Shigatse to Kerung Distance: distance from Shigatse to Gyirong by train, overland, biking

November,16 2019 BY Master Kungga Dundruk 0 COMMENTS

The second city of Tibet, Shigatse is one of the top destinations in Tibet for tourism, and is the home of the Tashilhunpo Monastery, the seat of the second incarnation in Tibetan Buddhism, the Panchen Lama. More than 200 kilometers from Lhasa, as the crow flies, Shigatse is less than halfway between the Tibetan capital and the border crossing at Gyirong Port. A major stopping point for almost all tours of Tibet that head out to the west of the region, Shigatse is a stunning prefecture-level city on the roof of the world, and is also home to the world’s highest mountain, Mount Everest.

From Shigatse, the border town of Gyirong lies around 350 kilometers in a straight-line distance, although it is much further by roads. Lying on the Chinese border with Nepal, Gyirong Port is the only international border crossing checkpoint that goes direct to Tibet, a fact that Nepal is famous for, having the only international flights to Tibet as well. The crossing point has only recently been moved to Gyirong Port, after the earthquake in 2015 that destroyed the Friendship Bridge and the border crossing at the Chinese town of Zhangmu and the Nepali town of Kodari. Opened 2 years later, in August 2017, the crossing at Gyirong Port has been a major international border crossing point for both tourists and commercial goods, and is set to be the location of the railway crossing from Lhasa to Kathmandu, due to open in around 2-4 years.

Shigatse to Kerung Railway - Shigatse to Gyirong by Train Distance: 540km and How to Travel

The railway that has been proposed from Shigatse to Gyirong Port is set to open in around 2022, and has yet to be started from the Shigatse Station. An extension of the current Lhasa-Shigatse Railway, the proposed line will run from Shigatse to Gyirong Port, where it will cross the border into Nepal, and run on down to the Kathmandu Valley. Once opened, this unique railway line will finally connect Nepal and western Tibet by rail with eastern China, via the Qinghai Tibet Railway.

Lhasa Shigatse Gyirong Kathmadnu Train MapMap of Shigatse to Nepal Train via Gyirong Port

As the second city of Tibet, Shigatse is one of the main tourism centers in the region, and the connection by train from Nepal will increase and improve tourism in the region, making it easier and faster to get overland from Nepal to Lhasa, as well as making it more convenient to travel to the areas of western Tibet that are popular for tourists, such as Mount Everest Base Camp.

The proposed rail line from Shigatse to Gyirong Port will roughly follow the route of the G318 National Highway for part of the route, then it will continue west and then southwest to reach Gyirong Port, following the natural valleys and contours of the plateau, making the construction longer but less demanding and complex. The line will stretch a total distance of around 540 kilometers, and the trip to the border from Shigatse is expected to take as little as four hours.

>>Shigatse Railway: Shigatse train to Lhasa, Yadong and Kathmandu

Shigatse to Kerung by Road Distance: 547km and How to Travel

The route from Shigatse to Gyirong Port is one of the most popular routes to get to Nepal overland from Lhasa. Part of the route follows the G318 Friendship Highway, which runs from Lhasa to Zhangmu, on the Nepal border, around 80 kilometers to the southeast of Gyirong Port. The second part of the route, takes the S214 Provincial Road, past Paiku Co Lake to Gyirong Town, and then onto the border.

The route was changed after the border crossing point at Gyirong Port opened as the new border crossing from Nepal to Tibet in 2017, and since it was first used as a major route into Nepal from Tibet, and vice versa, the road has been improved to make it safer and more comfortable for the many vehicles that now run this route.

Appreciate the Himalayas at Gawula PassMaking a stop at Gawula Pass to enjoy the panorama of the Himalayas while driving from Shigatse to Gyirong.

The route from Shigatse has some of the most amazing views on the plateau, and for most of its 547 kilometers, the road gives its travelers some outstanding views of the massive Himalayas. Not only are the mountain views spectacular, but there are points along the highway, especially at the crest of the 5,198-meter Gawu La Pass, one of the highest road passes in Tibet, from which the vista of the Himalayas includes the massive Mount Everest, as well as other 8,000+ meter mountains such as Shishapangma, Cho Oyu, and Makalu.

While the trip from Shigatse is normally part of a longer tour, incorporating Lhasa and Mount Everest, the section from Shigatse to Gyirong is more than half of the distance, yet takes just 9 hours 40 minutes to drive continuously. However, on the tours, it normally takes around two days to reach Gyirong Town, and since the border closes early, the trip to the border crossing is done on the following morning. This trip includes a side-trip to Mount Everest Base Camp, where you can stay overnight at the Rongbuk Monastery. If you want to avoid the EBC section, the trip direct to Gyirong can take one day, with the run to the border being done on the following morning.

>>Lhasa to Shigatse Distance: distance from Lhasa to Shigatse by train, overland, biking
>>Shigatse to Everest Base Camp: how far and distance, road condition, what to see along the way
>>Shigatse to Kathmandu Distance: distance from Shigatse to Nepal by train, overland, biking, and flight

Shigatse to Kerung by Cycling Distance: 547km and How to Travel

The route from Shigatse to Gyirong is part of the whole route of the cycling tour from Lhasa to Kathmandu, and is the most arduous section of the trip, taking in several high passes along the route from Shigatse to the border. As part of a normal 22-day tour by bike from Lhasa to Kathmandu, the section from Shigatse to Gyirong Port overs a distance of around 547 kilometers, and takes around six days, if you are not going to stop at Everest Base Camp along the way.

