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Which is the Better Way to Travel: Mainland China-Tibet-Nepal or to go Nepal-Tibet-Mainland China?

We get this question very often.It is better to go from Mainland China to Tibet and then to Nepal and here is why.....When entering Tibet from Nepal, you have to have a Group Chinese visa. This visa is very limiting because it is normally only good for 21 to 28 days and cannot be extended like a normal Chinese Tourist visa. The only way to extend your time in China is to leave, usually to Hong Kong, and apply for a new Chinese Tourist visa. After your tour in Tibet is completed, you usually do not have much time remaining to explore the rest of China because of the limited amount of time remaining on your visa. Also, if you join a group to travel with in order to reduce the cost of travel per person, all of you on the Group Chinese visa must enter and exit China together, at the same place at the same time. In the past (prior to 2008) you used to be able to "split" the Group Visa, but this is not possible any longer.

The Group Chinese visa is not in your passport. It is a single piece of paper that has all of the names, nationalities, passport numbers and ages of everyone in your group. Since it is just one piece of paper, you all have to travel to the exact same places together. It should be possible for some agencies in Kathmandu to issue the Group Chinese visa with just one person's name on it, however the travel regulations when entering Tibet from Nepal can frequently change without any notice.

If you enter Tibet from Mainland China, you avoid all of the strict regulations regarding the Chinese Group visa as you can enter with just a normal Chinese Tourist visa that can be renewed at least once for 30 days (and usually twice). 

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