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14 Days Samye to Lhamo Latso Trekking

Southeast of Lhasa
Start - Finish
Samye-Lhamo Latso
Lung-la (4968m)
Tented Camp
Trekking Time
8 Days
14 Days


The pilgrimage from Samye Monastery to Lhamo Latso trek is richly varied and has much to offer: high snow mountains, a magnificent monastery, seldom visited cave hermitages, nomads and their black-tent culture, and a sacred "oracle lake". The trail follows the flat Tsangpo Valley with its sand dunes and myriad freshwater pools. Small, untouched villages and monasteries dot the way to the Yulung Chu Valley. Near its head, close to high snowcapped peaks, are the delightful nomad settlements of Shindu and Amando.

Being at the radiant oracle lake of Lhamo Latso is a high point of this journey. It is the foremost "vision" lake in Tibet and sitting Dalai Lamas were obligated to come here at least once in their lifetimes, usually on the lake's surface, concerning his future.

Itinerary Day by Day

Day 01 Arrive at Lhasa for acclimatization by air or train

Today's highlights:

Airport/train station transfer to hotel, Acclimatize to the High Altitude.


Fly into Lhasa or arrive in Lhasa by train. Local guide will meet you and transfer you to Lhasa. On the way, you can appreciate the heart-beating highland view along the Yarlong Tsangpo river (the longest river in Tibet and highest river on the earth with an average altitude of 4,000 meters), originating from Jiemayangzong Glacier on the northern Himalayas.

Day 02 Sightseeing in Lhasa

Jokhang Temple is the pilgrimage center of TibetansToday's highlights:

Potala Palace, Jokhang temple, Barkhor Street


The cardinal landmark of Lhasa, Potala Palace, is a structure of massive portions. Its towering image already appearing on various occasions, but your first sight of the Potala will still be an awe-inspiring moment. Potala Palace is a place where you can appreciate the Tibetan culture, religion and art of architecture as well.

Jokhang Temple is the spiritual center of Tibet. Every day, pilgrims from every corner of Tibet trek a long distance to the temple to pray for their now and future. The temple is the product of Han, Tibetan and Nepalese architectural techniques.

Barkhor Street, the oldest street in a very traditional city in Tibet.

Day 03 Lhasa-Ganden or Drak Yerpa-Lhasa

Today's highlights:

Ganden Kora, Drak Yerpa


Drive to Ganden monastery, the first monastery belonged to Yellow Hat sect. You could see the countryside views there. One the way have a family visit (optional) You can have a easier or harder hike at Ganden. High kora or low kora depends on your physical condition. The high kora climbs Angkor Ri south of Ganden and then drops down the ridge to join up with the lower kora. The low kora is easier than high kora.

Drak Yerpa hermitage is one of the holiest cave retreats in Tibet. The site is deeply peaceful and has stunning views. There are many caves and retreats higher up the cliff face. There, you can have a climb on the hill. It is said that Lhasa is the shrine of Tibet, Drak Yerpa is the shrine of Lhasa. Without seeing Drak Yerpa in Lhasa is just like making a dress without the collar.

Day 04 Lhasa-Samye

Samye Monastery is the starting point of Samye-Lhamo La-tso Lake trekking.  Today's highlights:

Samye Monastery


In the morning drive to Samye Monastery, located in south of Tsetang, is the first Buddhist monastery erected in Tibet. The first floor is of the Tibetan style and the second the Han style and the third the Indian style. Stay overnight at the poor guesthouse near Samye.

We will start our Samye-Lhamo Latso Trekking at Samye Monastery next day.

Time Chart

Day       Places to Trek       Trekking Time
 1     Samye-Gerpa Ferry        9 hours
 2        Ngari Tratsang           7 hours
 3       Zangri Karmar            8 hours
 4   Cholung Monastery       6.5 hours
 5       Nomad Camp          4.5 hours
 6           Amando                7 hours
 7        Chokorgye             6.5 hours
 8      Lhamo Latso              4 hours

Day 05 Trek from Samye to Gerpa Ferry 9hrs.

"Life Spirit"-Lhamo Latso LakeThe pilgrimage heads east from Samye along the north bank of the Yarlung Tsangpo to the village of Lo. During the rainy season of July and August, this sandy area can be flooded, making the going difficult. After Lo, the train disappears. Stick close to the river and walk towards the low bluffs that come down to the water. It takes 5 hours from Samye to reach the entrance of the Doh Valley, running north-south. From here stay close to the Tsangpo for four more hours to Gerpa Ferry, a small landing by the river. The going can be muddy along the trackless north bank.

Day 06 Trek from Gerpa Ferry to Ngari Tratsang 7hrs.

Wade across a small river that flows south into the Tsangpo.This region is barren. A trail following the Tsangpo starts east of here and makes the going easier. From the ferry to the last bluff takes 4 hours. The snow peak to the south is Yala Shampo, across the river is Tsetang. The trail now heads north, veering left just before another ferry. Crosses a small bridge and after 3 hours reaches the village of Chermen or called Timen at the entrance of Yon Valley. Tagka Sho is a short distance to the east.

Day 07 Trek from Ngari Tratsang to Zangri Karmar 8hrs.

Follow the well-defined track 1km north of the river to Jang. Goats, sheep and donkeys abound in this prosperous area. From Jang walk 1/2 hour to a small village next to the main path. At this point a track on the left zigzags up a range of mountains to the northeast. A 3 hours walking along it leads to Densatil Monastery. After returning from Densatil, continue along the river to Pumdru. Leave the main track that continues along the river, and follow a side trail, lined by transmission towers, up the hill to the left. Cross a small rise and then descend towards Zangri.Follow a motor road for 10 minutes to where wooden posts block the road. Take a side road to the left. 10 minutes further along the main road is a small hill on the left. From Jang to here is 5 hours. Climb for 15 minutes to the Gelugpa monastery of Zangri Karmar.

