Why Overland is the Best Way to Travel from Lhasa to Kathmandu

Last updated: March,18 2020

With the operation of the direct flight between Lhasa and Kathmandu, going to Kathmandu by air becomes feasible and takes you only 1.5 hours. However, taking the overland tour from Lhasa is still the best way to go to the capital of Nepal.


    Why Travel Overland?

    Besides saving money as most overland tours do, the Lhasa to Kathmandu overland travel also saves your time due to its special route. What’s more, it leads you to visit the landmark attractions like EBC as well as the lush green Gyirong Valley which is inaccessible to many tours.

    Overland travel is more economical

    Going to Kathmandu by air requires you to come back to Lhasa after your Tibet tours, it costs more money than Tibet to Nepal overland tour because you need to pay for the vehicle and accommodation for the roundtrip to Lhasa. What’s more, flights to Kathmandu from Lhasa are not cheap, and if you are traveling on a budget, you will find that this option pushes up the cost of your holiday drastically. With flights costing around 230 US dollars per person, on top of the cost of your tour of Tibet.

    Gyirong ValleyYou will traverse on the well-paved road along Gyirong Valley from Tibet to Nepal.

    You can actually save money by taking the tour that takes you directly to the border to cross over into Nepal without coming back to Lhasa for a flight to Kathmandu.

    Overland travel is time-saving

    A classic 7 days Lhasa to Kathmandu overland tour begins with the two-day exploration of the Tibetan capital, including the Potala Palace and the Jokhang Temple, Drepung and Sera Monastery. Then, you head out from Lhasa to the famous Everest Base Camp via Gyantse and Shigatse. After staying overnight at EBC to appreciate the stunning sunset, the Milky Way, and sunrise over the peak of the majestic Mount Everest, you will head straight for the border on Day 6, pass the Gyirong Port on Day 7 and set off for Kathmandu on the same day.

    Mount EverestYou will continue your overland tour to Nepal after staying overnight at Everest Base Camp.

    If you choose to fly to Kathmandu, after visiting EBC from Lhasa, you need to spend 2 days to travel back from EBC to Lhasa via Shigatse, and take the Lhasa to Kathmandu flight on Day 8.

    For those who hope to visit Mount Kailash and Guge Kingdom, much more time will be consumed because it takes several days to drive back to Lhasa. By taking the overland tour, you can detour to Kathmandu almost during the half way.

    Overland travel provides you with great scenery

    Due to the specific location, taking the Tibet to Nepal overland tours won’t sacrifice any stunning scenery on the Tibetan plateau. Besides the regular attractions included in Everest Base Camp tours like the Yamdrok Lake and Karola Glacier, Kumbum Stupa and Tashilunpo Monastery, overland tour also brings you to visit the beautiful Lake Peiku Tso where you can have a far view of Mount Shishapangma (8,027m), the world’s 14th highest peak as well as the only over 8,000m mountain completely located in China. It also leads you to traverse along the lush green Gyirong Valley, and explore the picturesque Gyirong Town, all of which are not accessible for a pure Everest Base Camp trip.

    Mount Shishapangma from Lake Peiku Tso You can appreciate Mount Shishapangma around Lake Peiku Tso during a Tibet to Nepal overland tour.

    Some of the most amazing sights in Tibet lie in the west of the region, and can be more easily accessed in less time when heading direct to Kathmandu after, instead of returning to Lhasa. For those that are planning to travel overland from Lhasa to Kathmandu, you can also visit Sakya Monastery about 127 km west of Shigatse, to appreciate the magnificent surviving artwork in its huge library, practice the spiritual trekking around Mount Kailash, Asia’s most sacred mountain, and explore the awe-inspiring ruins of Guge Kingdom which disappeared mysteriously overnight, before heading straight to Nepal.

    Guge KingdomBesides visiting EBC, tourists can also explore Guge Kingdom before heading for Kathmandu.

    What’s more, instead of arriving in Kathmandu in 1.5 hours by flight, you can experience various landscape and witness how the scenery changes gradually from Tibetan plateau to Kathmandu by taking the overland tour. You can’t imagine how dramatic the environment and climate changes from Gyirong County to the border which is only about 100km away. And you will also take the amazing drive through the Langtang National Park and along the highway to Kathmandu, the exotic capital of Nepal to explore it in depth.

    Overland travel is more convenient

    An overland trip from Lhasa to Kathmandu can also be much more convenient for travelers than returning to Lhasa for the flights. Your Tibetan guide is there to assist you in all aspects of the tour, and this includes assisting you to pass through the exit customs from China to Nepal, explaining how exit policies work, and what you can and cannot take with you from Tibet. Your Tibetan guide will be with you right up to the point when you exit the Chinese immigration to cross the bridge into Nepal.

    Gyriong Port Our Tibetan guide will drop you off at China Customs at Gyirong Port and assist you to cross the border.

    On the other side of the famous Resuo Bridge, which spans the Trishuli River Gorge, the border line between China and Nepal, you will be met by our Nepali local guide, who will be there to aid in you passing through customs, as well as helping with your luggage and getting you into the car for the drive down to Kathmandu. And once you arrive in the Nepali capital, he will take you to your hotel, and be able to recommend places to eat and explore while you are in the world’s most exotic city.

    Other ways to go to Kathmandu from Lhasa

    Overland travel is not the only way to get from Lhasa to Kathmandu. There are other means of travel, but none is as good as overland travel.

    Lhasa to Kathmandu by air

    AirlineFlight No.Departure TimeArrival TimeFlight TimeFrequency
    Air China CA408 12:10 15:55 1h30m Daily, Monday to Sunday
    Sichuan Airlines 3U8720 11:10 15:00 1h35m Monday, Wednesday, Friday

    Travel by air from Lhasa to Kathmandu is fast and easy, but you do have to come back to Lhasa after your tour, to take the flight to Nepal. However, for those that prefer to fly, this short hop across the Himalayas can be a great way to see the stunning view of these magnificent mountains from above. You can also see the summit of Mount Everest on the flight to Kathmandu, as long as you sit on the right-hand side of the plane, near a window. You can also apply for the Nepal Visa on arrival at the airport by yourself.

    Lhasa to Kathmandu by bike

    You can also cycle from Lhasa to Kathmandu, though this is a very long trip. Cycling across the plateau can be an amazing adventure, but if you do not really have the time, it is not the best option, Cycling takes around 18-22 days to Kathmandu, covering more than 1,000 kilometer along the way. And for those that are short on time to travel, this is not a viable option.

    Lhasa to Kathmandu cyclingYou can reach Everest Base Camp with a bicycle during a Lhasa to Kathmandu cyclying tour.

    Lhasa to Kathmandu by train

    Much as it would be great to be able to take a train from Lhasa to Kathmandu, this option is not yet up and running. In the future, this amazing trip is expected to be available for both locals and tourists to Tibet, but for now, the railway ends at Shigatse, and from there you will need to be driven to the border.


    Though it takes about 1.5 hour to fly from Lhasa to Kathmandu, the Tibet to Nepal overland tour is more time-saving and exciting. Not only can you enjoy traveling through the stunning landscapes in Tibetan plateau, but you can enjoy the help that your guides will provide, get a better experience of parts of Tibet that other tours do not cover, and even appreciate the beautiful Gyirong Valley. So if you are thinking of taking a trip across the plateau, and are heading for Nepal afterwards, why not consider an overland tour, to make the most of your Tibetan experience on the Roof of the World.

    Related Readings:

    Most Recommended Tibet Nepal Tours

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