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Tibet Nepal Overland Tour: one of the world’s top overland tours one cannot miss

June,10 2023 BY Pasang 0 COMMENTS

For those tourists wanting to visit both Lhasa and Kathmandu, a Tibet Nepal overland tour is the best option. Nepal and Tibet share a border which extends for the entire north-east edge of Nepal along the mighty Himalayan Mountain Range. They are both huge attractions for foreign tourists, which are very different in both landscape and culture, despite both being up in the highest mountain range on the planet.

As the closest neighbors, Tibet and Nepal have much in common. Aside from their shared border within the high Himalaya Range and the fact that both have a base camp at the foot of Mt. Everest, there are many similarities in religion, with Buddhism is the main religion of the Nepali mountain people, as opposed to Hinduism, which is the predominant religion in the rest of the country. Even within Hinduism in the country, there are many aspects of Buddhism that have been incorporated into it, and the majority of the people follow a mix of both religions together.

Sino-Nepal Friendship Highway - the Way Connecting Tibet and Nepal

The 830-kilometer route linking Lhasa with the Nepal border at the Sino-Nepal Friendship Bridge remains the most popular overland route in Tibet. The Tibet Nepal Friendship Highway follows the western portion of Chinese National Highway 318 and crosses three passes over 5,000 meters before dropping to 1,750 meters at the border. At the Nepal border, the Friendship Highway continues on the Araniko Highway for a further 115 kilometers to the capital of Kathmandu. Starting in Lhasa, this route goes through many of the most popular tourist spots that the Tibet Autonomous Region has to offer.

Map of Sino Nepal highway(Simple click to enlarge the map)
Lhasa to Kathmandu via Gyirong Port Map

The highway starts in Lhasa, as part of the G318 National Highway that runs across China, and on into Tibet. The road passes through the towns and cities of Quxu, Gyantse, Shigatse, Liuxiang, Lhatse, Tingri, Gyirong, and Jilongzhen, before crossing the border on the bridge over the Gyirong Zangbo River, at Gyirong Port. On the Nepal side, the first place you get to is Rasuwagadhi, the border checkpoint where you will be able to apply for the visa-on-arrival for Nepal. As the only available border crossing between Tibet and Nepal for international travelers, Gyirong Port - now a national first-class land port - adds more choices to visit Nepal and Tibet together, on top of the existing option of an international flight between Lhasa and Kathmandu. From the Nepal border, it is a 120-kilometer trip to reach Kathmandu, along with the Nepalese side of the Friendship Highway, known locally as the Pasang Lhamu Highway and the Trishuli Highway.

Sino-Nepal border Sino-Nepal border - Gyirong Port

Classic Tibet Nepal Overland Routes

Lhasa to Kathmandu  Kathmandu to Lhasa 
Tour Duration 7 Days with EBC 8 Days with EBC
Distance 1300km 1300km
Altitude Changes Lhasa (3650m) - Shigatse (3900m) – EBC (5200m) - Gyirong (2700m) - Kathmandu (1400m) Kathmandu (1400m) - Gyirong (2700m) – EBC (5200m) - Shigatse (3900m) - Lhasa (3650m)
Travel Documents Chinese Visa, Tibet Travel Permit, Aliens’ Travel Permit, Nepal Visa on arrival Nepal Visa, Chinese Group Visa, Tibet Travel Permit, Aliens’ Travel Permit
Itinerary Day 1-Day 3 Lhasa city
Day 4 Lhasa to Shigatse
Day 5 Shigatse to EBC
Day 6 EBC to Gyirong
Day 7 Gyirong to Kathmandu
Day 1 Kathmandu to Syabrubesi
Day 2 Syabrubesi to Gyirong
Day 3 Gyirong to EBC to Tingri
Day 4 Tingri to Shigatse
Day 5 Shigatse to Lhasa via Gyantse
Day 6 - Day 8 Lhasa City

There are two main overland routes for the Tibet Nepal tour, the 7-day journey from Lhasa to Kathmandu and the 8-day trip from Kathmandu to Lhasa. Both cover the same highway route, with the same distance, though when traveling from Lhasa to Kathmandu, it takes seven days, while traveling from Kathmandu to Lhasa takes eight days. This is mainly due to the stop along the route to Gyirong Port from Kathmandu, where you will spend the night in Syabrubesi, before heading to Rasuwa Gadhi to cross the border into China.

