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15 FAQs on How to Travel from Kathmandu to Lhasa

July,14 2023 BY Kham Sang 0 COMMENTS

Planning a trip from Kathmandu to Lhasa? This comprehensive article addresses the most frequently asked questions about this journey. From transportation options and visa requirements to travel permits and ideal visiting times, this guide covers all the essential information you need.

Whether you're a first-time traveler or a seasoned adventurer, these FAQs provide valuable insights and practical tips to ensure a seamless and unforgettable experience while traveling from Kathmandu to the enchanting city of Lhasa.

1. What transportation modes are available from Nepal to Tibet?

Currently, there are only two main modes of transportation for traveling from Nepal to Tibet. Firstly, you can take a flight from Kathmandu to Lhasa, offering a quick and convenient option. Secondly, an overland drive from Kathmandu to Lhasa is a popular choice, providing stunning views of the Himalayas along the way.

fly from Kathmandu to LhasaYou can see the top of Mount Everest from the flight from Kathmandu to Lhasa.

At present, there is no direct train route between Nepal and Tibet. The Qinghai-Tibet Railway, which connects to Lhasa, Tibet, operates from various cities in the mainland of China but does not extend its rail network to Nepal.

If you wish to travel from Nepal to Tibet, you can consider alternative modes of transportation such as flights or overland drives.

2. Are there direct flights from Nepal to Tibet?

Yes, direct flights from Nepal to Tibet are available. The flight duration between Kathmandu and Lhasa is approximately 1 hour and 30 minutes. Airlines such as Air China and Sichuan Airlines offer daily flights on this route, with frequent services. Additionally, Tibet Airlines and China Southern operate flights between the two destinations. These flights provide convenient options for travelers seeking a direct and efficient journey between Nepal and Tibet.

3. How long does it take to travel from Nepal to Tibet by road?

A road trip from Kathmandu to Lhasa generally takes around 7 to 8 days, with an overnight stay at the Everest Base Camp in Tibet. However, the duration of a Nepal to Tibet overland tour may vary depending on the number of stops made along the way. For optimal acclimatization to the altitude, it is recommended to complete this epic journey in 8 days.

4. What are border crossings between Nepal and Tibet and which is used the most?

There are six border crossings between Nepal and Tibet, but only the Gyirong border crossing is the commonly used gateway for crossing the border between Nepal and Tibet.

The map of Nepal to Tibet overland tourNepal to Tibet Overland Map with Gyirong Border Crossing

Please Notice:
If you plan to take an overland trip from Kathmandu to Lhasa, you need to obtain the Chinese group visa and Tibet Travel Permit in advance.

5. What is the distance between Kathmandu and Lhasa?

The direct route between Kathmandu and Lhasa is around 1,300 km (just over 800 mi). The road leads via Gyirong Port, Gyirong Town, Tingri, and Shigatse. The air distance between Kathmandu and Lhasa is just over 600 km (375 mi).

6. What documents are required for traveling from Nepal to Tibet?

You need a Tibet Travel Permit and a China Group Tourist Visa to enter Tibet from Nepal. To apply for China Group Tourist Visa, you'll need a valid passport, a photo for a group visa, to fill out an application form, and to pay a fee.

To apply for the China Group Tourist Visa, you need a valid passport, a photo for a group visa, and cash to pay the fee. It can be obtained from the Chinese Embassy in Kathmandu, Nepal. Make sure to arrive in Kathmandu at least three business days in advance to get the visa on time.

For Tibet Travel Permit, you need to make your application at least 21 days in advance with a confirmed Tibet tour booking through a registered travel agency.

Tibet Travel PermitThe Tibet Travel Permit is a must for travelling to Tibet.

Headquartered in Lhasa with a branch in Kathmandu, we offer you the hassle-free Nepal to Tibet travel experience with guaranteed Tibet Travel Permit. Just feel free to contact us.

Please Notice:
Whether you already have a Chinese Visa or not, it is necessary to apply for a Group Visa through the Chinese Embassy in Kathmandu for your Tibet tours from Nepal.
If you have obtained a Chinese Visa prior to your Tibet journey, it is not recommended to enter Tibet from Nepal. This is because the previously issued visa will be invalidated once the Group Visa is issued.
To avoid any complications, it is advisable to follow the proper procedure and obtain the Group Visa for your Tibet tour from Nepal.

7. Can I travel independently from Nepal to Tibet or do I need to join a tour?

You can't just pack your bags and visit Tibet on your own. You can join a guided tour or arrange a private tour with us. If you are looking for a cost-effective option, joining a Tibet small group tour is highly recommended. These tours provide smoother coordination of logistics, including visa processing, travel permits, transportation, and accommodation arrangements in Tibet. By joining a small group tour, you can enjoy the benefits of organized travel while keeping within your budget.

