is it possible to enter Tibet from Nepal in March? We are two docotrs hoping to visit the hospitals in Lhasa.
Travel to Tibet requires a Chinese visa and a permit for travel within Tibet, but I have known people to travel with a Chinese visa only.
Unfortunately the border between Nepal and Tibet is often closed to individual travellers. If you do to enter Tibet from Nepal then the authorities could well cancel your Chinese visa or return you to KTM with the argument that only group travel is allowed. Nevertheless, at least half of the time it is possible to cross the border, as I did myself in May '97. After that, through the Hong Kong takeover the border was closed and only opened sporadically in '98. Some people got through, others got returned. I didn't try myself in '98, but from what I have heard mostly people could go in. So if you like the thrill and have enough time then try this way. If it doesn't work out, just get the required travel permit in KTM.
In '99, many people tried at the beginning of the season but everyone got returned and had to buy a travel permit in KTM.
Towards the end of the season some larger groups managed to get direct entry but they sometimes paid even more than they would have in KTM. I know of only about 10 people who actually saved some money through travelling this route. They saved about 30$ compared to the price in KTM but they did not have the comfort of a tourist bus and they lost up to a day through trouble at the border. To me it looks as though entry into Tibet as an individual traveller is getting more and more difficult!
To enter Tibet from KTM one travels as follows: early in the morning (between 5 - 7 a.m.) there are buses leaving for Kodari (the Nepal - Tibet crossing point) from the old bus station near Ratna Park in KTM. The fare costs around NR65 The bus ride takes about 6 to 8 hours and it is usually very crowded. about 9 years ago
To get from Kodari over the Friendship Bridge to Zhangmu, the first village acrosss the border in Tibet, you can either walk (8 kms, 2 ½ hours) or take a truck ( ½ hour/ NR 300).
Be aware that there is a time change of 2 ¼ hours (Tibet is on Beijing time). After crossing the border you have to get a travel permit through the CITS office. You will find this office situated 500 meters on the right after the Friendship Bridge (question: after the Friendship Bridge?) next to the PSB (question: what is that). The office is usually closed and you can try to find the guy in charge through the PSB.
However, normally they will tell you to come the following morning to apply for a travel permit. For the permit you pay approx. 1200Yuan ('97/'98 rate). This includes a drive straight to Shigatse (1 ½ days) or Lhasa (2 ½ days) if they have a car the same day. Otherwise you will leave as soon as they have a car.
An alternative way to travel is with a permit obtained in KTM. If you don't like the thrill of uncertainty and have limited time only, then you can take transport from KTM to Lhasa for 250$. This trip includes a 4 hour transfer by tourist bus to Kodari, and then a drive to Nyalam (day 1); to Lhatse (day 2); to Shigatse (day 3); to Lhasa (day 4). There are only very few agencies in KTM which offer this kind of cheap trip. You can also do this trip without a Chinese visa, travelling on a group visa of 5 pax minimum. The only difference is that you have to enter and leave the country the same time and of course pay a visa fee. The cost has just increased and is generally around 35$ for all nationalities. about 9 years ago
It is possible to enter Tibet from Nepal, but March is a problem, Tibet is usually closed during March since 2008 when an unrest happened.
Tibet is usually closed from early March to around the first week of April, it's slightly different every year, so you should contact your tour agency and ask them to keep you update.
Tour agencies are usually informed of the reopening of Tibet a few days earlier than the actual reopening, info is not very transparent here. over 8 years ago