The Gyirong(also being called Kyirong) Port is located in Gyirong county, in the southwest corner of Tibet Autonomous Region. Gyirong County belongs to the south side of the middle part of the Himalayas, some 831km away from Lhasa, 175km away from Katmandu. From the time Gyirong Port was completed, it was not only the largest land trading port between Tibet and Nepal but also an important transportation hub to connect China and Southern Asia by exchanging the culture and business. What’s more, Gyirong Port had been through many historical events: Princess Bhrikuti of Nepal traveled a long journey to marry King Songtsen Gampo; the famous diplomat Wang Xuance of Tang Dynasty visited India for several times; Indian Buddhist master Padmasambhava (Lotus-Born) entered Tibet to spread Buddhism. They all passed through Gyirong.
The Tibet Autonomous Region Press Office convened a press conference on 30, August 2017 in Lhasa, and announced that Gyirong Port (Rasuwa Port on the Nepal Side) is officially open for foreign travelers, which means overseas travelers can enter Tibet from Nepal by land, or leave Tibet for Nepal by land. It was also claimed that Gyirong Port was now an international port to the benefit of further trade between China and Nepal.
After the earthquake in 2015, the friendship bridge at Zhangmu, the border between Nepal and Tibet, was closed to foreign visitors, forcing tourists to travel from China or to fly from Kathmandu to Lhasa. Gyirong Port is opened as the new port which becomes the official entry point for foreign tourists to Tibet. It is convenient for tourists who want to travel to the region after trekking in Nepal.
Gyirong Port served as National Second Level Land Port by Chinese government’s appointment in the 1970s, and departments of customs and commodity inspection were formatted as well. Afterward, all export and import business through Gyirong Port has almost stopped and the relative departments were revoked due to the prosperity of Zhangmu Port. The three major ports, Yadong port, Zhangmu port and Burang port are the business hubs in Tibet back then. Zhangmu port was the only land port that opened all year round in Tibet before Gyirong port is operational. Almost 90% of Tibet’s border business is done through there. However, the clearance capacity of Zhangmu port is relatively weak caused by geographical reasons. It restricted and limited foreign trade development in Tibet. In April 2015, Zhangmu port was badly damaged and temporarily closed because of Nepal earthquake. Later on, China Gyirong-Nepal Rasuwa bilateral port was formally put into use in December 2015. Gyirong port made Tibet open to the world and linked Nepal and other Southern Asia countries together in the significant commercial road.
How to Get to Tibet from Kathmandu via Gyirong Port
Starting from Katmandu, going northward for about 175km, passing through Gyirong Port, you will reach Gyirong Valley, which is regarded as the “back garden of the Mt. Everest”. To continue going northwest for about 700km, there is the holiest mountain of the whole Asia - Mount Kailash; eastward for about 400km, there is the Mt. Everest - the highest mountain in the world. The most famous tourist spot in Nepal, Nepali city Pokhara, is on the southwest of Gyirong. And It is the visitors from all over the world treat it as a “Paradise of hiking”. Nowadays, trucks from Chinese inland cities could go to Gyirong port to reach Katmandu because the asphalt road has been completed and opened to traffic between Lhasa and Gyirong Port. Transportation factors will not limit the development of Gyirong Port anymore with the continuing improvement of infrastructures. It is estimated that it will further promote the exchange between China and the Southern Asia Continent as soon as the railway between Lhasa and Gyirong is finished. Gyirong has played the role of a transitional zone that exchanges culture and economic between Tibet and Southern Asia countries all the time. Thanks to the establishment of nature reserves and constructions of roads and railways, the small town Gyirong is not just a simple courier station of cultural and economic exchange in history but will be a pluralistic and radioactive transportation hub and international port, which presents an enormous business opportunity. Gyirong never-fading charms in the past and will definitely become a shining superstar on the borderline of China with the exploration and development.
Necessary Permits for Overland Travel from Nepal to Tibet
Foreign travelers have to hold several necessary permits to enter Tibet from Nepal, including a Group Visa, Tibet Border Pass as well as Tibet Entry Permit.
The Group Visa is a special kind of Chinese Visa with which you don't have to hold a Chinese Visa and can extend Tibet trip to other provinces in China, such as Beijing, Sichuan, Yunnan, etc. It will be checked at the port. Travelers can apply for the Group Visa at the China Embassy in Kathmandu. It usually takes about 3 working days to get the visa.
Tibet Entry Permit
Tibet Entry Permit, also known as Tibet Travel Permit, is the official document that gives the permission to a foreign traveler to enter and travel in Tibet. It can only be issued by Tibet Tourism Bureau, and usually takes about 15~20 days to get the permit. Your Tibet travel agency will apply for the permit for you.
Tibet Border Pass
Travelers have to hold a Border Pass which is issued by Tibet Armed Police Border Corps in Lhasa to pass the China-Nepal border area. It can't be applied by travelers individually. What you can do is to contact a Tibet travel agency to apply the Border Permit for you from the Tibet Armed Police Border Corps in Lhasa.