The trek from Ganden to Samye is considered one of the best treks in Tibet. This attractive route crosses high passes and passes through secluded valleys only inhabited by nomads. It is also popular pilgrimage route for Tibetans as it links two of Tibet’s most important monasteries: Ganden and Samye. Setting out from Ganden, pass through many small villages, sheep herders’ camps and cross two passes over 5000m – the Shuga la (5250m) and Chitu la (5100m) -before you reach Samye monastery in the Yarlung valley.
Trek grade: This is a grade 4 trek. Although it is short, it is strenuous and requires proper attention to altitude sickness as the altitude gains are higher than what it is recommended, and you are trekking mostly above 4000m. You should only attempt this trek if you well acclimatised and have some experience of hiking and camping.
This is trip extension packages and you may choose to add this trekking package to your Tibet Packages.
Trek from Ganden to Yama Do .
Ganden Monastery was founded in 1409 by Tsongkhapa, who was also the founder of the Gelukpa tradition. Ganden means ‘joyous’, and it is the name of the paradise of the future Buddha, Maitreya. The monastery’s construction, high above the valley, is amazing and offers stupendous views. Badly damaged during the cultural revolution, many buildings have been reconstructed and it is again an active monastery and pilgrimage site. Join locals on the circumambulation path which offers views of the surrounding mountains and valleys.
After visiting the monastery set out on todays’ 17km trek. Branching off from the ‘high kora’ and crossing the west side of the ridge you have brief views of Tubshi village below and the Kyi-chu Valley to the west. The trail then descends to Hebu village, a settlement of about 30 houses. An hour from Hebu you will reach Ani Pagong. From here the trail steadily climbs for another hour through marshy meadows to Yama Do where you set up your camp.
Trek via Shuga La pass to Tsotup Chu Valley
From Yama Do you follow the central branch of the watercourse and after an hour you leave the valley floor to ascend up to a shelf on the east side, avoiding a steep gully. Staying on this eastern side of the valley, you veer north and climb up to Shuga la (5250m). After crossing the pass you descend through a boulder field where you can enjoy the beautiful view of the valley and the lake below, one of the highlights of the trek. Cross the large Tsotup-chu (4907m) which flows through the valley and keep an eye out for the herders’ dogs that can be vicious. You make camp in the valley.
Trek via Chitu La pass to Herder’s Camp.
From Tsotup Chu ford you follow a minor tributary that enters from the southwest and soon you reach a large basin. Circumvent a large rock fall and enter a side valley to climb to the Chitu La pass (5210m). A short descent brings you to a basin with three lakes. You follow the trail and after about an hour you reach a flat seasonal herder’s camp where you set up your tent for the night.
The trail becomes wide and easy to follow as you descend. A prominent bend in the trail marks the turn off for the Yamalung Hermitage. From the turn off to Yamalung the trail becomes a motorable road. It is another three and a half hours to walk to Samye, or you may find transport if you are feeling tired!
Samye, attractively situated on the north bank of the Yarlung Tsangpo (Brahmaputra), is built in the shape of a mandala. It was built by King Trisong Detsen in 775 to revitalise and establish Buddhism in Tibet. Monks were invited from India and scriptures translated into Tibetan. It has been rebuilt numerous times, suffering civil war, fire and earthquake and today only a few of the original 108 buildings survive, though the main assembly hall and side chapels contain some magnificent statues and murals. Your guide will tell you of the many legends surrounding Samye and the subjugating of local deities and demons; forcing them to follow Buddhism.
Overnight Samye guesthouse and tomorrow continue on your Tibet tour.