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Ganden to Samye Trekking Tour

8 Days
From USD1812
Difficult Level:
  • Spring
  • Summer
  • Autumn
  • Winter
Tour Type:
Private Tour
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Via this 8-day tour, you will experience the highlights of Lhasa city and enjoy the most rewarding trekking route near Lhasa. During the first few days, you will visit Potala Palace, the highest ancient fortress-style building complex in the world, and Jokhang Temple, the most sacred Tibetan monastery, as well as Barkhor Street, the pilgrimage path around Jokhang Temple and now the shopping center for tourists. On the way from Lhasa to Ganden, you will see Drak Yerpa, one of the four major retreats in Tibet.

This famous pilgrimage route connects two golden-domed monasteries - Ganden and Samye. The total ascent of the whole journey is more than 1519 meters, and the cumulative descent is more than 2058 meters. It goes over two passes with an altitude of 5000 meters and the entire trekking is above 4000 meters. You can not only learn about Tibetan Buddhism but also appreciate the beautiful mountains and rivers in Lhoka. It is one of the classic trekking routes that combines nature and humanity. The best trekking time is from April to June and from September to November.

DayRouteAttractions & Activities
1 Arrival in Lhasa (3650m) Pick up and transfer to the hotel
2 Lhasa City Potala Palace, Jokhang Temple, Barkhor Street
3 Lhasa - Drak Yerpa - Ganden Drak Yerpa, Ganden Monastery
4 Ganden to Samye Trek①: Ganden - Yamado(5~6hrs,17km) Ganden to Yamado
5 Ganden to Samye Trek②:Yamado - Tsotupchu Valley(5~7hrs,10km) Yamado to Tsotupchu Valley
6 Ganden to Samye Trek③:Tsotup-chu Valley - Herders’ Camp(5hrs, 14km) Tsotup to Herders' Camp
7 Ganden to Samye Trek④: Herders Camp to Yamalung-Samye(4~5hrs, 14km); Drive back to Lhasa Herder’s Camp to Samye and Lhasa
8 Departure from Lhasa Send off to the airport/railway station

Daily Itinerary


This is the first day in Tibet. Your guide will greet you at Lhasa Gonggar Airport/Railway Station and transfer you to your hotel. It usually takes around 1 hour to drive from Lhasa Airport to downtown Lhasa and takes about 20 minutes from Lhasa Railway Station. Tourists could have a look at the Yarlung Tsangpo River, the largest and longest river in Tibet on their way to the hotel. After check-in, you can have a good rest first. And if you feel like going out, you can wander around the city. But just remember that don't take too much stuff, try to go with a light pack. Meanwhile, drink some more water, and do not move strenuously. It’s really useful to get acclimatized to the high altitude.

Stay overnight in Lhasa

In the morning our guide will meet you at the hotel and first take you to visit the famous Potala Palace, the cardinal landmark of Tibet and the masterpiece of Tibetan architecture. It was first built by the 33rd King - Songtsen Gangpo in the 7th century and rebuilt later by the 5th Dalai Lama in the 17th century. Now it's a museum and world heritage site. 

In the afternoon, we will go to visit Jokhang Temple in the center of the Lhasa old town. Jokhang Temple is the most sacred temple in Tibet and it is always bustling with earnest local pilgrims since the early days. After that, you will take a walk around the Barkhor Street - one of the most devotional circuits as well as a crowded central market of Lhasa. Barkhor Street is a very ancient round street surrounding the Jokhang Temple and the locals are always proud of it. As a symbol of Lhasa, it‘s also a must-see place for visitors.

Stay overnight in Lhasa

We will first visit the less-known-by-tourists Drak Yerpa hermitage, about 16km northeast of Lhasa. Drak Yerpa is a Nyingma (Red Sect) monastery and one of the four major retreats in Tibet. It was built in the 7th century and has a history of 1,500 years. After passing through a rugged path to the temple, you can see the beautiful scenery in the distance. Compared to the Jokhang Temple and Sera Temple, which are full of incense, there're not so many tourists. Only devout Tibetans burn mulberry to worship here, and you can feel the tranquility brought by Tibetan Buddhism.

