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Chinese tourists, not oil via Rasuwa

Monday, December 7th, 2015
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After the April earthquake damaged the Arniko Highway to China and the Indian blockade stopped petroleum supplies, the Nepal government promoted the Rasuwa border point as an alternative fuel lifeline for the country. The first 1,000 tons of petroleum gifted by China arrived at Rasuwa amidst much fanfare last month.

However, the narrow and treacherous mountain road is not suitable for heavy tankers, and since then the only traffic through Rasuwa are cargo trucks, traders and mainly Chinese tourists.

Yang Huibang's family on their journey from Wuhan to Kathmandu through Rasuwa border.

Yang Huibang’s family on their journey from Wuhan to Kathmandu through Rasuwa border.

Yang Huibang from Wuhan in Central China is one of them. The businessman and tourist took the arduous journey across the Tibetan plateau to Rasuwa with his wife and four-year-old daughter. He said his family couldn’t afford the expensive air ticket from Wuhan to Kathmandu, and saved Rs 100,000 by taking the trans-Himalayan road route to Nepal. The total cost of journey including train was only Rs 25,000 for each adult.

The highway on the Chinese side is better, but the family found they had underestimated how dangerous the road on the Nepal side was until they saw jeeps trying to pass cargo trucks on the narrow road.

“The wheels were sometimes just one centimeter away from the edge of the cliff,” said Yang’s wife, Fu. “And it was a long way down.”

It took the family more than 41 hours from Wuhan to Lhasa first on the high-speed train. After they got their visa from the Nepal Consulate in Lhasa, they were approached by a pickup driver who offered to take them to Gyirong County on China-Nepal border. Called Kerung in Nepali, the historic trading town is across from Rasuwa.

A house besides the road was damaged by the April earthquake from Shigatse to Kerung. All photos:

A house besides the road was damaged by the April earthquake from Shigatse to Kerung. All photos: Yang Huibang

In Kerung, a young Tibetan offered the family a ride on a tractor to the border. After crossing, they shifted to a six-passenger jeep which finally took them to Kathmandu along the bumpy and risky Rasuwa-Trisuli-Kathmandu road.

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As heading to the south, Yang could see Nepali mountains and a landslide debris clearly from Kerung side.

“The other  problem were the checkpoints,” Yang told us, “we were checked 16 times between Lhasa and the border and eight times from the border to Kathmandu. The Nepal Police checks were stricter and they were asking for bribes.”

Despite the dangers and the hassles Yang says his family is going back the same way. Other Chinese tourists entering Nepal via Rasuwa said they were doing it for adventure and the scenery along the way, and in Nepal.

Yang shows photos he took with his phone on the journey of the deep blue sky and majestic snow mountains: “Once you saw the impressive landscape, the whole tough trip was worth it.”

Xiaotong Xu and Siran Liang

Read Also:

Over the hump, Dambar K Shrestha

The Chinese are coming, Claire Li Yingxue

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2 Responses to “Chinese tourists, not oil via Rasuwa”

  1. Joe Niemczura on Says:

    Dear Mr. Dixit-

    I enjoy your writing. you are a treasure!

    It is worthwhile to learn the actual facts of the Rasuwa entry point.

    click here: https://sacramentofthegoddess.wordpress.com/2015/10/23/what-every-nepali-needs-to-know-about-getting-petrol-or-lp-gas-from-china-during-the-petrol-crisis/

  2. Shameless on Says:

    Nepal police is shameless. Even while frisking at the airport they beg for money saying “chai Paani”. No respect for country. That’s why Nepal is seen as 3rd rate country where you can get away with anything if you give money to bribe your way out off.

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