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Friendship Highway

  • by Freya
  • Last Updated: 2021-09-16
Friendship highway

Friendship Highway (also known as the China-Nepal highway) is the only international highway in Tibet up to now. After the line was opened to traffic in 1965, countless tourists travel from this highway every year. On the China-Nepal border, the unique natural landscape like Mt Everest attracts more and more tourists worldwide for sightseeing and scientific expedition, and the Friendship Highway has become the golden tour route. It is also the only open international road from Tibet to Southeast Asia.

Basic information

  • Chinese name: 中尼公路(Zhongni GongLu)
  • English names: Friendship highway, China-Nepal highway, Sino Nepal highway
  • Completion Time: 1965
  • Road type: international highway
  • Total length: 800 Kilometres (500 mi)
  • Start point: Lhasa, capital of Tibet Autonomous Region
  • Endpoint: Kathmandu, capital of Nepal
  • Route: Start from Lhasa, pass through Shigatse and Lhatse County(319 national Road), then divide into two branches:
  • Eastern Route: Tingri County -- Nyalamu County – Zhangmu port-- Friendship Bridge -- Kathmandu
  • Western Route: Lhaze -- National Road 219 -- Gyirong County -- Gyirong Port -- Kathmandu
    Lhasa to Kathmandu route map
    Travel route map from Lhasa to Kathmandu (Click to view a bigger image)

Road Condition of Friendship Highway

As the highest road in the world, the friendship highway from Lhasa to Gyirong town in Tibet is a national highway. It's well-paved and broad so you will enjoy a smooth and comfortable driving experience. For the sake of driving safety, most roads in Tibet have speed limits. Therefore, the driver needs to maintain the speed under the safety speed limit to provide a safe travel service. During your journey on friendship way, you have lots of time to view the beautiful scenery along the way.

After passing through Gyirong port, the road to Kathmandu is in a poor condition. It has about 50 kilometers(31 miles) of winding mountain roads. Some sections of the mountain road are so narrow that only one car can pass. Usually, it takes 6 to 7 hours to drive from Gyirong to Kathmandu. However, during the rainy season (June to September), there are landslides or other unusual occurs that cause traffic jams and the 6 to 7 hours driving hours may get extended to more than 10 hours. So driving from Gyirong to Kathmandu, it's necessary to check the weather before setting out in case of heavy rain.  

Sceneries Along Friendship Highway

Starting from Lhasa along the friendship highway, you will find the scenery on the road is breathtaking. Mount Everest is the highlight of this route. Besides, you can also enjoy famous scenic spots such as Yamdrok Lake, Karola Glacier, Tashi Lhunpo Monastery, Sakya Monastery, Rongbuk Monastery, and so on.

Yamdrok Lake 

Yamdrok Lake is a freshwater lake in Tibet, it is one of the three largest sacred lakes in Tibet and regarded as the most beautiful lake in Tibet. It is over 72 km (45 mi) long. The lake is surrounded by many snow-capped mountains and is fed by numerous small streams. The lake has an outlet stream at its far western end. Yamdrok Lake is also the largest waterbird habitat in Tibet, and it was surrounded by Snow Mountains and ice peaks, the highest of which is more than 7,000 meters above sea level. Lakes, snowy peaks and blue sky blend together, making people feel into a dreamland.

Yamdrok lake

Karola Glacier

The Karola Glacier, one of Tibet's three major continental glaciers, is located on the boundary of Langkatse and Gyantse counties. Around 71 km (44 mi) from Gyantse, it's situated to the north of the main peak of Karola Mountain. The Karola Glacier is also one of the glaciers at the roadside in the world. Although the glacier is black and white layered due to the dust on the road for many years, the upper half of the glacier is shining like a giant thangka hanging on the mountain wall in the sunlight.

Karola Glacier

Tashi Lhunpo Monastery

Tashi Lhunpo Monastery is located on a hill in the center of Shigatse city, the full name in Tibetan of the monastery means "all fortune and happiness gathered here" or "heap of glory". Founded in 1447 by the 1st Dalai Lama, Tashi Lhunpo Monastery is a historic and culturally important Tibetan monastery. From far away, you can see the golden dome of Tashi Lhunpo Monastery in the western part of the city shining in the sunlight. At the entrance to the temple, you can see the magnificent temple complex. The brown buildings with golden roofs above the white houses are the successive Panchen Lamas' stupa. On the right, there's a tall and white wall for hanging Thangka during festivals. And the whole temple is surrounded by a circle of high walls

Tashilhunpo Monastery

Sakya Monastery

Sakya Monastery is a Buddhist monastery situated 25 km southeast of a bridge, which is about 127 km west of Shigatse on the road to Tingri in Tibet. It belongs to Sakya County, Shigatse region. Zhong Qu river flows by the monastery, which naturally divided Sakya Monastery into the north and south two temples. Sakya temple has an important position in Chinese history and Tibetan Buddhist history. It is the first monastery of the Sakya school of Tibetan Buddhism and the central temple of the Sakya school. Sakya, Tibetan means "off-white lad", that is, the color of the local soil. Its outer walls are painted with different colors of red, white and black symbolizing Manjusri, Avalokitesvara and Vajrasattva Bodhisattva, and it has become a unique symbol of the Sakya temple.

Sakya Monastery


As the highest mountain in the world, Mount Everest with an altitude of 8848m has become a final objective for tourists dreaming of getting closer contact with the sky. It is no surprise that the world is mesmerized by Mount Everest. It's also being called Mount Qomolangma. In Tibetan, "Qomo" means "goddess", "Langma" means "mother elephant", and the overall meaning is "Goddess of the earth." Located in the bordering areas between Nepal and Tibet Autonomous Region, Mount Everest is a transcendental sight for anyone. It is home to the Sherpa tribe and several other indigenous groups. 

Mt.Everest and Rongbuk Monastery

Rongbuk Monastery

At the foot of Mount Everest, there is the highest monastery in the world -- Rongbuk Monastery, which is also the best place to see Mount Everest. The distance between Mount Everest and Rongbuk Monastery is 25 kilometers, so it has become a base camp for climbing Mount Everest from the north slope. There is a circumambulation around Rongbuk Monastery. In front of the Rongbuk Monastery’s hall is a stage, the local people will come here to watch the Lama’s performances during every important festival. The Mani Stone mound outside the monastery’s gate is often used by photographers as a foreground for photographing Everest.

Rongbuk Monastery

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Typically Asked Questions from Our Clients

Asked by ***

Which travel book is suitable to know about details of NEPAL CHINA FRIENDSHIP road?

Answered by Beatrice

Dear Yadab,

You may check Lonely Planet. Also it's very convenient to check the newest info on web pages online.