Zhangmu Town is lies on a mountainside 10km inland from the Friendship Bridge that spans the Bhotekoshi River, 473km southwest of Shigatse. The altitude of Zhangmu Town is only a bit more than 2,000 meters (about 6,562 feet); therefore, it is a lowland in Tibet. One of the special aspects of Zhangmu Town is that it is one of the borders separating China and Nepal, it is the last Chinese town before hitting Nepal. About 90 kilometers (about 56 miles) south of Youyi Bridge (Friendship Bridge), which is the boundary bridge connecting the two countries, there stands the capital city of Nepal, Kathmandu.
Zhangmu town was built along a winding road lined with private houses, shops, restaurants and government buildings.The subtropical climate endows the small town with warm, humid weather and beautiful scenery throughout the year. The hills around Zhangmu are heavily wooded with innumerable waterfalls in the summer and frozen "icicles" during the winter.
Zhangmu Town was built against a mountain. Its mild climate is conducive for the flourishing of flowers, trees and other green vegetations. Scenic views can be found almost all the year round; in other words, whatever the time of year that you decide to visit, this elegant small town is well worth a look. All the houses here are scattered randomly without any intentional design; therefore it gives visitors a rambling impression of the town. Furthermore, almost all visitors are touched by its simplicity and purity. Streets and stone stairs, like threads, connect all the houses together, which make people feel very easy to find their way from one house to another. Most rooftops house small delicate gardens, bringing a special kind of beauty to this little town. A very important landmark in Zhangmu Town is its busy and prosperous harbor. Through the foreign goods coming in from India and Nepal, you can enjoy many an exotic flavor in Zhangmu Town.
The small town has become a major trading post between Tibet and Nepal. The booming border trade attracts merchants from inland China, Tibet and Nepal. A free trade market formed spontaneously near the Friendship Bridge about 8 years ago, which is under further development today.
A tiny collection of wooden houses before the border opened in 1980, Zhangmu is now one of the wealthiest towns in Tibet, due to licit and illicit trade in gold, clothing, and footwear. Zhangmu stretches for several miles through a series of switchbacks towards the border.