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Gyirong Hotels: Where to Stay in Gyirong for a Tibet-Nepal Overland Tour?

June,10 2023 BY Sonam Tenphel 0 COMMENTS

One of the most popular tours in Tibet runs from Lhasa, the Tibetan regional capital, to the exotic city of Kathmandu, capital of Tibet’s closest neighbor, Nepal. A route that can be done in either direction, depending on the desire of the traveler, it normally takes around seven to eight days to tour across the plateau in this way.

You can start in Kathmandu, and cross the border to China to tour across the plateau to Lhasa, finishing with a tour of the amazing sights of this stunning city, or travel in reverse, starting with the Tibetan capital of Lhasa, and ending the tour by crossing the border to Nepal and traveling down to Kathmandu. Whichever way you travel, you will need to pass through Gyirong, the border town where the immigration services for both Nepal and China are located.

Where is Gyirong and Why is it so important for Tibet-Nepal Overland Tour?

Gyirong is three things: a county, a town, and a border crossing. Lying on the edge of the Himalayas, bordering with Nepal around 120 kilometers to the north of Kathmandu and more than 800 kilometers to the west of Lhasa, Gyirong has become one of the most important border towns in China.

Gyirong County lies within Shigatse Prefecture of the Tibet Autonomous Region (TAR), in the far west of Tibet. Gyirong County extends as far north as Saga, on the G219 route towards Ngari, and runs from Mount Zangla in the east to the Annapurna Range in the west. Set in a remote and barely-known valley that sits between the peaks of Shishapangma and Langbo Kangri, lies the town of Gyirong, around 70 kilometers to the south of the county seat of Zongga, on the banks of the Gyirong Zangbo River.

Gyirong Port, new border crossing between Tibet and NepalGyirong Port, new border crossing between Tibet and Nepal

24 kilometers to the southeast of this small Tibetan town lies the reason that Gyirong has become such and important place in Tibet: the Gyirong Port border crossing checkpoint. After the closure of the Sino-Nepal border crossing at Zhangmu/Kodari in 2015, Gyirong Port was opened as the relief border crossing for goods and commerce between China and Nepal. However, that too was damaged in aftershocks from the earthquake, and remained closed for repairs for two years.

With the extensive damage at Zhangmu, it was decided that Gyirong Port would become the main international crossing point for both trade and tourists traveling between China and Nepal. Once again, tourists traveling to Tibet from Kathmandu could take the overland route through the mountains and into Tibet for their tours of the roof of the world. Without this crossing point, overland tours from Kathmandu to Lhasa could not happen, and tourists traveling from Nepal would have to take a flight to Lhasa and take their tour, returning to Lhasa before exiting the region via flight or train.

On the other side of the border from Gyirong Port is an ancient ruined Nepali border fort. Known in Nepal as Rasuwa Gadhi, or Rasuwa Fort, this soon became an important port for travelers from Nepal to Tibet and vice versa. As the only crossing point for international tourists entering Tibet from Nepal, the border crossing at Gyirong Port/Rasuwa Gadhi is the only way to travel overland between Nepal and Tibet for international tourists.

Recommended Gyirong hotels when you leave from Tibet to Nepal

Traveling from Tibet to Nepal normally means having traveled all the way from Lhasa by car. The usual tours from Lhasa to Kathmandu stop at various points along the route, including Gyantse, Shigatse, Rongbuk Monastery, and Mount Everest Base Camp (EBC) before traveling to the border port at Gyirong.

As the usual trip from Shigatse or Everest takes several hours, it is often not possible to get across the border and down into Kathmandu in the same day. Just for the trip to Kathmandu, it takes six hours, and even if you get to Gyirong Town in the early afternoon, by the time you have been processed through Chinese Immigration to exit Tibet and Nepali Immigration to enter Nepal, you will not be able to catch any transport to the Nepali capital.

Gyirong HotelGyirong Hotel on the way to Nepal

Gyirong Town has a number of hotels and guesthouses that you can stay in on your way to Nepal, and all have modern facilities, hot running water, and comfortable beds, often a relief from the tent guesthouses at EBC that have no showers. The main hotels in the town include the Gyirong Shengtai Hotel, the Shigatse Gyirong Shengyuan Hotel, the Shigatse Silver Star Hotel, and the Mount Everest Backyard Garden Business Hotel, all of which are in the 3-star class for Tibet.