One of the main differences in these two tours is the visa requirement for entry into China from Kathmandu. A standard Chinese Entry Visa is no application for entry to Tibet from Kathmandu and a Chinese Group Visa is issued instead. This can only be obtained once you have booked a tour with a registered tour operator, who will need to make the visa application on your behalf once you arrive in Kathmandu.

Both tours require you to have a valid Tibet Travel Permit, which is obtained by us once you have booked your tour from the Tibet Tourism Bureau in Lhasa. On both tours, you will cross the border at Gyirong Port, the new international border crossing point between Nepal and China.

How to Choose - Lhasa to Kathmandu or Kathmandu to Lhasa

So which way do you go? From Lhasa to Kathmandu or Kathmandu to Lhasa? There is little difference in the routes, as both give you the chance to experience the same attractions of the Tibetan plateau, including the stunning sights of Mount Everest from EBC and the beauty of the Potala Palace and Jokhang Temple in Lhasa.

The main thing to think about is where you are coming from and where you will be going next. If you are traveling from your home country, and then going straight back there, there is no difference at all. However, if you are planning to include another country on your trip to Asia, then the direction can have an impact on your whole trip.

If you are planning a tour of Nepal, then it is a good idea to travel to Nepal first, and then on to Tibet, as it is easy to get from Nepal to Lhasa by overland. The classic Kathmandu to Lhasa overland tour takes 8 days with a visit to the Everest Base Camp in Tibet side.

However, if you are planning a trip through mainland China, then it is best to travel in China first, and finish your tour in Tibet, as the visa from Nepal only allows 30 days of total travel in China and cannot be extended.

Also, if you already have the visa for China, it is best to make the trip from Lhasa to Kathmandu, as your Chinese Visa will be voided when you try to enter from Kathmandu to Tibet.

Whatever route you take, it will be a lifetime journey to visit the best of Tibet and Nepal in one go!

Whichever way you travel, you are guaranteed to have the best combined trip of Tibet and Nepal, with an amazing experience of the stunning Tibetan plateau. Pass through the stunning and diverse landscapes of Tibet, from low-lying valleys to high mountain passes, and explore the stunning monasteries of the Tibetan Buddhist religion, which are some of the most spectacular Buddhist monasteries in the world. This also includes the world’s highest Buddhist monastery, at Rongbuk, close to the foot of Mount Everest.

Rongbuk Monastery, the highest monastery in the worldRongbuk Monastery is a best place to view the imposing Mt.Everest.

You also have the chance to stop overnight in one of the amazing tent guesthouses at the spectacular Everest Base Camp, which could be an experience that you cannot get anywhere else. Only at the base camp in Tibet can you stop overnight and wake in the morning to the beautiful sight of the world’s highest mountain towering above you.

Since there are still some differences between Tibet and Nepal, you should pay attention to:


The altitude difference of Kathmandu to Tibet is huge, with the exotic Nepali capital lying at just 1,400 meters, while the Tibetan capital lies at a huge 3,656 meters and the Everest Base camp sitting at a whopping 5,200 meters above sea level. Altitude should be of particular concern, as it can be dangerous if you do not acclimatize first.


Tibet is mainly Buddhist, and even the Buddhism there is a particular form, known as Tibetan Buddhism, which has developed as a distinct Buddhist religion over the past 1,200 years. However, while Buddhism does exist in Nepal, mostly Tibetan Buddhism, the country is predominantly Hindu, and there are major differences in these two religions. There are, however, many similarities too, with many of the Buddhist rituals and ceremonies being incorporated into Nepal’s version of Hinduism.

Experiencing the unique local culture and religion during your Tibet Nepal TourYou can experience the unique local culture and religion during your Tibet Nepal tour.

Architectural Style

The architecture of the two different places is also very different, with Nepal being heavily influenced by Indian styles, while Tibet has little influence from India or China, and has developed its own architectural style over the millennia. The plateau landscapes and conditions of Tibet plateau makes the local architectural wholly unique.

Road Condition

Roads in Tibet have been improved over the years, thanks in part to the increase in tourism and the moves of the local administration to improve road and rail transport to make tourism easier and more tourist-friendly. Road travel along the plateau is almost completely on paved roads, with very few old gravel roads left.  >> Check Lhasa to Kathmandu Overland: road condition from Lhasa to Kathmandu

The well-paved road of GyirongThe well-paved road of Gyirong, Tibet.

