Top 10 China tours 2024/2025 for first visits and returns: embark on a lifetime experience. Learn more
Hiking from Gandan Monastery to Samye Monastery

Hiking from Gandan Monastery to Samye Monastery

Written by Kelly PangUpdated Aug. 29, 2023

Hiking from Gandan Monastery to Samye is one of the most popular hiking trails in Tibet. The trip takes around 5 days, and covers a distance of 80 kilometers. Most of the route is located around 4000 meters above see level, while there are two passes, over 5200 meters, on the way.

The trip is suitable for people who have adapted themselves to the harsh weather conditions in Tibet. Regardless of the high elevation, it is a relatively easy route with no steep slopes and few branches.

You need to be well-prepared. As you will have two night camping, you need to bring a tent, a sleeping bag. Warm clothes are essential, as you will sleep one night at a spot over 4700 meters. Prepare some food, for food supply is not available for large part of the route.

Suggested Day by Day Itinerary

D1: Lhasa to Gandan Monastery to Yama Do

Walking easterward for around 2 hours, travelers will reach Gandan Monastery. Gandan Monastery was one of the three principle Gelugpa monasteries, with the other two being Sera Monastery and Drepung Monastery. The monastery was built in 1409 by the legendary Tsong Khapa. THe most interesting thing of visiting the monastery is to attend a lesson of the Lamas at noon.

Snacks such as noodle, sweet tea are sold near the monastery entrance.

Trek further for about 3 hours to arrive at Yama Do via Hei Bu Valley. and camp at the village.

Yamado is a little village, which seems hundreds of years laging behind or mordern world. People there don't know TV and there is no TV sets in the village even there is power. Villagers live a traditional life, farming and tending their sheep.

Day 2 Yamado to Shug- la

The journey from Yamado to Shug-la is tough, which goes over Shug-la pass, 5256 meters above sea level.

Walking from Yamado for about 4 hours, travelers will reach Shug-La Pass. The road after the pass is a steep downhill with many debrils. Walk down the road for 1.5 hours, you will see a beautfiul river, along which is a very nice valley. Many travelers choose to camp at this valley.

Day 3: Tsotup to chu Valley to Herders' Camps ( 5-6 hrs, 14km, 300m ascent, 400m descent ).

Chitu-la pass is 5228 meters above sea level and it is easier to pass than Shug-La pass. Scenery on today's route is alpine mountains and lakes.

Day 4: Herders' Camps to ChanDa to NyuongGo to Samye Monastery

Large part of this stretch goes along a flat river valley. On both sides of the valley is lush vegetation, a stark difference to the bleak landscape you saw the last two days. A 1.5 hour's walk further will lead to ChanDa, a small village. The village seems out of the morden world, even it is a quite normal village in Tibet. The most advanced vehicle there is tractor. NyuongGo is 1 hour's walk away from ChanDa. The golden summit of Samya Monastery is visible at NyuongGo.

Samye Monastery is the first monastery in Tibet featuring Buddhist, laws and monks. The monastery was built in 779 AD. It covers an area of more than 4,900 square meters. The landscape around the monastery is golden desert. Surprisingly, there are rivers and dense forests in amid the desert. Travelers can choose to camp at the forest behind the monastery or live in a guesthouse.

China Highlights can help you customize a hiking trip in Tibet, or just see our Tibet Tours.

Popular tours
Make the most of your time
Choose the best time to visit
Start planning your tailor-made tour with 1-1 help from our travel advisors. Create Your Trip

Sign up to Our Newsletter

Be the first to receive exciting updates, exclusive promotions, and valuable travel tips from our team of experts.

The China Highlights Experience

1-to-1 Expert Planning

1-to-1 Expert Planning

Your tour will be tailor-made by your personal travel advisor — a destination expert. Every reply will be within 24 hours.

Personal Journeys

Personal Journeys

Enjoy your personal local guide and ride. Explore destinations at your own pace. Have unparalleled flexibility, which is impossible on a group tour.

Authentic Experiences

Authentic Experiences

Discover the hidden gems. Experience local culture by practicing it. Try new and exciting activities, and unveil the stories behind the sights and people.

Well-Selected Local Guides

Well-Selected Local Guides

Knowledgeable, enthusiastic, and attentive — your personal local guides will share interesting stories, insider information, and even create unexpected highlights!

China Highlights tailor-makes China tours to help travelers discover China their way. We're a passionate team of one hundred avid travelers who love to share our knowledge of China with those looking for a more authentic travel experience, more ...
China Highlights International Travel Service Co., LTD
Corporate Number: 914503003486045699
Featured on