This small town is actually a delightful little place to stay, with some excellent little restaurants serving Chinese and Tibetan cuisine. A clean and tidy town that lies along the road on either side, with no side roads to speak of, it even has a local bank, though you would not be able to use it to get money from a foreign account. It is the Agricultural Bank of China, and not open to foreign transactions. There is also one hostel that you can stay in for a lot less than the price of a 3-star hotel room. The Gyirong Hand & Hand International Hostel boasts higher-than-adequate facilities, with free Wi-Fi in the lobby area and plenty of two, four, and six-bed guestrooms. However, if you opt for the cheaper four and six-bed rooms, you will be expected to share with other travelers.

Recommended hotels around Gyirong border when you enter Tibet from Nepal

On the other side of the border, traveling from Nepal to Tibet, it is also likely that you may need to stay in a hotel or hostel before crossing the border. On the Chinese side of the border, the Immigration Desk closes at 3:00pm Beijing time, which can mean that you may miss the chance to cross, especially if your bus from Kathmandu is delayed. Nepal is a little over two hours behind Beijing in time zones, and while you may get to Rasuwa Gadhi before 3:00pm local time, it will already be after 5:00pm in Beijing and the border will be closed on the Chinese side. The trip from Kathmandu to Rasuwa Gadhi takes around 6-7 hours, and travels over some gravel and dirt roads that are only single lane, often causing traffic issues.

River View HotelRiver View Hotel

The border on the Nepali side is laid-back and informal, in stark contrast to the more formal and efficient border checkpoint on the Chinese side. However, there is also very little in the way of accommodation at Rasuwa Gadhi, as it is merely a small border checkpoint at an ancient ruined fort location. The only hotel close to the Resuo Bridge at the border on the Nepali side is the River View Hotel, which is useful if you want to get an early start in the morning, or arrive just a little too late to cross. The hotel is small, with only eight rooms, though it does have attached bathrooms for every room as well as a good restaurant. The owner can also change small amounts of local currency for Chinese yuan for you, since you are prohibited from taking the Nepali rupees out of the country.

If the hotel is full, or if you are not going to make it that far within the day, you can find a better selection of hotels at Syabrubesi Village, inside the western edge of the Langtang National Park. The small village is just 45 minutes from the border, so it is close enough to get there quickly in the morning. The village has only one guesthouse, but it does have plenty of rooms, all of which are clean and comfortable. The guesthouse has hot water and Wi-Fi for its guests, and while there is no inclusive breakfast in the seven-dollar room price, the additional five dollars for a good tasty breakfast is worth it.

How to book Gyirong hotels wisely

Booking your hotel in Gyirong can be done in one of several ways, and knowing which is the best can be hard. One thing to remember when booking hotels in Tibet is that not all of them are available to be booked on a website, especially in the more remote areas of the plateau. For those that are online, whether on their own website or on booking websites, you can easily see the prices of the rooms, the conditions of the hotels, and any additional costs that may be incurred, such as a single room supplement.

If they are not available to book online, and most of the hotels in Gyirong are not, then you can ask us about the different hotels and we can book your Gyirong accommodation for you. We deal with almost all of the hotels in the town, and our regular tours travel through Gyirong heading to Kathmandu, so we are using these hotels regularly. We can make a booking based on your requirements, and recommend suitable hotels for you to make a choice from.

You should bear in mind that, as with all hotels in Tibet, the price changes from winter to summer, with the summer months being more expensive. While you may have seen a hotel charging one price online in the winter, you can almost guarantee that the summer price will be higher. Here we also offer you the ultimate guide on How to Plan Your Accommodation for Tibet and Nepal Tour? Hotels in Lhasa, Shigatse, Gyirong, EBC, Kathmandu, Pokhara, Chitwan and Lumbini

Sonam Tenphel

About the Author - Sonam Tenphel

Energetic, responsible and reliable, Sonam is a guide with more than seven years experience informing visitors about heritage sites and attractions places in Tibet.

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