Ganden to Yamdrok lake

Off the beaten track in central Tibet, this trip combines two easy treks to take you through nomad territory, to sacred lakes in the mountains, places where rhododendrons bloom, to the banks of the Yarlung River (Brahmaputra), yet not missing any of the great monasteries that define Tibet. The great adventure ends at the foot of mighty Everest enjoying the grand view.

A circuit combining two small treks in central Tibet and a trip to Everest

An adventurous trek through the less-travelled regions begins with visits to monumental attractions such as the Potala Palace, Jokhang, and Kumbum of Gyantse. Then there are other places of interest like the large monastery of Ganden to the monastery of Samye, an oasis in a desert environment on the banks of the Yarlung Tsangpo. The second trek leads us to where the nomads live on the banks of the beautiful turquoise Yamdrok Lake. The journey ends after approaching Everest and then the return journey to Lhasa and Kathmandu begins.

- Tour of Lhasa and visit to the monasteries-oasis of Samye and Gyantse.
- A classic trek from Ganden, combined with a unique trek to the Turquoise Lake.
- Trek through the immensities of the Tibetan Plateau in search of nomads and Lake Yamdrok.
- The view of Everest from the Rongbuk Monastery.



  • Level of Trek: Moderate
  • Best Period: May - June & September - Mid October
  • Duration: 15 Days
  • Number of walking days: 8
  • Highest Altitude: 5250 Meters
  • Accomodation: Hotel - Guest House & Camp
Leave No Trace

For your next trek with us in the Himalayas, travel light and aware: Base Camp offers you a biodegradable soap made in Nepal, to leave no trace ...


Arrive in Lhasa Gonggar Airport and drive 1 ½ hr to Lhasa city (3,650 m). Check-in and acclimatization begins with a walk in the old town.
- Accommodation: Hotel

We visit the most popular sites around this ancient Tibetan capital: the Potala Palace, the Jokhang Shrine, the most sacred temple in Central Tibet and a pilgrimage site, the Barkhor Market, the monastic complex of Drepung, and the summer palace of the Dalai Lama, Norbulinka.
- Accommodation: Same as the previous day.

We visit the most popular sites around this ancient Tibetan capital: the Potala Palace, the Jokhang Shrine, the most sacred temple in Central Tibet and a pilgrimage site, the Barkhor Market, the monastic complex of Drepung, and the summer palace of the Dalai Lama, Norbulinka.
- Accommodation: Same as the previous day.

We drive to the monastery of Ganden, some 60 km away from Lhasa (4,260 m) which will be the starting point of the trek. We do the customary Kora of the monastery followed by a gradual climb of 1 ½ hours to reach a stone chorten from where we enjoy a breathtaking view of the entire Kyichu Valley to Lhasa.
We continue to the west on a ridge to a belvedere with a cairn before arriving at the village of Hepu after two hours of hiking. We visit the Ani Pangong Convent and end the day with a steep descent of an hour to Yamado walking through a swampy area.
- Duration of hike: 5 to 6 hr
- Accommodation: Bivouac under tent

We start hiking around 8:30 am and climb for about 2 hours to reach the Shug La Pass (5,250 m). Along the way, we cross many cairns and after 1 hour and 20 minutes, we cross the Tsotup Chu stream. Most often you are likely to meet nomads grazing their goats, yaks or Himalayan sheep here.
- Duration of hike: 4 to 5 hr
- Accommodation: Same as the previous day.

We go up along a stream coming from the Tsotup Chu towards the Southwest. We then make an ascent of half an hour until reaching a new basin. The Chitu La Pass (5,100m), where we encounter several cairns is easily crossed. The descent is steep at the beginning but eases up as we come across three small lakes, after which we descend to the bottom of the valley.
- Accommodation: Same as the previous day

We take a winding path through the bushes, rhododendron trees, and small clearings before reaching the ruins of Gendo after 3 hours. The forest then starts to dwindle away and we arrive at Chantan, the first village (4,020 m). We leave behind the Hebu Valley to follow another, the Yamalung Valley. Then there’s a steep climb up to a hermitage. Here we find our vehicle waiting to take us on to Samye.
We visit Samye Monastery, the oldest Tibetan monastery, which was built on a mandala plan following the instructions of Guru Rinpoche. It is known as the cradle of Tibetan Buddhism. Sadly it was destroyed during the Cultural Revolution but later restored. We bivouac on the banks of Yarlung Tsangpo ( Brahmaputra River).
- Accommodation: Same as the previous day.

