+ 86-28-85552138
TOP
Tibet Vista Travel
86-28-85552138
listicon
Home>Tibet Travel Guide>How to Get to Tibet>Flights to Tibet>Ngari Gunsa Airport Guide: flights to Ngari from Lhasa, Kashgar, Urumchi, Chengdu and Xian

Ngari Gunsa Airport Guide: flights to Ngari from Lhasa, Kashgar, Urumchi, Chengdu and Xian

June,05 2019 BY Sonam Tenphel 0 COMMENTS

Ngari Prefecture, with an average elevation of 4500 meters, is located in western Tibet, 1600 kilometres away from Lhasa. The total area of the thinly populated region is more than 300,000 square kilometres, and with the Himalayas, Gangdise Mountains and Karakoram Mountains gathering here, it’s hailed as “the top of the thousand mountains, the source of ten thousand rivers” and “the roof of the roof of the world”.

To many people, Ngari is known for Mt.Kailash and the sacred Lake Manasarovar, which are the “Holy Mountain” and “Sacred Lake” for Tibetan Buddhists and Hinduists, and Ngari airport is the nearest airport to both of them.

Ngari Gunsa Airport Guide: Basic Facts

English Name: Ngari Gunsa Airport; Ali Gunsa Airport
Chinese Name: 阿里昆莎机场
IATA Airport Code: NGQ
ICAO Airport Code: ZUAL
Altitude: 4,274 meters
Location: Gunsa Village, Shiquanhe Town, Ngari Prefecture
Distance to Mount kailash and Mansarova Lake: 330km
Major Connecting Cities: Lhasa, Chengdu, Kashgar, Urumqi, Xian
Airlines Served in Ngari Gunsa Airport: China Eastern Airlines, Lucky Air and Tibet Airlines

Ngari Gunsa Airport, also known as Ali Kunsha Airport (simplified Chinese: 阿里昆莎机场), is located near Gunsa Village of Shiquanhe Town, Ngari Prefecture, western Tibet Autonomous Region. Shiquanhe (Ali) is only a one-day bus drive (about 330 km) from the settlement of Darchen situated just north of Lake Manasarovar, facing Mount Kailash. The airport, opened on 1 July 2010, is the fourth civil airport in Tibet, after Lhasa, Nyingchi and Qanmdo airports, with NGQ the IATA code and ZUAL the ICAO code. Because of this, travelling to Mt.Kailash and Lake Manasarovar is much easier now.

Ngari Gunsa Airport in Western Tibet
Ngari Gunsa Airport, the nearest airport to Kailash and Manasarovar

Built at an elevation of 4,274 meters above sea level, Ngari Gunsa Airport is the fourth highest airport in the world, the first three being Daocheng Yading Airport, Qamdo Bamda Airport and Kangding Airport. It is provided with a runway of 4500 meters and a terminal of around 3900 square meters. Currently, the airport offers flights connecting Lhasa, Kashgar, Urumqi, Chengdu and Xi’an, and the major airlines that run these routes are China Eastern Airlines, Lucky Air and Tibet Airlines.

Ngari Gunsa Airport Guide: Ali Flight Schedule & Timetable

Ngari Gunsa Airport is a dual-use military and civil airport. Due to its special geographical location, the airport only offers direct flights to three domestic cities, Lhasa in Tibet and Kashgar and Urumqi in Xinjiang (formerly known as Sinkiang). If you want to fly to Ngari from mainland China, you can first take a flight to the three cities and then transfer to Ngari.

Direct Flights to Ngari from Lhasa, Kashgar and Urumchi

Lhasa to Ngari Flight Schedule
There is one daily direct flight between Lhasa and Ngari at present, operated by Tibet Airlines, which is about two hours.

Route Airline  Flight Code  Timetable  Duration  Distance (Straight line) Frequency Price
Lhasa to Ngari Tibet Airlines TV6008 07:30-09:30 2 hrs 1083.34km Every day Above CNY 2,700
Ngari to Lhasa Tibet Airlines TV6007 10:20-12:30 2 hrs 10 mins 1083.34km Every day Above CNY 2,700

Kashgar to Ngari Flight Schedule
The direct flights between Kashgar and Ngari are available on every Tuesday and Friday. It takes about 1 hour and 35 mins to 1 hour and 55 mins one way. Besides, there are occasional flights between Uruqi and Ngari, with a stopover in Kashgar city.

