4 Steps to Plan a Tibet and Nepal Tour Easily

Last updated: April,15 2020

With Tibet and Nepal being so close, many tourists hope to visit them during one overland trip. Since international tourists are not permitted to travel Tibet independently, you have to make a plan in advance. Planning a Tibet and Nepal overland tour is simple and easy if you following the following steps.


    Decide your overland direction: from Nepal to Tibet or Tibet to Nepal?

    To travel from Tibet to Nepal, you need to arrive in Tibet from China, and the main documents for your trip are the Chinese Visa and Tibet Travel Permit. You need to apply for a Chinese Visa in your home country, and usually it takes you about one week to get the visa. After you get the Chinese Visa, your tour operator can apply for Tibet Travel Permit on behalf of you, and the permit usually take about 15 days and will be used when boarding your plane or train to Tibet.

    Tibet Travel PermitNo matter which direction you choose, you always need a Tibet Travel Permit to enter Tibet.

    If you are traveling from Nepal to Tibet, you need China Group Visa and Tibet Travel Permit. Instead of being applied with your visa during Tibet to Nepal tours, Tibet Travel Permit for Nepal to Tibet tours can be obtained by us on your behalf once you have booked the tour. The China Group Visa, which will be used to enter China from Nepal, can only be applied from Chinese Embassy in Kathmandu by the tour operator with your original passport. Though it takes at least 3 business days to get the single-entry China Group Visa which is valid for 30 days at most, obtainning the travel document for Nepal to Tibet tour is quicker than the reverse one.

    Gyirong PortAt present, tourists travel overland between Tibet and Nepal via the Gyirong Port.

    Given this situation, if you are close to your vocation and don’t have enough time to wait for your travel documents, you can take a Nepal to Tibet tour. Otherwise, we warmly suggest you to travel from Tibet to Nepal especially when you are traveling overland. During a Tibet to Nepal, you can add the gateway China cities into the trip before heading for Tibet, such as taking the Beijing Tibet Nepal tours. You can also spend more than 30 days in China, and leave Kathmandu whenever you like instead of waiting for your Group Visa there.

    Arrange the transportation to your entry city

    Compared with Kathmandu which is accessible through several countries by air, Lhasa, the capital of Tibet, can be accessed by both flights and trains from many gateway cities of China.

    Get to Lhasa by train and air

    At present, there is no direct flights to Lhasa from oversea cities like New York, London, and Paris. International travelers need to take an international flight to gateway cities like Beijing, Shanghai or Chengdu and then take a domestic flight to Lhasa. There are more than two dozen locations across mainland China that have flights to Lhasa Gonggar International Airport, taking from 2-8 hours to reach the Lhasa.

    Lhasa Gonggar International AirportYou can take flight to Lhasa from gateway cities of China like Beijing and Chengdu.

    Traveling to Tibet along the legendary Qinghai-Tibet train is more popular among domestic and international tourists. You can take trains to Tibet from gateway cities in mainland China like Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Chengdu, Chongqing, Xi’an, Lanzhou, and Xining. While a Tibet train ride can take from 22 hours (Xining to Lhasa) to 53 hours (Guangzhou to Lhasa) to reach the plateau capital, the train journey itself is relaxing and enjoyable.

    Qinghai-Tibet RailwayIt takes 21-53 hours to arrive in Lhasa by the legendary Tibet train.

    You can appreciate the diverse terrains in different provinces of China, and get a view of the northern plains of Tibet and Qinghai. The essential scenery of Qinghai-Tibet Railway lies in Golmud and Lhasa section, the snow-capped mountains, the turquoise lakes, and the boundless desert and grassland against the pure blue sky all accompany you to enter the Roof of the World. What’s more, traveling to Tibet by train also is helpful for you to acclimatize to the altitude increase and reduce the potential of getting altitude sickness.

