To enter Tibet, there are usually two ways for most tourists: flight or Tibet train. Taking a flight to Tibet has become the most chosen option for travelers. Compared with taking a train to Tibet, which usually costs more than 40 hours to reach Lhasa, the capital city of Tibet, taking a flight can be much faster, and save much time. Therefore, to enjoy a more comfortable and smooth trip in Tibet, many tourists prefer to choose flight to train.
Nowadays, owing to the rapid development of Chinese transportation network, there are more than 18 cities in China you can choose as the gateway to take a flight to Tibet, and all these cities can provide convenient direct flights. So if you want a Tibetan journey by taking a flight, the following tips may be inspiring.
Characteristics of Flight to Tibet
As a hot tourist attraction, air tickets to Tibet are often hard to be ordered, especially in peak season (from July to October). So it’s better to order tickets as early as possible. We can help you book Tibet flight which is usually included in a valuable tour package at a reasonable price. If you have any need, please feel free to contact us.
Except for the difficulty in ticket ordering, flight prices to Tibet are considerably higher than the rest of China, hardly with a discount or cheap flight tickets available in the peak season. In the peak season, it’s also common that you should pay extra money to get a ticket, usually about $15~$75 (100-500 RMB).
Besides, because of the unpredictable weather of Tibet, flights are often delayed up to 1-2 hours. If you need flight transfer on the next lap, you must take this period of time into account.
Types of Flight to Tibet
To enter Tibet by a flight, you have three kinds of choices according to the difference in cities from which you set out.
Direct Flight to Tibet
In some cities near Tibet, you can take ride of the flights flying directly to Tibet, such as Beijing, Chengdu, Chongqing, Xi’an and Kunming. Katmandu, capital of Nepal, is also an ideal choice for you to take a direct flight to Tibet. It will cost you only 1.5 hours to arrive Tibet if leaving from Katmandu. Travelers starting a journey from Katmandu to Tibet are recommended to adopt this efficient method.
Stopover Flight to Tibet
It generally refers to the way that stops at one city about 30-40 minutes during the flight without deplaning or checking-in. It generally involves flights from some cities having a longer distance from Tibet, for example, Nanjing and Shanghai. Correspondingly, the time you will spend on the flight tour will be longer.
Connecting Flight to Tibet
If you are going to take a connecting flight to Tibet, be prepared you’ll stop and wait in a transit city for about 2 hours. Taking a connecting flight means that you should firstly fly to a city and then stop to check-in to take another flight to Tibet. It generally applies to some cities far from Tibet like Guangzhou and Hongkong. In these cities, no direct flight is available. Although kind of tiring, it can still save much time for you compared with taking a train.
All in all, it’s up to you from where you set off. If you want to arrive at Tibet quick and direct, try to leave from some neighboring cities, and you will save much time for yourself.
Popular Flights to Tibet
Now, it is convenient for tourists from all over the world to enjoy a Tibet tour by air from mainland China and Kathmandu. Here are the popular gateway cities that offer flights to Tibet, including general prices and the time they will take. You can pick the suitable one according to your schedule.
Kathmandu to Lhasa
As the only international flights to Tibet and convenient connections to the rest of the world, Kathmandu is the perfect place for many foreign tourists to begin their dream journey to Tibet. At present, there are two direct flights to Lhasa run by Air China and Sichuan Airlines. Both of them take only about 1.5 hours to arrive in Tibet. Additionally, a new flight operated by Tibet Airlines has also been operated since 2017, and the fare on economy-class flights starts from $214, based on the latest updates on ctrip.com. – Details on Kathmandu Lhasa flight to Tibet
Beijing to Lhasa
At present, there are six nonstop flights per day between Beijing and Lhasa run by Air China, Tibet Airlines, Hainan Airlines, Shenzhen Airlines and Shandong Airlines, and it takes about 4 hours 30 minutes. The full price for one way is about $516. – Details on Beijing Lhasa flight to Tibet
For some travelers who don’t want to miss full highlights of Tibet, there is a recommended itinerary for you – To take a flight from Beijing to Xining, and then take a ride of the train to Tibet to enjoy the great view along the road. Because in peak season, train tickets from Beijing to Tibet are usually hard to get. Although may be costly, you can obtain a richer experience of taking both train and flight and appreciate more excellent scenery along the road.
