How to Travel to Tibet from Nepal? - or vice-versa
Planning your big trip to Tibet?
You are facing quite a few important decisions regarding your adventure. One of the challenges is to decide on the entry point to the Plateau. Not all travelers start their journey from China as you can enter Tibet from Nepal as well.
Regardless if you are weighing the options or want concrete information about the Nepal-Tibet border, you have come to the right place. We have gathered the latest information about the state of affairs concerning the overland route between Nepal and Tibet.
In this article, you’ll learn about the formal requirements and practical tips for crossing the border. Also, we’ll go over some important information with regard to your tour options.
How can you get from Nepal to Tibet?
What should you know about the overland journey?
The Sino-Nepal Friendship Highway is ideally located to make a visit to the Mount Everest Base Camp (the EBC) a reality. Other huge highlights on the way are Shigatse and numerous stunning monasteries.
What about the flights between Lhasa and Kathmandu?
Taking a flight between these two cities is the fastest option. Keep in mind that the route between Kathmandu and Lhasa is the only international flight connection in this Tibetan airport. It’s a unique experience.
Two airlines serve the Kathmandu-Lhasa route. Both Air China and Sichuan Airlines operate non-stop flights that take around 90 minutes. Note that the travel time from Lhasa Gonggar International Airport to downtown Lhasa takes a similar amount of time as the flight itself.
There is an important piece of safety information you should know about this flight. Even though Kathmandu isn’t exactly at sea level, the sudden altitude difference may result in altitude sickness.
Is there a train connection as well?
No, there is no train connection between Nepal and Tibet. The confusion surrounding the existence of a railway connection rests on plans that have been underway for some time now.
At the time of publishing this article in 2020, the actual rail link is still in the planning stages. No concrete dates for the completion of this extensive project have been released so far.
What kind of documents do I need for a Nepal-Tibet trip?
You need at least four distinct documents when traveling between Nepal and Tibet. Let’s take a closer look at these formalities:
1) Tibet Travel Permit
Also known as the TTB permit, this is a mandatory document for anyone holding a foreign passport. TTB permit is issued by the Tibet Tourism Bureau.
2) China Group Visa.
If you want to enter Tibet from Nepal, you need a Group Visa. It’s a Chinese Visa designated for foreign travelers entering Tibet outside China. You are able to apply for this visa at the China Embassy in Kathmandu.
3) Alien Travel Permit.
Since your journey from Nepal to Tibet (or vice-versa) passes through two Tibetan prefectures, you need to have an Alien Travel Permit with you. This travel permit allows you to visit other prefectures outside the Lhasa capital area.
4) Border Pass.
In order to successfully move through the Nepal-China border, you need to have a Tibet Border Pass. Your Tibetan travel agency will help you receive this document.
Which tours allow you to experience a Nepal-Tibet journey?
Our recommendation is a 7 day Lhasa to Kathmandu Tour. On your epic travel through Tibet to the Nepal capital, you’ll encounter a variety of stunning sights. The seven days are full of cultural and natural wonders that epitomize the Plateau and its heritage.
Just take a look at some of the highlights:
- Lhasa, home to three UNESCO World Heritage Sites
- The spectacular Everest Base Camp
- Yamdrok Lake, always dazzling its visitors
- Numerous beautiful and culturally important monasteries
In a nutshell: How to travel to Tibet from Nepal or vice versa?
Traveling between Nepal and Tibet is a great idea. You have two options: taking a flight or going for the overland route.
Make sure that you have (or will receive) all the necessary documents to make your dream trip come true.
Don’t forget that you need a mandatory tour guide for your Tibet trip in any case! We recommend you to consider our 7 Day Lhasa to Kathmandu Tour that covers the essential sights of Tibet.