Home > Hiking & Trekking > 10 Days Ancient Pilgrimage Trekking Tour
Ganden to Samye Tibet trekking route is regarded as one of the best hikes in the world. It is a fulfilling and pleasant pilgrimage trip with much to offer, an overview of Tibetan Buddhism and religious culture, blue holy lakes, high snowy passes and mountains, lush alpine meadows, sporadic herders' camp, tranquil Tibetan villages, time-honored sacred sites, finally culminating at the barren, desert-like surroundings near the Samye Monastery. If you travel to Tibet, we highly recommend you to try this trek, which will make your Tibet tour more interesting.
Along the high passes, you will find secluded valleys — only inhabited by high-altitude nomads and their yaks. This is also a well-used pilgrimage route for Tibetans for it is convenient to combine a visit to Ganden (the principal monastery of the Gelugpa) with a reasonably direct but hard walk to Samye (Tibet's first monastery). Though it is an attractive route, do not underestimate the trek. Starting at 4180m (13,940 feet) at Ganden Monastery, passing Shogu-La Pass at 5250m (17,224ft) and heading toward the first Buddhist monastery in Tibet, Samye Monastery 3540m (11,600ft).
The trek is a challenge and the altitude gains are higher than what is often recommended. Only those with experience hiking and camping in higher-elevation wildernesses should attempt this trek unsupported. If you're coming straight from Lhasa, you should spend at least one night at Ganden Monastery to acclimatize.
Note: All the time and distance etc shown below are approximate and indicative only, if there is inconsistency, it will depend on the weather, local road conditions and other actual situations. Besides, the duration might be revised according to your physical level.

High Altitude Sickness
The average altitude of the trekking trail from Ganden to Samye is over 3,500m. Altitude sickness is the biggest risk for travelling in Tibet, also for this trekking tour in Tibet. You need to climb over two mountain passes over 5,000m. One is Zhukar La (Shug-la) at 5250m; the other is Chetur La (Chitu-la) at 5100m.
The initial symptoms of altitude sickness are as follows: losing appetite, nausea, vomiting, insomnia/sleeplessness, dizziness, confusion, persistent headache, weakness, fatigue, heavy legs, breathlessness and breathing irregularity, etc. When you suffer from altitude sickness, please consider stopping ascending; otherwise more serious problems may occur and even cause death sometimes within just a few hours. The only remedy for the Altitude Sickness is to walk to a lower altitude.

Attacking from Animals
Tibet is home to almost 800 species of wild animals. Some 125 species are under state protection and more than 200 species are native to the Tibetan Plateau. It is advised to respect the wildlife and to maintain a safe and legal distance with the animals when trekking in the wild, which will keep you from attacking. But our reputable and professional guides can help you to cover your trip smoothly. You may be bit by insects during trekking in Tibet, so take some medicine along with you.
Besides, beware of the dogs when you are in Tibet, in the countryside and pastoral areas in particular. Nearly every family in Tibet has a maneating Tibetan Mastiff for housekeeping. If you are bitten by a Tibetan Mastiff, its owner will not hold any responsibility for you. Actually the dogs usually do not attack people who do not offend them. So just stay far away from them and do not play with them, you will be OK.
You might want to ride the trek yak or horse during trekking. You'd better move forward on the back of the horse or yak while it is lead by its owner. Do not ride it away from its owner or run with it crazily because there is a lack of measures for protecting you. You might get hurt for any carelessness.

