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Old 12th May 2014, 12:22   #1
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Default Roadtrip from Delhi to Lhasa (Tibet)

Hi everyone.

Was browsing the web when I came across some website of tour operators who provide overland transit services from (Kathmandu) Nepal to Lhasa (Tibet). And most of them use Nepal registered Pretty REs. Pretty intriguing.


From what I've read on the websites the ride itself isn't very difficult; at least for those of us who've been to Leh and back. The worrisome part is crossing the bikes into China.

I'm really keen to do this, but not through a trip organizer. Am planning on April or May next year. And what better way to start planning than to tap into the wealth of experience and information available on this forum.

Would be great if I could get help with the following

1. I plan to hire a KTM from Delhi. Rode to Ladakh last year and the KTMs outshone the REs in every aspect except maybe in riding comfort and style quotient! Is it possible to cross over hired motorcycles into Nepal? All the India - Nepal travelogues on this forum only mention owned vehicles being crossed over.

2. The big one - How does one cross over a hired bike into China? Permits, etc. - from where and when? This is one place I'm stuck for lack of information. Would be grateful for any ideas, tips, pointers, experiences on this.

3. Am sure returning from China to Nepal will follow similar procedures and would be easier, but any ideas here would also be welcome.

4. Need company. Am alone as of now, but am sure there would be some equally crazy bike fanatics out here who would be keen.

5. What else to keep in mind?

I know this is a very ambitious plan, but then so was Leh till I actually did it! So while this may seem difficult, it's not impossible. And given that this one includes some incredible places like The Everest Base camp, Mount Kailash (maybe) and The forbidden land (Lhasa) itself, I'm sure it'll be well worth the effort.

Any help here would be welcome.
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Old 12th May 2014, 15:22   #2
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Default Re: Roadtrip from Delhi to Lhasa (Tibet)

Getting your own vehcile or an India-registered vehicle into China is a hereculean task which involves the following:

1. Months of preparation by engaging a travel agent to do the paperwork
2. Super-expensive, since you are not allowed to go on your own, only in the company of a guide who will travel with you
3. Uncertainty since the permits issued out of Beijing have to be ratified at Nylam, a check post inside China, and these can be refused
4. Carnets are not recognised by China, hence you have to pay extra money in lieu thereof
5. I know only 3 expeditions of Indian vehicles that did it so far - and the one which did it independently without any governmental support could not go too far
6. All the places you mention are very much part of the drive plan, but quite infeasible in view of what I said above.
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Old 12th May 2014, 15:25   #3
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Default Re: Roadtrip from Delhi to Lhasa (Tibet)

You cannot cross over to China from India
You have to do it through Nepal

Tibet is restricted area, so it has to be a group with a certain percentage of the vehicles being local Tibet.

Its quite a task getting this done financially. The budget is going to be in lakhs minimum. You can search for Sanjay Madan, who had done this as part of his "overland" tours setup.

Do not compare it to Leh. Leh is a very easy destination often romanticized into some kind of incredible tough journey. China is a different ball game. Terrain wise, its not too difficult,but when you talk about crossing over with vehicle, you run into the great wall of China literally!

Last edited by tsk1979 : 12th May 2014 at 15:26.
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Old 12th May 2014, 19:16   #4
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Default Re: Roadtrip from Delhi to Lhasa (Tibet)

As TSK mentioned, its way too difficult to get into China. Just see the amount of paper work which goes through for the Mansarovar yatra itself. And that is govt channel.
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