Ganden Monastery is located on Wangbozhi Mountain on the southern bank of Lhasa River, which is about 50km northeast of Lhasa. Ganden Monastery is the most special one of the top six Gelug monasteries in Tibet, as it's built by the founder of the Gelug sect - Tsongkhapa in 1409. It's quite worth seeing if this is your first time to travel in Tibet.

Stay overnight at the Camp Site

You will start your hiking trip in the morning, and yaks will take your luggage. Even so, this day is still quite hard for you. The trail gradually ascends, and you can slowly adapt to trekking at an altitude of more than 4,000 meters. Along the way, there are rugged rocks, blooming mountain flowers, and picturesque scenery. After passing through a meadow, you will reach Yama Do(4490m).

Stay overnight at the Camp Site

Ganden - Yamado
Ganden to Yamado

On the second day, the trek will be more strenuous than the previous day as you will ascend more than 800 meters. You will walk through boulders and rugged ground for about 4 hours to reach the Shugala Pass at an altitude of 5284m, which is the highest point of today's trekking. When you see mini stones piled up with piety, that's the mountain pass. Walking down the mountain pass, there is a brilliant river below, reflecting countless golden rays under the sunshine. Getting down to the bottom of the valley Tsotup-chu (4907m), there is a quiet and peaceful meadow, with grazing yaks. Here you may see a mountain lake in the distance, which is our campsite tonight.

Stay overnight at the camp in the valley

Yamado to Tsotupchu Valley
Yamado to Tsotupchu Valley

After a simple breakfast at the camp, you will trek along the valley and hike for about an hour to reach the Chitu-la Pass at an altitude of 5228 meters. Looking from a distance, a series of three mountain lakes look as white as milk. Shooting the three sacred lakes from the mountain pass is extremely beautiful. You will cross Chitu-la Pass, go across the lakes and go downhill on a continuous gravel trail. After the altitude decreases, the vegetation gradually becomes denser along the way, and you follow the river to the campground.

Stay overnight at the Camp Site

Tsotup to Herders' Camp
Tsotup to Herders' Camp

Today is the easiest day of trekking as the trail gradually widens. Trekking along the flat river valley, picturesque streams, shrubs and blooming rhododendrons in the forest as well as vast meadows will amaze you every step of the way! After trekking for about 4 hours, you will arrive at Changtang Village, and then take a tractor for about 1 hour to arrive at Longguo Village, where you will see the shining dome of Samye Monastery from a distance. Your hiking trip ends here.

In the afternoon, you will visit Samye Temple. Samye Temple was built in the 8th century AD during the Tubo Dynasty, as the first Buddhist monastery in Tibet. After visiting Samye Monastery, you will be driven back to Lhasa.

Stay overnight in Lhasa

Your tour ends today. Our guide and driver will collect you from your hotel to transfer to Lhasa Airport/Railway Station for your next destination.

Tour Price and Service

From US$1812 p/p

Based on 3-star hotels for 2 people in low seasons. Price varies according to travel season, number of people and level of accommodation.


  • Tibet Tourism Bureau Permit and all other necessary permits to Tibet;
  • All entrance tickets fee for tourist attractions listed in the itinerary;
  • Experienced local English-speaking tour guide;
  • Travel-licensed vehicle according to group size & season as itinerary needed including gas and parking fee;
  • 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 guesthouse. Please tell us your preference;
  • Breakfast provided by hotels;
  • Yaks & herders during your trekking;
  • A tour guide cooks all meals during your trek;
  • Pick-up & Drop-off service from Airport/railway station;
  • Travel Agency Liability insurance;
  • Government tax;
  • Express delivery fee of Permit (eg. SF. Express);
  • Food & lodgings for guide & driver;
  • Oxygen tank for emergency use;
  • Tents and sleeping bags;
  • Two bottles of mineral water per person per day.


