International Trains

China - Nepal Railway

Nepal and Tibet in China are neighbors bordering each other, both famous for the beautiful natural sceneries and profound Buddhism culture. However, blocked by the high Himalayas Mountains, the two can only "hear" from each other, rather than "paying" a visit frequently. Thus, China - Nepal Railway Line emerges as the time requires. It will make the trip from Nepal to China by train and vice versa possible for both Buddhists and tourists.

It will start from Shigatse Railway Station in Shigatse of Tibet to Katmandu, Nepal's capital city. The designed top speed will only be 75mi/h (120km/h) at most, because of the remarkable elevation changes and challenging Himalayan terrain. Going through Tibetan Plateau, it will be the world's highest rail road, another miracle after Tibet railway which is the first railroad built on that plateau.  
China-Nepal Railway Map
China-Nepal Railway Map

China - Nepal Train Running Route

Nepal - China Railway Project will go via Gyirong Pass, rather than the rumored Zhangmu Pass to avoid the Mount Everest. It is planned to be built in two phases.

 Shigatse-Gyirong Railway: It is an extension of Lhasa-Shigatse Railway, measuring about 336 miles (540 km). It has been put into construction, and is expected to be completed by 2020.

 Gyirong - Katmandu Railway: Because this rail line will be more likely to go through Himalayas, a long tunnel needs to be dug. This will be an arduous work and many difficulties remain to be overcome. The construction is scheduled to begin in 2020 and is expected to be done by 2022.

What Benefits China - Nepal Rail Link Will Bring

Firstly, it will contribute a lot to the tourism industry of both countries, especially Nepal. China is the second largest group of inbound tourists to Nepal. However, the expensive flight tickets and time-consuming and dangerous international coaches stop the feet of many travelers. Once the railroad is put into operation, a quick transfer by Tibet to Katmandu train will be possible and it will be much safer and cheaper. This will also greatly promote the Buddhism exchanges between the two countries.

Also, there is no doubt that the international trade between the two countries will be greatly increased. Currently, only two roads and a few flight are connecting the two countries, which cannot meet the transportation demands at all.

Lastly, except the Indian transportation line, Nepal will have another line to get what they need such as oil from China through Lhasa - Katmandu Railway.

How to travel between the two countries currently

 Traveling by flight:
Now, you can make a quick transfer between the two countries by flight. Direct flights are catchable between Katmandu and Lhasa and Chengdu; the duration is 1.5 and 3 hours respectively and ticket fare for economy class is about CNY 2,300 and CNY 2,200 respectively.

 Traveling by coach:
The coaches are running between Lhasa and Katmandu via Gyirong Pass. Previously, tourists can also go via Zhangmu Pass, but it has been closed since April 25th, 2015 for safety reasons after the Nepal earthquake.

All international travelers who visit Tibet are required to apply for a Tibet Travel Permit ahead of the trip, and usually they can only obtain the permit through a travel agency. In this case, you can only go from Lhasa to Katmandu with the assistance of a travel agency.

Other International Trains between China and nearby Countries

Beijing - Ulaanbaatar

Beijing - Pyongyang

Nanning - Hanoi

Hohhot - Ulaanbaatar

Beijing - Hanoi

Harbin - Vladivostok

K9795/K9796: Urumqi - Almaty
K9797/K9798: Urumqi - Astana

Beijing - Manzhouli - Moscow

Beijing - Ulaanbaatar - Moscow

Erlian - Ulaanbaatar D887/D888:
Kunming - Vientiane

 International railways under construction/planning from China to:
- Last updated on Apr. 13, 2023 by Brenda Lian -
Questions & Answers on China - Nepal Railway
Asked by Bhairab Dahal from USA | Jul. 23, 2020 10:51Reply
Is the Shigatse -Gyirong railway project has completed and has started service ?
Answers (2)
Answered by ZUPAN | Jul. 30, 2020 10:07

Actually, not. It is expected that this portion of China-Nepal railway will be completed by 2022. In my opinion and having in mind actual situation with pandemic and the fact that this railway does not represent such an important piece of railway network, I would bet that 2023 is more realistic deadline.
Answered by Bhairab Dahal from USA | Jul. 31, 2020 11:02

Thank you very much for your reply. I do really appreciate.
I wish you good luck for Business.

Bhairab Dahal
Asked by Jarek from POLAND | Oct. 24, 2017 02:30Reply
Shigatse coach to KTM
How to find or buy coach tickets from Shigatse to KTM ? is it possible to avoid tourist office or not ?
Answers (1)
Answered by Kaloosh from USA | Oct. 24, 2017 04:56

You may need to go to Zhangmu Port first and then from there to reach Nepal. You can buy the ticket to Zhangmu at Shigatse directly. Then you may need a mini van etc to continue the trip.
Ask a Question
Question Summary (100 characters)
Details (optional) (2,000 characters)