Samye Monastery

Samye Monastery

Tour Level:

Admission Ticket:

¥40 ( all year round )

Opening Time:

from 09:00am to 17:00pm

Altitude: 3,700m

Situated on the north bank of the Yarlung Tsanpo River of Zharang County, Samye Monastery is known the first temple to be built in Tibet in the 8th century by King Trisong Detsen. In order to spread Buddhism,the King invited the Indian Buddhist masters Padmasambhava and Shantarakshita to help him built it.

After several damage in the 11th, 17th, 18th centuries, today, only a fraction of its original 108 buildings survive or have been reconstructed. Its layers follow different styles, the bottom in Tibetan, the middle in Han's and the top in Indian, so the monastery is also called the "Three-styled Temple".

Highlights of Samye Monastery

The Whole Layout

The whole construction of Monastery is very complicated and grandiose. It replicated the universe described in the sutras exactly. The central world Mount Meru is represent by the majestic Wuzi Hall. The Sun and Moon chapels stand in the north and south as the Sun and moon in the universe. 4 larger halls and 8 smaller halls are distributed around all sides of the central hall, symbolizing 4 lare continents and 8 small ones.

Samye Monastery

Wuzi Hall

The 3-storey Wuzi Hall is the soul of the whole monastery. Its design is very special. There are four gates to the Wuzi Hall. The eastern gate leads to the front entrance of the hall. In front of the gate is a 9-storey hall, but only 3 storeys remain standing.


Samye Monastery is renowned for the characteristic art of its building and the vivid murals, as well as other ancient relics stored within them. On the porch of the middle storey is inscribed the reputed "Painted Historical Records" of Tibet, which extend 9.2m and contains the religious history of Tibet as well as many related legends. In addition, the murals, "Historical Records of Samye Monastery" and "Biography of Padmasambhava", are also of high aesthetic value.

How to get there?

Firstly, you need to take a bus from Lhasa to Samye Dock. It takes you around 3 hours. Then you take a boat on Yarlung Tasangpo River to Samye Monastery.

Samye Monastery

Travel Tips

1. The opening time: 09:00am to 17:00pm.
2. After entering the monastery, tourist should walk clockwise from left to right.
3. The mountain top is the best place to photograph a panoramic view of the monastery.
4. You can take photos in most part of the monastery, but it is better to ask for permission before taking photos in the halls or with monks.
5. There is a small hostel in the monastery, and its cost is from ¥15.

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