Our next destination is Mindroling, a small dry-stone monastery in a bucolic setting. Then, we leave the Brahmaputra Valley and continue our journey towards the village of Langthang Dewachen (3,900 m).
The second half of our hike begins on an easy trail to the Bumthang Monastery. We set up camp at a place called the ‘Eagle's Nest'.
- Accommodation: Same as the previous day.

We make a gradual ascent to reach the foot of the Jeshul La Pass where we set up camp at Lhemachen. We come upon a spectacular, wild landscape that rewards us with sightings of birds of prey like the Golden eagle or other wildlife species such as Blue sheep, antelopes, and Himalayan gazelles.
- Accommodation: Same as the previous day.

We have a steep ascent to negotiate before reaching the Jeshul La Pass (5000m) where we come across Yamdrok Lake, the Tibetan Plateau, and the Himalayas. After admiring the view, we go down to the Ganden Chöling Monastery where we will probably have lunch in the monks’ kitchen. We continue downhill and cross the villages of Kangru and Karma before crossing the last pass of Penzi La (4,650 m). We arrive at the banks of Yamdrok Lake where we set up camp in an extraordinary setting.
- Accommodation: Same as the previous day.

This turquoise lake is venerated by Tibetans because of an old prediction that says: “If one day it should dry up, Tibet will cease to exist.” On the north shore of the lake, we find our vehicles waiting to drive us along the lake towards the south to arrive at Gyantse via the Karola pass (5,200 m), at the foot of the imposing Norjin Kangsang Glacier.
- Accommodation: Overnight at Hotel Yeti on BB Basis.

We leave early in the morning for a long drive to Rongbuk, crossing three passes along the way. We reach the splendid site of Phuntsholing, near the powerful Brahmaputra River. From Rongbuk Monastery, the highest monastery in the world (4,900m), the view of Everest and the gargantuan Himalayan range is overwhelming.
- Accommodation: Guest House or Monastery of Rongbuk on BB Basis.

In the morning we visit Rongbuk and then drive to Sakya (meaning Pale Earth), which was once the seat of the Sakyapa school that ruled Tibet in the 13th and 14th centuries. The Sakya Monastery built in the unusual Mongolian style has one of the largest libraries in Tibet and also houses superb Buddhist art.
- Accommodation: Hotel in Tibet; breakfast Mansarovar hotel on BB Basis.

We drive back to Lhasa via Shigatse, the second-largest city in Tibet, and visit the famous Tashi Lumpo Monastic complex, the official residence of the Panchen Lama. We take the short route back to Lhasa, driving along the Brahmaputra’s shores to reach early enough to enjoy some free time in the capital city.
- Duration of drive: 7 hr.
- Accommodation: Lubhum Tsang Boutique on BB Basis.

Free time in Lhasa, then transfer to Gonggar Airport for your return flight

What's included

- Transfers by private vehicle according to the itinerary
- Nights in hotels in Tibet as indicated in the itinerary
- Trek full board in bivouac
- Water, only during the trek
- Camping and kitchen equipment (except sleeping bag)
- Local camping team: cook, assistant and pack animal during the trek
- Carrying luggage up to 15 kg/person during the trek
- An English-speaking Tibetan guide for the whole stay in Tibet
- Visit sites and monasteries according to the itinerary
- Site entries according to the itinerary
- All necessary permits in Tibet according to the itinerary
- Oxygen bottles available

What's not included

- Lunch and dinner (+ or - $ 11 / meal) during the nights in the hotel
- Stay away from Tibet
- China Visa
- Fees for hand-to-hand license delivery during your transit in China
- International and train flights
- Supplement August and September in China
- Compulsory repatriation insurance
- Personal expenses, drinks, tips
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