The China-Nepal Highway (also known as the Friendship Highway) is a scenic route on the Tibetan Plateau with a length of 1.000km. This gravel road includes seven 3,500 meters passes, with one pass as high as 5,000 meters.
Most of the road is unpaved, pretty manageable driving, although is has some rather fascinating parts. This infamous road is tightly hairpinned and bumped, an exquisite winding mountain drive with sharp and blind curves and hairpin switchbacks leading the traveler over the mountains. The road includes some steep sections, without market central lines, is very narrow, barely wide enough for 2 cars at the same time and it has not protections or guardrails. The surface of the road is gravel and sand, and chains or snow tyres can be required anytime. This stretch of road should not be attempted by novice drivers.
This is a maintained road where a high clearance 2WD vehicle is able to travel safely at low speeds on long dry straight-of-ways, without losing control due to wash boarding, ruts, or dips. All primitve dirt roads may be rocky with areas or soft gravel or sand that makes travel unsafe for sedans or RVs. Some road sections may require a high clearance 4WD vehicle, in four-wheel-drive, driven by a driver experienced in 4WD drive techniques to drive the road without getting stuck. The road goes through the westernmost part of China National Highway 318 from Lhasa west to Lhatse then south to Nepal as well as the southernmost part of China National Highway 219 from Lhatse to Gar in far western Tibet.
The road was opened in 1967, but Nepal closed the border to trade due to severe restrictions imposed by Beijing. At that time the road's sole purpose was militaristic. Today it’s the most popular route travelers take in Tibet, with many interesting things to see.