China Tibet Nepal Friendship Highway
Tibet Friendship Highway, also called China Nepal Highway or Nepal Tibet Friendship Highway, Sino Nepal Highway, is a celebrated road connecting Lhasa (provincial capital of Tibet) and Kathmandu (the capital of Nepal). It is famous for its scenic wonders and great significance. Traveling along this beautiful road, you can enjoy quite a lot of enchanting natural scenery and cultural attractions of Tibet. The world's highest mountain - Mt. Everest can be seen in its dramatic splendor. The road is also important to pilgrims who make their way from all around Tibet to the spiritual center in Lhasa.
Tibet Friendship Highway Facts
There are two lines of China Nepal Friendship Highway, namely the east line passing through Zhangmu-Kodari Port (樟木-科达里口岸) while the west line crossing Gyirong-Rasuwa Port (吉隆-热索瓦口岸). They share the same routes from Lhasa to Niemu.
1. East Line of Tibet Friendship Highway
Route: Lhasa - Shigatse - Lhatse -Tingri - Niemu - Zhangmu Port (Kordari Port) - Kathmandu
Length: about 943km (582 miles)
The east line was completed in 1965 and began to serve travelers since then. The Friendship Highway in Tibet side (Lhasa-Zhangmu section) is also one part of the famous China National Highway 318 - honored as the Most Beautiful Highway in China. Due to the huge earthquake occurred in Nepal in 2015, the road near the border was broken and the Zhangmu - Kodari Port has been closed for a short time. After the reconstruction, it is open for trade only.
2. West Line of Tibet Friendship Highway
Route: Lhasa - Shigatse - Lhatse - Tingri - Gyirong County - Gyirong Port (Rasuwa Port) - Kathmandu
Length: about 1,120km (696 miles)
The west line has restarted offering overland travel between Tibet and Nepal along with the reopening of Gyirong Port in August 2017. Though the distance is longer than the east line, the scenery is as good as the other route. Great experiences and beautiful views are guaranteed.
Friendship Bridge on China Nepal Highway (at Zhangmu-Kodari Port)
Road Condition of Tibet Friendship Highway
The road from Lhasa to Gyirong Town in Tibet is a well-paved national highway and you can enjoy a smooth and comfortable driving experience. In order to ensure safety, there is a rate-limiting policy in the most roads of Tibet. So the drivers need to keep the speed at the limited speed and serve you a safe journey.
After crossing Gyirong Port, the road to Kathmandu is not in good condition. There are about 50km-long cramped and miles of twisting mountain road. The mountain road is rather narrow that only one car can access in some segments. In the rainy season (June ~ September) during summer and early autumn, traffic jam caused by landslides may usually occurs, so a normal driving journey from Gyirong to Kathmandu may be extended from 6~7 hours to over 10 hours long. Remember to pay close attention to the weather before your driving trip between Kathmandu and Gyirong Port.
China National Highway 318
(Shigatse - Tingri Section)
Travel along Tibet Friendship Highway
Nepal and Tibet are two Himalayan kingdoms with much to enjoy, including history, Buddhist culture, traditional architecture, snow-capped peaks, etc. There are many tourists planning to travel them together. There are direct flights to Kathmandu from Lhasa within 2 hours, but more travelers prefer an overland trip by road for a more enjoyable experience along the China Tibet Nepal Friendship Highway.
Most Popular Nepal Tibet Tours by China Nepal Friendship Highway:
Travel Friendship Highway from Tibet or Nepal Side?
No matter you start your overland journey from Tibet or Nepal, you are able to appreciate the same impressive scenery. According to our experience, it's more recommended to start your trip from Tibet to Nepal, especially for travelers who want to visit Everest and Ngari.
Firstly, traveling from Lhasa, you will have more time to adapt to the high altitude in Tibet. The average altitude of Lhasa is 3,650 meters (11,975 ft) and the altitude of Rongbuk Monastery (the best viewing-deck for Mount Everest) is 4,980 meters (1,6338 ft). You will spend 2 days touring Lhasa and another 2 days travelling from Lhasa to Mount Everest. So you can have at least 4 days to acclimatize your body to the higher altitude gradually. The average of Kathmandu City is lower than 2,000 meters (6,562 ft) and you will travel to Rongbuk Monastery with an altitude of about 5,000 meters in only 2 days. Travelers are more likely to suffer from high altitude sickness.
Secondly, there is no need to apply for Tibet Group Visa if you travel Tibet from Nepal. Tibet Group Visa should be applied by a group of travelers with at least 5 members and they have to enter Tibet and exit Tibet or China's other regions exactly on the same date.
Of course, if you skip Mount Everest and travel with your family or friends (at least 5 members), traveling from Nepal to Tibet is convenient as well.
