How to Cross Nepal-Tibet Border

How Many Border Crossings are there between Nepal and Tibet, China?

There were two legal land border crossings between Nepal and China; one was Zhangmu in Nyalam County, and the other was Gyirong in Gyirong Town, Gyirong County. Both are under the jurisdiction of Shigatse City, the Tibet Autonomous Region of China. While Zhangmu Port is still closed to tourists, Gyirong Port is open to tourists who are traveling between Nepal and Tibet, China.

Zhangmu Port: Zhanmu Port used to bear over 90% of China-Nepal Trade and was the port for lawful entry of tourists travelling between Nepal and Tibet. On April 25th, 2015, a 7.8-magnitude earthquake struck Nepal and had a destructive impact on Zhangmu Port. Since then, Zhangmu Port has been closed for reconstruction. The latest news published on May 29th, 2019 said that an agreement between China and Nepal was established to reopen Zhangmu Port for freight shipping; however, this port would not be reopened for trade or tourism yet to ensure safety of road users.

Related Transport Network: Zhangmu is the last stop on the China Nepal Highway, also referred to as the Friendship Highway. It belongs to China’s longest highway G318, which starts from Shanghai and passes by the following provincial units, Jiangsu, Zhejiang, Anhui, Hubei, Chongqing, Sichuan, and ends at Friendship Bridge (Zhangmu Port), Tibet.

Gyirong Port: In 1961, a China Customs office was set up in Gyirong. At the south and southwest of Gyirong borders with Nepal, there is a 162-kilometer-long borderline. Currently, Gyirong Port is the only border open to tourists who are travelling between Nepal and Tibet. This bilateral border is linked by Rasuwa Bridge, with the two ends, Gyirong on the Tibet side and Rasuwa Gadhi on the Nepal side. Travelers from the Nepal side or Tibet side must cross the Rasuwa Bridge to get to the immigration offices on the two ends of the bridge in order to reach Chinese Customs or Nepal Customs and finish the formalities before legally entering the territory of Nepal or China.

Location and Related Transport Networks: Gyirong Port is 23 kilometers southeast of Gyirong town and 93 kilometers from Zongga Town, the seat of Gyirong County. Gyirong County is very close to Xinjiang-Tibet Highway (G216).

Gyirong Border
Gyirong Border

Documents Required for Foreign Travelers to Enter Tibet from Nepal Side

  1. Valid Passport;
  2. Group Chinese Visa: You need to have a travel agency apply for this visa for you in Kathmandu. You can’t apply for it as an individual applicant.
  3. Tibet Travel Permit: You need to have a Tibet travel agency arrange for a Tibet Travel Permit for you. Once you enter Tibet, the guide will wait for you with the original permit, and then you can legally travel in Tibet on an escorted tour.
  4. Additional permits are required, such as the Alien’s Travel Permit, Border Pass, and Military Permit, if you plan to visit another border area or remote regions, such as the Mount Everest regio and Mount Kailash region. To get these permits, you’ll also need the assistance of your chosen travel agency.

Note: Once you get your Group Tourist Visa, your previous Chinese visa will automatically become invalid.

Group Chinese Visa
Group Chinese Visa

Documents Required for Foreign Travelers to Enter Nepal from the Tibet Side

  1. Valid Passport;
  2. Nepal Tourist Visa upon arrival;

Note: A passport photo is suggested to shorten your visa application time at the immigration office.

How to Cross Nepal-Tibet Border from Nepal Side

Getting to the Chinese border: The road from Kathmandu to the border is not paved and can be very muddy during the monsoon season. A 4WD is the most often used vehicle to transfer travelers from Nepal to the border.

Travel Further into Tibet: As the policy has banned individual travel for foreign passport holders, the only way to continue your travels in Tibet, once you finish the border cross formalities, is to take an organized tour that is arranged by a travel agency. Since the road condition on the Tibet side is much better than in Nepal, there are more vehicle options for you to choose from based on the size of your travel group, such as a 4WD, van or coach.

How to Cross Nepal-Tibet Border from the Tibet Side

Getting to the Nepali Border: The Chinese domestic solo traveler can take a long-distance bus in Lhasa or Shigatse and arrive at the port directly. But the travel policy aimed at foreign travelers restricts individual travel. Foreign travelers thus have to be on an escorted tour and get transferred to the port in a vehicle arranged by authorized travel agencies. At the border, if you have got all the required documents, the next step is to go through the immigration formalities (the office hours are from 10:00 to 17:30 at Gyirong Port). And then you’ll enter Nepal and travel further with proper vehicles or by trekking.

When traveling further into Nepal, the 4WD vehicles normally are capable of carrying between 5 to 7 passengers, which costs around $22 to $30 per person if you find others to rent a vehicle with you. Apart from taking a 4WD, you can trek to the bus stop first and then take a bus to Kathmandu. This will be much cheaper but less pleasant as the space inside a bus is very limited.

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Nepal to Tibet Transports There are 2 ways to travel to Tibet from Nepal, and you can choose to either take the flight or drive overland via Gyirong border.
Nepal to Tibet Tour FAQs This article lists some frequent asked questions about how to plan a tour from Nepal to Tibet.
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