Chengdu to Lhasa
Chengdu is one of the most popular gateway hubs for tourists to travel to Tibet since plenty of Chengdu to Lhasa flights are provided every day, enabling tourists to reach Tibet with more options. Currently, there are 14 direct flights between Chengdu and Lhasa in peak travel season from early morning to midnight. These flights are separately operated by Tibet Airlines, Sichuan Airlines, Air China, and China Eastern Airlines. It takes about 2 hours and 20 minutes from Chengdu to Lhasa. The full price is about $250 for economy class and $848 for the first class. – Details on Chengdu Lhasa flight to Tibet
Chongqing to Lhasa
There are 9 nonstop flights from Chongqing to Lhasa every day, respectively operated by Tibet Airlines, Sichuan Airlines, Southern Airlines, West Air, Xiamen Airlines and Air China. Usually, it has more discount than Chengdu to Lhasa Flights in peak tourist season. In general, the cost on a one-way flight from Chongqing to Lhasa is $290 only for an economy class at full price and $868 for the first class. You will spend 2 hours 50mins on the plane. – Details on Chongqing Lhasa flight to Tibet
Xi’an to Lhasa
Xi’an, once the starting point of the Silk Road in the east in the ancient time, is now an important hub connecting the east and west of China. Nowadays, there are totally 13 flights taking off from Xi’an every day to directly head to Tibet which usually takes 3 hours and 20 mins. The full-price airfare is about $349 for economy class. – Details on Xi’an Lhasa flight to Tibet
Kunming to Lhasa
Every day, 4 non-stop flights will take off from Kunming to Lhasa, mainly operated by China Eastern Airlines, Tibet and Sichuan Airlines. Tourists just need about 3 hours on the flight to arrive at Lhasa. And the full price of the tickets in one-way is about $346 for economy class and $1038 for first class. – Details on Kunming Lhasa flight to Tibet
Shanghai to Lhasa
Situated on the south-east coast of China, Shanghai is one of the most developed cities and the economic center in China. With dense traffic network, foreign tourists can easily get to Lhasa by flight from Shanghai. At present, tourists in Shanghai still not have access to direct flights to Lhasa. If you leave from Shanghai, you’ll have a stopover in Xi’an or Chengdu. Currently, there are about 5 flights per day to Lhasa separately operated by China Eastern Airline, Tibet Airline, Air China and Shenzhen Airlines which will take 6-7 hours. The full price for one way is approximately $514 for economy class and $1544 for first class. – Details on Shanghai Lhasa flight to Tibet
Nanjing to Lhasa
As one of the four ancient capitals in China, Nanjing is a famous historic and cultural city popular to many tourists. It’s also convenient for you to set off from Nanjing to Tibet. On the airplane, you’ll spend about 5 hours and 40mins with a stopover in Chongqing, Xian or Mianyang. At present, there are about 10 flights to Lhasa every day run by different airlines like China Eastern Airline, Tibet Airline and Air China, and the ticket price is generally about $490. – Details on Nanjing Lhasa flight to Tibet
Connecting Flight to Tibet
Guangzhou to Lhasa
As one of the major coastal metropolitans in China, Guangzhou is also an important hub for many foreign tourists entering China. It is also convenient for you to directly fly to Lhasa from this great city. Currently, there are around 5 flights per day from Guangzhou to Lhasa with a flying duration about 6-9 hours. During the flight, you need to transfer in Kunming, Xi’an or Chongqing and take another flight heading to Lhasa. – Details on Guangzhou Lhasa flight to Tibet
In fact, in some other cities in China like Shanghai, Xining, Zhengzhou,etc., there are also connecting flights to Tibet. And in many cities mentioned above like Beijing and Kunming, there are both direct flights and stopover flights. Here we just introduced main and more convenient flight types that may save both time and money for you. If you want other options, please contact us, we will customize more suitable itineraries for you.
Major Airports in Tibet
There are totally five airports in Tibet located in different regions: Lhasa Gonggar Airport, Shigatse Peace Airport, Nyingchi Mainling Airport, Ngari Gunsa Airport and Qamdo Bangda Airport. Among them, most tourists are apt to enter Tibet via Lhasa Gonggar Airport and Nyingchi Mainling Airport.
Lhasa Gonggar Airport is the most important airport of Tibet located in Lhasa, the capital of Tibet. It’s the major air hub for entry and exit of Tibet, both domestically and internationally. Located to the south of Lhasa city, it’s around 60km’s drive from the airport to Lhasa city. If you want to start your Tibetan tour from Lhasa, Gonggar Airport will undoubtedly be your best choice.
Nyingchi Mainling Airport is situated around 120km south to the Yarlung Tsangpo River and 400km away from Lhasa in Nyingchi. It’s the one in lowest altitude among the five airports – an average altitude of 3000m, and it’s another major airport in Tibet. For many first travelers to Tibet, it will be a good choice to enter Tibet via Nyingchi to acclimatize the high altitude. But please note that airplanes in Nyingchi Mainling Airport only take off in the morning due to the turbulent weather around here.
Apart from Lhasa Gonggar Airport and Nyingchi Mainling Airport, the rest of the three are not as commonly chosen as the above two airports. Some travelers may choose Shigatse Peace Airport to end their Tibetan tour. While Ngari Gunsa Airport is the remotest airport in Tibet in which no direct flight is available, and the same to Qamdo Bangda Airport. Therefore, if you want to start your journey in Tibet, Lhasa Gonggar Airport and Nyingchi Mainling Airport will be better choices.