Nepal to Tibet Bus: Is there a direct bus from Kathmandu to Lhasa?

Last updated: December,10 2019

Unfortunately, at this time, there is no direct bus from Kathmandu to Lhasa, and travelers are required to book on a pre-arranged tour of the plateau region in order to get across the border into Tibet to travel to Lhasa. Bus travel can be done from Kathmandu to Syabrubesi and then on to the border at Rasuwa Gadhi and Gyirong Port. However, at the border crossing, you must be met by your tour guide and driver in order to reach Lhasa. The buses in Nepal are not permitted to cross the border into China. As independent travel in Tibet is prohibited, and travel on public transport is also not permitted, you will need to book your tour with a registered travel agency, who will make all your travel arrangements for Tibet Autonomous Region (TAR).

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    If Kathmandu to Lhasa bus service is insisted, here you can go as follows

    If bus travel must be done on the tour, then you can follow the itinerary below, using the given schedules, to make the most of the bus trip in Nepal before crossing the border into Tibet. Not all of the bus schedules from Kathmandu to Gyirong Port are favorable for travelers to Tibet from Nepal, as there are often times when the buses get in late due to the poor road conditions. This means that the crossing cannot be made until the following day, so it is advisable to choose your transport options carefully.

    Take public bus from Kathmandu to Syabrubesi (140km, 8-10hrs)

    You can get a tourist bus from Kathmandu to take you all the way to the border at Rasuwa Gadhi, the border port for exit and entry to and from China. Costing around 2,500 rupees, the bus takes around 7-8 hours to reach the border crossing port, not including the stop for an hour to eat. Normal departure times are around 3:00am and 4:00am, which leaves enough time to reach the border to cross before it closes. While this is the fastest way to get to the border by bus, it is not always the most convenient. If the bus leaves late, or encounters delays on the poor roads to the border, it will not be able to reach the border before the Chinese immigration office on the other side closes (5:00pm Nepal Time), and you will be stuck there for the night. With no hotels at the border, this could be an uncomfortable and chilly experience.

    Taking bus from Kathmandu to SyabrubesiTaking bus from Kathmandu to Syabrubesi

    Buses run regularly from Kathmandu to Syabrubesi in Nepal, the closest decent-sized town to the border crossing point at Rasuwa Gadhi. This is normally the best option for travelers to Tibet, as you can stop over for the night, and continue on to the border early in the morning. This way, you are guaranteed to be able to cross the border once you reach it. And while there is an additional cost for the hotel or guesthouse in Syabrubesi for the night, this is not high, as the hotels are not as expensive as those in the Nepali capital. And the town does have dorm hostels for those working on a tighter budget in Nepal.

    The bus departs from Kathmandu for Syabrubesi between 7:00am and 9:00am daily, and can take from 8-10 hours, depending on the number of stops it makes. The drive on the bus can be a little smelly and uncomfortable, as the public buses in Nepal are not the best in the world. The buses stop in lots of small villages along the way to pick up and drop off passengers, as well as stopping for lunch and bathroom breaks along the way. The public bus normally costs around 600-800 rupees, or about 6-8 US dollars. The road is good from the capital to around Laharepauwa, a small village on the Pasang laahmu Highway to the Langtang National Park and Rasuwa Gadhi. However, from there, the road does get a little worse, and once you reach the edges of the Langtang park, the road is little more than a dirt track, with a few passing places for passing vehicles.

    Hire a car from Syabrubesi to Rasuwa Gadhi (20km, 1hr)

    Only around 20 kilometers from the border with China, Syabrubesi is the ideal place from which to take the trip to Rasuwa Gadhi and the Tibet Autonomous Region. With no local bus to take you the last short distance to the border, you may need to hire a car to make the trip the rest of the way. However, this is relatively cheap, costing just a few dollars to as much as ten dollars, depending on the car and driver. Bargaining is the best option to get a good price, or travel with friends to make it cheaper. The road conditions on this stretch are not good, and it can still take more than an hour to reach the border.

