Samye Monastery

Admission:

RMB 30

Hours:

6am-8pm daily

How to get there:

Hop on any bus from Lhasa that is headed towards Tsetang (Zédāng Zhèn, 泽当镇). About 30 km (18 mi) away the bus stops at a ferry port along the Yarlung Tsangpo River (Yǎlǔ Zàngbù Jiāng, 雅鲁藏布江). Get off at this stop and board the ferry to cross the river. Samye Monastery is 9 km (5.5 mi) from the ferry stop and public transportation between the two is unavailable. You can either walk or hitch a ride from one of the locals (around RMB 3 is expected for a ride). It's a rough trip either way but worth the journey.

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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