How to Plan a Nepal to Tibet Tour
Many travelers want to incorporate Nepal and Tibet in one tour, and with the opening of the overland border crossing at Gyirong Port, this is now even easier to manage. Tours from Nepal to Tibet usually start in Kathmandu, and travel overland to Lhasa. Alternatively, you can tour Nepal first, and then fly to Lhasa, to travel around Tibet before taking the world-famous Qinghai-Tibet Railway off the plateau and into other inland Chinese cities. So, follow our travel expert's guide and find out how to plan Nepal to Tibet journey.
Travel Documents Needed for Nepal to Tibet Tour
Whether you are traveling overland to Lhasa or flying from Kathmandu’s Tribhuvan International Airport to Lhasa Gonggar International Airport, you will need to have several documents and permits in place before you depart. While travel through Nepal can be done without the need for a guided tour, independent travel is not permitted in Tibet, and you need to be on a pre-arranged tour with a registered tour operator, such as Tibet Vista. And it is only the tour operator that can obtain the permits and visa for traveling into Tibet from Nepal.
Get Tibet Travel Permit, a must have for Tibet travel
Tibet Travel Permit
The first thing you need is the Tibet Travel Permit, which is required for all international tourists in order to enter Tibet. This can only be obtained once you have booked your tour with us, and we will use a scanned color copy of your passport to make the application on your behalf. Processing normally takes around 15-20 days, and the permit will be ready for your trip from Lhasa.
You will also need to have a Chinese Visa to get into Tibet, and instead of the standard Chinese Entry Visa, you will be issued with a Chinese Group Visa once you arrive in Nepal. When you arrive in Kathmandu, you are expected to give your original passport to our Nepali staff in our Kathmandu-based office to apply for the visa. Processing takes three working days, and once it is approved, we will bring it to your hotel ready for your trip to Tibet.
There are also other permits that you need, which include the Alien’s Travel Permit and the Frontier Pass. While these are normally obtained when you get to Lhasa from mainland China, when traveling from Nepal, whether by flight or overland, they must be issued prior to travel. We will make the arrangements for these to be ready for your trip departure date.
Different Travel Seasons for Nepal to Tibet Tour
The general climates of Tibet and Nepal are very different. While Tibet has a typical high-altitude plateau sub-tropical climate, Nepal has a varied climate that depends on the season as well as the altitude of the area. The climate in Tibet is a four-season climate with a distinct monsoon season. The period from April to June and Sept. to Oct. are the best periods to travel in Tibet to avoid the rainy season, though even that is not much on the plateau thanks to the shadow effect of the Himalayas. However, the peak period for travel in Tibet is usually from June to the end of October.
Mid-April to early June and Sept to Oct. are some of the best time for EBC tour in Tibet.
The spring and summer in Tibet, from April to early June and September to October, is actually the best time for clear skies, medium warm temperatures, and trekking on the plateau. While temperatures are not very hot, reaching only as high as 12-15 degrees, there is little to no rain.
In Nepal, the peak period for travel is from October to May, which is the main dry season for the country, though where you go does depend on the weather. The higher altitudes of the Himalayan Mountains are not ideal for visiting from December to March due to heavy snowfall and intense cold. However, for the best times to travel in the mountains, visiting in spring and autumn is ideal.
The monsoon season in Nepal is from June to late September, and for travel in the southern lower-altitude areas of Nepal, this is not a god time to visit. However, the dry season makes this an ideal time to visit the plains and jungles of the lowlands and try out the numerous adventure sports this amazing country has to offer.
How to Get to Tibet from Nepal
Nepal to Tibet Map
The route from Kathmandu to Nepal showing the standard flight path between the two airports and the road route that is normally used for the overland travel across the border at Gyirong Port to get to Lhasa.
Kathmandu to Lhasa via Gyirong Port Map
Nepal to Tibet Border Crossing
There are two main routes from Nepal to Tibet, and each has its pros and cons. You can take a flight from Kathmandu to Lhasa, which is the faster route, or you can take the overland route across the Sino-Nepal border, which is the more scenic route.
Take the Flight from Nepal to Tibet
The Tribhuvan International Airport in Kathmandu, Nepal, is the only airport in the world that has international flights direct to Lhasa, the Tibetan capital. This makes getting to Lhasa from Kathmandu much easier and much faster. As of this time, there are only three carriers that operate flights to Lhasa from Kathmandu, and the average flight costs around US$220-US$250 per person for an economy one-way flight. The flight normally takes around 90 minutes to reach the Tibetan capital, and crosses over the summit of Mount Everest on its designated flight path to Lhasa.
You can see Mount Everest on the flight from Kathmandu to Lhasa
Traveling by flight means that you will need to acclimatize in Lhasa once you arrive, as the altitude increases by more than 3,000 meters from your departure at Kathmandu Airport. It is recommended to spend at least two days acclimatizing to the increased altitude, and avoiding coffee, alcohol, cigarettes, and strenuous exercise are the best way to achieve this. You should also remain well hydrated, and eat high protein foods to aid the body in adjusting to the higher altitude and thinner atmosphere.
