Ultimate Guide About How to Travel From Nepal to Tibet?

Tibet, the roof of the world, seems out of reach to many tourists from afar. Due to its proximity to Kathmandu, Nepal, the Tibet and Nepal trip has always been a world-class tourist route that take travelers across the majestic Himalayas. There is no doubt that Nepal is the nearest land gateway for international tourists to go to Tibet.

The distance between Kathmandu to Lhasa: The straight-line distance from Kathmandu (1,400 meters) to Lhasa (3,658 meters) is 609 kilometers, while the land distance is about 1300 kilometers.

A. The Necessary Permits for Entering Tibet

As a foreign traveler, you can only enter Tibet from Nepal through an organized group tour. To join an organized group tour, you need to secure the necessary documents and permits like the Tibet Travel Permit and the China Group Visa. Moreover, your group should at least include three travelers to quality as a group tour.

1.Tibet Travel Permit

The Tibet Travel Permit is a "must-have" permit for all foreign tourists who want to enter Tibet via Nepal. It is also referred to as Tibet Entry Permit or Tibet Visa. You cannot board a flight to Tibet or pass through the borders between Nepal and Tibet if you do not have this permit. Yet, you don’t need to worry about processing this permit because your chosen travel agency will do it for you.

The Tibet Travel Permit is issued by the Tibet Tourism Bureau. Indicated in this permit are your tour group number, tour date, your day-to-day itinerary, tour operator, and the number of travelers included in your group tour. You also can see the attached list of the identities of the group members who will join your group.

Tibet Travel Permit is a necessary document to enter Tibet.

Tibet Travel Permit is a necessary document to enter Tibet.

Who Can Get Tibet Travel Permit?

All international tourists must secure the Tibet Travel Permit before entering Tibet. However, if you are a journalist, diplomat, or a government official, your application for Tibet Travel Permit will be handled by the Tibet Foreign Affairs Office. In other words, all the Tibet Travel agencies can't handle the permit for you.

On the other hand, if you are an Indian passport holder who wants to visit Mt. Kailash, you can secure your Tibet Travel Permit with the help of an Indian or Nepali agency from the TAR, Pilgrim Center, or Foreign Affairs Office.

At present, any citizen of the 178 countries that have diplomatic ties with China can apply for Tibet Travel Permit.

Three (3) Simple Steps to Secure a Tibet Travel Permit

  •  Consult with your chosen travel agency about your preferred tour date and itinerary. Finalized your proposed tour itinerary and sign the contract for the tour.
  • Scan the passport main page of you and your fellow travelers and email us the scanned copies. We will then use the copies to apply for your Tibet Travel Permit and to get to the China Group Visa Invitation Letter from Tibet Tourism Bureau. This may take 7 to 10 working days. Please note, your tour itinerary cannot be modified after submitting your application.
  • After your invitation letter has been issued, we will send the copy to you or your entrusted travel agency in Nepal to apply for your China Group Visa.

Nota Bene: The processing of Tibet Travel Permit usually takes 7 working days. Hence, you should provide the necessary documents to your travel agency as early as possible.

2. China Group Visa

Another necessary document is China Group Visa. You need to apply for a China Group Visa in Kathmandu, Nepal at the People's Republic of China's Consulate.

How to Qualify a China Group Visa?

There are three requirements to qualify for a group visa.

First, you need an official China group visa invitation letter coming from the Tourism Bureau at the provincial level.

There should be a minimum of three persons in your group.

Your group should enter and leave Tibet at the same time through the same entry point and exit point.

China Group Visa

China Group Visa

Three Steps for Securing a Group Visa

You don't have to personally process this Chinese Group Visa. Your travel agency will be the one to process it for you once you arrive in Kathmandu. Upon arrival at Kathmandu, your travel agent will get your passport and apply for a group visa at the consulate of the People’s Republic of China.

The processing of this visa usually takes around 3 working days. Hence, you should leave at least 3 days in Kathmandu before your scheduled tour of Tibet. Here are the three steps for securing a Chinese Group Visa:

  • Prepare 2 passport-sized photos with a white background!
  • Prepare the visa cost. Please check the charge list for China Group Visa. If you ask your travel agency to help you get the visa, there's another USD20 as the service fee.
  • Our cooperator will meet you and assist you with filling in the application form and collecting your passports and photos. If you are going to the Chinese Embassy on your own, please take your passports, photos, and the visa fee.

