Overland from Lhasa to Kathmandu or Kathmandu to Lhasa?

With the new opening of Kerung-Rasuwagadi border (aka. Gyirong, Kyirong) on 29 Aug 2017, many agencies here in Tibet have launched group tour from Lhasa to Kerung Border via Mt Everest right away. A few have also launched group tour from Kerung to Lhasa but without Mt Everest. Which is the better overland route, from Lhasa to Kathmandu or Kathmandu to Lhasa? Here Tibet4Fun give you a thorough rundown of both options.


Route A: Lhasa (3600m) → Shigatse (3900m) → Mt Everest (5200m) → Kerung (2600m) → Kathmandu (1370m)

Travelling overland from Lhasa to Kathmandu via Zhangmu Port was once a most popular route, and we believe Kerung Port will soon be too. It is an ideal route with gradually altitude gain touring along Sino-Tibet Friendship Highway with most of Tibet’s main sights included, offers superb scenery and features a spectacular rollercoaster ride down from the heights of the La lung-la into Kathmandu Valley. This overland trip from Lhasa to Kathmandu takes a minimum of 7 days, including stopovers at Gyantse, Shigatse, Mt Everest — first, stay 3 nights in Lhasa (3600m) for acclimatization allowing your body to get used to Tibetan plateau environment, next going the higher Shigatse (3900m) for one night, then head Mt Everest (5200m), after that to Kerung Port (2600m) for one night, at the last day cross Kerung-Rasuwagadi border and reach Kathmandu (1370m) in late afternoon.

Route B: Kathmandu (1370m) → Kerung (2600m) → Mt Everest (5200m) → Shigatse (3900m) → Lhasa (3600m)

Of the reversed overland route from Kathmandu to Lhasa, technically, you can travel from Kathmandu to Kerung on first day, and travel from Kerung (2600m) to Mt Everest (5200m) on the second day, but here is where the problem arise. The altitude gain is simply too sudden and rapid, and your body doesn’t have enough time to acclimatize before reaching an elevation of 5300m at Mt Everest. To make things worse, there is no nearby medical facility at Mt Everest but hours of drive from it. This can be really dangerous when altitude sickness attacks.

To avoid this potential danger and be safe & responsible, most travel agencies here in Tibet have launch overland group tour from Kathmandu to Lhasa WITHOUT MT EVEREST. If you are travelling as tailor-made Private Tour, travel agencies would advise you to stay an extra day or two in Kerung before head to Mt Everest, but around Kerung there isn’t much for sightseeing to help pass these few days of waiting.

To sum up, we definitely suggest you overland route Lhasa to Kathmandu over Kathmandu to Lhasa especially if Mt Everest is a must-see for you. Hope this helps with your Tibet tour plan. Feel free to get in touch with us for free tour advice for your Tibet trip.