The beautiful Zhangmu Port, also known as Kasa, is Tibetan border town about 10 km (6 miles) inland from the Bhotekoshi or "Sun River". Located on a mountainside with subtropical climate, Zhangmu Port is surrounded by lush greenery and damp fresh air. The town stretches for miles down a winding road, lined with quaint private residences, shops and restaurants, which serve traditional Nepalese food and beer.
Why is Zhangmu important?
Zhangmu Port is one of the wealthier towns in Tibet. It acts as a major trading post between Tibet and Nepal. Zhangmu is located on one side of the river and Nepal is on the other. The famous "Friendship Bridge" spans the river, making travel from one country to the next simple and prevalent.
If you cross the border into Nepal, Kathmandu is a mere 120 km (75 miles) away. Many merchant traders, tourists and the like cross the border by land at Zhangmu Port. The free trade market developed in the areas surrounding Friendship Bridge over 8 years ago and continues to grow.
What do they trade?
As Zhangmu Port is conveniently located between Tibet and Nepal, trade has developed between inland Chinese, Tibetan and Nepalese merchants. China traditionally trades wool, tea and salt. Nepal is known for its rice, flour, pepper, vegetables and perfumes; and Tibet for its medicines.
As Zhangmu is an important part of this market, its people have profited highly from its existence. The Sherpas, too, have found a way to share in the profits of the trade industry; they lease out their homes to merchants traveling between the two countries.
Is it easy to travel from Tibet to Nepal?
A government agreement allows Chinese, Tibetan and Nepalese, who live within 30 km (18 miles) of the border, to cross freely. Hundreds do business daily as a result of the agreement.
For tourists, however, a Nepal visa is required to enter the country. It must be applied for upon arrival at the border with 2 passport photos and the fee for the visa, which is dependent upon your nationality and type of visa being applied for. The fee is expected to be paid in cash and can range anywhere from $30-$100. We at China Highlights will help in processing the application for all who book a Nepal tour with us.
Helpful Hints about Traveling from Zhangmu to Nepal
Remember that it is easiest to travel with a tour group to and from areas of Tibet, as there is no regular bus system for public transport. Private cars are available, but can be costly. It is also a good idea to change your money into Nepalese rupees at the border so that you are prepared for any purchases you may need on your journey.
Do not miss the beautiful scenery of mountains and the river. See how trade and culture are still being conducted between these ancient cultures. Experience what most in the world haver never experienced. Zhangmu Port is a special place that you should not miss!
I updated this article on February 10, 2014
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