)
Yak and Yakmen for luggage while trekking (2 yak for 1 pax)
All camping service like tent, food, cook etc
Nepal and China/Tibet visa fees
Emergency evacuation / rescue in any form
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