Kodari - Zhangmu border crossing.

When I crossed this border in 1997 i from Nepal to China, I didn't have much hassles. I was told by everyone in Katmandu it was impossible, but reality was very different - some minor arguements and white lies, easily brought us into China.

I have recommended people to give it a try since then and, as far as I remember, a total of 9 cyclists have managed to get over the border. Now the situation is different.

Quite a few cyclists have asked me about this border this spring and I have as usual told them how I did it and recommended to do the same. Unfortunately that didn't work out at all and the ones who tried was stopped and sent back at the Kodari/Friendship Bridge.

Here are the mails.


Hi Janne I am back in Kathmandu. We tried to cross the boarder to China but they didn't let us in. Two hole days we tried but no sucess. Bad luck. Now we are back in Kathmandu and here I met some other cyclist because you send me their emailadress - thanks a lot. So we organized a spezial tour. We have 20 days time to reach lhasa. We pay 260 USD each (a lot but otherwise I would also have to book a tour to cross the boarder). We will get a truck and guide how is following us. In Lhasa we are free and I will go on again allone to Kunming or Chengdo. Have a nice time Urs


hi, i am now since 2 weeks in kathmandu, got after the chinese "international labour day" holiday without any problem a 3 month visa. but on the same day urs guggisberg and 2 other cyclist came back from the border, they even could not pass the soldiers on the bridge. as we are 9 cyclists here, at the moment, we tried to organise a tour and it seems we suceeded today. we got a 20 days tour with jeep accompany & guide for finally 7 persons for 260 us$ / person. it is quite anoying to sponsor the chinese, at least it seems to be a possibility to keep on cycling. here is also a german couple, who got a 6 month china visa in bonn, cheap & fast, don't no if they give it also to foreigners, you may know or check it. ciao, joachim



Itīs amazing, but itīs nearly a year since I started planning my trip. Iīm back now, and here is how it worked out:

Contrary to rumours the Maoists werenīt a problem at all. They keep blowing up their country men, though, and they got pretty close to me in Dhulikel when they killed 3 children in Banepa, the next town over. Rumours were right with regards to the border crossing: As an individual traveller on a bike it was virtually impossible to cross the border from Kodari into Zhangmu. I rode my bike to Kodari, got up at 3 in the morning, started cycling at 4 (in the rain!), made it past the Nepali guards and across the bridge, rode up to Zhangmu and was stopped there. There are huge steel gates which they probably lock at night. My attempts at bribing the Chinese were futile. They themselves donīt understand the rule, but they still enforce it: No cycling from Kathmandu to Lhasa! Another German cyclist made it across the border in that direction, though: He booked a tour, boarded the Landcruiser in Kodari, and the vehicle then broke down in Nyalam, where he resumed cycling.

So, I returned from Kodari to Kathmandu, took a plane to Kathmandu, hiked from Ganden to Samye and then got on my bike. It was pretty late in the season, but I managed to team up with a Canadian couple and an Israeli. Unfortunately, our team only lasted for about 4 hours. We lost the Israeli, who had bought a Chinese bike in Kathmandu, early on, and I left the Canadians at the bottom of the first pass: I wanted to climb it bit and camp out so that I wouldnīt have to ride all of it on the next day, the Canadians were content to stay in the last village. The Israeli rejoined me a few days later, having hitched a ride with a Landruiser. We stayed together for a couple of days, until I hung a left to ride to Everest b.c.. It was really cold up there. Something between -15 and -20 Celsius, is my guess. Anyway, I was all by myself up there and didnīt hike up the glacier, as I had planned originally. I took the road to Tingri: quite rocky, but used by Landcruisers on a daily basis by now. From Tingri on to Kathmandu without problems.

Permits are still necessary theoretically, but nobody checks for them on the road. The Israeli and I didnīt have any. We went past the first checkpoint at 6 oīclock a.m., but it was so freezing cold that we didnīt bother at the next one. We only had to show our passports. Same at the border.

It was a great trip. Thanks for your information, which was really helpful.

Happy trails, Xaver