Why Visit Larung Gar Buddhist Academy

Located about 20 km southeast from Sertar County (Seda,色达) that is filled with Tibetan color, Larung Gar Buddhist Academy is also called “Larung Gar Buddhist Institute”, “Serthar Buddhist Institute” or “Larong Wuming Tibetan Buddhist Institute”. First set up in 1980 with only some 30 apprentices, the academy was accepted by the 10th Panchen who wrote to the county government to apply for support. Through their efforts, this famous Tibetan Buddhist Institute was bestowed the title of “World’s Largest Buddhist Institute” by an American newspaper in 1993. Then, in 1997, Larung Gar Buddhist Academy was officially established. And till now, there are more than 20 thousand Buddhist apprentices here learning the sacred Buddhist courses and purifying the soul.

(Recent news: According to the statutory regulation, Foreign visitors, and residents of Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan are not allowed to visit Larung Gar Buddhist Academy in the whole 2020.)

What to See & Experience in Larung Gar Buddhist Academy

The Buddhist Courses

There are short education and long education in Larung Gar Buddhist Academy. Long education needs 6 years to finish, and some special degree needs even 13 years to get. Every apprentice has to be bone up to pass all the courses and a debate, so then he or she can get the degree given by the Khenpo (the Master). Since the principles in the academy are very strict, no monk is permitted to visit a nun even if they are siblings.

Spectacle Scenery of “Red River”

Standing on the hillside under the azure sky, surrounded by green fields, you can appreciate the most shining highlight of Larung Gar Buddhist Academy, namely, the grant view of countless little cabins. Thickly dotted on the hillside, the cabins, where all the monks and nuns live in, spread for miles that you cannot see its ends, being the unique superb view in the world.

Splendid Night View

At night when all the apprentices stay in their own cabins, all the light lit. At this time, you can see the whole academy is extraordinarily glorious. Every cabin is like a shining colorful star surrounding the golden and silver temples, roads with sparkling golden and blue lights crossing the academy. The splendid nigh view makes Larung Gar Buddhist Academy an attractive photographic scenic spot.

The Sacred Mandala

This resplendent and magnificent building is on the highest peak of Larung Gar Buddhist Academy. The Mandala is the place where sacrificial Buddhist activities are held, and usually you can find many people turning their prayer wheels for worshipping here at the upper part of the Mandala. It is said that if you are ill, the sickness will be driven away after you turn the wheel here walkinig for 100 rounds.

The Devout Buddhist Seekers

On this land full of Buddhist culture, you can find a zillion devoted seekers here reading scriptures and leaning Buddhist course day and night in Larung Gar Buddhist Academy. No matter young or old, they all wear vermilion Buddhist robes. Set off by the blue sky, the dresses on the 20 thousand Buddhist seekers present exquisite and solemn.

How to Go to Larung Gar Buddhist Academy

Since Larung Gar Buddhist Academy is about 580 km from Chengdu and the road quality is poor, it takes about 9 hours to get there.

Go to Larung Gar Buddhist Academy By Bus:

There are some buses from Chengdu Chadianzi Bus Station to Serdar County. Depart in the early morning, for about 6-14 hours. (Buy the ticket in advance for 3 days, because the tickets to Sertar County are usually quickly sold out.) You can tell the driver to stop at the crossing of the academy, or you can take a minibus after reaching Sertar.

Accommodations in Larung Gar Buddhist Academy

1. There are two places for stay in the Academy, the Larung Hotel (Tancheng Hotel), and the Fupin Guest House. Environment here is not bad.

2. You can also choose some better hotels around, like Seda Shengcheng Hotel, Seda Shengyu hotel and Seda Foyuan Hotel.

3. If you are lucky to meet a very kind Buddhist ascetic, you can live in his or her house and enjoy the meals.

Eating in Larung Gar Buddhist Academy

Larung Gar Buddhist Academy provides vegetarian diet, and you can have meals in the small restaurants downhill but the prices are a little high.