Nota Bene: We suggest you leave 4 ~5 working days in Kathmandu as the Chinese Embassy only accepts visa application between 10 am to 12 pm on Mon/Wed/Fri. If you want to get your China Group Visa in 3 days, you need to submit it between 10 am and 12 pm in the morning of Monday or Wednesday, therefore you can get your China Group Visa at 5 pm on Wed/Fri. Please contact our travel consultants for professional advice.

B. How to Travel to Tibet from Nepal?

Nepal is adjacent to Tibet. Currently, you have two options to get to Tibet from Nepal. You can either board a flight to Lhasa, Tibet from Kathmandu, or take the overland route to Tibet.

1.The Most Recommended Route: Flight from Kathmandu to Lhasa

The fastest way to reach Lhasa, Tibet from Kathmandu, Nepal is by air. It will save you enough effort and time. Usually, there are two direct flights between Lhasa and Kathmandu, operated independently by Sichuan Airlines and Air China. Sichuan Airlines departs every other day. Please feel free to contact our experienced travel consultants for professional advice.

Equipped with your passport, Tibet Travel Permit, and China group visa, you can easily board a flight to Lhasa. Upon arrival at Lhasa, your Tibetan travel guide will meet you at the airport.

Travel Tips: The flight from Nepal to Tibet will bring you a stunning aerial view of the mountain tops - Mount Everest (8844.43 meters) and the incredible Himalayas. Since there will be a huge ascent from Kathmandu Valley (1,400 meters) to Lhasa (3,658 meters), it is best to take a good rest in the first few days in Lhasa to accommodate the altitude change.

>> See more about the flight schedules from Kathmandu to Lhasa.

fly from Kathmandu to Lhasa

See majestic Mt.Everest on the plane from Kathmandu to Lhasa

2.Overland Route

Traveling from Nepal to Tibet by car through the Sino-Nepal border is the easiest way for Nepali and other international tourists to reach Lhasa. Currently, the 1300-kilometer road trip from Kathmandu via the Sino-Nepal Highway (also known as the Friendship Highway) took approximately 3-5 days. This road trip is spectacular because there are many tourist attractions on the road that are worth visiting. Everest Base Camp is an essential place to visit. This route is not recommended for everyone because it is a long and circuitous journey that takes at least three days to complete.

The overland route: Kathmandu → Gyirong → Tingri → EBC → Shigatse → Lhasa

Overland route map from Kathmandu to Lhasa

Overland route map from Kathmandu to Lhasa.

3. Train from Nepal to Tibet

So far, there is no railway linking Lhasa and Kathmandu. But the railway between Lhasa and Kathmandu is being designed by the governments of China and Nepal. It is said that the famous Qinghai-Tibet Railway will extend from Lhasa to Kathmandu. The first extension project of the Qinghai-Tibet Railway from Lhasa to Shigatse is in operation now. In the near future, you can take the train from Kathmandu to Lhasa.

C. Nepal and Tibet Tour

Visiting Nepal and Tibet, you will have tours of sightseeing and culture. From Kathmandu to Lhasa, from Durbar Square to Potala Palace, you will see ancient scenic sites, jungles, snow-capped mountains, barren land, Lakes, grassland, Tibetan monasteries, etc. As a reputable local Tibet Travel Agency, from our decades of experience and communication with thousands of clients, we recommend the following Nepal Tibet Tour packages according to our previous travelers' comments and suggestions. If possible, we suggest our customers fly to Lhasa from Kathmandu for a safer and better experience.

>>7 Days Lhasa Mt. Everest Kathmandu Overland Group Tour

>>12 Days Lhasa Mt. Everest & Mt. Kailash Kathmandu Group Tour

>>13 Days Classic Tibet Nepal Bhutan Tour

>>7 Days Kathmandu Gyirong, Lhasa Overland Group Tour

Fascinating scenery on the friendship highway

Fascinating scenery on the friendship highway

D. Conclusion

Traveling to Tibet from Nepal will always be an exciting tour whether you travel by air or via the overland route. The Nepal-Tibet flight is the fastest and most convenient way to reach Tibet from another country. You will get a bird’s eye view of the Everest and the Himalayas during this flight. The overland route, on the other hand, between Nepal and Tibet is full of majestic sceneries and surprising sites along the way. Both options are great!

With the assistance of a reliable and professional travel agency like the Greattibettour, your travel will be made easy and hassle-free. With our help, you will get to experience the most memorable adventure of your lifetime in Nepal and Tibet.

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