Gyirong borderCrossing the Gyirong border with our small group tour

8. Is public transportation available for the journey, or should I arrange private transportation?

Public transportation in the form of buses does operate between the capitals of Nepal and Tibet. However, it's important to note that these public buses are not available for foreign travelers.

If you are a foreign traveler, you are required to book a tour with a local travel agency to visit Tibet. Therefore, arranging private transportation through a reputable local travel agency is the recommended option for a successful journey from Nepal to Tibet.

9. Are there any scenic attractions along the route from Nepal to Tibet?

Along the route from Nepal to Tibet, there are several scenic attractions to enjoy. From Gawula Pass, you can witness panoramic views of the world's highest peaks, including Mount Everest. Visiting Everest Base Camp allows you to experience the awe-inspiring beauty of the tallest mountain. Don't miss the Tashilhunpo Monastery in Shigatse, known for its grandeur and religious significance.

Gawula PassVisit Himalaya Mountain range at Gawula Pass.

Additionally, the enchanting Lake Yamdrok, with its turquoise waters and surrounding mountains, offers a serene and picturesque setting. These attractions showcase the natural and cultural wonders that make the journey from Nepal to Tibet truly memorable.

10. What is the best time to travel from Nepal to Tibet?

Spring and autumn are the best times to visit Tibet and Nepal, especially if you take the road. Summer is the rainy season in the Tibetan Plateau. Natural disasters such as landslides may occur in the mountainous areas close to the Gyirong border crossing, affecting your journey.

11. What is the cost of traveling from Nepal to Tibet?

The cost of traveling from Kathmandu to Lhasa varies, depending on the tour you choose to take, the time of year, the type of transportation you use, etc. Everything from the date of travel to your hotel type makes a difference in the cost of the tour, as well as whether you choose a Small Group Tour or a Private Tour to make the trip to Lhasa.

A Kathmandu to Lhasa small group tours starts at around 1000 US Dollars per person, and for the best options on organizing your trip across the plateau, you can contact our professional travel experts, who can help with advice on the best options for your tour and help with all the arrangements to make your tour booking as simple as possible.

12. Are there any health considerations to be aware of when traveling from Nepal to Tibet?

Altitude sickness due to less oxygen is a major concern for traveling to Tibet. Since there is a huge altitude gain from Kathmandu to Lhasa, we suggested to spend one night at Kyirong town after crossing the border to acclimatize the altitude raise from 2380m to 2700m and prepare for the journey to Everest Base Camp (5200m).

Apart from that, you should also pay attention to keep warm. There is a big difference in temperature between day and night in Tibet, so take a jacket with you that is easy to put on and take off to avoid catching a cold.

13. Are there accommodation and dining options along the way from Nepal to Tibet?

You can find various accommodation and dining options along the Friendship Highway. You can stay in basic hotels or guesthouses in the outlying destinations of Gyirong, Tingri, and Everest Base Camp. Upscale hotels are available in big cities, like Lhasa and Shighatse.

14. Can I combine my Nepal trip with a visit to Tibet, or should I plan them separately?

Yes, you can combine your Nepal trip with a visit to Tibet. While Nepal can be explored independently, you need to book a pre-arranged tour with a local travel agency for Tibet.

Combining both destinations provides a chance to experience the cultural diversity and scenic beauty of the Himalayas. Spend a few days acclimatizing to the altitude in Nepal before heading to Tibet.

It's a rewarding journey that offers insights into Tibetan Buddhism, monasteries, and the stunning landscapes of the Tibetan Plateau. Just ensure you plan accordingly and fulfill the necessary requirements for visiting Tibet.

15. Are there reputable tour operators or agencies that specialize in Nepal to Tibet trips?

Yes, here we are! Tibet Vista, a Tibet local travel agency operating since 1984, is a safe bet for any traveler planning to visit Tibet Autonomous Region. With a branch in Kathmandu,we can take care of your Nepal to Tibet tour from the very beginning to the end, help you arrange the most seamless journey through the Himalaya.

Our Tibet travel agency guideOur Tibet travel agency can take care of your Nepal to Tibet tour.


Taking a trip from Kathmandu in Nepal to Lhasa in Tibet is one of the most exciting adventures on the planet, traveling over the mighty Himalayas from the exotic Nepali capital to the immense heights of the plateau and the beautiful City of Sunshine, Lhasa.

Kham Sang

About the Author - Kham Sang

Kham Sang is responsible and honest with more than six years of guide experience in Tibet.She has strong interpersonal skills and can communicate effectively with tourists.

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