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How to Travel from Nepal to Tibet

Traveling from Nepal to Tibet is to trace the footprints of ancient Nepalese Buddhist masters and scholars who trekked over Himalaya Mountains to spread Buddhism and other knowledge, to find out the hidden connection between these two greatest lands on Himalaya, also to enjoy the fantastic landscape that you can only see on the mysterious Roof of the World. No matter what motivates you for a Nepal Tibet tour, you currently has two ways of transportation to travel to Tibet from Nepal: by a direct 1.5 hours’ Kathmandu-Lhasa flight or overland driving journey. Find more guide below to get inspiration.

Why Travel from Nepal to Tibet

1. Quickest Way to Get to Tibet

Bordering Tibet on the north, Nepal offers the quickest transportation to Tibet than any other country in the world. From Kathmandu, the capital of Nepal, travelers only need to drive about 90km to reach Gyirong Port on the Nepal-China border. Crossing the port, travelers can get to Mount Everest within a single day, then extend trips to Shigatse, Gyantse, Lhasa, Namtso, etc.

Useful Links: Kathmandu Lhasa Flights / Kathmandu Lhasa Overland Travel

2. No Need to Apply for A Full Chinese Visa

Traveling from Nepal to Tibet, travelers don’t have to get a normal Chinese Visa. The China Embassy in Kathmandu will issue a Tibet Group Visa which is a special single-entry visa allows foreign travelers to enter Tibet by overland trip or flight. Usually it take about 3~5 working days to obtain the group visa.

3. Plenty of Attractions along the Road

The overland route from Nepal to Lhasa, capital of Tibet, itself is a classic and popular traveling route which is full of stunning attractions, some of which are the bests in Tibet, such as Mount Everest, EBC, Sakya Monastery, Tashilhunpo Monastery, Palcho Monastery, Lhasa, Potala Palace, Jokhang Temple, etc. Most attractions are conveniently located near the driving road.

Travel from Nepal to TibetKathmandu Lhasa Overland Driving Map
Travel from Nepal to TibetStunning Mount Everest

How to Plan a Travel from Nepal to Tibet

● Nepal to Tibet: By Flight or By Road?

Currently you have two options when you planning a trip from Nepal to Tibet - overland travel or flight travel. The most popular trip is the overland adventure from Kathmandu to Lhasa, via Gyirong Port, Mount Everest, Shigatse, Gyantse. There are also other overland itineraries you can take, such as Kathmandu Mount Kaillash Lhasa Overland, Kathmandu Tsetang Lhasa Overland, etc.

If you prefer flight travel, you can directly get to Lhasa from Kathmandu and miss groups of wonderful scenery along the route, since there is only one international air line between Nepal and Tibet. However, Tibet Discovery offers you flexible itinerary after arriving at Lhasa - explore Lhasa surrounding, overland traveling back to Kathmandu, or travel from Lhasa to China's other cities.

● How many days you have planned for your trip?

Generally speaking, a Nepal Tibet trip can either be short to 4 days, or long to more than 20 days. It depends on where you want to go in Tibet. The classic route Kathmandu Lhasa Overland needs at least 7 days. If you want to cover Mount Kailash in your trip, you have to plan at least 13 days. A biking trip from Kathmandu to Lhasa needs about 22 days.

● Make A Private Tour or Group Tour?

According to local laws, all foreigners are not allowed to travel in Tibet independently. Every foreign tourist has to take a private tour or join in a group tour, offered by a China travel agency. A private tour gives you more flexibility to arrange the tour length, itinerary and activities according to your personal interests. You will have your own private tour guide and driver, and enjoy the trip in a leisure pace. Traveling with a group tour, you will join other people in a fixed-departure date, and share the itinerary, vehicle and tour guide, which will greatly cut down your expense.

Contact us to customize your Nepal Tibet Tour, or find travel companion here!

Travel from Nepal to TibetPotala Palace in Lhasa
Travel from Nepal to TibetBeautiful Yamdrok Lake in Summer

Kathmandu to Lhasa Overland via Mount Everest - Most Popular & Top Recommended

This tour is the one of our best-selling Nepal Tibet Tour Packages. It start from Kathmandu, goes northeastward to Lhasa. Highlights come along the way from beginning to the end. You will firstly have an exciting adventure on Mount Everest which is not very far away from Nepal side. Then you will travel to the Golden Triangle Destinations in Tibet - Shigatse, Gyantse and Lhasa.

