The Cheapest and Most Convenient Way from Lhasa to Kathmandu

Tibet’s nearest neighbor, Nepal is one of the closest gateway countries to enter Lhasa, either overland or by flight. The direct distance from Lhasa (3,658 meters) to Kathmandu (1,400 meters) is 609 kilometers, while the overland distance is about 1,000 kilometers. As the capital city of Tibet, Lhasa offers convenient transportation to Kathmandu. You can easily take flight from Lhasa to Kathmandu. The overland route from Lhasa to Kathmandu is still one of the most popular tours for visitors to both Tibet and Nepal. Now if you want to travel to Kathmandu from Lhasa by road, you can only pass through the Gyirong Port. Usually it takes more than 20 hours from Lhasa to Kathmandu by road. If you take a overland trip to have a deep discovery of Tibet landscape and culture on the way, it usually takes about 7 days. 

The Cheapest Way from Lhasa to Kathmandu – By Road

In the past, many travelers use the overland route that crossed the border between Nepal and Tibet at the Zhangmu border crossing, also known as the Friendship Bridge. The bridge is the joining point of the Arniko Highway, and the 318 National Highway, known as the Sino-Nepal Friendship Highway linking Lhasa and Zhangmu. While it is not available now due to Nepal Earthquake in 2015. The natural disaster has devastated the Zhangmu border and when it will be open to tourists remains to be seen. At present, Gyirong Port, 95 kilometers northwest of Zhangmu, is an alternative of Zhangmu border. On August 30, 2017, Gyirong port officially opened the border between Nepal and Tibet for international travel, and the embassy of the People’s Republic of China and the Tibet tourism administration began issuing group tourist visas and travel documents for foreign tourists entering Tibet through the Gyirong port. 

What to See on the Way

Before you transfer to Gyirong port, you can have a wonderful sightseeing tour on the way to through Gyantse and Shigatse. During the trip, you can enjoy amazing natural scenery and sacred Buddhist temples. You can also extend your trip to mount Everest if you like, which is also in Gyantse and it takes two days. Then you will arrive at Gyirong Port and cross the border to Nepal. After that, you have to drive to Kathmandu, which takes about six hours. Roads from Gyirong Port to Kathmandu are now in reasonable condition. The scenery is also beautiful, and you can enjoy the scenery.

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How to Get to Kathmandu from Gyirong Port

For international travelers from Nepal to Tibet, the reopening of the Gyirong port has made travel easier. Overland travel from Nepal to Tibet, as well as overland travel from Nepal to Tibet, is now possible and is expected to greatly increase tourism in western Tibet. It is relatively easy to get to Kathmandu from Gyirong port because Nepal has no travel restrictions for foreign tourists. You can take a bus from Gyirong port to Kathmandu, which normally leaves Resuo Bridge at 12 am every Monday, Wednesday and Friday. The departure time of the Resuo bridge may change depending on the number of passengers. Resuo Bridge at Gyirong Port is about 160 kilometers from Kathmandu and it takes about six hours by bus. It will stop in the middle for rest and food, and the one-way ticket costs about 2,500 Rupees. The tour guide will take you to Resuo Bridge to take a bus ride to Kathmandu. 

When to Take the Overland Tour

The best time to visit Tibet for an overland tour is usually from April to June, followed by September to the end of October. This is known as the “golden” travel season, when the weather is best for traveling, with clear sky, little rain and gentle sun. Summer is also the rainy season in Tibet. The main reason why people avoid summer when traveling to Tibet is that lower clouds sometimes block the views of famous mountains.

The Cost for Lhasa to Kathmandu Overland Tour

Typically, an overland trip from Lhasa to Kathmandu costs at least $1,500. The fees shall be used for travel services such as tourist vehicles, hotels, catering and tour guides, as well as personal expenses such as application for relevant travel documents. You need to prepare some cash when you are in Lhasa, because there are not many ATMs or big Banks outside Lhasa. We will help you to change the currency. From November to early February of next year, it is the low season of Tibet travel which will save you more money on hotel, air tickets and scenic spot tickets. In addition, joining in a group tour will help you to share the tour cost with other group members and meet like-minded travelers around the world.

