Useful Tips When Passing Gyirong Port

Last updated: April,17 2020

Gyirong Port is an international road port connecting Tibet and Nepal. When traveling between Tibet and Nepal, tourists must go through customs exit and entry at Chinese Customs and Nepal Immigration Office at each side of the port. Below are a few tips for a smooth Gyirong Port passing.


    Passing Gyirong Port While Traveling from Tibet to Nepal

    The Tibet to Nepal overland tours usually stay overnight at Gyirong Town about 25km to the port, and head for Gyirong Port next day after finishing a passport registration for exit from the border office.

    Bring all your belongings

    It only takes around half an hour to arrive at Gyirong Port from Gyirong Town where you spend the night before. Though the distance is short and asphalt road is well-paved, it is very important that you remember to bring everything with you when you pack up to depart from the town. While you may be able to turn around and go back for something you may have forgotten whilst still in China, once you pass through China’s exit immigration checks, you will not be able to.

    Gyirong portTourists going through exit procedures at China Customs at Gyirong Port.

    Departing from China to Nepal means that you need to complete the exit requirement, which includes completing the relevant forms to exit from China. Once the forms have been completed, you are no longer a visitor to China, and are required to immediately exit the country. Once you have done this, you can no longer go back for something you forgot, even though you have not technically left China yet. Your visa has already been cancelled for further use, and you would need to re-apply for both visa and Tibet Travel Permit in order to get back into Tibet.

    Note the working hours of both customs and time difference

    Another consideration when crossing Gyirong Port from Tibet to Nepal is the time difference. Beijing time (GMT+8) is the standard time zone for the whole of China, including the westernmost regions of the country. Nepalese time (GMT+5h 45m) adopted by Nepal Immigration Office at the other side of the Rasuwa Bridege, is actually 2 hours 15 minutes behind China, and the opening time of the border control checkpoints on either side of the Rawuwa Bridge are not really coordinated.

    On the Chinese side of the bridge, the immigration offices open at 10:00am Beijing Time, and close at 5:30pm. On the Nepali side, the opening hours of the immigration office differs, being open from 10:30am to 5:00pm from February to October and only until 4:00pm from November to January. However, on Fridays, this is reduced by two hours, closing at 3pm from February to October and 2pm from November to January. This is also further complicated by the fact that Nepal on-arrival visa applications can only be done between 10:30am and 3:00pm from Sunday to Thursday and up to 2:00pm on Friday.

    This means that, if you pass through Chinese immigration on departure as soon as it opens in the morning, you will need to wait on the Rasuwa Bridge for around two hours until the Nepali Immigration Office opens. So it actually pays to arrive at Gyirong Port by around 12:00 noon Beijing time, to make your transit easier.

    Pack your luggage well

    After you exit from China Customs at Gyirong Port, you will need to cross the Resuo Bridge, which spans the Trishuli River Gorge into Nepal. While the bridge is not that long, there is no transport across when exiting from Tibet after a tour. The only vehicles crossing the bridge are the trucks and cars that are exiting China into Nepal, and your tour vehicle is not allowed to cross. You should make sure that your luggage is packed properly for carrying, as you will need to carry it across the bridge into Nepal by yourself.

    Rasuwa Bridge at Gyirong PortYou need to take all the luggage by yourself when walking across the Rawuwa Bridge.

    On the other side of the bridge, you will need to have your luggage checked again before being allowed to enter Nepal. What’s more, on the following way to Kathmandu, there are several check points where you will need to open your luggage for checking. Instead of machine check you encounter at airports or China Customs, all the check in Nepal is manual. It is advisable to have all your documents in your hand luggage or a bum-bag in case it gets messy or lost during the manual check.

    You should also make sure that your luggage is well secured and tightly packed, and will not pop open on the trip to Kathmandu. Most of the jeeps and vans that transport travelers to the Nepali capital use roof racks for luggage, and the road from the border can be bumpy. Your luggage will be tied down, but make sure it is locked so it will not get open along the way.