Route Airline  Flight Code  Timetable  Duration  Distance (Straight line) Frequency Price
Kashgar to Ngari China Eastern Airlines MU2131 09:00-10:35 1 hr 35 mins 903.66km Tue. Above 1,300 CNY
Kashgar to Ngari Lucky Airlines 8L9681 10:00-11:35 1 hr 35 mins 903.66km Fri. Above 1,300 CNY
Ngari to Kashgar China Eastern Airlines MU2132 11:20-13:10 1hr 50 mins 903.66km Tue. Above 1,300 CNY
Ngari to Kashgar Lucky Airlines 8L9682 12:20-14:15 1hr 55 mins 903.66km Fri. Above 1,300 CNY

Urumqi to Ngari Flight Schedule (Stopover at Kashgar)
Only one direct flight between Ngari and Urumqi is available on every Friday but there are flights that stop over at Kashgar and then go to Ngari.

Route Airline  Flight Code  Timetable  Duration  Distance (Straight line) Frequency Price
Urumqi to Ngari Lucky Airlines 8L9681 07:20-11:35 4 hrs 15 mins 1463.49km Fri. Above CNY 2,700
Ngari to Urumqi Lucky Airlines 8L9682 12:20-16:50 4 hrs 30 mins 1463.49km Fri Above CNY 2,700

Connecting Flights to Ngari

There are many connecting flights to Ngari from many major cities. Listed below are flights from and to just two of the closest cities to Ngari - Chengdu and Xi’an. Though much longer than direct flights, usually above 9 hours, the choices are more flexible.

Chengdu to Ngari Flight Schedule
Route Airline  Flight Code  Timetable  Duration  Distance (Straight line) Frequency Price
Chengdu to Ngari(transferred in Lhasa) Tibet Airlines TV9882 & TV6008 21:00-09:30 12.5 hrs 2270.81km Everyday Above CNY 4,000
Ngari to Chengdu(transferred in Lhasa) Tibet Airlines & Air China TV6007 & CA4026 10:20-19:25 9 hrs 5 mins 2270.81km Everyday Above CNY 4,000
Ngari to Chengdu(transferred in Lhasa) Tibet Airlines & Chengdu Airlines TV6007 & EU2744 10:20-20:55 10 hrs 35 mins 2270.81km Everyday Above CNY 4,000

Xian to Ngari Flight Schedule
Route Airline  Flight Code  Timetable  Duration  Distance (Straight line) Frequency Price
Xi’an to Ngari (transferred in Lhasa) Tibet Airline & Shandong Airlines TV6007 & SCSC7026 10:20-21:00 10 hrs 40 mins 2671.70km Everyday Above CNY 3,500
Ngari to Xi’an (transferred in Lhasa) Shandong Airlines & Tibet Airlines SC6012 & TV6008 16:25-09:30 17 hrs 5 mins 2671.70km Everyday Above CNY 3,500

Besides the flights above, there are also connecting flights to Ngari from other major cities like Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou. It is expected to handle 120,000 passengers by 2020, potentially with more flights available as well. Also, please note that all the prices listed are just for your reference. All prices are subject to change due to your preferred flight, class and travelling date.

Ngari Gunsa Airport Guide: How to Book Flight Ticket

Travel Documents Needed for Booking Flights to Ngari To travel to China, you’ve got to have a Chinese Visa. If you want to travel Tibet, then you have to apply for a Tibet Travel Permit (TTP) for entry into Tibet Autonomous Region (TAR). Since bearing a TTP only allows you to travel in Lhasa, the capital of Tibet, other permits are needed if you want to go to places outside Lhasa. For visiting Ngari, permits including the Alien’s Travel Permit and Military Entry Permit are required. Seems a bit troublesome? No worries. We have hassle-free services. You can join our classic tour into Ngari and our guide will apply for all the permits needed on your behalf. All you need to do is just sit back and enjoy.

Tibet Travel Permit
A sample of Tibet Travel Permit

Best Way to Find Cheap Flights to Ngari

Price of flights to Ngari varies depending on your preference. You can get a lower price by checking flight booking website like Scanner once in a while and Booking in advance. Also, connecting flights might be cheaper than direct flights.

Mt.Kailash in Saga Dawa Festival
Tibetan locals and pilgrims celebrated Saga Dawa Festival at Mt.Kailash.

You are to expect the flights in May to October to be more expensive and harder to get than other time of the year, since it is the best time to visit Ngari area, especially during Saga Dawa Festival from May to early June when many pilgrims aim for Lake Manasarovar and Mt.Kailash kora.