    Meet Tibetan tour guide and start your Tibet tour at Gyirong Port

    When you get to the border and cross into China, you will be met by your Tibetan tour guide and driver. Once you have cleared customs and immigration, you will be permitted to enter the waiting area, where you guide will be waiting to take you to the car. There you will begin your trip to Lhasa, driving overland from Gyirong Port and passing through the most stunning landscapes on the planet.

    Meeting Tibetan tour guide and driver in Gyirong PortMeeting Tibetan tour guide and driver in Gyirong Port

    All tourists traveling to Lhasa across the border with Nepal must be on pre-arranged tour of the plateau region with a registered and reputable travel agency. We will be the ones preparing all of your papers for the trip from Kathmandu to Lhasa, including your permits and Group Visa for entry to China from Nepal.

    Chinatibettrain.com offers you the most convenient Kathmandu to Lhasa overland service

    For one of the best services for travelers crossing the border into Tibet from Nepal, we can offer you a convenient and friendly overland service from Kathmandu to Lhasa, complete with comfortable tour vehicles, experienced guides, and professional drivers.

    From your hotel in Kathmandu, our escort/driver will collect you for the trip to the border with China. Traveling in a comfortable tour vehicle, he will take you the 140 kilometers from the Nepali capital to the town of Syabrubesi, where you will stop for the night in the hotel of your choice. Syabrubesi has a choice of accommodation, from good three-star hotels to the cheaper guesthouses and lodges for you to choose from.

    In the morning, you will be taken by your driver to the border at Rasuwa Gadhi, where he will aid you in getting your luggage into the customs and immigration building for checking, and leave you to enter China. The driver, unfortunately, cannot continue the journey from here with you.

    Once you have cleared immigration and customs, you will be met in the waiting area of the building by your guide and driver, who will help load your luggage into the vehicle. Here you will begin your tour of the plateau region.

    The first leg of this epic trip is to the nearby town of Gyirong, just 26 kilometers from the Sino-Nepal border. The winding road to Gyirong Town is surrounded by high snow-capped mountains, dense primeval forests, and some of the world's most beautiful scenery in the renowned Gyirong Valley, the backyard of Mount Everest. Once you arrive in Gyirong Town, you will have time to settle in to your hotel, before heading out again for the afternoon to visit the local Paba Temple.

    Visiting Everest Base Camp in Nepal Tibet overland tourVisiting Everest Base Camp in Nepal Tibet overland tour

    The next day, you will drive from Gyirong Town to the famous Everest Base Camp, where you will spend the day taking photos and exploring the Rongbuk Monastery, before taking the short drive to Old Tingri for the night. The following day, you will travel to Shigatse, the second city of Tibet, where you can visit and tour around the Tashilhunpo Monastery, the seat of the Panchen Lama.

    The next day you will travel to Lhasa via Gyantse, once the largest town in Tibet. There, you will stop to visit the Gyantse Kumbum Stupa, part of the Pelkor Chode Monastery, before continuing on the road to the Tibetan capital before nightfall. On the way to Lhasa, you will pass by and stop at the Karola Glacier, the Yamdrok Lake, and the Manak Dam, located below the flag strewn Simila Mountain Pass. In Lhasa, you will spend two days sightseeing, exploring the iconic Potala Palace, the sacred Jokhang Temple, and the monasteries of Sera and Drepung.

    Conclusion

    Travel to Lhasa by bus from Kathmandu is not possible, as there is no bus that crosses the border into Tibet from Nepal. Once you arrive on the Chinese side of the border, you will be required to be part of a pre-arranged tour of Tibet, and collected by your guide and driver in the private vehicle. Riding on public transport is not permitted in Tibet, and the most bus travel you can find would be the trip to Rasuwa Gadhi and Syabrubesi from Kathmandu.

    Related Readings:

    Most Recommended Tibet Nepal Tours

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