Clothing and Equipment
Be aware that weather conditions and terrain vary significantly from one region, or even from one trail to another. Seasonal changes can significantly alter any track. These differences influence the way you dress and the equipment you carry. If you book Tibet tour from Tibet travel org, we can help you to prepare all the necessaries. Most trekkers choose to trek in Tibet during summer. When they arrive in Lhasa, capital of Tibet, they may feel very hot. But the temperature in mountain areas of Tibet is different. It may be very cold even in day time. At night, the temperature will drop to below zero. Besides, the weather may change greatly in a day. Thus, warm clothes are necessary for trekking in Tibet in summer. Even it is hot, you are not advisable to wear shorts for you might be bitten by insects in the wild. A raincoat and a rain boot are also recommended.
As you will spend at least four nights in a tent, you need camp wares. It is very cold and wet at night, a warm sleeping bag and a moisture-proof pad will help you enjoy good nights during the trekking trip.
Quick Inquiry
(B=breakfast, L=lunch, D=dinner)
DAY 01  Arrival Lhasa (by flight)
Welcome to the roof of the world! You will be picked up by local tour guide at the airport hall or train station, then be escorted to your hotel in Lhasa city in a private vehicle.
After arrival at your hotel, the rest of the day is free for you to explore the local area and acclimatize yourself to this high altitude city at the top of the world.

Tips of today: 1. Go for some walking to acclimate the high altitude but avoid strenuous activity after arrival; 2. You'd better not have bath; 3. Drink more water, and have some fruit; 4. Have a good rest.

Overnight at Yak Hotel or the similar

DAY 02  Lhasa (B)
Today you will visit Poatala palace and Jokhang. Potala Palace is the worldwide known cardinal landmark of Tibet. The massive structure itself contains a small world within it. Mostly it is renowned as residence of the Dalai Lama lineages (Avalokiteshvara). Both of them are the local points of pilgrims from entire Tibetan world, multitudinous pilgrims are circumambulating and prostrating in their strong faith.
Continue your tour to Jokhang Temple, which is within walking distance from Potala Palace. It is considered the spiritual center of Tibet. You will see many pilgrims worship within or nearby the temple. Enter the first floor of the temple and absorb the religious atmosphere, you will see pilgrims are donating butter oil to keep the lights burning for the Buddha. While learning about more Buddhas and Lamas than you can possibly remember you will gain a feeling for the vast history of Tibetan Buddhism. You might also hear red-robed Lamas praying. Walk up to the roof of the temple, take some pictures of the gold roof and enjoy the beautiful sunshine of Lhasa while observing pilgrims praying in front of the temple.
Finally, join locals in a traditional pilgrimage route by taking a relaxing walk in a large circular path around Jokhang Temple at Barkor Street. The street is filled with pilgrims taking part in religious activities and street venders selling a wide variety of traditional Tibetan goods and religious items. If you like you can also ask your tour guide take you to visit a Thangka workshop to marvel at the fabulous Thangka art work. There are cafes along the street as well. You can relax and enjoy the life in Lhasa in a lazy afternoon.

Tips: As you climb up to the Potala Palace, you might experience slight shortness of breath due to the exertion. Take your time and rest when needed. Please try not to disturb pilgrims; you can take pictures from a distance.

Overnight at Yak Hotel or the similar

DAY 03  Lhasa (B)
After breakfast, you are driven to visit the Norbulingka Park, the former summer palace of Dalai Lama. Explore the beautiful gardens and experience one of the most holy sites in Tibetan Buddhism while soaking up the rich history. Next, come to Drepung Monastery, which was once the largest Tibetan Buddhist monastery housing 10,000 monks in its heyday. Learn about the lives of Tibetan monks.
Your tour ends at Sera Monastery, where you will get the chance to experience "Buddhism Scriptures Debating". These debates are unique to Sera and are quite famous. Enjoy the debates!

Tips: Today, you will be driven to the outskirt of Lhasa City. The drive is not long, all within half hour. The road condition is good. A little walking or climbing is involved. Please pack plenty of water with you. Don't forget about your sun glasses and sun-cream.

