What you will See & Do
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 end of the trek brings you to Samye. On the banks of the Yarlung Tsangpo (Brahmaputra), this Tibet’s oldest monastery and one of its most beautiful. May be incorporated into any Tibet tour, but you should allow at least a week at altitude before trekking.
Day 1 : Drive to Ganden, visit monastery, hike to Hepu
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.
Begin trekking to Hepu village, where your camp will be setup.
Day 2: Trekking
Start with a visit to the red and yellow protector-deity residence on the edge of the village – the Divine White Yak.
Rich alpine meadows support yak, sheep and goats and the herder's camps offer an ideal opportunity to get a glimpse of this traditional Tibetan lifestyle. The passes are colourfully topped by cairns, prayer flags and yak horns.
Day 3 and 4 : Trek via Yamalung to Samye
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.
Day 5: Visit Samye, continue with Tibet tour or transfer to airport
After joining the monks for the morning puja and exploring the monastery at Samye return to Lhasa by road, to the airport or continue with your Tibet tour.