International land borders, in my opinion, are some of the most interesting places in the world. The border between China and Nepal is no exception. After having been in China and Tibet for about 2 weeks June/July 2010 I was eager to move onto a new country and being able to use the internet without any restrictions. As with all things that are deemed government business and especially with anything involving Tibet, leaving Tibet was a headache. The Chinese side of the border is tightly controlled and despite the fact that we were leaving, they checked all our bags thoroughly. For some of us, they took our passports into a back room to scrutinize them further before coming back about 10 min later to return them. This bit was a unnerving because what if they saw something they didn’t like and didn’t allow us to leave the country? I’m sure they suspected me of being a spy since I’m of Chinese descent.
Several people lost their Tibet guidebooks to the Chinese authorities. I still cannot think of why they would take the guidebooks when you’re leaving the country. The China guidebooks all have sections about Tibet but those weren’t confiscated.
After finally making it through Chinese immigration and customs, we walked across the Friendship Bridge. On the Chinese side of the bridge, there were soldiers lining the bridge about 5m apart standing at attention, ready to start firing at any time. As soon as you walk across the line on the bridge that marks the border, the tension that the Chinese soldiers bring is immediately gone. On the Nepali side, all the soldiers were hanging out in a small guard station beside a large metal gate. They were quite friendly and helpful in pointing us to where the immigration office was. To get a Nepal visa at the border, all you need is some USD, 2 passport photos, and your passport.