Ngari Gunsa Airport Guide: How to Get to Shiquanhe Town and Mt. Kailash

Ngari Gunsa Airport to Shiquanhe Town Distance (54km) and How to Travel

Ngari Gunsa Airport is about 54 km south to downtown Shiquanhe. Domestic tourists can either take the shuttle bus or a minivan to get to the town centre of Shiquanhe, which is about 1 hour’s drive.

Gunsa Airport to Shiquanhe
It takes about an hour travelling from Ngari Gunsa Airport to Shiquanhe Town.

Ngari Gunsa Airport to Mount Kailash and Mansarovar Lake Distance (250km) and How to Travel

Travelling to Mt.Kailash and Lake Manasarovar from Ngari Airport, however, is a bit more troublesome since there is no shuttle bus between the two. Domestic travellers can rent a car or take a local minivan and follow the well-paved tar road to drive southwards for about 5 hours to Darchen, the village at the foot of Mount Kailash about 250km from Gunsa Airport.

However, since international tourists are not allowed to travel independently in Tibet, they must travel on a pre-arranged tour with a local agency and use a local car. As the first and largest Tibetan local tour operator since 1984, we offer the convenient airport shuttle as well as other services for our clients.

Ngari Gunsa Airport Guide: How to Avoid Altitude Sickness in Ngari

To avoid altitude sickness in Ngari, it’s recommended to take the overland tour rather than flying, regardless of the flight availability to Ngari. The reasons behind this are that, firstly, altitude in Ngari averages in 4,500m. Since altitude sickness happens as soon as the height reaches above 3,000m, you are more likely to have altitude sickness travelling in Ngari.

Views on the Way to Mt.Kailash
A golden desert on the way to Mt.Kailash, taken in our Kailash tour in April 2019

Another reason behind this is that, by taking a plane, you will ascend to such a high altitude within a comparatively short period of time from low altitude, which is ‘perfect’ for altitude sickness to occur. Also, if you travel to Ngari by air, you’re going to miss a lot of things. Whereas you can enjoy the splendid pristine views in western Tibet along the way when taking the overland trip.

One of the most suggested small group tours to Ngari area travelling in a vehicle is our 15 Days Kailash and Manasarovar Small Group Tour. During the 15 days, you’ll be able to enjoy all the classic sites in Lhasa, Everest Base Camp apart from Mt.Kailash and Lake Manasarovar.

Tips of Avoiding Altitude Sickness in Ngari Kailash Overland Trip

1. Follow your doctor’s advice. Those who have heart disease, high blood pressure, etc. are not advised to visit Ngari; take medicine as told by your doctor.
2. Try not to shower on the first day. Daytime in Tibet may be warm but nighttime can be very chilly.
3. Try not to eat too much, drink alcohol or make abrupt movements. This may aggregate the symptoms of altitude sickness. Instead, drink plenty of water, have some good sleep and walk slowly.
4. When altitude sickness comes, tell your guide immediately. They will try their best to help you get over it.

All that said, you don’t need to over-worry about it. Our route and itinerary are carefully designed so as to get you acclimatized well before going to high altitude places like Ngari. Plus, our local Tibetan guides and drivers are experienced in dealing with altitude sickness. Just follow their advice and you’re assured a comfortable and worry-free journey in Tibet.

Conclusions

It is said that Ngari preserves some of the most authentic gem of Tibet. Part of the reason is due to the high altitude averaging in 4,500m above sea level. Other reasons are that it is home to the sacred Mt.Kailsh, the Holy Spiritual Center, and the sacred Lake Manasarovar. With the help of the fourth highest airport in the world, Ngari Gunsa Airport, tourists now can easily get access to this remote and mysterious land in western Tibet. However, it’s highly suggested you take our 15 Days Kailash and Manasarovar small group overland tour to be able to enjoy the most pristine beauty of Tibet.

Sonam Tenphel

About the Author - Sonam Tenphel

Energetic, responsible and reliable, Sonam is a guide with more than seven years experience informing visitors about heritage sites and attractions places in Tibet.

Email Me about Your Travel Idea

Recommended Tibet Group Tour Packages

Have a Question? Ask below or email our travel experts directly at inquiry@tibettravel.org

Question Summary*

Details*

SUBMIT

Please fill in your contact information, we will send you the answer by email

SUBMITCancel

0 Comment ON "Ngari Gunsa Airport Guide: flights to Ngari from Lhasa, Kashgar, Urumchi, Chengdu and Xian"

Check All Tibet Travel FAQs Here