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Ngari Gunsa Airport, Tibet

September,29 2018 BY Sonam Tenphel 0 COMMENTS

When it comes to Tibet, one will surely mention the distinctive Ngari Prefecture, one of most sparsely populated regions in the world, located in the northwest of Tibetan Plateau. In addition to the renowned Himalayas and Mount Kailash, Ngari is also the home to various rare wildlife. Nowadays, this remote land of Tibet has become much more accessible owing to the open of the Ngari Gunsa Airport in 2010.

Built at an elevation of more than 4,200 meters above sea level, Ngari Gunsa Airport is the third highest airport in the world. It is provided with a runway of 4500 meters and a terminal of around 3900 square meters. Currently, the airport offers flights connecting Lhasa, Chengdu, Urumqi and Kashqar. It is expected to handle 120,000 passengers by 2020.

Location of Ngari Gunsa Airport

Ali Kunsha Airport, also known as Ngari Gunsa Airport, is located near the town of Shiquanhe, Ngari Prefecture, western Tibet Autonomous Region. This airport started operations on 1 July 2010, becoming the fourth civil airport in Tibet.

Ngari Gunsa Airport and Mount KailashMount Kailash is 200km away from Ngari Gunsa Airport.

Distance from Ngari Gunsa Airport to Mt. Kailash

To a number of pilgrims, Mount Kailash is the desirable holy land. If you arrive in Ngari Prefecture, Mount Kailash can't be missed. Close to the National Highway of 219, Mount Kailash is only 200km away from Ngari Gunsa Airport, so you can get to Mt. Kailash from Ngari Gunsa Airport very easily.

Flights to Ngari Gunsa Airport

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

Lhasa to Ngari Flight Schedule

There is one daily direct flight between Lhasa and Ngari at present, operated by Tibet Airlines. It only takes about two hours to get to Ngari Gunsa Airport. Besides, tourists who want to fly to Ngari from Chengdu can take the connecting flights to transfer in Lhasa. The flights from Chengdu to Ngari will fly about 2 hours to arrive in Lhasa, and then take another 1 h 40 min to reach Ngari, after staying in Lhasa for 40 to 50 minutes.

Flight Route Flight Code  Airline   Dep.    Arr. Type  Schedule
Lhasa to Ngari TV9807 Tibet Airlines 07:30 09:30 319 Every day
Ngari to Lhasa TV9808 Tibet Airlines 10:20 12:25 319 Every day

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 30 minutes on the way. Besides, there are occasional flights between Urumchi and Ngari, with a stopover in Kashgar city.

Flight Route Flight Code  Airline   Dep.    Arr. Type  Schedule
Kashgar to Ngari 8L9681 Lucky Air 10:00 11:35 737-800 Every Tue & Fri
Ngari to Kashgar 8L9682 Lucky Air 12:20 14:15 737-800 Every Tue & Fri

Pease note: since the flights to Ngari are greatly affected by climate and seasonal change, the above schedules are just for your reference based on the peak season. Please contact us for the detailed airfare and schedule.

How to Get to Ngari Gunsa Airport

Ngari Gunsa Airport is about 60 kilometers south to the downtown area of Shiquanhe, with a driving distance of 1.5 hours. For the transfer between the airport and Shiquanhe town, tourists can take the shuttle bus, of which the starting point is at the Civil Aviation Air Ticket Office. It takes about 1 hour to get to the airport.

Currently, there are no shuttle buses between the Ngari Gunsa Airport and Mount Kailash. Normally, domestic travelers can rent a car and follow the well-paved tar road to drive southwards to Darchen, the village at the foot of Mount Kailash. However, since foreign tourists are not allowed to travel independently in Tibet, they must travel with a local agency and use a local car. As the first and largest Tibetan local tour operator, we offer the free airport shuttle services for our clients, as long as you book your Tibet tour with us.

Top Places to Visit in Ngari Prefecture

Called the “roof of the roof of the world”, Ngari boasts many spectacular natural landscape and cultural heritages. This land is sparsely populated, surrounded by snow-capped mountains and turquoise lakes. When exploring this vast land, one can also be lucky to find wild animals, like Tibetan antelopes, wild asses and wild yaks. Despite of its high elevation and harsh plateau climate, Ngari attracts many tourists from home and aboard each year.

Mount Kailash

Mount Kailash is located in the northern part of Pulan County, Ngari Prefecture. Sitting at an altitude of 6656 meters, Mount Kailash is the world-recognized “holy mountain”, regarded as the center of the world by Hinduism, Tibetan Buddhism and Tibetan Bon. More than 250 glaciers have formed beside the holy mountain, bringing abundant water to some large rivers, including the Ganges River, Yarlung Zangbo River and Indian River.

 Mount KailashMount Kailash, a Must-see Attraction in Ngari

Every year, many tourists and pilgrims travel all the way to Ngari to trek Mount Kailash. To many pilgrims, Mount Kailash is the most holy destination for their whole life. To ordinary tourists, Mount Kailash is not only a magnificent attraction with the perennially snow-capped peak, but also a test for courage and perseverance.

Lake Manasarovar

30 kilometers to the southeast of Mount Kailash, there is a large lake, called Lake Manasarovar. It is one of the three holy lakes in Tibet, together with Lake Namtso and Lake Yamdrok. With an altitude of 4599 meters, Lake Manasarovar is also one of the highest freshwater lakes in the world. It is said that drinking the water of this lake can clear the soul. Therefore, it is a great blessing for a great many of pilgrims to trek around the lake and take showers with its water. Usually, a trek around the lake needs about 7 to 10 days.

Zhada Earth Forest National Park

Zhada Earth Forest National Park is a famous landscape attraction in Zhada Country. It was formed by geological changes of the ancient lake basin and the river bed for tens of thousands of years. The earth forest is full of scattered “forest trees” in different shapes and forms, within a radius of nearly several hundred square kilometers. When driving in this area, it seems that the car is circling around the feet of numerous giants.

Guge Kingdom

The Guge Kingdom is located 18 km west of Zhada County. During the time from the 10th century to early 17th century, the Guge Kingdom dwelt in western Tibet to carry forward Buddhism and resist foreign aggression, playing an important role on the historical stage. However, in 1630, it was wiped out by a war and then disappeared. The 700-year history of Guge Kingdom is influential, leaving various exquisite religious art works such as thangka, sculptures, and stone carvings. Nowadays, many explorers, scholars, reporters travel thousands of miles to explore this mysterious place. Besides, this gigantic relic site under the setting sun is a favorite scene for many photographers.

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.

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