The Most Convenient Way from Lhasa to Kathmandu – By Air

The flight from Lhasa to Kathmandu is the fastest and most comfortable means of transportation and the first choice for tourists from Tibet to Nepal. In fact, the Lhasa-Kathmandu flight is the only international flight connecting Tibet to other countries and is considered one of the most beautiful routes in the world, flying over several breathtaking mountain ranges, including the peaks of the Himalayas such as mount Everest, Mount Kanchenjunga, Mount Lhotse. So choose a window seat on the right side of the plane right behind or in front of the wing of the plane to have an incredible vista.

There are usually one or two direct flights a day between Lhasa and Kathmandu. One is Air China flight CA407 on Tue, Thu, Sat, which departed from Gongga International Airport in Lhasa at 12:40 Beijing time and landed at Tribhuvan International Airport at 12:20 local time. On Mon, Wed, Fri, Sun, another Sichuan Airlines flight 3U8719 took off from Lhasa at 11:35 Beijing time and landed in Kathmandu at 11:00 local time. The departure time and arrival time are on local time and the time difference between Nepal and China is 2 hours and 15 minutes

Lhasa to Kathmandu Flight Schedules

Flight No. Airlines Departure – Arrival Duration
CA407(on Tue, Thu, Sat.) Air China 12:40 – 12:20 1h55m
3U8719(on Mon, Wed, Fri, Sun) Sichuan Airlines 11:35 – 11:00 1h40m

As for the ticket fare, it can rise much higher during Tibet’s peak tourism season (from July to October) as well as Chinese National Holiday (Oct 1st-7th) and Chinese Spring Festival (Jan to mid Feb) and the cheap flight often comes during the off-season of Tibet travel (end of Oct. to Feb). It’s 267-514 USD/Person for the flight. We recommend you to book your flight ticket around 30 to 60 days in advance to get a better discount. In addition, after your land, you can apply for Visa On Arrival inside Tribhuvan International Airport. 

The Most Exciting Way from Lhasa to Kathmandu – By Train

No trains connect Kathmandu and Tibet. According to the Belt and Road China and Nepal Co-building, there is a good news that the Lhasa-Shigatse Railway would be extended to Gyirong. So it’s possible to take the train between the two destination in the coming future. It is also reported that the Lhasa-Kathmandu Railway includes two sections – Lhasa-Gyirong Railway and Gyirong-Kathmandu Railway which is an extension of Qinghai-Tibet Railway. Lhasa-Shigatse railway was completed and was put into use since 2014 and the section from Lhasa to Gyirong is expected to be finished in 2020. Now you can only take the train from Lhasa to Shigatse and then change the bus to Gyirong town and cross the border. Lhasa to Shigatse Train Schedules are listed as below. 

Train Numbers Departs Arrives Duration Price
Z8801 11:07 14:00 2h53m Hard Seat: 40.5 CNY/Hard Sleeper: 111.5 CNY/Soft Sleeper: 169.5 CNY
Z6811 18:10 20:58 2h48m Hard Seat: 40.5 CNY/Hard Sleeper: 111.5 CNY/Soft Sleeper: 169.5 CNY

The Most Flexible Way from Lhasa to Kathmandu – By Bicycle

Tibet and Nepal are both paradise for adventurers. Cycling from Lhasa to Kathmandu will provide visitors with an unforgettable experience. A popular cycling route from Lhasa to Kathmandu offers the perfect view of the Himalayas. It takes at least 15 days by bike from Lhasa to Kathmandu. It also brings super flexibility and real sense of freedom. From Mid-April to May, early June, September and October are considered the best months for cycling from Lhasa to Kathmandu. If you want to cycle from Lhasa to Kathmandu, the documents needed are Tibet Travel Permit, Alien’s Travel Permit, Border Pass, and Nepali Visa. It is recommended to wear multiple layers of clothing to adapt to the changing weather. Applying high level sunscreen, wearing sunglasses and drinking plenty of water to make you feel better. As for the cost, it’s much higher than the normal group travel for the supportive van, logistic supply, guide, etc. 

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