9 Days Tibet Hiking Tour from Ganden Monastery to Samye Monastery

This 9 Days Tibet Hiking Tour from Gandan to Samye has much to offer, lakes, Mountais, beautiful alpine landscapes, nomad camps, villages and sacred sites. The route connects two of tibet’s greatest monasteries: Ganden monastery and Samye Monastery, it is known as one of the most popular trek routes in Tibet. Through it is famous and has a lot to experience, you should not underestimate the difficulty of doing this trek as this trek is at high-elevation wildernesses, it would be better for those with high elevation trek experience. The best time for this trek is from mid-May to Mid-October, summer can be wet but the mountains are at their greenest and you can see wildflowers.


  • Experience Tibetan Buddhism in significant monasteries in Lhasa.
  • Trekk to visit the two of tibet’s greatest monasteries: Ganden monastery and Samye Monastery.
  • Meet the tranquil lakes, white snow mounatians, shimmering rivers and rare animals along your route.

Brief Itinerary

  • Day 1: Lhasa Arrival
  • Day 2: Lhasa
  • Day 3: Lhasa
  • Day 4: Lhasa-Yama-do
  • Day 5: Trek to Tsotup Chu Valley
  • Day 6: Trek to Herder’s Camp
  • Day 7: Trek to Yamalung
  • Day 8: Samye
  • Day 9: Samye Departure

Google Map

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1 Arrival-Lhasa(3650m)

Sightseeing and Activities:Arrival-Lhasa(3650m)

Transfer to Lhasa downtown after arriving in the Lhasa Gongar airport or the Lhasa train station. Have a rest in Lhasa to acclimatize the high altitude. Stay overnight in Lhasa.

Day 2 Lhasa

Sightseeing and Activities:Potala Palace and Johkang Temple
Meals:Breakfast, Lunch

In the morning, visit the most splendid museum, the Potala Palace, and explore the grandest of its myriad chapals. Appreciate the jeweled burial chorten of past Dalai Lamas as well as statuary, frescoes and paintings.

Later, visit the Jokhang Temple, which is considered as the most sacred temple in Tibet. It draws tremendous number of pilgrims from all over Tibet each year for it houses a magnificent image of Sakyamuni at 12 years old.
Then stroll around Barkhor, a pilgrimage circuit that encircles the Jokhang, and it also serves as the biggest bazaar in Lhasa, where you can find some handicrafts, ambers, jewery, Tibetan clothes, ect. Stay overnight in Lhasa.

Day 3  Lhasa

Sightseeing and Activities:Lhasa sightseeing-Sera Monastery and Drepung Monastery
Meals:Breakfast, Lunch

Explore Tibet’s two greatest monasteries, Drepung and Sera, which once housed about 10,000 monks. Drepung monastery is situated at the foothill of a mountain and was founded by Jamyang Choeje in 1416. The monastery is divided into two different colleges, that is, Drepung loselling and Drepung Gomang college. The Ganden podrang is famous as it is the government centre and later moved to the famous Potala palace during fifth Dalai lama. In the afternoon, explore the Sera monastery, which was founded in 1419 by Tsongkapa’s disciple Jamchen Choeje. The whole monastery is divided into two colleges and there are Sera ‘jhe’ and Sera ‘may’ respectively. The ‘Tsokhang chenmo’ where the monks from all the colleges assemble and pray together. You can also see monks debating in the courtyard at around 6-7:30 in the afternoon. (Note: if you don’t feel tired, you can try the Kora (Circling around the religious sites) Drepung and Sera monastery.) Then drive back to your hotel. Prepare for food materials and trekking gears. Stay overnight hotel.

Day 4 Lhasa-Ganden-Tsubshi-Yama-do (trekking 2 to 3 hours,7km)

Sightseeing and Activities:Lhasa-Ganden-Tsubshi-Yama-do (trekking 2 to 3 hours,7km)
Meals:Breakfast, Lunch

In the morning,drive to Ganden Monastery, after visiting it, transfer to Tsubshi Village, prepare for yaks. Then start the Trekking up to Yama-do(trekking time 2-3hours). Camping tonight.

Day 5 Trek to Tsotup Chu Valley (5 to 6hours,10km)

Sightseeing and Activities:Trek to Tsotup Chu Valley (5 to 6hours,10km)
Meals:Breakfast, Lunch

In the morning, leave the valley floor and make our way through a steep gully rising form the stream bank. Then, climb the Shug La and begin our climb down through treacherous boulder fields. Later, cross Tsotup Chu, a large stream winding through the valley floor. A comfortable camp will be set up in one of the herder fields. Camping tonight.

Day 6 Trek to Herder’s Camp (5 to 6 hours,14km)

Sightseeing and Activities:Trek to Herder’s Camp (5 to 6 hours,14km)
Meals:Breakfast, Lunch

Follow the Tsotup Chu down through its tributary and head towards the Chitu La pass. 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 quiet herder camps for nearly an hour. Another beautiful day of our trek is over! Camping tonight.

Day 7 Trek to Yamalung (6 hours,39km):Changtangvillage,Yamalung Hermitage

Sightseeing and Activities:Trek to Yamalung (6 hours,39km):Changtangvillage,Yamalung Hermitage
Meals:Breakfast, Lunch

During the 39km journey, you will trek about 15km, while the rest 24km you can enjoy the ride on tour vehicle. 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. 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 trek through the Changtang village. Less than an hour away, participants can choose to make the one-hour hike to the Yamalung Hermitage. Yamalung is an ancient and holy Buddhist meditation site. Dirver will pick you up to Samye. Stay at Samye guesthouse.