However, in Nepal, the road infrastructure is still in the development phase, with many of the roads outside the major cities being rough and gravel-paved, making travel harder and longer.

Food to Eat

The food on the Tibet plateau is mostly influenced by the environment and the climate, and is mainly meat-based due to having very few vegetables grown in this harsh and arid land. Few crops can also be grown here, with the exception of the hardy Highland Barley, which has become a staple of Tibetan cuisine.

Conversely, in Nepal, the main cuisine is again heavily influenced by India, with plenty of spices used in the dishes, as well as many of the vegetables that cannot be found on the plateau being used, as well as rice and pulses.

Money to Use

In Tibet, the common currency is the Chinese Ren Min Bi, or Yuan as it is more widely known. As an autonomous region of China, the yuan is the only currency that can be used, and all travelers must have their own local currency converted in major cities in order to pay for anything.

In Nepal, the common currency is the rupee, which is linked directly to the Indian rupee, which can also be used freely in Nepal. You can also use US dollars in some places in the capital, and when paying for the entry visa, dollars is just one of several currencies that can be used at the airport in Kathmandu.

The Best Time to Take a Tibet Nepal Overland Tour

Knowing when to go largely depends on you and what you are hoping to gain from the experience. If you are planning to go sightseeing or trekking, then the best times are in spring and autumn, from April to May and September to October. If you are looking at the cultural experience of the plateau, then the summer is the best time to travel, from June to September, as this is the time for most of the festivals across Tibet.

 Capturing a clear view of Mt.Everest in springYou can capture a clear view of Mt.Everest in spring.

If the price is the main concern for when to travel, then you should avoid the peak season of the summer months, as this is when the price of tours is most expensive. Even spring and autumn can be a little expensive for some people, and if you are really looking for the cheapest time to travel, it is always in the winter months, from December to March. This is when the plateau sees fewer tourists, as the weather can be quite cold at this time of year. - See When Is the Best Time to Tour Tibet and Nepal Together?

How much does it cost to take a Tibet Nepal overland tour?

The cost of a Tibet tour is based on when you are traveling, how many are traveling with you, what accommodation you require, whether you are entering Tibet by train or flight, etc. With so many factors to take into consideration, it is hard to come up with an exact cost for any tour, without knowing all of these things in advance.

For the best option on getting a good quote on the price of a tour, come and speak to one of our professional tour advisors, who can give you all the information you need on the price, based on your requirements.

If you are looking at reducing the costs, there is an option to join one of our amazing Tibet Small Group Tours to/from Nepal, which run regularly throughout the year. These tours are pre-set trips across the plateau with set itineraries, which can be joined by anyone that wants to take the tour. This means that you will often be traveling with a group of strangers that are interested in seeing the same sights as you are. Not only does this help to save money on the total cost of the tour, but you can also make some great new friends while you travel.


A Tibet Nepal overland tour, no matter you travel from Lhasa to Kathmandu or from Kathmandu to Lhasa, will leave a lifetime memory for you.

Following the Sino-Nepal Friendship Highway, both routes take you to travel through the best part of the Mount Everest, as well as the Tibet Plateau. How to choose the best route to go depends on what you are expecting and where you are going next.

There is also something you need to know about the overland journey between Tibet and Nepal, such as the tour cost, the best time to go and the differences between the two destinations that you may need to pay attention during your journey when you plan your Tibet Nepal overland tour.

For the best option, you can contact us so that we can solve your own questions according to your need and make sure you get the tour you want, as well as the tour you deserve.

 Kathmandu Kathmandu

 Jokhang Temple Jokhang Temple

 Tashilunpo Monastery Tourists are visiting the Tashilunpo Monastery

 Tibet Train Tibet Train Tour is one of the highlights of the trip

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About the Author - Pasang

Exceedingly approachable, attentive, and knowledgeable, Pasang exemplifies what a top-notch local Tibetan guide can be. Based on his 20+ years of guide experience, Pasang knows how to flexibly rearrange a traveler’s itinerary to make it comfortable for travelers during long rides. He always checked in with each traveler to make sure they were feeling well due to the altitude.

Besides, Pasang’s encyclopedic knowledge of Tibetan culture & history helps travelers easily navigate through the mysterious Tibetan monasteries and old streets, etc. When Pasang unwinds, he also enjoys sharing his expertise by writing travel articles.

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