Cross-border trade and migrant work are the most important means of livelihood for Nepalese border residents. Among the numerous border ports between China and Nepal, the Kerong Port is one of the busiest. Kerong is located in the west of Tibet Autonomous Region of China, bordering on the Resuwa area of Bagmati Province, Nepal. It is an important hub linking Nepal and China in history and now. It is not only the post station of Kathmandu’s traditional trade route to and from Tibet, but also the main gateway for China to enter Nepal. Due to factors such as geographical location and convenient conditions, a large number of Rusuwa people cross the border through border citizencard and go to Kerong for seasonal work and business.

The work of Nepalese border residents in Kerong is diverse. At present, hotel cleaners, restaurant waiters, freight drivers, and small-scale businesses are the most popular among Nepalese border residents. Among them, working in a nighttime entertainment venue called the Nangma bar has become the most special and complex work, receiving a lot of attention due to the nature of the work spanning time and space, transcending secular concepts, and increasing cultural connections between China and Nepal.

Based on the fieldworks conducted in Resuwa in August 2023 and Kerong, Tibet, China in September 2023, this paper conducted in-depth interviews with 20 Nepalese migrant workers, bosses, local and overseas customers in Nangma bar. This paper studied how Nepalese cross-border workers work in traditional Nangma bar and weave their own nightlife.

As a nightlife entertainment place with regional cultural characteristics in the plateau area, Nangma Bar was first established in Lhasa, Tibet in the late 1990s. It is a place established by folk artists for performing and inheriting the traditional song and dance art ‘Nangma’. Due to its innovative operating model and traditional song and dance performances, it is loved by the general public. Later, it spread to other Tibetan regions and became a popular night entertainment and leisure place in plateau areas. After the COVID-19, with the reopening of Kerong Port, entertainment venues such as Nangma bar have been revitalised in Kerong. At present, there are more than 10 Nangma bar in Kerong, including two large-scale performance venues. This provides job opportunities for Nepalese border residents. Currently, there are nearly 100 Nepalese border residents working in the Nangma Hall. The service personnel in the Nangma bar have become an important job category in Kerong.

The Nepalese cross-border border residents in Kerong Langma bar mainly work as dancers and wine companions. The work in nighttime entertainment venues is often associated with sexual transactions, violence, alcoholism, etc., which is a ‘stigmatised’ profession in the secular view of traditional villages in Nepal. Therefore, these cross-border workers often conceal the specific content of their work from their families and villages. In the Nangma bar, there are complex and ambiguous boundaries in gender division of labour. Generally speaking, men are more likely to play the role of dancers, while women play the roles of waiters, liquor salespeople, and hostesses. But during busy periods, their work content has ‘leapfrog ‘ and ‘complementarity’. It is worth mentioning that in the era of the Internet, Nepalese cross-border workers working in Nangma bar of Kerong have been loved by many guests. Because their work plays an important role in cultural exchange and interaction between China and Nepal. Not only does it add an exotic style of song and dance art and culture to the traditional Tibetan singing and dancing performance hall, but it also allows people to interact and exchange in a multicultural space, playing a very important role in increasing mutual trust and knowledge between the people of China and Nepal.