Sertar & Larung Gar
Sertar or Seda also known as the ‘Golden Horse’. It’s in Sichuan province on my 5 day adventures trip that was almost like pilgrimage itself I end up above 4100 meters. In a village of 10.000 (some say 40.000) buddhist Tibetan Monks living here. Their entire life they pray and study the way of Buddhism and work for the community and life their life in the ‘favela’ like typical red houses. Buddhist Monks from all over the world come here for the Larong Institute to teach the way of Buddha what takes 6 up to 13 years of study. Amazing sight to see so much back to basic living in such harsh environment especially in winter – colour series.
How to go there and do you need a permit?
It ain’t that easy any more to travel to Sertar and Larung Gar because you need a permit traveling there. However I’m not sure what the current situation is now. Because sometimes you need a permit and sometimes you don’t. It’s better ask the local contacts and agencies if it is possible visit this area.
Start in Chengdu
Chengdu is not only famous of its Panda’s (obviously) but it is also the access to the Tibetan plateau and entering Sichuan province. I traveled by high speed train from Chongqing and spend one night in Chengdu. From Chadianzi Bus Station several busses depart to Larung Gar and Sertar. Buy the day before your tickets. It is only possible buy one way tickets.
You depart from Chadianzi Bus station 6.30 in the morning and arrive in Sertar around 19.00 hrs. This include breaks and sometimes ride very slowly on bad roads (this is improved since 2015. so it would take a lot faster now). Beware of motion sickness and ascending over 4000 meters.
You arrive in the village next to Larung Gar: Seke. There are plenty of hostels and hotels available however beware not go in the Buddhist season (End of april to end of May) because a lof of rooms and hotels are full. From the main square in Seke there are minivans traveling up and down to Sertar and Larung gar. The vans only departs when it is full. When you arrive in Sertar the first day beware of the altitude. But it is amazing to see the entire village. Wander around the streets, see the tempels, the houses, say hello to the monks and a big chance they will invite you in their small cabins. Larung Gar is open on certain times but be in the special city is inspiring enough.