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Ganden- Samye Trek

The Golden Throne

Tour Information

Considering that you may have well acclimatized in Lhasa, if you would like to add on more days in Tibet and would particularly be interested to do short trekking around Lhasa, we Ganden - Samye trek is the best option.

The trek from Ganden Monastery to Samye is considered to be one of the best hikes. This attractive route goes along high passes and secluded valleys only inhabited by nomads, and it is a popular pilgrimage route for Tibetans as well. Be aware that the altitude gains are higher than what it is recommended, and only those should attempt the trek who are well acclimatized, and have experience in hiking and camping.

Ganden Monastery: It is the first monastery founded in 1409 by Tsongkhapa, the founder of the Gelukpa School, 50 km away from Lhasa. Ganden means ‘joyous’, and it is the name of the paradise of the future Buddha, Maitreya. The monastery is high up on a mountain over 4000 m above sea level, and has stupendous views of the Kyichu valley and a fascinating circumambulation path which offers views of both sides of the mountain. The red fortress like structure is Tsongkhapa’s mausoleum known as Serkhang, and though it was destroyed by the Red Guards along with the preserved body of Tsongkhapa, it was beautifully reconstructed. Another important place to visit is the nearby assembly hall, where in the inner sanctum the golden throne of Tsongkhapa is still standing, which for centuries was the throne of the Ganden Thripa, the head of the Gelukpa school. Pilgrims get thumped on the head as a blessing with the hat of Tsongkhapa, and the shoes of the 13th Dalai Lama.

Itinerary Overview

DaysActivity
Day 1 Trek from Ganden to Yama Do.
Day 2 Trek to Tsotup Chu Valley.
Day 3 Trek to Herder's Camp.
Day 4 Descent to Samye.

Information

What's Included?
  • Private transport
  • Guide and permits
  • Accommodation
What's Excluded?
  • All meals & personal expenses
  • Other Entrance fees to monasteries and monuments while sightseeing
  • Additional expenses which may arise due to circumstances beyond control of Royal Mountain Travel such as flight cancellations or delays, landslides, strikes, etc.

More of Tour Information:

Considering that you may have well acclimatized in Lhasa, if you would like to add on more days in Tibet and would particularly be interested to do short trekking around Lhasa, we Ganden – More...

More of Tour Information:

Considering that you may have well acclimatized in Lhasa, if you would like to add on more days in Tibet and would particularly be interested to do short trekking around Lhasa, we Ganden – Samye trek is the best option.

The trek from Ganden Monastery to Samye is considered to be one of the best hikes. This attractive route goes along high passes and secluded valleys only inhabited by nomads, and it is a popular pilgrimage route for Tibetans as well. Be aware that the altitude gains are higher than what it is recommended, and only those should attempt the trek who are well acclimatized, and have experience in hiking and camping.

Accommodations on the trip:

Accommodation in Lhasa is on twin share and deluxe rooms. In Gyantse, Shigatse, Shegar and Lao Tingri are available on twin  share in the best available hotels in the respective town. Depending upon the availability the bathrooms and restrooms may be either shared or private facilities. Generally in this tour, accommodation will be provided on twin sharing basis and if you do not have single room bookings you may have to share rooms with another fellow passenger. Accommodation is quite basic at Rombuk.

Meals:

Meals are not included. Please allow Euro 10-15 per person per day for normal meals (Breakfast, lunch & Dinner) In Lhasa there is also quite a variety, although not as extensive as in Kathmandu. Elsewhere in Tibet the variety is much more limited. We would like to recommend must try dishes in Tibet – Tsampa (barley flour mixed with yak butter) & Yak butter tea. An alternative to yak butter tea is Cha Ngamo, a sweet, milky tea. Chinese green tea is also widely available. Chang, a fermented barley beer is the local alcoholic brew. It is generally OK to drink, however may be made with contaminated water.

Water:

In the high altitude of Tibet it is important to drink a much higher quantity of water than you are used to. Always carry drinking water with you and have some nearby at nights, as it is amazing how quickly you can dehydrate, even at rest. Tap water is not safe to drink, however there may be a thermos provided in the rooms. Boiled water is OK for drinking. Bottled drinking water is available everywhere, however we recommend taking water purification tablets or a bottle with an inbuilt filter as these are more environmentally-friendly options than bottled water.

Guides & Drivers:

You will be met at Gongkar airport or Lhasa train station on arrival and accompanied in Tibet by an English speaking guide. It is a TTB regulation that you be accompanied by a guide when traveling outside Lhasa. Guides in Tibet are licensed and controlled by the Tibetan Tourist Bureau and vary enormously influence and knowledge. Whilst we maintain a core of trained guides, there may be times when the selection is outside our control. The Physical Reality The remote type of travel that we experience in parts of Tibet can be physically demanding and the effect that this will have on you, both physically and mentally should not be underestimated. Breakdown can occur. The terrain is very mountainous and you may be affected by altitude. It is rare that these occurrences results in more than minor delay or have serious impact on your trip, but the possibility remains.

Culture Shock:

Tours in Tibet takes you into areas well away from the usual tourist trail and into a world very, very different to that you know. There are places in Tibet, where accommodation is very basic with limited access to running water, no shower for several days, pit toilets, simple food and little spoken or written English. Opportunities to ‘get away’ from the group are limited: patience,
Tolerance and humor will be required by all. All this can and does its toll on people and should not be underestimated– the rewards however are incredible.

Communication:

Email: Private internet bars can be found in main cities. Alternatively, you can use business centers in China Telecom offices. Some websites have been blacklisted by the Chinese government and cannot be accessed from within China.

