Ever since the Nepal earthquake in 2015, the Zhangmu border port had been closed between Nepal and Tibet, and remains so until this day. The overland option to travel between Nepal and Tibet had thus ceased for over 2 years for foreign travelers. At long last, on 30 Aug 2017, a border port called Gyirong has opened in its place to foreign travelers. For many, Gyirong Port is a place you’ve never heard of before you start to plan you Nepal-Tibet tour, so how to travel from Nepal to Tibet via Gyirong Port? Here Tibet Travel Expert provides you with a detailed rundown about everything you needed to know of Nepal Tibet overland tour via Gyirong Port.
Gyirong Port, also spelled as Kyirong or Keyrung, is located at Resuo Village, Gyirong Town, Gyirong County of Shigatse Prefecture. Gyirong Port, lying on the Tibetan side of the Resuo Bridge, is the Chinese Immigration checkpoint. In correspondence with Gyirong Port, there is Rasuwagadhi Fort, lying on the Nepali side of the Resuo Bridge, is the Nepali Immigration checkpoint.
How to travel from Nepal to Tibet via Gyirong Port
To travel overland from Nepal to Tibet via Gyirong Port, you need two documents: Chinese Group Visa & Tibet Permit. Chinese Group Visa, isn’t the usual Chinese visa of a page in your passport, but a separate sheet of paper document, used especially for travelling from Nepal to Tibet. It can only be done after your arrival in Kathmandu with your original passport, and it takes about 3 working days. Chinese embassy in Kathmandu works from Monday to Friday only, and is off on weekends and all the holidays of Nepal and China. You can travel overland from Kathmandu to Gyirong with Chinese Group Visa alone, but your Tibetan guide needs to bring Tibet Permit to Gyirong Port for the rest of your journey in Tibet.
From Kathmandu to Gyirong Port is about 175km only in book, but the road condition is rather bad and needs about 9 hours of driving. We usually start from Kathmandu at 5 or 6 am. And Rasuwagadhi/Gyirong Port runs as a common government office which have daily working hours till about 05:30pm. Due to the concern of making it on time to Gyirong Port before the port is closed for the day, we suggest you to use our Nepali drivers, who are familiar with this route.
Of the ride form Kathmandu to Gyirong Port, about half of it, is one-lane road, narrow and not well-paved and winds up and down in the mountains. Although it will be a tiring ride of long hours, the Nepal countryside view along the way do make it up. Starting from Kathmandu we head first northward to Bidur, the largest town in this ride. From Bidur, we head northward, skirting the edges of the famous Langtang National Park and through it for no other road here is available here (its entrance fee will be included in our total price). As we drive further along the mountains, the road will be very narrow at some places which allows only one vehicle to pass, and more than often easily to cause traffic jam when meet vehicles coming from the opposite directions. Next, we will drive along the Trishuli River that flows down from the mountains at the border before reach Rasuwagadhi Fort at the Trishuli River Gorge crossing. Walk over the Resuo Bridge, you will arrive at the immigration office at Gyirong Port, where your China Group Visa will be checked. Our guide and driver will be waiting for you at the building exit to transfer you to Gyirong town for the night.
Gyirong to Mt Kailash: Gyirong Port 1850m → Gyirong Town 2700m → Saga 4640m → Lake Manasarovar 4560m → Darchen 4670m→ Mt Kailash 6721m
Gyirong to Mt Everest: Gyirong Port 1850m → Gyirong Town 2700m → Gangga (Old Tingri) 4300m → Rongbuk 5150m m → EBC 5200m
Gyirong to Lhasa: Gyirong Port 1850m → Gyirong Town 2700m → Tingri (New Tingri) 4300m → Shigatse 3850m → Gyantse 4040m → Lhasa 3650m
To travel overland from Nepal to Tibet via Gyirong Port, while it is an exciting journey of good value, it does have its flaws. To travel in this direction, the altitude gain is huge and rapid within the following days, not matter where are you heading to. Right after your arrival at Gyirong Port (1850m), you will be transferred to Gyirong Town (2700m) which is about 25km away, the nearest town where accommodations are available. Afterwards no matter you will to visit Mt Kailash, or Mt Everest, or the relatively better option to go straight to Lhasa, the altitude gains can’t be avoid. The solution is to have an extra rest day in Gyirong Town to give your body time to acclimatize with the higher altitude in Tibet.
How to travel from Tibet to Nepal via Gyirong Port
To travel overland from Tibet to Nepal via Gyirong Port, you will need two documents as well: Chinese Visa (of Chinese Group Visa if you fly to Lhasa from Kathmandu earlier) & Tibet Permit for your Tibet journey to Gyirong Port. After cross the Resuo Bridge, you will arrive at Rasuwagadhi Fort, Nepal side of the border. Here, you can have Nepal visa-on-arrival for about USD 25. At Rasuwagadhi Fort, there are buses, taxis, and jeeps for hiring to take you to Kathmandu. Unlike the other way around, when one want to make it on time before the immigration offices closed at Rasuwagadhi/Gyirong, the ride from border to Kathmandu is much more relaxing.
Accommodation at Gyirong
There is no accommodation at Gyirong Port itself, the nearest accommodation available is at Gyirong Town, which is about 25 kilometers north of Gyirong Port, where humble guesthouses are available. Gyirong Town is a small one, newly built with clean streets. Tibetan and Nepali food are most commonly found here. Gyirong is a remote border town which are not as excited as major cities, but for travelers it is an excellent place for stopover where a night’s good rest is assured.