Overnight at Yak Hotel or the similar

DAY 04  Lhasa to Ganden - Trek to Trubshi village (BLD)
Today you will drive from Lhasa to Ganden where you will visit the Ganden monastery and start trek to Trubshi village. After trekking for a short time in beautiful Tibetan topography you will camp.
Ganden Monastery is one of the earliest and largest Buddhist monasteries in Tibet, famous for its Buddha Painting Unfolding Festival. It was founded in the early 15th century by Tsong Khapa, a well-known Tibetan religious philosopher. 45km away Lhasa City, the monastery is located on Wangbur Mountain, on the southern bank of Lhasa River. Its significance as a religious, artistic, political and cultural relic led to it being preserved by the National Key Cultural Relic Preservation scheme in 1961, and is now known as being one of the 'Three Great Temples', together with the Sera Monastery and the Drepung Monastery in Lhasa.
After arriving at Ganden, spend at least a half day to explore the attractions in and around the ancient monastery, home to the earliest monastery of the Gelugpa sect of Tibetan Buddhism. Although the monastery is mostly in ruins, it is a fascinating place. Pilgrims arrive in Ganden from all over Tibet to walk around the site of the monastery, and one can observe the rituals they perform on this 'Kora' around the monastery.

Camp overnight near Trubshi

DAY 05  Trek from Trubshi to Yama Do (BLD)
Today is a 5-7-hour trek. Trek along an ancient trail and take in scenic views of unusual beauty. Walk along a ridge of reach the ancient Hepu village. In the afternoon, you'll walk through Ani Pagong, a narrow part of the trail that was once home to a nunnery. In the late afternoon, ascend to Yama Do.

Camp overnight at Yama Do

DAY 06   Trek from Yama Do to Chitul Gang (BLD)
Early in the morning, trek from Yamo Do through a steep gully to the banks of a stream. Climb to Shug La pass and begin the descent from there through fields of glacial boulders. Tsotup Chu is actually a large stream that flows through the valley, and we will cross this stream towards the rocky mountain pass of Chitu La pass. A comfortable camp will be set up in one of the herder fields.

Camp overnight at Chitul Gang

DAY 07  Trek from Chitul Gang to Herder's camp (BLD)
Go on an exciting 6-7 hour trek covering 14km from Chitul Gang. 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 the picturesque Herder's camp for nearly an hour.

Stay overnight at the Herder's Camp

DAY 08  Hike from Herder's camp to Samye Monastery (BLD)
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 take truck through the Changtang village via Samye valley along the babbling tributary stream to Samye Monastery.
Samye Monatery is regarded as the first Buddhist Temple in Tibet. It was founded in 779 by King Trisong Detsen and located in the quiet piedmont area of north bank of Yarlung Zangpo River. Samye is also the first complete with the three Buddhist jewels of Buddha, Dharma and Sangha. It has become a top destination for Tibetan Buddhists who will walk thousands of miles for weeks to finish their pilgrimage to this monastery.

Overnight at Samye Hotel

DAY 09  Samye / Tsetang (BLD)
Drive from Samye to Tsetang, the third largest city in Tibet. Tsetang is known as "the cradle of Tibetan Civilization" for two reasons: first, its mild weather and fertile land conceived the great Tibet dynasty; second, it's the birthplace of the first Tibetans who were said to be the offspring of a monkey and a demoness. Today you will visit the Yumbulakang.
According to a legend of followers of the Bon religion, Yumbulakang was erected in the second century B.C. for the first Tibetan king Nyatri Tsenpo, who was descended from the sky. Yumbulagang became a shrine and under the reign of the 5th Dalai Lama, Ngawang Lobsang Gyatso, a monastery of the Gelugpa school. Yumbulakang monastery was severely damaged during the Cultural Revolution, though it has been extensively rennovated since.

Overnight at Tsetang Hotel

DAY 10  Tsetang / Lhasa / Departure (B, by flight)
After breakfast, take 2hrs drive to Lhasa Gongga Airport, see off after spending 10 days in amazing Tibet!
-The end of tour-

Please Note: While we plan to follow the itinerary as much as possible, weather, trail conditions, river crossings, and other circumstances may force us to alter the itinerary in this remote and relatively untraveled region.
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Tour cost

$ 1,797/P

The tour cost includes

The tour cost does not include

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