Day 1~2 Nepal to Shigatse via Mount Everest

Drive from Kathmandu to Gyirong Port, and accommodate in Gyirong Town on the Day 1, then drive to visit Mount Everest on the Day 2. A highlight is Rongbuk Monastery, world’s highest-elevation monastery where can view Mt.Everest.

Day 3~4 Mount Everest to Lhasa

After visiting Everest Base Camp, drive to Shigatse City on the Day 3. The Day 4 is for you to travel from Shigatse to Lhasa and visit unique Palcho Monastery, imposing Karola Glacier and tranquil Yamdrok Lake on route.

Day 5~7 Lhasa Tour & Departure

Visit the most classic attractions in Lhasa on Day 5 and Day 6, including the grandiose Potala Palace, holy Buddhist sites Jokhang Temple, Drepung Monastery and Sera Monastery, also the exotic Barkhor Street and quiet Norbulingka, and depart from Lhasa at Day 7 by flight or train.

√ 7 Days Kathmandu to Lhasa Private Tour via Mount Everest

√ 7 Days Tibet Group Tour from Kathmandu

If you prefer a slower pace, you can extend this trip to 9 days - spending an extra night at Gyantse, and an extra visit to Sakya Monastery.

√ 9 Days Kathmandu to Lhasa Overland Tour via Everest & Tsetang

Travel from Nepal to TibetA Leisure Walking around EBC
Travel from Nepal to TibetPalcho Monastery in Gyantse Town

Kathmandu to Lhasa Overland via Mount Kailash - A Holy Pilgrimage Trip

This route is an in-depth Tibet tour which takes you to explore most of the best highlights of Tibet. After entering Tibet, you will firstly go to trek the holiest mountain in Asia – Mount Kailash, and visit Manasarovar Lake, then drive to National Highway 318, and travel to Lhasa via Shigatse, Gyantse and Yamdrok Lake.

Day 1~3 Kathmandu to Darchen

Mount Kailash is located in remote western Tibet, you have to spend three days on the road before getting to Darchen.

Day 4~6 Mount Kailash Trekking

In the following three days, you will trek around 50 kilometers to complete the Mount Kailash Kora.

Day 7~8 Drive from Darchen to Mount Everest

Long driving from Darchen to Mount Everest. But the landscape along the road is amazing. You may view spectacular Shishabangma and beautiful Padkuhd Tso lake from afar.

Day 9~10 Visit Mount Everest and Tour Shigatse, Drive to Lhasa

Enjoy morning sunrise in Rongbuk Monastery near the EBC in Day 9. During Day 10, go yo the Tashihunpo Monastery in Shigatse and Palcho Monastery, Gyantse Dzong later. In Day 11, drive to Lhasa via gem-like Yamdrok Lake.

Day 12~14 Lhasa Tour & Departure

Spend two days visiting the most classic attractions in Lhasa, such as Potala Palace, Jokhang Temple, etc, and depart from Lhasa at Day 14 by flight or train.

√ 14 Days Mount Kailash Tibet Highlights Tour from Kathmandu

Travel from Nepal to TibetHoly Mount Kailash
Travel from Nepal to TibetPilgrim at Lake Manasarovar

Kathmandu to Lhasa Tour by Flight

If your holiday is short, but you want to visit Nepal and Tibet both, then a Kathmandu Lhasa Tour by flight perfectly suits your plan. Usually, you can spend 3 or 4 days at each destination.

Day 1~3 Kathmandu & Surrounding Tour

Visit landmarks in Kathmandu Valley to sense its unique culture and history. Durbar Square, Swayambhunath Temple and Boudhanath Stupa are must-see spots in Kathmandu. Patan and Bhaktapur are two great cultural places too. You will take a side trip to Nagarkot to enjoy breathtaking scenery of the Himalayan.

Day 4 Fly from Kathmandu to Lhasa, Tibet

There are weekly flights between Kathmandu and Lhasa. The duration is less than 1.5 hours. Ready to be shocked by the snow-capped Himalaya peaks when flying over.

Day 5~7 Lhasa Tour & Departure

Start your sacred Tibet travel from the most precious miracle in Tibet - Potala Palace, then go to Jokhang Tempe, Barkhor Street in the first day. On next day, see the beautiful Garden palace - Norbulingka, to Drepung Monastery (“the Mother School of Dalai Lamas”) and observe how monks debate Buddhism vehemently in Sera Monastery. Last day is for packing and leaving.

