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Samye and Trandruk Cham Festival Tour

6 Days
From USD1591
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Tour Type:
Private Tour
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Samye and Trandruk Cham Festival would be respectively held at Samye and Trandruk monasteries for two or three days in the middle May according to the Tibetan calendar. As the origin of Tibetan Buddhism, Samye Monastery is a shrine founded by the great master Guru Rinpoche in the 8th century. Trandruk Monastery is one of the first rounds of Buddhist monasteries built in the Tobo period. The main attractions are special ceremonies and cham dancing which has the multitude and divergence of the colorful masks. Besides, you can visit the famous Chongye Burial Mounds, one of the few historical monuments in Tibet. After this tour, you may understand Tibetan Buddhist culture better and attain a creative epiphany in your life.
DayRouteAttractions & Activities
1 Arrival in Lhasa (3650m) Pick up and transfer to the hotel.
2 Lhasa Sightseeing Potala Palace, Jokhang Temple, Barkhor Street
3 Lhasa Sightseeing Drepung Monastery, Sera Monastery
4 Lhasa-Tsetang(3560),280km,Approx 6hrs Samye Monastery, Trandruk Monastery
5 Tsetang - Chongye(3800) – Tsetang, 56km, Approx. 1hrs Chongye Burial Mounds
6 Tsetang  departure Send off to airport/railway station

Daily Itinerary


When you arrive in Lhasa, our staff will pick you up at Lhasa Airport/ Railway Station and transfer you to the hotel. From the airport, it takes about 1.5 hours. From the train station, it only takes 20 minutes. Afterward, it's better to relax and take it easy on the first day to get acclimatized to high altitude and alleviate the jet lag. You might go to the local market and wander around the city on your own but try not to overtax yourself.

Stay overnight in Lhasa

Today, you will explore the Potala Palace, which is the winter palace of the Dalai Lama. The most valuable collections of Potala Palace are the gilded burial stupas of former Dalai Lamas and the meditation cave of the 33rd great king of Tibet. It's best to explore the inside of the Potala in the morning for 2-3 hours. Afterward, you may walk the pilgrimage route around the Potala Palace.

In the afternoon, you will head to the Jokhang Temple, which is well known as the center of the Tibetan Buddhism, features Buddhist prayer wheels, reclining deer, golden sutra streamers, etc. Also, you can see a great many of pilgrims praying in front of the temple and do kora with local pilgrims. After visiting the Jokhang Temple, you will stroll in the old alleys of Barkhor Street, where you can drink the sweet tea, chat with locals and even bargain with the street vendors to understand the real-life in Lhasa.

Stay overnight in Lhasa

The entrance of Potala Palace
Three Tibetan women at the gate of Jokhang Temple.

On your third day, you will be feeling much more acclimatized to Lhasa’s high elevation. It is an excellent idea to spend the day exploring Drepung Monastery and Sera Monastery. In the morning, the first station is the Drepung Monastery, which is the largest of all Tibetan monasteries that housed for more than 10,000 monks. It was the residence of the Dalai Lamas until the great fifth Dalai Lama constructed the Potala. It was known for the high standards of its academic study and was called the Nalanda of Tibet. Later, you will visit the biggest monastery kitchen in the monastery and enjoy a Buddhist sculpture carving workshop near Drepung.

Then after lunch, you will head to the Sera Monastery, which is another one of the ‘Great Three’ Gelug monasteries. It is famous for the Buddhism activities of "Monks Debate" for around 3 to 5 PM in the afternoon. Also, inside the monastery, the three sand Mandalas and colorful Rock Painting of Buddha is the hot attractions.

Stay overnight in Lhasa

Drepung Monastery
Sera Monastery is reputed as the most beautiful Tibetan monastery.

Today, drive to Tsetang along with the famous Yarlung Tsang River. On the way, you’ll visit the Samye Monastery and Trandruk Monastery. The Samye Monastery is the birthplace of Tibetan Buddhism. It is renowned for the characteristic art of its buildings and the vivid murals. Besides, Trandruk Monastery is the most important and largest of the surviving royal foundations in the Yarlung Valley and has been founded by Songtsan Gampo in the 7th century.

Stay overnight in Tsetang

Samye Monastery is a good place for monks to study. If you travel there, you may have a chance to observe the monks‘ study and feel all the ritual and their sincerity.
Trandruk Monastery is the first Buddhist hall in Tibetan history.

Today, you’ll leave for Chongye to visit the famous Chongye Burial Mounds. It represents one of the few historical monuments in Tibet that give any evidence of a pre-Buddhist culture. Most of the Tibet kings interred here are firmly associated with the rise of Buddhism, but the methods of their interments point to the Bön faith. Here, you can visit the most revered of the Tomb of Songtsen Gampo which is the largest of the burial mounds. Then climb to the Tomb of Trisong Detsen and see the superb views of the Chongye Valley.

Stay overnight in Tsetang

Caretakers for Chongye Burial Mounds.
Tour ends today. Transfer to Lhasa Airport from Tsetang for your next destination, which is almost the same mileage from Lhasa.
Tour Price and Service

From US$1591 p/p

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

  • Tibet Tourism Bureau Permit (TTB) 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;
  • All meals listed in the above itinerary;
  • 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;
  • 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 --- 4.2%. 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 Rose***

I would very much like to do your Samye Tour and your Mt. Kailash Kora. My thinking is to do the Samye Tour in 2022 and the Mount Kailash Kora Tour in 2023. I will be very happy to go to Lhasa twice! I have been Buddhist for more than 40 years and both pilgrimages are life long dreams. I plan to make my way to Lhasa by train from Xining in Qinghai as my Lama-la and many of my friends live in different places in Qinghai. Also, Kumbum/Taersi is my "home" temple. By the way, I am fluent in Chinese and love travelling throughout China. What would be the cost for each of the two trips? I may prefer to travel alone, unless you can find an older companion or two (I am 62 now) who is also Buddhist. I have hiked to as high as 5100 meters and that was in the summer of 2019 in the Dekeh region of Western Sichuan.

Answered by Catherine 2021-10-21

Dear Roseanne E Freese, Thank you for sending us an inquiry! This is Catherine from Great Tibet Tour at your service.  Great Tibet Tour is a local tour operator based in Lhasa, Tibet. It was founded in 2005 and recommended by Lonely Planet as one of the best reputed local Tibet travel agencies. We specialize in arranging Tibet travel for foreigners, as well as other parts of China & Nepal.  In your inquiry, you mentioned you would like to do the Samye Tour in 2022 and the Mt. Kailash Kora in 2023, we can arrange the tours for you. Taking a train from Xining to Lhasa is fine, and our tour guide will meet you at the Lhasa railway station. Here is the itinerary.

Asked by Mari***

I would like to visit Tibet. I am traveling alone. I am interested in monasteries, cultural events, festival events. I can travel 7-10 days

Answered by Claire 2017-06-11

According to your requirement, I pick up two itineraries for you, 10-day-tour and 7-day-tour,which I send to your email.Both of the two plans contain some monasteries as the following. I need know some information definitely. When will you arrive in Tibet? Which level hotel would you like to stay overnight? It is easier to choose the best one for you.


What Our Customers Say
Barkhor street

I just returned to Beijing yesterday and I wanted to let you know that I had a wonderful trip to Tibet. Your company arranged everything very well, and Lobsang was an excellent tour guide, I was deeply impressed by how hard-working and dedicated he was, especially when he helped arrange my nucleic a ....

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