Nepal-Tibet border reopens to tourists after 2015 shake

The famous Himalayan road from Lhasa to Kathmandu, partly destroyed by the earthquake, is back on the travel costs wishlist as the Kerung-Rasuwa border crossing reopens to international visitors

The overland journey from Tibet to Nepal, on winding streets and amid towering Himalayan meridians, must be one of the world’s most breathtaking.

Now, two years after the April 2015 shake that ravaged Nepal, killing close to 9,000 beings and leaving countless homeless, foreign visitors will once again be able to cross the border by region, as superhighway fixings continue.

In August, Chinese permissions announced that the border at Kerung-Rasuwa had opened for international tourists, making the classic roadway from Lhasa, Tibet, to Kathmandu, Nepal, is possible is again. The border had been open as a trade route for Chinese and Nepalis but not to sightseers; the intersecting previously used by guests, at Kodari, on the route of the Friendship Highway, remains too badly detriment to use.

With the ground margin closed, travellers hoping to move between Lhasa and Kathmandu had no choice but to operate on one of the Chinese airlines operating the approximately 90 -minute route. Round trips could cost anywhere between PS300 and PS700.

Nepal’s
Nepal’s Langtang valley, near the Tibetan border. Picture: Alamy

For those operating tours in countries of the region, the opening of the border bridging is a “huge step” for tourism.

” Nepal has always been a gateway to Tibet for travellers ,” says Shiva Dhakal, managing director of Kathmandu-based tour hustler Royal Mountain Travel.” Most travellers dream of going to Tibet overland but, with no border open, the escapade was missing while passing there .”

Dhakal says the infrastructure on the Nepal side remains poor and Royal Mountain’s upcoming journeys are still pilot in/ tent-fly out, but he hopes to relaunch overland trip-ups from April 2018.

” The road is there but it’s one-lane only ,” he says.” So if there’s a truck on it there’s no way to get round it. There’s a lot of structure, which is difficult to pass on the Nepal side, and it is still the monsoon season. In November, we will go to Kerung and construct our own evaluation on whether it’s OK for tourists .”

The
The 2015 earthquake detriment mountain streets both sides of their own borders. Image: Alamy

For climbing and outdoors writer Ed Douglas, who has roamed extensively in the Himalayas, poorly built roads and the risk of avalanches entail boundaries between Tibet and Nepal will always remain fragile. In the past it has also often closed to natives at short notice.” The Chinese want to be able to say Tibet is open while maintaining strict restrict over it ,” he says, adding that identified priority is the millions of Chinese sightseers in the region, rather than the small number of westerners.” If you keep the border is accessible to sightseers you can say it’s open and if you keep the numbers down, you eschew questions ,” he says.

However, the suck of the expedition remains unchanged.” In the seat of a few miles, you’re going from around 1,000 metres up to the Tibetan Plateau, which averages around 4,200 metres, sweeping one pass at 5,000 metres ,” says Douglas.” It’s an stupefying tour, going from a lush light-green landscape to an arid plateau. It is one blaze of its own experience .”

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