  • International flight to and out of China;
  • Chinese Visa/China Group Visa; (Note: we could help you by providing the hotel or domestic flight reservation copies for your Chinese Visa or the invitation letter for your China Group Visa)
  • Domestic flight/train to and out of Lhasa; (We can help you book the domestic flight/train ticket at the BEST price. Please contact us for details.)
  • Meals are not included but we will recommend some good ones for you according to your requirements. Usually, it takes 3-10 USD per person for each meal.
  • While the gratuity for guide and driver is NOT mandatory, it is expected. Based on their service, you can tip them on the last day of the tour. Each of you is suggested to tip them 5-10 USD/day in total;
  • All the commission and tax charged by PayPal, Bank, and government when making payment. (e.g. PayPal --- 4.4%. Wire transfer --- 2%);
  • Personal expenses, like laundry, phone call, snacks, soft drinks, optional tour activities, etc.
  • Anything not mentioned in the Inclusions.

Typically Asked Questions from Our Clients

Asked by Step***

Dear Great Tibet Tours
We are interested in visiting Tibet, we could arrive there between 6th and 12th of June (flexible).
However, we do not have a China visa yet. Is it realistic to get the visa and Tibet permit within this short time?
What would be the price for 2 people (Ganden to Samye Trekking Tour), either private or in a group?
We are also open for different tours, however, important is to have a multi-day advanced trekking (ideally 20km/day or more). We do NOT want to visit the EBC.

Answered by Merry

Dear Step****,

Since you don't have a China visa now, I suggest you consider the tour starting around June 12.

China visa application takes from one week to 3 months according to different countries. I suggest you consult the Chinese Embassy in your country and consider applying for a China visa now.

Tibet permit usually takes about 12 working days but with your passport and China Visa.

8 Days Ganden to Samye Trekking Tour is a private tour, one of the popular trekking tours.

Asked by pb h***

I'm interested in hiking near Lhasa and Samye and seeing and/or staying in monasteries for around 8 days.

Answered by Beatrice

Dear pb hu***,

We can arrange your Samye to Ganden trekking tour but foreign tourists cannot stay overnight in monasteries, according to the stipulation of the authority. Or we can arrange some hiking near Lhasa and Samye for you, and take you to Ganden Monastery as well. 

Asked by Giul***

Hi, my friend and I are looking to do a 6-8 day tour in Tibet. We will be traveling from Paro, Bhutan, so it seems the best place for us to enter is through Kathmandu. We would love to trek and do cultural activities, but we worry about the acclimation to altitude (otherwise coming from sea level). Please let us know what you would recommend. I am also an American citizen, so I'm not sure how complicated the visa situation is either. Would love more information on that as well.

Answered by Merry

Dear Giul****, 

We can arrange 8 Days Ganden to Samye Trekking Tour on 12 July for you. If you go from Kathmandu, you can take a connecting flight from Kathmandu to Lhasa via Chengdu.

To adapt to the high altitude in Tibet, we'll arrange 2 days in Lhasa. If you worry about it, you may prepare some medicines, such as Nuodikang Capsules and Nifedipine. You can also purchase two tanks of oxygen in Lhasa, as well as during the trek.

For China visa applications, we can provide support docs to help if you book the tour with us.

Asked by Stef***

Good afternoon, there are two of us and we like the trekking tour from Ganden to Samye in september. At what altitude do you sleep?
Where you sleep is also the point of the highest day trek?

Answered by Jennie

Dear Stef****,

We can arrange the Ganden to Samye Trekking Tour for you on 2 September. On Day 4, you will stay at Yama Do(4490m). On Day 5, you will stay at Valley Tsotup-chu (4907m).

Asked by Mori***

Hello dear Great Tibet Tour Team,
we are interested in a 9 to 10 days guided trekking tour for two people in mid-September. We really like the Ganden to Samye trek your're describing on your website. Could you make us a provisional offer for such a tour? Is there a possibility to make smaller adjustments to the schedule, e.g. including some more culture or natural sights?

Answered by Beatrice

We can arrange Ganden to Samye trek, and add more culture or natural sights as per your request. I can reduce one day from trekking and add one day to Yamdroktso Lake to enjoy the plateau holy lake and explore Norbulingka - Dalai Lama's royal garden in the afternoon, after getting back from Yamdroktso.

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What Our Customers Say
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As I return home from my Bhutan, Nepal and Tibet adventures, I owe you a very BIG “ THANK YOU “, for making it one if not the best trip ever! Your thorough planning, flawless execution and above all your willingness to respond to ALL of my questions is most appreciated. I must give a big compl ....

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