To get to the Samye Monastery (Sāngyē Sì, 桑耶寺) from Lhasa, you'll have to take an early morning bus to the Samye Ferry (recommended) or Tsetang Bridge to get across the river. Most pilgrims and tourists hitchhike the 9 km (5.5 mi) from the crossing to the monastery. Despite this rather troublesome journey, most visitors to Samye are pleasantly surprised by this out-of-the way attraction. It is, after all, the oldest monastery in Tibet, built more than 1,200 years ago, and a symbol of Buddhism's triumph over Bön, the previous religion of the Tibetan plateau.
Samye was designed to reflect the shape of the universe and blends Tibetan, Chinese and Indian architectural styles. Like all religious buildings in Tibet, Samye has incurred damage and destruction, but restorations over the years ensure your enjoyment of the site and lasting impressions.
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