√ 7 Days Kathmandu Lhasa Highlights Tour by Flight

For those who have finished tour in Nepal, Tibet Discovery also provides you well-organized Tibet tour from Nepal and nice driving journey back to Kathmandu. Basically, you need to spend over 1 week on the best highlights in Lhasa, Everest and Shigatse.

Day 1 Take a 1.5 hours’ flight from Kathmandu to Lhasa

Day 2~3 Visit most famous tourist attractions in Lhasa

Day 4~5 Transfer from Lhasa to Gyantse, Tour Gyantse & Shigatse

Day 6~7 Drive from Sakya to Mount Everest

Day 8 Drive to Gyirong Port to enter Kathmandu, Nepal

√ 8 Days Kathmandu to Lhasa with Mount Everest Adventure by Flight

Travel from Nepal to TibetPatan Durbar Square
Travel from Nepal to TibetSera Monastery in Lhasa
Travel from Nepal to TibetGyantse Dzong

Necessary Visas & Permits for Your Nepal Tibet Tour

Before starting your travel from Nepal to Tibet, please note that you have to get several necessary travel documents with you, including the Tibet Group Visa, Tibet Entry Permit, Alien Travel Permit and Border Pass. If you want to extend your trip to Mount Kailash, you will to have an extra permit - Tibet Military Permit. Traveling with Tibet Discovery, you don't have to worry about how and where to get these permits. We will apply for all the needed permits for you.

Group Visa

Group Visa is a special kind of single-entry Chinese Visa for foreign travelers to enter Tibet from Nepal. Common Chinese Visa doesn’t allow foreigner to enter Tibet from Nepal. With this Group Visa, one can also extend its trip to other provinces and other cities in China. Travelers can only apply for this permit at China Embassy in Kathmandu City. Original passport is required for the application. The Group Visa requires at least 5 tourists traveling together. learn more >>

Our Helpful Advice: If you travel alone or less than 5 members, we strongly suggest that, you fly from Kathmandu to Lhasa with a layover in Chengdu. In that way, you can tour Tibet from Kathmandu without worrying about applying the Group Visa, a regular Chinese Visa just works.

Best Chengdu Tibet Tours Recommended:

√ 9 Days Chengdu Lhasa Kathmandu Overland Tour

Tibet Entry Permit

Tibet Entry Permit is foremost and compulsory for foreign passport holders to enter Tibet. Issued by Tibet Tourism Bureau, it is also called TTB permit. Without the permit, you can’t board your flight to Tibet or cross overland from Nepal, also will not be able to get other permits to continue to travel Tibet further.

Every non-Chinese passport holder, including US citizens, UK citizens, Australians, Canadians, Germans, Taiwanese, etc., has to obtain Tibet Entry Permit. It takes about 15~20 working days to obtain the Tibet Travel Permit. learn more >>

Tibet Border Pass

To pass the China-Nepal border area, travelers have to hold a Border Pass which is issued by Tibet Armed Police Border Corps in Lhasa. It can't be applied by travelers individually. One has to contact a Tibet travel agency to apply the Border Permit from the Tibet Armed Police Border Corps in Lhasa. learn more >>

Alien Travel Permit

When foreign travelers travel beyond Lhasa to other prefectures in Tibet, such as Shigatse, Shannan, Ngari, one has to have an Alien Travel Permit. The Lhasa to Kathmandu Cycling passes Shannan and Shigatse Prefectures. So the Alien Travel Permit is required. This permit can be applied after arrival in Tibet. Your tour guide will take you original passport and Chinese visa to apply for the permit. It usually takes only about 30 minutes to get the permit. learn more >>

Travel from Nepal to Tibet
Group Visa
Travel from Nepal to Tibet
Giant Panda in Chengdu
Travel from Nepal to Tibet
Tibet Entry Permit
Travel from Nepal to Tibet
Tibet Border Pass

Recommended Nepal Tibet Tour Packages

Tibet Discovery Tours is specialized in finding unique experience of Tibet, and leading you to explore what interests you most. Our Private Tibet Nepal Tours will take you to explore deep into the Holy Land, with loads of options, freedom & flexibility. You can choose from the following hand-picked tour packages which have been successfully operated for many years and created loads of amazing experiences for our customers, or check more Nepal Tibet Tours >>

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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.

Nepal - Tibet
When does the border crossing close or become unpassable due to weather conditions.
2018-08-13 09:01
Dear Ed,

Thanks for question. The time for closing border varies in different years. Usually it will close when frequent rainfall happens during May to October.
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