Kodari : Nepal’s Link To Tibet
The picturesque village of Kodari lies in an area of exquisite beauty on the border between Nepal and Tibet. As the starting point of the ancient Trans Himalayan Caravan Route, which is considered to be the Nepalese equivalent of the Chinese Silk Route, Kodari is steeped in fascinating history, legends and folktales of the intrepid early pioneers that established a trade route between the two countries. Merchants on their way to Lhasa would head north when leaving Kodari, cross the Kuti pass and then turn east to begin the perilous high-altitude journey over the Tibetan plateau. Kodari remains an important Nepal-Tibet trading post.
Traveling to Kodari from Kathmandu is an adventure in itself. Tourists generally make use of shared taxis or local buses to make this scenic, and sometimes hair-raising, journey. The road twists and turns at seemingly impossible angles as it ascends to Kodari, and those who can bear to tear their eyes away from the narrow road and the horn-blowing bus-driver, will be rewarded with views of indescribable beauty.
While Kodari is by no means a large town, it is geared up to catering for tourists making their way to and from neighboring Tibet. There is a good selection of well priced accommodation and a number of activities to enjoy and sights to see. Adventure seekers may want to try out the highest bungy jump in Asia, situated a stone’s throw away from Kodari. The famous Tatopani hot water spring, with it therapeutic properties, is located just three kilometers from Kodari – perfect for soothing the muscles after an adventure filled day.
The Friendship Bridge that crosses a deep gorge to join Nepal and Tibet is unique in a number of ways. In Tibet vehicles are required to keep to the right, while in Nepal traffic drives on the left, so halfway across the bridge drivers have to change from right to left and vice versa. The halfway mark on the Friendship Bridge also marks a change in time zones, with Tibet being two hours and fifteen minutes ahead of Nepal. So you may leave Nepal at 12h00 and arrive in Tibet at 14h15 and yet have only moved a couple of hundred meters. Regular travelers of the route are no doubt accustomed to this, but for first time visitors it can be quite disorientating. There is little doubt that traveling to Kodari in Nepal will be a memorable experience.
(Photo sourced from flickr. User: Marc van der Chijs)