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Kyirong Village: the gateway village between Tibet and Nepal

November,18 2019 BY Master Kungga Dundruk 0 COMMENTS

High in the Himalayas, just across the border from Nepal into China, lies a small village community that has become one of the most important border crossing points in China. Known locally as either Gyirong or Kyirong, and adapted to become Kerung and Kirong for the Nepalese and the former British India Company, this small village location is the main entry point into China’s Tibet Autonomous Region from Nepal.

The village has lain on the important trade route between Tibetan Nepal for centuries, and this once-unknown small entry point was established as a major port of entry into China in 1961. Now, this formerly small village has already grown into a small town, and is improving in its development as the border crossing into Tibet becomes busier.

Distinct Location of Kyirong Village

The village of Gyirong is located just 24 kilometers from the border between China and Nepal at Gyirong Port / Rasuwa Gadhi, and only around 174 kilometers by road to Kathmandu, the capital of Nepal. Situated on the east bank of the Gyirong Zangbo River, one of the tributaries of the Trishuli River that runs along the international border, Gyirong town lies at an altitude of around 2,700 meters above sea level. - Check the Gyirong Port, a New Overland Gateway from Tibet to Nepal

Kyirong PortKyirong Port, the new Sino-Nepal border

Sitting in the beautiful Gyirong Valley, rated as the most beautiful valley in Tibet, Gyirong is surrounded by lush green hills covered with pine and spruce trees, as well as many of the smaller bushes and undergrowth that you can find in the dense forests of western Tibet’s deep valleys. Snow-capped mountains loom over the valley on all sides, and driving down through this stunning natural landscape, the views of the peaks in the clear weather is one of the most outstanding sights of any tour of Tibet. - Check the road condition from Kathmandu to Gyirong

Gyirong is the first place you come to when entering Tibet from Nepal, and the last place you see as you leave Tibet to head on to Kathmandu, and is one of the most amazing small villages in the world, set in a beautiful landscape that almost makes you not want to leave. There may not be much to see and do in the village, but the views of the mountains and forests that hem in this small community make it well worth stopping at.

Tibet Nepal overland tour via Kyirong PortOur clients visited Tibet from Nepal via Gyirong Port.

For those entering Tibet from Kathmandu, there are three ways to get to Gyirong, by bus, private car, and shuttle. The bus and shuttle are both crowded, and private cars are usually expensive. However, we do offer a jeep transfer service for travelers taking our overland tour from Kathmandu to Lhasa, which will take you all the way to the border crossing at Rasuwa Gadhi, with a stopover in Syabrubesi for the night, so you are not stuck at the border after it closes at around 3:00pm Nepal time.

Weather and Climate in Kyirong Village

Gyirong Village lies in the southern part of Gyirong County of Shigatse in the Tibet Autonomous Region, and with its closeness to the Nepal border, benefits from the warmer climes of the sub-tropical mountain monsoon climate zone, making it warmer and more humid than the north of the county. Annual average temperatures in the area range from around 10-13 degrees, with lows of around -1 degree in the coldest month of January to as high as 18 degrees in the warmest month of June.

Gyirong Valley in early autumnThe stunning view of Gyirong Valley in early autumn

Rainfall in Gyirong is normally higher than most places in Tibet, averaging around 1,000mm in a year. Frost in winter is also lower in Gyirong, despite the high snow-clad mountains that surround it.

Winters in Gyirong are short and often rainy, with around one-third of the annual rainfall coming in the months of January and February. Days of drizzling rain are common in Gyirong when all the rest of the area around the valley is dry and covered in snow in the winter months. Gyirong does not really have distinct seasons, and it is common to find perennial flowers blooming all year round, as if it is always spring.

If you are planning a trip from Kathmandu to Lhasa, then the best time to travel is normally from March to October, when the weather is not too cold around the plateau. While rains are common in Gyirong, they are rarely heavy enough to affect a tour in any serious way, and a good raincoat can soon solve the problem of drizzling rains. And even in the height of the monsoon season, from June to August, Gyirong only sees around 115mm of rain in a month, so it is not too wet to travel through the valley.

Must-Visit Attractions in and around Kyirong Village

This small place in the back of beyond on the border with Nepal may not look like much, but as with many locations around Tibet, it has many hidden charms that are only revealed once you get closer.

Gyirong Valley is the deepest of the Five Valleys, which lie in the shadow of Mount Everest, and is one of the most natural and environmentally well-preserved valleys in Tibet. The landscape has changed little in the thousands of years since the plateau was inhabited, due mostly to the remote location of the village and how hard it would have been to get to. This stunning scenery is open to visits, where you can see the beauty of the valley and the traditions of the local Tibetan and Nepali people.

Capturing a bird-eyes' view of Gyirong townCapturing a bird-eyes' view of Gyirong town

The Qiangdui Monastery in Gyirong County, which is located in Bangxing Village, is one of the oldest monasteries in western Tibet, dating back almost 1,300 years to the time of the 33rd King of Tibet. The monastery is a wooden building, with a central square tower that has a 22-meter wide base. The bottom of the tower is made from irregular stones and rocks, and uses mud as the mortar and the covering for the stones. Brick masonry is used for the 2nd to 4th floors, with wooden eaves and a slabstone covering.

Enjoying the majestic mountain view in GyirongOur clients were enjoying the majestic mountain view in Gyirong.

Other amazing scenic spots include the majestic Yangrankangri and Langbangkanri Peaks. Both peaks lie in the Mount Qomolangma Natural Scenery Protection Area, and are twin peaks with jagged teeth sticking up towards the sky. While these peaks may not be the highest of the Himalayas, they are stunning as they stand up from the forested foreground view that you get from the hills around Gyirong. - Learn more of the top 7 attractions in Gyirong County

Dating back to the ancient Tang Dynasty of China, a stone tablet that contains characters that say “Datang Tianzhu Shichu Ming” lies on a cliff wall in the northern part of the valley. Known as the Tang Dynasty Stone Tablet of Tianzhu Messenger, the tablet is around 1.5 meters high and has a canopy for covering. The foot of the cliff where it is inscribed is in underwater, and the inscription is around 5 meters from the surface of the water. It is believed that it was carved in memory of the Tang messenger, Wang Xuance, during his diplomatic mission to Tianzhu, as he traveled through Gyirong County.

Dining and Accommodation in and around Kyirong Village

Gyirong Town has a number of hotels and guesthouses that you can stay in on your way to or from 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. Please feel free to email us to book hotels in Kyirong Village and Kathmandu to Lhasa tour

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.

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.

Conclusion

Gyirong Village is one of the most delightful places to stop, and while you may not be aware of the things that lie around you to see and do, the sight of the high mountains ringing this beautiful green valley is enough to take your breath away and make you want to stay longer. Few tours actually explore the area around Gyirong and on up the valley, despite its outstanding natural beauty. But if you get the chance, taking a trip deeper into this backyard of the Himalayas, in Everest’s Back Garden, then this is a chance you should never miss.

Master Kungga Dundruk

About the Author - Master Kungga Dundruk

The Lhasa-born prodigy used to study business overseas, and got his Bachelor of Business in Nepal and India before moving back to his homeland.With pure passion for life and unlimited love for Tibet, Kunga started his guide career as early as 1997.

Responsible, considerate and humorous, he devoted his entire life guiding and serving international tourists travelling in Tibet.As a legendary Tibetan travel guru with 20-year pro guide experience , he once had an exclusive interview with the US media. Currently he is working in Tibet Vista as the Tour Operating Director. Whenever our clients run into troubles, he is your first call and will offer prompt support.

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