Day 08 Trek from Zangri Karmar to Cholung Monastery 6.5 hrs.

Blue Lotus is in full bloom at Lhamo Latso areaA scenic motor road runs north for 22km from Zangri Karmar, along the east bank of the Tsangpo river, to a power station. After the station follow the wider of the two valleys to the left. Carry on along the valley for 1 3/4 hours to a small bridge. Here the valley divides again. The motor road continues to the left. Take the dirt track to the right through a side valley. This is the Woka Valley, trending to the northeast. After 1 1/4 hours on a level path, the valley widens, with good views of sacred Wode Gungyal to the right. Ignore the small bridge that crosses the river on the right. Continue for 15 minutes to good campgrounds, then follow the jeepable track to Woka. From the camping area to Woka is 3.5hours. From woka cross a small bridge and head east towards the mountains along the right side of the Woka Valley. Cross a range of low hills to reach Cholung Monastery.

Day 09 Trek from Cholung Monastery to Nomad Camp 4.5 hrs.

For hours from Cholung, the valley abruptly becomes a narrow gorge flanked by sheer cliffs. Climb a small bluff, bearing to the right. Cross a bridge at the top and descend to a small lateral valley with nomad tents. It's possible to stay with the herdsmen, surrounded by yaks and snowcapped mountains.

Day 10 Trek from Nomad Camp to Amando 7 hrs.

Cross a small hill on the north side of the valley and descend back down to the Yulung. 1.5hours to another side valley opening to the right. Black tents sometimes mark the spot. Bypass the valley and walk for 2 hours to a broad open area with many black tents. That is Shindu nomad camp. Ignore a side valley left of Shindu. Follow the west bank of the main river for one hour to a stone hut enclosed by a low stone wall. The valley divides here. Take the left branch, known as Layuena. After 1 hour reach another stone hut and shortly afterwards a couple of black tents. Continue for 1 1/4 hours to a clearing with about ten tents. This is Amando.

Day 11 Trek from Amando to Chokorgye 6.5 hrs.

Chokorgye Monastery is not far from Lhamo LatsoWalk up to the Lung La, 1.5hours from Amando.Only the final half an hour is strenuous. At the top, to the left, is a field of thick snow covering the sides of a prominent peak, with a small lake at its base. This is one of 21 sacred lakes in the area, consecrated Drolma. Descend steeply, curving to the right. After 1.5hours cross the river on stone steps to the east bank. Follow the river for 3/4hour, then wade back to the right bank at a point marked by stone cairns. Reach Chokorgye Monastery after a further 2 3/4 hours of easy and pleasant walking. Chokorgye is a lovely spot to spend a rest day.

Day 12 Trek from Chokorgye to Lhamo Latso 4hrs

Overlooking Lake Lhamo LatsoFollow a path over a bridge to the entrance of the northeast valley from the east wall of the Chokorgye monastery. Follow the valley for 1 hour, along the left bank of the river, to an area marked by many cairns. Cross the river here on stepping stones to a nomad camp. Then climb abruptly and steeply north to reach a side valley that runs perpendicular to the main river. A small burbid pond, on the left, is reached in one hour. This is Yoni lake. Follow your left river for one hour to a flat pateau. Look behind for a close, dramatic view of Mount Lhamo Nying. Directly ahead is an amphitheater of seemingly impassable mountains. Reach the pass overlooking Lake Lhamo Latso after 1 hour. This spot, crammed full of praer flags and stone cairns, is know as Shugtri, the Dalai Lama's Throne. Pilgrims usually stay here for several hours, chanting prayers, meditating, and making offerings.

Our trek ends here, but it will cost you another 3 hours walking to return to Chokorgye.

Optional (The path to the lake is difficult and pilgrims rarely descend. Down to the lake, you need 2 extra days)

Extra day 1 Walk down the scree slopes to the lake shore
Extra day 2 Return from the valley bottom to the top

Day 13 Chokorgy-Tsetang

Yambu Lakhang was the first palace in TibetToday's highlights:

Your private vehicle will come to pick you up to Tsetang


You'll be picked up by your private driver and vehicle at Chokorgy. Drive back to Tsetang to have a good rest.

Day 14 Tsedang-Gonggar Airport

Today's highlights:

Airport transfer, Say goodbye to Tibet


Transfer to Gonggar Airport to take flight out of Lhasa to next destination. Bid farewell to Tibet.

Permits Required

A visit to Lhamo Latso requires four permits (3-7 days to process). The place you are likely to be checked is at Chokorgye Monastery or Gyantsa County.

Sleeping and Eating

Lhamolatso is difficult to reach and receives few foreign visitors. You should be prepared for rain, snow and cold weather-the lake is at an altitude of 5000m. The nearest accommodation to Lhamolatso is at Choforgye Monastery, which has basic dorm rooms at outrageous prices. There are good camping spots behind the temple walls if you have a tent.

Tips for Trekking

1. The weather is changeable, as well as the temperature;

2. Lots of places are damp, so equipped with the waterproofed camera;

3. Except for the high passes, this pilgrimage goes through areas noted for their warm, dry climate. Rain can be expected in July and August, less in June and September, and virtually none during the rest of year. Heavy snow, however, can blanket the passes from December through February. For nine months of the year this pilgrimage is a good bet.

4. Respect the people here and respect their local custom;

5. Drink lots of water before departure;

6. No alcohol;

7. Avoid catching cold and bring some medicine;.

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