Definition of High Altitude
How to Travel along China Tibet Nepal Friendship Highway
The China Tibet Nepal Friendship Highway can be traveled in different ways, in different lengths of time and visiting different destinations. Usually, travelers choose to drive to Shigatse via Gyantse rather than drive to Shigatse along Friendship Highway directly, because there will be more spots to see along the road. Generally, it takes about 4 ~ 8 days according to your detailed itinerary.
Route 1: Lhasa -→ Gyantse -→ Shigatse -→ Tingri -→ Gyirong -→ Kathmandu
On Day 1, drive to Shigatse via hero city Gyantse. During your journey, you will get an opportunity to see Tibet’s several natural wonders, including tranquil turquoise Yamdrok Lake, bright Karola Glacier which can be seen from the road, snow-covered Simila Peak and jade-green Manla Reservoir. In addition, you won’t miss the cultural treasures in Gyantse and Shigatse as well. The Kumbum Stupa in Palcho Monastery is a featured Nepal-style stupa cherished with about 10,000 images and statues of Buddha.
On Day 2, when in Shigatse, pay a visit to Tashilhunpo Monastery - the home of Panchen Lamas in the morning and then drive to Tingri for accommodation
On Day 3, continue driving from Tingri to Gyirong Town and stay overnight
On Day 4, cross the Gyirong Port and spend more than half a day driving to Kathmandu.
Most Popular China Nepal Tours (Lhasa/Gyantse/Shigatse/Kathmandu):
Route 2: Lhasa -→ Gyantse -→ Shigatse -→ Everest -→ Gyirong -→ Kathmandu
Yamdrok Lake is as beautiful as a sapphire
White Pagoda of Palcho Monastery
If you love the breathtaking landscape of the high plateau more, don’t miss Mount Everest. You will spend about 4 days on the driving journey.
On Day 1, drive to Shigatse from Lhasa via Gyantse
On Day 2, drive from Shigatse to Everest via Tingri. You will reach Rongbuk Monastery - the highest (altitude) monastery in the world and the best viewing-deck for Mount Everest. If you are lucky enough, you will see the amazing sunrise, sunset and starry sky over Mount Everest.
On Day 3, drive to Gyirong from Rongbuk Monastery. On the clear days, you will see the face of Shishapangma Peak and the enchanting face of Pekutso Lake. Stay overnight in Gyirong Town
On Day 4, cross the Gyirong Port and leave for Kathmandu.
Mount Everest - World's Highest Peak
Route 3: Lhasa -→ Gyantse -→ Shigatse -→ Everest -→ Kailash -→ Gyirong
On Day 1 ~ 2, you will get to Mount Everest via Gyantse and Shigatse.
On Day 3, drive to Saga from Rongbuk Monastery.
On Day 4 ~ 7, travel to holy Mountain Mount Kailsh and undertake a kora or trek around Mount Kailash. After the kora or trekking, drive to Lake Manasarovar which is honored as the Mother of Sacred Lakes for sightseeing and accommodation there.
Day 8 ~ 10, drive to Gyirong Town from Lake Manasarovar via Saga.
Day 11, cross the Gyirong Port and get to Kathmandu
The road trip will be longer if you with Mount Everest and Kailash both.
Mount Kailash looks like a hug ice-cream
Helpful Tips for Traveling China Tibet Nepal Friendship Highway
● Permits for Tibet Nepal Highway Travel
Tibet Entry Permit (also called Tibet Travel Permit, TTB Permit) is a must for traveling Tibet. If you plan to travel to the border areas like Mount Everest, Mount Kailash, Gyirong Port, etc., Tibet Border Pass is also necessary. Visiting Kailash needs Military Permit as well. All the permits can be applied by travel agency only. Usually it needs at least 20 days to obtain these permits. For those travelers who choose an overland trip from Nepal to Kathmandu, you need to apply for Tibet Group Visa (Chinese Group Visa) in addition. Must-have Visas &Permits for Nepal Tibet Travel >>
● Take Lhasa Kathmandu Flight As An Alternative
During the rainy season, you may suffer from long driving between Gyirong and Kathmandu. As an optional way to have a Tibet Nepal travel, You can take a 1.5 hours’ nonstop flight between Nepal and Tibet. During the flight journey, you see some high-soaring Himalayan peaks as well, including Mount Everest. Lhasa Kathmandu Flights>
● Travel with Tibet Discovery
As a Himalaya based travel agency with offices in Nepal and Tibet, Tibet Discovery is experienced in offering you high-valued private tours which have helped lots of travelers travel Nepal and Tibet. Our professional travel consultant will deal with every detail of itinerary, permits, transportation, and accommodation before your visit. The service from our local guide and drivers will give you a memorable tour. Contact us to make your Nepal Tibet tour now!
Recommended 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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