Ganden Samye Trekking-20 days

Trip Level
Max Altitude
Trip Duration
20 Days


his trip incorporates a 5-day trek into the classic overland route between Lhasa and Kathmandu. In Lhasa visit the awe-inspiring Potala Palace and Jokhang Temple as well as the great university monasteries of Drepung and Sera – leaving time, of course, for shopping on the Barkhor pilgrim circuit. From the ruins of the great monastery of Ganden head for the high valleys. The scenery is spectacular and herders are often camped beside the small lakes and streams, their herds of sheep, yak, and goats scattered across the high pastures. The trek brings you to Samye, on the banks of the Yarlung Tsangpo, is Tibet's oldest monastery and one of its most beautiful. The route to Kathmandu takes you across high passes and along the shores of Yamdrok-Tso, the sacred turquoise lake to Gyantse and Shigatse with their famous monasteries. From the tiny gompa at Rhongphu the view of Qomolangma (Everest) is simply spectacular and there is time for a trip up to base camp before heading for the edge of the Tibetan Plateau and the dramatic plunge towards Zhangmu and the Nepal border.

Detail Itinerary

Day 01: Arrival in Kathmandu and transfer to hotel

On reaching at Kathmandu international airport received by our staff and guide with warm welcome then transfer to your hotel in center of Kathmandu city, after getting refreshed in your rooms join for briefing regarding your trekking.

Day 02: Kathmandu sightseeing

Today we do preparation and Katmandu sightseeing in world heritage site, pashupatinath temple, Swyambhu temple (Monkey Temple), Baudanath (Buddist temple) and Patan Durbarsquare.

Day 03: Fly to Lhasa 3,660 m and drive to your hotel

Early morning after breakfast you will be transferred from the Hotel to the International Airport Kathmandu. You fly with sweeping panoramic flight to Tibet, on arrival you will be received at the Gongar Airport by our Tibetan guide. Less than two hours of good drive reaches you at Lhasa and to the best Lhasa's Hotel, afternoon free for short walk around the Market Square.

Day 04-05: In Lhasa with sightseeing tour at places of great interest

Guided tour in Lhasa of JOKHANG TEMPLE, BARKHOR MARKET SQUARE, POTALA PALACE, NORBULINGKHA SUMMER PALACE with SERA & DREPUNG MONASTERIES. At Lhasa with an interesting tour of important sites around its historical and religious places.

Day 6: Ganden (4500m) is the seat of the head of the Gelukpa order, the Ganden Tripa.

Founded by Tsong Khapa in 1417, the monastery has exercised powerful political influence and perhaps because of this suffered almost total destruction in the 1960s. Rebuilding is well underway, but the extent of the damage is quite evident. The kora, pilgrimage circuit, here is one of the most fascinating with numerous pilgrims and great views of the Kyi Chu valley. 

Day 7: From the high point of the Ganden kora continue to ascend towards the top of the ridge.

marked by a cairn. From here the view is down the Kyi Chu Valley to Lhasa. Pass through Hepu village with its red and yellow protector-deity residence on the edge of the village – the Divine White Yak. The trail continues along the stream as the valley narrows to the site of a ruined nunnery before emerging onto marshy meadowland and Yama Do. 

Day 8: Damp alpine meadows continue to the pass, Shuga La (5250m).

where cairns, prayer flags and yak horns mark the summit. Descend past a small lake into the Tsotup Chu Valley, an area of rich pasture supporting yak, sheep, and goats. There are often herders camped here and it is an ideal opportunity to get a glimpse of this traditional Tibetan lifestyle.

Day 9: Climbing a wide basin the Chitu-La (5100).

is visible as a rocky rampart at the head of the valley. On the far side, small lakes dot a shrub area where herders have carved out small level areas for their tents. A narrow gorge leads out onto the wider meadows where there are larger herder's camps along the river. 

Day 10: Scrub willow and rosebush forest become thicker as you descend down the river.

Into the forest of juniper and rhododendron. This is one of the most attractive sections of the trek, especially in May and June when the rhododendrons are in flower and the hillside is a blaze of color. There is a shrine to the protectress of the area, Dorje Yudronma, and further down the valley, the first permanent settlement since Hepu – Chanda. Looking south the mountain range across the Yarlung Tsangpo is visible in the distance.

Day 11: A detour leads to Yamalung hermitage where Guru Rinpoche meditated.

and received empowerment from the Buddha Amitayus. There are several small temples, a sacred spring and numerous carvings; the temple enclosing Guru Rinpoche's meditation cave contains a hand and footprints of the saint. From the tiny hamlet of Pisha, you can see Hepo Ri, one of Tibet's most sacred mountains, in the middle of the Samye Valley below. From here the valley is a tapestry of fields, woods, and villages contrasting with the sandy river bank. Tiny temples and shrines dot the path down towards the golden roofs of Samye. Samye, built in the form of a mandala, was the first monastery to be built in Tibet and where Guru Rinpoche subdued many local demons, converting them to Buddhism. 

Day 12: Today may be spent exploring the village.

a typical and fascinating Tibetan farming community, climb to the top of nearby Hepo Ri for magnificent views, wander the willow studded sand dunes along the river, a life with bird life or, for the more energetic, a trek to the Chimphu hermitages. At the head of the beautiful Chimphu valley, there is a small and gompa (nunnery) and the hillside is littered with meditation huts. 