    Get to Kathmandu by air

    Unless you plan to cross India by train and cross the border overland to Nepal, which would be extremely costly and long-winded, the best way to get into Nepal is to fly in. In fact, this is the only way for most travelers heading for Tibet from Nepal. Notably, there are not as many international flights that terminate in Kathmandu’s Tribhuvan International Airport. And while there are international flights from around the world outside Asia to many of the airports in China, there are no non-Asian international flights to Nepal. There is a flight from Turkey to Kathmandu, but Turkey is still part of Asia, not Europe, as some people believe.

    This means that, in order to reach Nepal from outside Asia, you will need to have a connecting flight from your home country to another Asian country, and then travel on to Nepal from there. Most flights from Europe into Nepal travel through India.

    Choose travel method between Tibet and Nepal: by air or overland

    Overland is the always best way to travel between Tibet and Nepal. Besides saving the money to purchase the expensive flight tickets between Lhasa and Kathmandu, overland tour saves your time and presents you with amazing scenery.

    Overland travel between Tibet and Nepal

    It takes 7 days to travel overland from Lhasa to Kathmandu. During a classic 7-day Lhasa to Kathmandu tour, you will spend 3 days in acclimatizing to altitude and exploring iconic attractions in Lhasa (3,650m), then head for Mount Everest via Gyantse and Shigatse. You will arrive at Everest Base Camp on Day 5 and stay overnight there after days of acclimatization before heading for Kathmandu via the scenic Gyirong Valley. You can also practice Kailash trekking and even explore Guge Kingdom before heading for Nepal.

    Tibet Everest Base CampYou can visit Everest Base Camp in Tibet during a Tibet and Nepal tour.

    A Nepal to Kathmandu tour usually takes at least 8 days due to the road condition from Kathmandu to Gyirong Port and the time difference between Nepal and China. During a classic 8-day Kathmandu to Lhasa tour, you need to stay overnight at Syabrubesi in Nepal before going through the port. After passing the port, you still need to stay at Gyirong Town (2,700m) for at least one night to acclimatize, and visit Everest Base Camp (5,200m) next day. Considering the sharp altitude increase and short acclimatizing time, you will not stay overnight at EBC during a Nepal to Tibet tour. You can also visit Mt. Kailash from Kathmandu.

    Travel between Tibet and Nepal by air

    On average, there are normally only two daily flights between Kathmandu and Lhasa. These are run by Air China and Sichuan Airlines, though there is a connecting flight between Chengdu and Kathmandu with Tibet Airlines that stops in Lhasa. In the peak months for Tibetan tourism, there are often more flights laid on to cater to demand.

    Flight between Tibet and NepalThe breathtaking bird's eye view of the Himalayas when taking the Tibet-Nepal flight.

    The flight between Lhasa and Kathmandu usually takes around 90 minutes, and costs from around 230 US dollars per person for an economy one-way trip. The flight between these two Himalayan capitals also takes you directly over the summit of Mount Everest, so you can get a great view of the peak of the World’s Highest Mountain on the way.

    Find a reliable tour operator

    As independent Tibet travel is not permissible, you need to find a tour operator to arrange the tour and apply for travel documents for you. Compared with pure Tibet tours, Tibet and Nepal tour poses a higher requirement for tour operator because it involves with a relatively landlocked country and the high-elevation Tibetan plateau.

    Our Tibetan travel guide Our clients taking a photo with their Tibetan guides.

    With more than ten years of experience of Tibet and Nepal traveling, we have accumulated rich experience in arranging a professional and satisfying Tibet and Nepal tours. We have been awarded “Best Everest Tour Organizer” and our guide, Mr. Kungar, is the Gold Winner of Best Tour Guide 2019 in China. As the only tour operator with its own offices in Lhasa, Chengdu, and Kathmandu, we can get the first-hand information about the latest road condition and tourism policy, and provide a satisfying and seamless Tibet and Nepal tours for you.


    Planning a tour of Tibet and Nepal is an easy task to undertake if you follow the above steps. And you can make the planning much more convenient and reliable if have us arrange the tour for you. If you hope to visit Tibet and Nepal, don’t hesitate to share your travel plan and preference with us, we can assist you to find out the most suitable itinerary, book the Tibet train tickets, apply for the travel documents, and arrange an once-in-a-lifetime Tibet and Nepal trip for you.

    Related Readings:

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