Nepal to Tibet by Road
The other way to get to Tibet from Nepal is by road, which takes you from Kathmandu to Lhasa along the G318 Friendship Highway. The route takes you from Kathmandu along the main roads to the Langtang National Park and up to Rasuwa Gadhi, before crossing the Resuo Bridge into Tibet at Gyirong Port. From here, you will travel to Gyirong Town, where you will spend time acclimatizing for a day to the higher altitude.
Since we are the only local Tibet travel agency that has offices in Kathmandu, Lhasa, and Chengdu, you can easily use our service to get China Group Visa and Tibet Permit to enter Tibet from Kathmandu. Our tourist-friendly jeep service will bring you a convenient and safe transfer across the Sino-Nepal border. We also recommend the best-value hotels to you and help you book it as well as flight, etc. Kindly email your inquiry to us for more details.
Then you take the Friendship Highway to Lhasa, passing through several towns and cities along the way and visiting several of the local attractions of the plateau. From Old Tingri, you will take a detour to visit the Everest Base Camp (EBC), before heading for Shigatse, the home of the Tashilhunpo Monastery, the seat of the Panchen Lama. After Shigatse, the route takes you to Gyantse and the Kumbum Stupa, the only one of its kind in Tibet, before passing alongside Lake Yamdrok and on to the Tibetan capital.
Top Travel Routes for Nepal to Tibet Tour
Enjoy Nepal to Tibet Trek
Trekking is one of the most popular activities in both Nepal and Tibet, and with the massive Mount Everest straddling the border between Nepal and China, you can trek to bot base camps on one long tour. In Nepal, the trek to EBC on the southern side starts in Lukla, and takes around 13 days to complete the round-trip trek. On the Tibetan side, the trek starts at Old Tingri, on the G318, and takes just four days to reach the northern EBC. And instead of only the trekking and helicopter available in Nepal, you can enjoy the tour vehicle, cycling and cycling, motorcycle and trekking to EBC in Tibet.
Spectacular view on the way for EBC trek in Nepal
Nepal also has some amazing treks in the Annapurna region, around the famous Annapurna Massif. Several trekking trails converge around the mountains of Annapurna I, II, and III, and it is one of the most popular trekking areas in the country. If you prefer trekking without the climbs from low to high altitude, trekking in Tibet is a great alternative. Aside from the trek to EBC, there are a number of trekking routes in the area around the Tibetan capital, including the routes from Ganden Monastery to Samye Monastery to the south and from Tsurphu Monastery to Yangpachen to the north.
Experience the Hindu and Buddhist Culture
Both Nepal and Tibet are lands where religion is of high importance to the local population, yet they both have very different religions. In Tibet, Tibetan Buddhism is the primary religion of the plateau, and the unique Buddhist culture of Tibet can be found throughout the plateau and in the everyday lives of the Tibetan people. This unique culture of religious devotion shows most in their astounding pilgrimage journeys across the plateau to the most sacred sites, including the Jokhang Temple in Lhasa and the sacred Mount Kailash in Ngari.
Our clients enjoy the Mt.Kailash kora in Ngari, western Tibet.
In Nepal, Hinduism is the predominant religion, with more than 80 percent of the country being Hindu. However, Tibetan Buddhism has long been a major part of the culture of Nepal as well, and with a large number of Buddhists in Nepal, there has been a crossover of beliefs and rituals that has made Hinduism in Nepal a very unique religious culture. For the best experiences of Buddhism and Hinduism in Nepal, there are countless temples and sites in the Kathmandu Valley as well as the sacred site of Lumbini, the renowned birthplace of Gautama Buddha.
Explore the Wildlife in Nepal and Tibet
Despite it being on the highest plateau in the world, Tibet does have a lot of wildlife that inhabits this desolate place. While you may not see much around the capital, with the exception of innumerable birds that flock to the Lalu Wetlands and the Lhasa River, northern and western Tibet (Ngari and Nagqu) are well known for their diverse wildlife. From wild yaks and wild donkeys to the stunning and rare Tibetan antelope and the astounding snow leopard, as well as the small and cute pika that lives in the dense undergrowth of the plains and prairies.
Enjoy the famous jungle safari in Chitwan National Park in Nepal
Nepal also has a lot of local species of wildlife, and is one of the best places in the region of Southern Asia for a wildlife safari. In the south of the country lies the Chitwan National Nature Preserve, which is home to a huge number of wild animals and birds. The local inhabitants include Bengal tigers, one-horned rhinos, crocodiles, leopards, and much more.
While there are plenty of other places to visit in Asia, there are few that are as intense and amazing as Nepal and Tibet together. When it comes to high mountains, vast open prairies, dense jungles, and lush alpine valleys, these two destinations on either side of the mighty Himalayas make for one of the best tours this blue planet has to offer. And there is no feeling like standing at the foot of the world’s highest mountain and staring up at its massive high peak, and knowing you truly have reached the Roof of the World.
Nepal is well known for its natural beauty
Our Tibetan tour guide is meeting client at Lhasa Airport
Tourist is worshipping before the sacred Mt. Kailash and Lake Manasarovar to show his respect