Day 13: An early morning ferry across the Yarlung Tsangpo.

is a fitting beginning to one of the most scenically spectacular drives in Tibet. Cross the Khamba La and Kora La (passes), along with the shores of Lake Yamdrok Tso to Gyantse. Once an important trading town, Gyantse retains a feel of 'old' Tibet. 

Day 14: In the morning visit Gyantse's monastery – Pelkor Choede.

and the justifiably famous Kumbum, within the same complex. There may also be time to visit the dzong (fort) that towers above the town. In the afternoon we make the short (2-3 hour) drive along the valley to Shigatse. 

Day 15: Tashilhunpo is the seat of the Panchen Lama.

second only in importance to the Dalai Lama. Its numerous halls contain a 21.6-meter wooden statue of Maitreya, the future Buddha, and elaborate, jewel-encrusted reliquary chorten. In the afternoon we drive to Xegar. 

Day 16: Turn off the Friendship Highway.

for a stunning drive through Qomolangma National Park to reach the tiny Rhongphu Gompa at 5000m. The view from here is utterly spectacular! 

Day 17: Trek or drive the 7kms to Everest Base Camp (5200m).

before heading to Lao Tingri via a rough, yet scenic track crossing small rivers and passes. 

Day 18: Another high pass gives a last.

spectacular view of the Himalaya before we leave the Tibetan Plateau, descending to Zhangmu – on the China-Nepal border. 

Day 19: Completing border formalities.

the drive back to Kathmandu continues down the Bote Khosi valley.

Day 20: Depart or plan another trip

Cost Details

What's included?

All airport pick-up and drop-off transport services by private vehicles.

Trekkers' Information Management System (TIMS) card (permit).

Well Trained English speaking Trekking guide.

Porter  for your luggage.

Accommodation in  Hotel / Lodge during the trek.

Meals three times a day (breakfast, lunch & dinner).

Food and accommodation as well as Insurance and equipment for guide and porters.

Farewell dinner.

What's not included?

Your travel insurance and Personal nature expenses.

Drinks (tea/coffee, beer, cokes, mineral water), beverages and hot shower.

Tips for trekking staff.

Entrance fees while sightseeing.

Meals &  accommodation while you are in Kathmandu.

Equiment Checklist

Important documents and items

Valid passport, 2 extra passport size photos, airline tickets

Separate photocopies of passport, visa form (easily obtained at Kathmandu airport), proof of insurance

Dollars, pounds or Euros in cash for purchasing Nepalese visa at Kathmandu airport, for paying for restaurants and hotels, for gratuities, snacks, and to purchase your own drinks and gifts

Credit cards, Bank/ATM/Cash machine cards for withdrawing funds from cash machines (bring a photocopy of your cards), traveler's checks, etc.


Extra layers, gloves, wind breaker and poncho


Lip Balm with Sunscreen

Broad brimmed hat or bandana (for sun protection)

Iodine Water Tablets (personal preference)

Water Bottles or Camel Back


Headlamp with extra batteries

Favorite Snacks

Waterproof bags to protect electronics or paperwork

Camera with extra batteries and memory cards

Umbrella (works great in a light rain or to protect from the sun)

Duct tape or moleskin for blisters

Toilet Paper

Trekking Poles (optional)

Thermos (optional for hot beverages)


Moisture wicking long sleeve tee-shirts (2)

Moisture wicking tee-shirts (1)

Long underwear pants (2)

Underwear (5 to 7)

Heavy Fleece or Down Jacket

Long sleeve shirts (2)

Sweatshirt (optional)

Fleece Pants

Trekking Pants (2)

Shorts (optional)

Gortex or Waterproof Jacket with hood

Rain Poncho that covers your day pack

Waterproof Pants

Wide brimmed hat

Wool hat (Should cover ears) or Balaclava

Lightwight Gloves

Insulated Wool or Down Mittens

Gaiters (optional)


Hiking boots with ankle support

Camp shoes or Tennis Shoes 

Plastic bag to carry spare shoes

Hiking socks (10)

Sock Liners (optional)


Sleeping bag rated to -15° C/ 0° f

Sleeping bag liner (optional)

Sleeping bag stuff sack


Duffel Bag for Carrying Your Gear (we provide this for the trek)

Day Pack for Carrying what you need on the trail

Small Lock(s) for duffel bag and day pack

Waterproof cover for daypack

Drybags in several sizes

Stuff sacks for dirty clothes/shoes


Our team brings along a basic first aid kit but we recommend you also carry the following;

Advil or Ibuprofen

Diamox (for altitude sickness)

Personal Prescriptions

Medical Tape (for preventing treating blisters)

Antibiotics (Cipro for travelers’ diarrhea)

Diaper Rash Cream (Can treat rashes or chaffing)

Basic toiletries (Soap, Deodorant…)

Wet wipes

Panty Liners and Tampons

Face lotion

Hair brush

Hair ties

Hand warmers

Ear plugs for sleeping


Portable Solar Charger

Journal, pen and paper

Reading book

Voltage converter (from 220 to 110)

Plug adapter (2 round pegs to 2 flat pegs)

Lightweight pillow case (in case your teahouses provide you with pillows) or use your own stuff as a pillow


Departure Dates

No fixed departures.