GENERAL INFORMATION:

Telephone:

Be careful making international calls from hotels as they can be very expensive. Private telecom booths are cheaper and easy to use. To make international calls you will need a phone card bought from inside Tibet. All cities and even smaller towns have mobile phone reception if your phone is enabled with international roaming.

Post:

Receiving post is not recommended as we are usually doing something or traveling during the opening hours of most post offices. Allow up to 10 days for mail to arrive at international destinations. Write-in the address in Chinese can help speed delivery.

What to buy:

The most common items you will find are religious item such as prayer flags, prayer wheels, Thankas, shawls and daggers. Traditional clothing and Jewellery are also available. Sometimes you will be able to find beautiful carpets available. Expect to bargain. Being polite while doing so will get you a better deal.

Money:

It is best to bring a mixture of cash and travelers cheques in major currencies – USD, CAD, EUR, AUD – and ensure you have a mixture of large and small denominations. Everyone’s spending is different, but as a guide, we suggest USD 20-25 per person per day (if you drink or smoke this could be higher). Shopping is difficult to predict, but most people buy more than they
Intended.

Insurance:

It is essential that you take out comprehensive travel insurance prior to your trek. Your travel insurance must provide cover against personal accident, medical expenses, emergency evacuation and repatriation and personal liability. We also recommend that it covers cancellation, curtailment and loss of luggage and personal effects.

Health:

There are no specific health requirements for entry into Nepal or China. However, you should consult your doctor for up-to date information regarding vaccinations, high altitude medication and medications for any reasonably foreseeable illnesses whilst traveling in Nepal and China. Please be aware that medical facilities are not of the same standard you might expect at home. We strongly recommend that you carry a personal First Aid kit as well as sufficient quantities of any personal medical requirements (including a spare pair of glasses).

Altitude:

AMS (acute mountain sickness) is a serious issue. It is the result of the failure of the body to adapt to high altitude and can affect anyone, regardless of age or fitness. It usually occurs above 1,800 meters and the likelihood of being affected increases as you ascend. On arrival in Lhasa breathlessness, lethargy and mild headaches are not uncommon and generally decrease
As your body adjusts. Taking it easy at first and maintaining adequate fluid intake is essential. Please advise your guide if you feel more severe symptoms and do not medicate yourself without discussing it with them first.

Climate:

Tibet is a land of climactic extremes and whilst it is not generally as harsh as expected, it is a good idea to be prepared for cold at any time of the year – it is wind chill rather than air temperature that makes the difference here. In central Tibet weather is usually mild from May through October. Evenings may be cool, particularly early or late in the season. Rain is frequent in July and August. In Western Tibet and at higher altitudes (Rhongphu, Namtso) it can be cold at any time of year if the wind is blowing off the mountains. From December into April travel in Tibet is possible, although you must be prepared for delays if passes become blocked by snow. Trekking is not possible at this time.

Packing for your Trip:

• Comfortable shoes & Socks
• Fleece jacket or equivalent. It can get cold, even in summer
• Comfortable, informal clothing (shorts & singlet tops are not appropriate)
• Hat – a good idea as the sun is very strong
• Gloves – wool or fleece & Scarf
• Thermal Underwear
• Sarong – a multitude of uses
• Sunglasses
• Sunscreen
• Sewing kit & Swiss Army Knife
• Money belt
• Toiletries (including lip slave and moisturizer)
• Torch / flashlight – headlamp style is ideal
• First Aid Kit
• Small Towel
• Small umbrella or rain jacket (June-August particularly)
• Sheet sleeping bag (you may feel more comfortable in some of the more basic guest houses where laundry is not a priority

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About Us

Royal Mountain Travel is a community for Adventure & Local Experience offering the best indigenous and community-oriented tours and treks in Nepal. Experience the authentic lifestyles of Himalayan civilizations and trek in some of the most unique landscapes on Earth with us.
1

Day 1

Trek from Ganden to Yama Do.

5-6- hrs, 17 km, 300 km ascent, 450 m descent.

The trek begins from the parking lot of Ganden Monastery, where you can often hire a yak or porter to carry your luggage. After the Ganden Khora (circumambulation path) branches off to the right, keep walking straight up to the saddle. Then the trail descends to Hepu village, a settlement of about 30 houses. One hour from Hepu you will reach Ani Pagong. Then the trail steadily climbs for another hour through marshy meadows to Yama Do. Set up your camp there.

2

Day 2

Trek to Tsotup Chu Valley.

5-7 hrs, 10 km, 1000 m ascent, 450 m descent

From Yama Do follow the central branch of the watercourse, and after an hour leave the valley floor and ascend a shelf on the east (left) to avoid a steep gully. Remain on the eastern side of the valley as it bends to the left and climb up to Shuga la (5250 m). Start descending through a boulder field and enjoy the view of the valley and the lake below. Cross the large Tsotup Chu (Tsotup River) which flows through the valley.

3

Day 3

Trek to Herder's Camp.

5 hours, 14 km. 300 m ascent, 400 m descent

From Tsotup Chu ford follow the minor tributary that enters from the southwest. After 30 minutes you reach a large basin. Stay on its west (right) side and turn into the first side valley opening on your right. Move to the west side of Chitu La (Chitu Pass, 5210 m) to find the trail down. A short descent will bring you to a basin with three lakes. Follow the trail and in an hour you will come to a flat seasonal herder’s camp. Set up your tent for the night.

4

Day 4

Descent to Samye.

6/10 hours, 39 km, 1200 m descent

The trail becomes wide and easy to follow as you descend. When you reach down the valley at a prominent bend you will see the turn off for the Yamalung Hermitage. There is a small shop there operated by the nuns, selling drinks and instant noodles. From the turn off to Yamalung the trail becomes a motorable road. It is another three and a half hours to walk from here to Samye, or you can find a transport

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