Risks of Traveling Overland from Nepal to Tibet During the Rainy Season

The overland tour between Nepal and Tibet is a charming route since it involves great natural wonders, culture relics, and religion destinations.

However, there are some risks involved if you travel from Kathmandu to Lhasa or the other way around by car during Nepal’s rainy season, which are June, July, and August.

Road Conditions in Nepal and Tibet during the Rainy Season

The road conditions in Nepal are very bad. Many roads out of the city area are bumpy and muddy. It gets much worse during the rainy season from late June to September. It is just 130km from Kathmandu to the Gyirong border in Tibet, and it takes about 9 hours to get through. However, the time will be unpredictable if you travel during the rainy season because there might be heavy landslides and roads collapsed. As a result, vehicles might get stuck for days, forcing you to just walk through some of the parts. This will destroy your whole plan and put yourself in a dangerous situation.

Gyirong to Kathmandu Road
Gyirong to Kathmandu Road

If you take an overland tour from Tibet to Nepal and find there are collapsed roads in your way, then a better option will be to take a helicopter from Langtang National Park to Kathmandu. It takes about 30 minutes and costs $300 USD per person. But it still won’t fly on a day with heavy rain.

The road from Lhasa to Kathmandu is called the China-Nepal Friendship Highway. The roads in the Tibet section are well paved, even the road for the side trip to the Mt. Everest Base Camp is quite safe to drive. So, the rain does not affect the tour a lot.

The Best Time to Do the Overland Tour Between Nepal and Tibet

The best time to do the overland tour either from Nepal to Tibet (or Tibet to Nepal) is from April through early June and from late September through December. It’s also possible to do this tour in January and February, but you’ll need to be well prepared for cold temperatures and snowy weather. Meanwhile, between 2008 and 2019, Tibet stopped allowing foreigners to visit in the month of March, so it was not possible to get any Tibet Permits for foreign tourists during that month. But, in March 2019, Tibet reopened to foreign tourists. However, we cannot foresee the policy in 2020 and the years to come after. So, if possible, it is better to avoid March when you plan your Tibet tour.

Mount Everest Peak
Mount Everest Peak

The rainy season in Tibet is much shorter because of the great height of the Himalaya Range, and most of the rains are from late June to late August. But for those who’d like to see the true face of the Everest or Mt. Kailash, it is better to avoid this season. The peaks might be hidden by the heavy clouds. However, for those who’d like to take a chance, it is still good to visit the mountains in Tibet during this time since we have many former clients who saw the golden peak even in the rainy season.

The Best Way to Travel Between Nepal and Tibet in Rainy Season

Taking the flight between Nepal and Tibet would be the best way to travel during the rainy season. In this case, you can avoid the risks of the mud and rockslides which frequently happen along the 130km mountain road between Kathmandu and the Gyirong border in Tibet. The rainy season in the summertime is also the vacation time, so you can find daily flights from Kathmandu to Lhasa and from Lhasa to Kathmandu. It only takes about 1.5 hours and provides a good view of the Himalayas while in the air.

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