Ganden Samye trek – itinerary
Day 01: Arrive at Lhasa airport or train station: Altitude: Lhasa: 3650m
Fly to Lhasa, the guide will meet you at the airport, and transfer you to Lhasa city with about 1h30 driving (100 km). On the way, we'll visit to Nie Tang Buddha, a Buddha image engraved in the mountain face. Rest of the day will be acclimatizing. Overnight at hotel.
Day 02: Lhasa sightseeing: Altitude: Lhasa: 3650m
After breakfast, we start our sightseeing tour of Lhasa city visiting Potala Palace, Jokhang temple and Barkhor Bazar.
Potala, the winter palace of the Dalai Lama. Stunningly dominating the skyline of Lhassa atop the crest of Marpo Ri hill, the seventh-century Potala is considered Lhasa's most holy destination for a pilgrimage. Winding up the hill, a stone path leads to the 14-story, 1000-room. Each day, thousands of pilgrims give the prayer wheels lining the path a clockwise spin as they make their way up to the entrance. The Jokhang Monastery is the home of the statutes of the revered Buddha, Shakyamuni. While all Buddhist statutes are magnificently robed in colorful brocade adorned with pearls, turquoise, coral and silver, solid gold bowls of holy water rest before Shakyamuni as well as offerings of Yuan (money) and khatas (scarves), left by pilgrims.
Day 03: Lhasa Sightseeing: Altitude: Lhasa: 3650m
Today, we visit Sera, Drepung and Nechung monasteries.
Sera, one of the three largest monasteries of Gelugpa, sit at the foot of Hill Tatipu. It is as prestigious as Drepung and Ganden, which had a longer history. Sera in Tibetan means Wild Rose Garden since opulent wild rose woods once grew around it.
Drepung monastery, Drepung once housed 10,000 monks, If we're lucky, we'll quietly ease into a dark columned hall to see and hear the lilting, booming chanting of the sutras, or perhaps sit under a willow tree and watch as the monks engage in theatrical debate.
Nechung Monastery the seat of Nechung, Tibet's State Oracle. Major decisions of the state are made in consultation with the Nechung Oracle.
Day 04: Lhasa - Drakyerpa- Ganden Camp
Driving hours & distance: 160km on paved road, about 2 - 3 hours
Altitude: Ganden: 4300m, camp: 4100m
Like Mountains, lakes are considered sacrosanct by the Tibetan people. Yamdrok Lake is one of four such holy lakes, the others being Lhamo La-tso, Namtso and Manasarovar. It is revered as a talisman and is said to be part of the life-spirit of the Tibetan nation. The largest lake in southern Tibet, it is said that if its waters dry, Tibet will no longer be habitable. The lake has nine islands, of which one houses the famous Samding Monastery. This monastery is interesting, as it is the only Tibetan monastery to be headed by a female re-incarnation. Since it is not a nunnery, its female abbot heads a community of about thirty monks. After the visit we drive to Ganden.
Day 05: Trek from Ganden to Yama Do (5-6 hrs) Camp Altitude: Camp: 4400m
Ganden Monastery has extremely delicate and fine murals and sculptures and its thangkas are special and similar with embroidery of south China. The most important and valuable arts left are the paintings of Buddha and Jataka stories drawn by the First Panchen Lama.
The trek begins from Ganden Monastery, traversing south along the ridge to reach the first village, Hebu, after about three hours. One hour from Hepu you reach Ani pagone, a narrow, craggy bottleneck in the valley. A small nunnery used to be above the trail. From Ani Pagong the trail steadily climbs for one hour through marshy meadows to Yama Do.
Day 06: Trek from Yama Do to Tsotup Chu valley (5-7hrs) Camp Altitude: Camp: 3900m
One hour past Yama Do leave the valley floor and ascend a shelf on the east side of the valley to avoid a steep gully that forms around the stream. In another 45 minutes you enter a wet alpine basin studded with tussock grass. The Shug-la (5250 m) is at least 1 hour and twenty-five minutes from the basin. The trail gradually descends to reach the valley floor, 1 and a half hours from the pass. The pastures in the area support large herds of yaks, goats and sheep, and during the trekking season herders are often camped here. This is an ideal place to camp and meet the drokpas (nomads). It is a 2 hour walk from the stream ford to the second pass, the Chitu-la, and at least 1 hour thirty to the first camping place.
Day 07: Trek from Tsotup Chu valley to Herders' camp after Chitu La (5 hrs) Camp, Altitude: Camp: 3800m
From the Tsotup-chu ford, climb steeply upwards for 30 minutes until you reach a large basin. Follow this broad valley which soon arcs south to the Chitu-la (5100 m). A short but steep descent will bring you into a basin with three small lakes. It takes 45 minutes to reach the south end of the basin. Drop down from the basin on the west side of the stream and in 30 minutes you will hit the first place to set up camp. Herders have carved out level places for their tents here. But we may go down for 1 more hour to find other camping places.
Day 08: Trek from Herders' camp after Chitu La to Wango then to Samye (6-5hrs) Camp, Altitude: Camp: 3600m
The trail is now wide and easy to follow as it traces a course down the east side of the valley. The next three-hour stretch of the trail is among the most delightful of the entire trek. According to local woodcutters more than 15 types of trees and shrubs are found here, some growing 6m tall. We then cross the Yamalung Tsangpo valley and visit the the Yamalung Hermitage. It consists of several small temples, and a few meditators live here. We cross a bridge and reach Nyango village. Half an hour past Nyango is the village of Wango, from where we will have to take the tractor to Samye monastery. This monastery is built with the shape of a huge mandala. Surrounded by a circular wall, it is a representation of cosmos. The different buildings are arranged according to a complex symbolism, around the Utse, the central hall, housing the hall of prayers. after reaching Samye monastery, meeting with waiting vehicles, and drive back to Tsetang, relax in hotel, Having shower.
Day 09: Samye to Lhasa, Altitude: Camp: 3600m
Return to Lhasa in the afternoon, then by vehicle to visit the Tomb of Tibet King and Tandru monastery.
Day 10: Flight from Lhasa to Kathmandu or Mainland china.
By morning flight from Lhasa to Kathmandu or Chengdu.
Notice: Participants of the trip must keep in mind that this is an adventure journey that takes you into one of the remotest corner of the Tibetan plateau where many unexpected and unpleasant events may contribute to the need for a change in the itinerary. Depending on the prevailing situation, the itinerary can be modified to some extent after consulting with your guide. However, the date of tour conclusion should always coincide with the original plan.