    Get your Nepal Visa in advance instead of Nepal Visa “on arrival”

    While getting a Visa on Arrival is not hard for Nepal, it can take some time to process. It is actually better to have the visa already issued in advance of the trip, to make your crossing into Nepal easier and faster. If your visa is already issued, you can process through immigration much quicker, and be on your way to Kathmandu in just a short time, rather than spending hours processing it at the border.

    Don’t eat too much for breakfast.

    This is actually a sound advice for those that are prone to car sickness, or are not used to long car journeys. Though only about 170km from Kathmandu, the road from Gyirong Port to the capital of Nepal is bumpy and can cause motion sickness more easily in many people, as well as the fact that you will be in the vehicle for a long time. And if you are using the local transport, instead of a private vehicle, you will be cramped as they pack in as many people as they can to make it more profitable.

    Passing Gyirong Port While Traveling from Nepal to Tibet

    Due to the road condition and travel document, traveling from Nepal to Tibet is a little more complicated than the reverse route, but can also be well arranged if you are aware of the following tips.

    Apply your China Group Visa 3 business days in advance

    China Group Visa, the visa you need to have to enter China from Nepal, is different from the China Visa you get for entering China elsewhere. Make sure that you have the right visa, or you will not get into China over the border. Your China Group Visa can only be applied from China Embassy in Kathmandu instead of cities in your home county or third party countries. After you arrive in Nepal, it will be applied by your travel agency using your original passport and Tibet Travel Permit.

    Enter Tibet from Gyirong PortYou will be greeted by your Tibetan guide at Chinese Customs on the Sina-Nepal border.

    All international tourists entering Tibet from Nepal are required to be on a pre-arranged tour, and the group visa can only be applied by travel agency instead of individual tourists. Your travel agency will make sure that your visa is applied for before you leave. So make sure you are in Nepal at least 3 days before your expected travel date into China because it takes 3 business days to process the visa.

    The altitude increase and the altitude sickness from Nepal to Tibet

    When traveling from Nepal to Tibet, you are going to experience some drastic altitude increases, especially for those heading for Mount Everest or Mount Kailash. Kathmandu lies at just 1,400 meters above sea level, Gyirong Port at 1,800 meters and Gyirong Town at 2,700 meters, and you won’t suffer from altitude sickness at these places because they are below 3,000 meters. However, on your second day in Tibet, you will ascend to more than 4,300 meters as you arrive at Gyirong County which is about 70km away from Gyirong Town and pass Kungtang La Pass at 5,236 meters a few miles later.

    Lake ManasarovarLake Manasarovar at 4,583 meters above sea level is one of the three holy lakes in Tibet.

    For travelers visiting EBC and Lhasa from Kathmandu, you still need to cross Gawula Pass at 5,211 meters and ascend to 5,150 meters at EBC, and pass Gyatsola Pass (5,248m) and Tsola Pass (4,600m), Simila Mountain Pass (5,150m) and Gampala Pass (4,998m) on the following route to Lhasa. The altitude from Kathmandu to Mount Kailash ascends as well, reaching up to 4,640 meters at Saga, and 4,590 meters at Lake Manasarovar. And from Darchen (4,575m), the starting point of Kailash trekking, you will ascend to the Dolma La Pass, at 5,630 meters.

    These high and quick increases in altitude mean that you are at a higher risk of altitude sickness, as you do not have a couple of days of acclimatizing before heading to high elevations. In this case, you can choose a Kathmandu to Lhasa tour without EBC to avoid the potential risk.

    The temperature difference between Tibet and Nepal

    Depending on when you travel, the temperature on Tibetan plateau may be extreme, but it will always be colder than in Nepal. The increase in altitude makes the plateau colder than its neighbors, and the temperature changes may be more than you expect. You should prepare for a dramatic drop in temperatures between Nepal and Tibet, and bring enough clothes to prevent getting cold in Tibet, even in the warmer summer months.


    Passing through Gyirong Port is a convenient way to enter and exit Tibet in China. However, you should be well prepared for the crossing of the border, no matter which side you are crossing from. Make sure you have all the things you need with you, arrange the crossing time to make it as easy as possible, and plan the trip well, to save you having any hassles during and after your border crossing.

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