Nepal Border Crossing from Tibet

We woke up early that morning to head to the Nepal border crossing from Tibet. As we continued along these Himalayan roads, the switchbacks were getting more intense. By the time we were within a few miles of the border, I was about ready to be done being a bus passenger.

Nepal Border Crossing from Tibet

Sunrise over the Himalayas that morning and the last one we’d see in Tibet

Nepal Border Crossing from Tibet

Starting our descent towards Nepal with the road cut into the mountainside

As we continued getting closer to the Nepal border crossing, the traffic was getting more hectic. And whatever type of traffic you’re accustomed to back home, it’s a different world over here. I can’t even count the amount of times we came head on with other vehicles trying to pass us on this two lane road as we rounded these mountain turns. With only one two lane road going to the border there were hundreds of trucks carrying their cargo that were running up and down the road in both directions as well as being conveniently parked and waiting to cross the border right in the lane we were driving on.

Nepal Border Crossing from Tibet

Later that morning with the sun creeping over the mountains into the valleys as we drove further towards the border

Nepal Border Crossing from Tibet

We were leaving the snow capped Himalayas off to the left as we continued to descend in elevation

And of course our driver was determined to get us over the border in record time, passing any vehicle that was in front of us. Apparently blaring your horn as you drive head on into another car makes it OK right before you swerve to miss the opposing car just feet before impact.

Nepal Border Crossing from Tibet

Yep, they’re definitely smoking!

As we were coming back down the mountain our brakes eventually started smoking and we pulled over next to a mountain stream so he could throw buckets of water on them to cool them down. Ironically, the spot he chose to stop and do this just happened to have a truck that had lost control, crashed through the guard rail and shot over the cliff. In most sections along this road, the cliff drop off was in the hundreds of feet but luckily for this truck, which was still sitting on the side of the mountain, it had only dropped about 75 feet. However, from the looks of it, it was doubtful the driver would have survived based on the impact the crash had inside the cabin.

Nepal Border Crossing from Tibet

Why was I not surprised to see one of these trucks taking a dive over the cliff?

Nepal Border Crossing from Tibet

There were a lot of sections of the road that didn’t even have a gaurdrail and where there was one, it was poorly anchored into the road. Was it just the construction guy in me that was noticing this? I doubt anyone else cared to notice….

We eventually reached the border but the fun didn’t stop there. It took another couple of hours to get through the Chinese border patrol. And leaving from Tibet is even more of an issue at the border because of the political situation that still exists there.

Nepal Border Crossing from Tibet

Passing through the small Nepali villages

Nepal Border Crossing from Tibet

You can imagine how narrow these roads were and these trucks were not parked. They were passing each other and we were too, passing them both on the far left. I could have grabbed another photo but my arm probably would have gotten taken off…

My friend who was standing in front of me had tried to hide his Lonely Planet ‘Tibet’ guide book within his bag but was found and confiscated by the Chinese authorities. Why it would matter to keep a guide book only after leaving the area is beyond me. They would have done better to have taken this upon entry.

Mountain landscape in Nepal

A drastic change of mountain landscapes from what we were accustomed to in Tibet

After getting through the border and then securing our proper Nepal Visas, we then were on lookout to find a ride to Kathmandu. The drive took about 3 hours but it took less than a few minutes once we crossed the border to realize we were no longer in China.

Nepal Border Crossing from Tibet

Just over the border crossing

Things were so different. Nepalese locals The people it seemed so far were still as friendly as the Tibetans but their way of life was much different. And there was no shortage of random livestock running around in the streets. Just in the first hour of driving on our way to Kathmandu, we had passed chickens, pigs, cattle, water buffalo, mountain goats, sheep, horses, monkeys, cats and of course stray dogs…. all running around in the middle of street.


Cargo trucks for customs

There were hundreds of these cargo trucks lining the streets along the border, just waiting to get through customs.

The road to Kathmandu

The road to Kathmandu…

And the roads themselves were far from maintained. Often no more than dirt or gravel roads, many of the sections we drove over on the way to Nepal were washed out. And it seemed the driving habits of the Nepalese were even a bit crazier than what I’d become accustomed to in China. However, we did finally make it into Kathmandu and I was planning on staying here for at least a week or two…


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  • Rosanne Losee January 9, 2012, 4:05 am

    omg. Those trucks and those narrow passages, and that awful truck dive over the cliff! That must have scared all of you, no question. The mountain scenery though is fantastic, Rory… What an experience you are having!

  • krissie January 10, 2012, 1:57 am

    Glad to see you made the drive w/o going over a cliff. Have fun for the next couple of weeks in Kathmandu and be careful. What a great experience for you. I don’t think I would have the guts to do it. Especially since flying makes my heart hurt and race extremely fast. Never bothered me before. Guess I have more to lose now. Kindergartners are still wild as ever. Hard to believe abby will be there with me next year. That is so scary. Have a great time and be careful.

    • Rory January 10, 2012, 12:07 pm

      Hey, great to hear the updates… that is quite scary… just maybe not enough as flying is for you! Hard to believe she is getting that old that quick!