Sertar Travel Guide and Tour Packages
Sertar Larung Gar (the Buddhist School) is currently closed for foreign travelers due to mutiple reasons. Travel companies were told not to organize travelers to go there. Its re-open time is not clear.Seda, also known as Sertar, is a Tibetan town in northwest Sichuan Province. It is located by the meeting point of Sichuan and Qinghai Province. It is neighboring Ganzi, Shiqu. It has a population of about 16,000 and an elevation of 4000 meters above sea level. Seda is far and cold but it is home to many Tibetan cultural wonders and beautiful landscape.
Larung Gar Buddhist School
Larung Gar School
Seda Wuming Buddhist School, or Larung Gar Buddhist Institute, is located in a valley called Larong 20km south to the town of Seda. It is considered one of the biggest Buddhist schools in the world. It was know by the world since 1990s. Lots of Buddhist masters studied and graduated from here. In this valley, thousands of houses spread out over the mountain sides. All the wooden houses are with red color and used as dormitories for Lama (monk) and Juemu (nun). By the top of the mountain lie a few temples and Buddhist halls. These temples are not considered big but all in a full and even overwhelmed decoration. The most significant construction is the Temple City by the top. It is the destination of a pilgrimage that is done by many deep-faith Buddhists. It is widely believed to walk around the Temple City (Zhuanjing) and turn the wheels bring you good health and luck.
Devil Conversion Tower
It is located 2km outside of Seda town. This tower was built at the beginning of 20th century. It is 52 meters tall and has 9 stories. It is a beautiful tower and a good place to explore in Seda.
Seda Golden Horse Festival
Golden Horse Festival is a big event to worship the nomads’ god within Seda. The festival falls on the fourth day of the fifth month in Tibetan Lunar Calendar.
The other Buddhist interests in Seda also include Jixiang Buddhist Library, Laze Monastery, Naze Gompa, Dalong Monastery and Sera Monastery.
Recommended length of visiting: half day to 2-3 days;
Explore Larung Gar Buddhist School
Walk the complex to see the life of local monks and nuns. Sertar Buddhist School is the largest Buddhist school in the whole Tibet. It is home to over 20,000 monks and nuns. Find the photo spots at each ridge of the school and catch the schooling time.
Watch Sky Burial
The Sky Buirial is open to public and it is usually held in the afternoon from 1pm to 3pm everyday. Prepare to get shocked when the sky burial monk feeding the eagals. Visitors are allowed to take photos from far away.
Sertar is good for photographers all year round. Sunrise and sunset are available in this school. It is open 24 hours.
Walking around Sertar Larung Gar is a lot of fun. It takes about 3 hours. Another fun hiking is to walk from west of the complex to the Sky Burial Site for about 1 hour.
Useful Sertar Travel Tips
Gathered below is the most useful travel guide to Sertar. Important travel information of Sertar includes travel season and climate, detailed and useful Sertar travelers’ maps, tips for traveling in Sertar, accommodation and food issues about traveling to Seda.
The best time to visit Seda is in June and September. Raining season is between June and September each year. Winter comes by October until the next March when the temperature drops down to as low as -10C. Air is very dry and oxygen is lower than standard due to the high elevation at Seda. During summer time which is July and August, the temperature is between 10C to 20C.
From 2016 Sertar was closed to foreign travelers due to mutiple reasons. If you are planning to do any trips there, it is better to wait or to try hire someone from Chengdu who knows how to do this with the lowest risks of a failed trip. You will be told to go back if you are spotted by the police. There are high risks that you will be told to go back if police see you.
Avoid the daytime when passing through the check points at both 50km and 1km outside of Sertar. Pass there after 6pm or even later. Or to pass there earlier than 7am. There will also be checking in the school but the school is not an enclosed place. It can be accessed from any direction if you don't mind a bit of walking. Use local and small places to stay overnight.
Accommodation and Food
There are good hotels in Seda Xian (20km west to the school) you can find including some 3 star modern hotels as well as some basic hostels. While for independent traveling it is a good idea to stay at local farmers/herders place or small guesthouses to avoid the possible checking which can result into a failed visit to Sertar.