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Ganden to Samye Trek

Listed under Mountain Treks in Tibet, China.

  • Photo of Ganden to Samye Trek
  • Photo of Ganden to Samye Trek
  • Photo of Ganden to Samye Trek
  • Photo of Ganden to Samye Trek
  • Photo of Ganden to Samye Trek
  • Photo of Ganden to Samye Trek
  • Photo of Ganden to Samye Trek
  • Photo of Ganden to Samye Trek
Photo of Ganden to Samye Trek
Photo by flickr user lylevincent
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Starting at Ganden I was already at 4180 metres and Samye is at 3540 so although I was trekking through the Tibetan mountains it helped to know that I was actually heading downhill (generally), especially when I was heading upwards at over 5200 metres up a narrow rift valley. This route was tracked out by pilgrims and goes from one remote Buddhist monastery to the other passing lots of interesting shrines and tiny, unusual settlements between.

It’s about 80kms trek and I’d allow for four or five days. I’m interested in walking with local people and parts of this path are used by people from local villages, it’s a good way, I find, to soak up the atmosphere of a place, some local people use parts of this track every day to go about their business so I suppose I must have been an interesting aside to tell their families around the dinner table.

Parts of the track are totally remote (5000 metre passes and the like) and pretty broken up. You have to carry everything you need from Lhasa and make sure that includes extra warm gear, it can drop well below freezing at night.

The main problem I had was with the local authorities - not that I had any problems per say, but I could have. Parts of this route you need a permit to walk on, but after several Tibetan trips I have found the rules seem to change each time (even if I’m walking in the same areas!) so after a lot of hassle on a prior trip I decided to keep quiet about my plans and just do it and if I got stopped pretend I didn’t know any better - it helps that most of the local people here speak Tibetan not Chinese.

Bus to Ganden, check out the monastery and stay overnight. There are a couple of day trips here or you can head straight over the Samye. Stay here somewhere comfortable on your last night then head out to the sand dunes in the morning and get the ferry back.

The guide books say go in October for the best weather. I had bright days and cloudless skies.

Written by  Shane Bliss.

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