Overland from Lhasa to Kathmandu or Kathmandu to Lhasa?

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Everyday, we get high amount of emails across the globe from people who are planning their overland trips between Lhasa and Kathmandu and they want to know which is the better way to enjoy the Friendship Highway. Here on this page, we will present the main two issues – altitude sickness, visa and permits when considering an overland along the Sino-Nepal Hwy.

Overland along the Friendship Highway

Overland along the Friendship Highway

1.) Altitude Sickness Issue

From an acclimatisation point of view, overland from Lhasa to Kathmandu allows you to acclimatize in Lhasa and to ascend in elevation at a relatively safe pace, while the ascent is very fast vice versa. It is about 1400m in Kathmandu and physiological changes do not start until 2500m+ and you would need to acclimatise to well above this for a fast ascent. On the very second day, you will pass 5000 meters passes and the 2nd night you will spend on 4000+.

Your trip would be more amazing without any health issues. If you have to overland from Kathmandu to Lhasa, we suggest you do some trekking in Nepal in the high altitudes and have at least an acclimatization day for a good rest and also drink lots of water during the trip. Be prepared with the diamox which may help remove the symptoms and aid acclimatisation. Once you are in Tibet, avoid alcohol and caffeine.

The high altitude along the way – Lhasa: 3660m, Shigatse: 3850m, Gyantse: 3950m, Rongbuk: 5150m, Everest Base Camp: 5200m, Sakya: 4300m, Zhangmu(Nepalese border): 2300m, Kathmandu: 1400m.

2.) Visa and Permits

Access to Tibet from Kathmandu, you must firstly obtain the Tibet entry permit and visa invitation letter from Tibet Tourism Bureau, then to hand in the documents to the Chinese Embassy in Kathmandu for group tourist visa, tourist visa is valid up to 30 days. This can take anywhere from a day to three days and is considerably more expensive, and the normal one will cost $140 for Americans and $50 for the ones from other countries. While if you overland from Lhasa to Kathmandu, you can obtain you visa before you arrive, and the permit usually only costs 50-100 yuan.

With decades of working experiences and dealing with thousands of customers, we are very confident that you will find the best of your overland tour either Lhasa from Kathmandu or Kathmandu to Lhasa. For further information, please feel free contact us.