Useful Tips to Visit Larung Gar Buddhist Academy

1. It is very wet and often cold in Larung Gar Buddhist Academy, so take enough clothes there. Especially from Oct. to Mar., the temperature is around 10 degree below zero. Take your raincoat, umbrella, anti-slip shoes for the frequent rain.

2. Since it takes a dozen hours to get to the academy and the bus seldom stops on the halfway, it is suggested to drink less.

3. The Buddhist Academy has an altitude of more than 4,000 meters. Take commonly used medicines to deal with urgent cases, like altitude stress, fever, etc. Clinic is accessible in the academy.

4. Take a camera to record the precious moments but do not focus on photography too much, because it is more important to experience the view and Buddhist culture of the academy. But please remember to obey the local rules and customs while photographing, especially when in a solemn situation.

5. Obey the disciplines in the academy, for example, no alcohol, no smoking, no fighting, etc.

How to Plan a Sertar Tour

Although foreign visitors and residents in Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan are not allowed to visit Sertar, you can still visit other famous temples in other popular Tibetan areas in Garze including Kangding, Luding, Xinduqiao, Tagong, Bamei, Danba, to enjoy more splendid Tibetan charm without visiting to the far Tibet, which usually takes about 6 and more days according to the destinations you choose. Besides, you can also plan as many other visitors to travel Kangding together with Daocheng Yading to see the “Last Pure Land on Our Blue Planet” for another 1-2 days sightseeing trip!

Moreover, you are also recommended to spend 4-8 days to have a classic exploration of Tibet from Chengdu to discover the nature, Buddhist culture, architecture, etc. in Lhasa, Gyantse, Shigatse, Mount Everest EBC and more!

We China Discovery based in Chengdu are experienced in tour customization! And we are very glad to help you plan your Garze tour, Chengdu tour, Sichuan tour, Tibet tour and China tour according to your group size, interests, physical condition, time, plan, budget and every special need! Please feel free totell us if you need any help!

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Questions & Discussions

Following are latest questions and answers from our webusers and customers. You can learn many useful information from the discussion and cases. You can also join in the discussions or ask your own question. Our experts will help you ASAP.

Foreigner with Chinese Work and Residence Permits?
Hello, my husband and I are foreigners but we both have Chinese work permits and residence permits. Can we visit Sertar/Seda in July 2018? Thank you!
2018-06-16 22:56
Hi Sangeeta,

Greetings from China! So far we have not received the official news of reopening of Sertar to foreign people, However, we will update the news as soon as we get the official notice. Thank you for your understanding!

Have a great day!
Is Sertar open to tourists now?
Hi, I’ve seen lots of articles saying Sertar is closed to foreign tourists currently. I wanted to check if that is still the case?


2018-05-28 17:10
Hi Chad,

Thank you for the good question. So far we have not received the official news of reopening of Sertar to foreign people, however, we will update the news as soon as we get the official notice. Thank you for your understanding!

Wish you a good day!
Tour to Sertar
Hello, we have Americans, Hong Kongers and Taiwanese in our group. Is it possible for us to enter Sertar in the coming August?

Thank you so much!
2018-05-21 21:39
Hello Jessie,

Greetings from China! So far we have not received the official news of reopening of Sertar to foreign people and visitors from Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan, however, we will update the news as soon as we get the official notice. Thank you for your understanding!

Have a nice day!
Tour to sertar
I'm a french art photographer and i want to go to Sertar. Could you tell me when the area is open again for book a tour.

Thank you very much
2018-03-01 00:52
Hello Stéphane,

Thank you for the message. So far we have not received the official news of reopening of Sertar to foreign people, however, we will update the news as soon as we get the official notice. Thank you for your understanding!

Have a nice day!
Tour to Serdar
Hi, I need to go to Serdar for a two day trip with another group. Um from Sri Lanka & only me will be travelling. I can't speak Chinese. Early response z appreciated.
Manoj Samarathunga
2017-10-04 06:44
Dear Manoj,

Thanks for your message. I am sorry to tell you Sertar (Seda) is not open for foreign travelers because there are some constructions in progress. It may be reopen in 2018, but hard to say when.

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