Lhasa Shigatse Kathmandu biking tour via GyirongStarting from Lhasa, our clients have successfully cycled to Kathmandu via Shigatse and Gyirong.

The route takes you through some of the most beautiful mountain landscapes in the world, and over some of the highest road passes through the mountains as well. The passes include the Tso-La Pass at 4,520 meters above sea level, the Gyatso-La Pass at 5,220 meters, the La-Lung Pass at 4,990 meters, and the incredible Thang Pass at 5,050 meters. Of all the passes, the La-Lung Pass is the easiest, as it has the lowest gradient, and is lower than the others in terms of altitude.

Top Highlights on the Way from Shigatse to Kerung

Tashilunpo Monastery

One of the most beautiful monasteries in the world, the Tashilhunpo Monastery is the seat of the Panchen Lama, the second incarnation in Tibetan Buddhism after the Dalai Lama. Built in the 15th century by the first Dalai Lama, it is one of the most important historical and cultural monasteries in Tibet.

Everest Base Camp

Lying at 5,200 meters above sea level, the base camp on the northern side of Mount Everest is the first of the two base camps to be set up, and has been there since the late 1920s. Lying close to the vast Rongbuk Glacier, it is the easiest of the two base camps to get to, as there is a road that runs all the way to it.

Rongbuk Monastery

Listed as the highest monastery in the world, though there are others in Tibet at higher altitudes, the Rongbuk Monastery has long been an important monastery for those heading for Mount Everest. Lying at the foot of the Rongbuk Glacier at 4,980 meters above sea level, the monastery was often visited by mountaineers to get the blessing of the local abbot before attempting the climb.

Peiku-tso Lake

Lying at an altitude of around 4,591 meters, Paiku Tso Lake lies off the S214 Provincial Road on the way to Gyirong Town, and is shaped somewhat like an hourglass. The lake has strident, brackish water that is very bitter, and is fed by glaciers with no actual outlet, and when the waters get too high, they overflow into the Yarlung Zangbo River, though that has not happened for hundreds of years.

Mt. Shishapangma

Also known as Gosainthān, Mount Shishapangma is the 14th highest mountain in the world, and is the only 8,000+ meter mountain that is wholly in Tibet. Due to the former restrictions on foreign travel in Tibet, it was the last of the eight-thousands to be climbed by western mountaineers, in 1980, though it was first conquered by a Chinese team on May 2, 1964.

Pakba Monastery

Lying in the Gyirong Valley, close to the border with Nepal, the Pakba Monastery is one of the oldest monasteries in Tibet, and was built by the 33rd Tibetan King, Songtsen Gampo, for his Nepali wife, Princess Bhrikuti, to guard the border towns of Nepal.

What Travel Documents Do I Need for Shigatse Kerung Tour?

As well as the Tibet Travel Permit, which is only obtained by us once you have booked a tour of Tibet, you will also need to have the Alien’s Travel permit, for travel to the opened areas of Tibet outside Lhasa, and the Frontier Pass, for travel within the border areas of Tibet with Nepal, India, and Bhutan. The Tibet Travel Permit takes around 15-20 days to process, and requires a scanned copy of your passport and Chinese Entry Visa to make the application on your behalf prior to your trip.

The Alien’s Travel Permit is applied for in Lhasa, by your tour guide, and requires your original passport and Tibet Travel Permit. The application takes around an hour. The Frontier Pass is also applied for once you reach Lhasa by your guide, and has the same requirements and processing time.

Where to Go after Kerung, Kathmandu, Nepal or Lhasa, Tibet?

Travel Overland to Nepal Kathmandu via Gyirong Port

Once you reach Gyirong Town, you can travel on to Gyirong Port, and then cross the border to travel on to the exotic Nepali capital, Kathmandu. One of the most beautiful capital cities on the planet, this stunning city lies in the spectacular Kathmandu Valley, known as the “real Nepal” by locals. The trip takes you through the Gyirong Valley to the border, one of the most beautiful and untouched valleys in the Himalayas. Once across the high Resuo Bridge into Nepal, the route to Kathmandu takes you through the Langtang National Park, a stunning area of natural forests that are protected in the Nepali Himalayas. Check details of 7 Days Lhasa Shigatse EBC Kathmandu Overland Tour

Go back to Visit Lhasa and Move forward to Mainland China

Another option for continuous travel is to take the trip back to Lhasa, along the Friendship Highway, which takes two days, and then traveling on to mainland China for further exploration of one of the world’s most ancient civilizations. You have a choice in Lhasa, and many people choose to take the train to China, passing across the vast Tibetan plateau as the train heads north, crossing immense plains and prairies, passing close by Holy Lake Namtso and through the Nyenchen Tanglha Mountains. The final stretch of Tibetan train travel runs across the Changtang Prairie to the Tanggula Mountains, and the world’s highest railway pass, before dropping down into Qinghai Province of China to cross the high Kunlun Mountains and on down off the plateau to the Qinghai capital and start of the famous Qinghai Tibet Railway, Xining. Check details of 13 Days Gyirong Shigatse Lhasa Xian Beijing Tour


The trip from Shigatse to Gyirong is one of the most stunningly beautiful parts of the Tibetan plateau, and is a part of the Tibetan journey that you should take, if you have the time. Short tours of just eight days include the trip across the plateau to Mount Everest, the premiere tourist site in Tibet, and the world’s highest mountain, which lies in Shigatse Prefecture of Tibet. If you can manage a 4-5 day tour of Lhasa and Lake Yamdrok, why not tag on an extra couple of days and go the whole hog, taking a trip across the world’s highest plateau, through the most beautiful landscapes and scenery on the planet.

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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