Day 8 Explore the Samye Monastery and Yarlung River Valley

Sightseeing and Activities:Samye Monastery, Yarlung River Valley
Meals:Breakfast, Lunch

The Samye Monastery is the first Monastery built in Tibet and the first contains the three Buddhist jewels of Buddha, Dharma and Sangha. With these unique features, this splendid temple has become an attraction for visitors from near and far. After visiting Samye, we finish the trek and live in Samye Town near the Yarlung River. Hotel in Samye Town.

Day 9 Drive to Airport(train station), leave Tibet to your next destination.

Sightseeing and Activities:Drive to Airport(train station), leave Tibet to your next destination.

Transfer to Lhasa airport (about 1.5 hours driving), and fly to your next destination.

Recommended Hotels

Destination 5 Star 4 Star 3 Star
Lhasa Luxury St. Regis Lhasa Resort Lhasa Gang Gyan Hotel Lhasa Xiongbala Hotel
Samye / / Zhanang Zhayangzong Tourist Service Centre

Service Included:

  • Tibet travel permit and all other necessary permits to Tibet;
  • All entrance ticket fees for all tourist sites listed in the itinerary;
  • Personal knowledgeable English-speaking Tibetan local tour guide;
  • Personal comfortable, clean and safe vehicle with reliable Tibetan local driver; vehicle ranging from 4WD land cruiser to minibus depending on your group size;
  • 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 budget hostel, guesthouse or tent. Please tell us your accommodation preference when submitting the enquiry; we will arrange the best-value hotels for you.
  • Domestic flight/train tickets listed in the itinerary;
  • All meals listed in the above itinerary.

Service Excluded:

  • International flight to and out of China;
  • Chinese visa (Note: we could help you with the Chinese visa application, like providing the invitation letter, presenting the hotel or domestic flight reservation copies, etc that you may need. )
  • Domestic flight/train not listed in the itinerary. (We can provide you the domestic flight/train ticket booking service at the BEST discount price; please contact us our travel experts for the details.)
  • Meals not specified in the itinerary; usually it costs about USD3-15 per person for one meal in TAR (Tibet Autonomous Region).
  • Tips and gratitude to tour guide and driver;
  • Personal expenses, like laundry, phone call, snacks, soft drinks (please do the best to avoid the alcoholic beverages during your Tibet trip), optional tour activities, etc.

Travel Tips:

  1. Tibet Permits

There are several permits required to visit Tibet. Tibet Entry Permit, issued by Tibet Tourism Bureau, is the most important one which has to be obtained before your trip because you must have it to take your flight/train to Tibet. To get the permit, you have to book a Tibet tour with us, and send us your passport and Chinese visa about 20 days in advance, and then let us apply for the permit (all Tibet permits can only be applied by travel agency). If you travel to other prefectures like Shigatse, Nyingchi, Shannan, etc, you also have to obtain an Alien Travel Permit. If you travel to Mount Everest, you have to obtain a Border Permit. (Tibet Discovery, with office in Lhasa, has always kept up with the latest news on Tibet Permits. Traveling with us, all your permits are guaranteed as long as you are qualified to the requirements.)

  1. Available Months to Visit Tibet

Generally speaking, May to early October is the best time to for a Mount Kailash trip. July and August are the peak season and rainy season. It may be too cold to travel in Kailash area from November to March. There is usually heavy snow. The conditions in Namtso Lake and Mount Everest area are quite similar with Kailash. While other places like Lhasa, Gyantse and Shigatse are suitable for travel all year around.

  1. High Altitude Sickness

The average altitude of Tibet is about 4000 meters above the sea level (Lhasa: 3700m; EBC: 5200m; Namtso: 4718m). You may suffer a bit from High Altitude Sickness in the beginning days of your Tibet trip if you haven’t had rich high plateau travel experience. But don’t worry too much, the high altitude can be acclimatized usually in 2~3 days. Our suggestion is to take a physical examination and get suggestions from your doctor, and also bring some medicines to prevent from High Altitude Sickness before your trip. While in Tibet, you should keep warm all the time, avoid strenuous activities, drink more water and eat more vegetables and carbohydrates. You’d better not take showers during the first two days after your arrival at Tibet. If you don’t feel well, get help from your tour guide or go to the hospital without any delay.

  1. How to Go to Tibet

Basically you have two options – flight and train. Currently, you can take a flight to Lhasa from Beijing(4.5hrs), Xian(3.7hrs), Chengdu(2.5hrs), Chongqing(3hrs), Kuming(3hrs), etc. Among all these cities, Chengdu and Xian have more frequent flights to Lhasa. Kathmandu also has several flights to Lhasa each week.

If you a train travel, you can take a train to from Beijing(40.5hrs), Xian(32hrs), Chengdu(43hrs), Shanghai(47hrs), Chongqing(42hrs), Lanzhou(25hrs), Xining(22hrs), Guangzhou(54hrs).

  1. Packing and Wearing Ideas

Firstly you can’t forget your passport and Chinese Visa. A large backpack and a smaller one are recommended (the smaller one can be used for daily activities). Also bring the necessary medicine you need. Other stuffs like sunglasses, snow glasses, hats, lip balm, sun block are recommended. As for wearing, you are suggested to dress in layers (both thin and thick jackets). Down jacket is necessary in Spring and Autumn. A pair of durable and comfortable shoes is necessary.