Ganden to Samye Trek in Tibet

Ganden Monastery, one of the three great Gelukpa sect religious centers in the Lhasa area, is built high on the Gokpori. The highlight of Ganden is the kora, offering fine views of the landscape.

Samye Monastery was the first Buddhist monastery in Tibet. With its ordered design, wealth of religious treasures and stunning location, Samye has strong attractions to tourists.

Ganden to Samye Trekking Trail

The trek route connecting Ganden Monastery and Samye Monastery is one of the popular trekking routes in Tibet. For ordinary tourists, it usually takes 4-5 days to finish the trek. Besides two of Tibet’s greatest centres of religious culture, this Ganden to Samye trek has more to offer, lakes, beautiful alpine landscapes, herders’ camps and sacred sites. Our article here introduces how to plan a perfect Ganden to Samye trek.

Part 1. Ganden to Samye Trek Route & Map
Part 2. Best Time for Ganden to Samye Trek
Part 3. What to Pack for Ganden to Samye Trek
Part 4. Special Attentions for Ganden to Samye Trek

Part 1. Ganden to Samye Trek Route & Map 

Ganden Monastery is about 45km away from Lhasa. You can join in the 10-day Ganden to Samye trek tour  provided by BudgetTibetTour group. We will arrange everything well for you. 

The Ganden to Samye trek is about 80 kilometers, usually taking 4-5 days to complete for ordinary tourists. The trek starts from Ganden Monastery, through Yama Do, Tsotup-chu Valley, Herders’ Camps, and finally arrive at Samye Monstery. Check the map of Ganden to Samye trek here.

Map of Ganden to Samye Trek

Detailed Route:  

Day 1: Ganden Monastery to Yama Do (17km / 5-6hrs)
The first day of trekking begins at the highest point on the Ganden kora. Walk along a saddle trail, descend towards Hepu village, reach Ani Pagong, and then through marshy meadows to Yama Do(4490m). Yama Do offers extensive camp sites.

Day 2: Yama Do to Tsotup-chu Valley (10km / 5-7hrs)
On the second day, climb over Shuga-la(5250m), the highest point of the trek, then descend through a boulder field, gradually descend to the valley floor, and cross the large Tsotup-chu valley. This is a good camp site, and you’ll have neighbors of herders.

Day 3: Tsotup-chu Valley to Herders’ Camps (14km / 5hrs)
Walk to the Chitu-la(5210m), move to west side of the pass and reach the stone walls of a camp which is the herders’ highest camp. Pass two herders’ camps and cross a meadow. Then you’ll see numerous camp sites.

Day 4-5: Herders’ Camps to Samye Monastery (39km / 10hrs)
Walk through the thickening scrub forest, find Diwaka Zampa bridge and then enter the thickest and tallest part of the scrub forest. Wind through several meadows, and pass Gen Do and a village called Changtang. Walk along the Yamalung Hermitage and reach a bridge. Now you are on the way to Samye, about 3.5 hours walk away.

Part 2. Best Time for Ganden to Samye Trek 

In Tibet, winter and early spring are too cold and windy for trekking. Mid-May to mid-October is the best time for Ganden to Samye trek. July and August are the two months see much rain and the scenery is the most beautiful of the year. The pasture is rich and meadows are full of wildflowers.

Ganden to Samye Trek - Scenery of Valley

Part 3. What to Pack for Ganden to Samye Trek 

For your perfect Ganden to Samye trek, please check the following packing list.

Required documents:

  • Passport with Chinese visa is the basic documents for international tourists to China. Please apply for it at the Chinese embassy at your home country in advance.
  • Tibet Travel Permit, also called Tibet Entry Permit, is a must-have document for international tourists to travel to Tibet. You can only get it from Lhasa local tour agency.

Ganden to Samye Trek - Tibet Travel Permit

Equipment and clothing:  

  • For the Ganden to Samye trek, you need to prepare a light down-filled sleeping bag, a pair of hiking sticks, a headlight, a power bank and sleeping pad.
  • As for clothing, pack some basic warm clothing, including sun hat, gloves, wind and water proof jacket, long underwear, warm pants, shirts, warm socks as well as a pair of strong and well-fitting boots.

Food and drugs:

  • Take some high calorie and high protein snacks, such as chocolates, biscuits, dried fruits, nuts and dried meat strips. Before start, make sure your water bottle is full and sometimes, the water purification tablets can be helpful.
  • Pack the medicine for cold, headache, stomach ache, insect bite, diarrhea, and high altitude sickness .

Skin protection:  

  • The sun radiation in Tibet is very strong. Prepare lipstick and suncream to protect your skin from sunburn .
  • A good pair of sunglasses with a high UV filter is also necessary for eyes protection.

Ganden to Samye Trek - Packing List

Part 4. Special Attentions for Ganden to Samye Trek

Some special attentions for the Ganden to Samye trek is listed here for your reference.

  • If you suffer from altitude sickness, please consider stop walking and receive treatment as soon as possible.
  • There are some herders’ camps along the trail. You might come across the herders’ dogs. Keep an eye out of them.

Travelers' Questions Might Help

The questions raised by our past customers can help you get a more clear picture about tours to Tibet, read them or tell us your own questions please contract us, our specialists will reply you within 24 hours.

Ms. Ho*** from: When to get my Tibet permit
January 15, 2020 05:11

Hello, we are considering to travel in Tibet in summer. We are a family of 5, two adults and three kids, age 13(then), 10, 8. We are interested in the 10 days Mt. EBC & Namtso Lake Group tour. We are US citizens with valid 10-year Chinese multiple entry visa, which we have applied when we went to Beijing in 2019. We are currently living in South Korea.  


1. Are kids suitable (or even allowed) for this tour?  

2. If kids can join, are there any discount deals for kids?

Answered by Helen
January 15, 2020 07:54

Dear Ms. Ho***,

    Greetings from Helen at Budget Tibet Tour and welcome you to join our 10 days Mt. Everest & Namtso Lake group tour. For your questions: 1. Your kids are suitable for this tour. Travelling in Tibet is as safe for kids as it is for their parents. While the high Tibetan plateau may be the highest place on the planet, very often, the kids that visit this region are more adaptable and have fewer problems than their parents. We also have arranged wonderful Tibet tours for many families with kids such as a tour to EBC for a family with a 3-year-old son, a 9-year-old girl and a 11-year-old boy, they did have fun in Tibet and there is no problem for them. Or you can take some medicine under the guidance of doctor to prevent high altitude before enter Tibet. 2. If kids travel with you, we'll offer some discount for them, please check your email and find more detailed information. Thanks & Regards

Email to Helen about any question or tell us your own questions via the form on the right side

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