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Travel to Tibet from South Korea

August,03 2017 BY Master Kungga Dundruk 0 COMMENTS

Envisage yourself amidst some fetching plateaus, relishing the long-day sunshine, enjoying your last bite of Thupka with Momo while sipping into the butter tea and planning for the next place to hit for the day. Love the idea? Welcome to Tibet. Like most South Korean tourists, if you find solace in the sacred approach of Buddhism to architecture and culture, adorned with revered exotic lakes to add to the incomparable tranquility of nature, Tibet is an ideal hub for you.

Mount EverestMount Everest

Be it the incredible Mount Everest on the border of Nepal or the bronze Buddhist shrines in the heart of the region, everything about Tibet will leave you spell bound and add to your love for travel. And if you have the chance to attend Losar, the New Year Festival of Tibet, you cannot help but fall in love with the Tibetan culture even more.

What Do You Need for a Tibet Trip First?

But how to step into this paradise for nature-lovers and the hypnotic hub for the faunas and floras from South Korea? As the very first step, you will need to apply for a Tibet Travel Permit before entering Lhasa and making your way around the beautiful Tibet. Supplementary permits are obligatory if you want to visit the unopened areas, like Mt. Everest, Mt. Kailash, etc. which need further approval.

Mt. KailashMt. Kailash

How to Get You Tibet Permit?

When filing the permit application, you are required to put detailed information about your plan (which city you visit before and after Tibet, when you start and end your trip and how many people are travelling with you). Does it end here? No. You will also need to email photo copy your passport, the Chinese Visa, your photos to our travel consultants who help you apply for the permit after you have chosen the preferred tour package.

You will also need to email photo copy your passport, the Chinese Visa, your photos to our travel consultants.You will also need to email photo copy your passport, the Chinese Visa, your photos to our travel consultants.

Next, if everything is in order, after we get your travel permit, we will deliver it to your hotel in China before you can start packing for the trip to the wonderland. But remember, plan ahead! Send over your documents 20-30 days before you want to make the travel to avoid mishaps.

So long as you book our Tibet tour, we can help get most of the necessary travel documents for free. So, why not apply your Tibet travel permit online today?

What to Pack with You for a Tibet Trip?

Some essentials that experts suggest for tourists entering Tibet include: a pair of hiking boots/sturdy sneakers, sleeping bag and insulation pad, ground cloth or tarp (recommended but not required), rain gear (waterproof pants and jacket), towel, 3-5 t-shirts, lightweight fleece or wool sweater (Tibet is characterized by low temperatures), 2 pairs of nylon pants, 5-7 pairs of socks (polypropylene or wool are recommended), 3-5 pairs of underwear, sunglasses, personal toiletries (you may want to carry your own toilet paper and some zip-lock bags, as bathrooms may not be readily available.), personal medication, camera, batteries and film/digital Memory Cards, adapter and surge protector (you do not want to miss out posing amidst the unique landscape of this utopia), light-weight thermal shirts or long underwear (recommended but not required).

Tourists should bring the essentials.

Most of you must now be pondering over the type of sockets used in Tibet. Here you go for Class 1 appliances, a Type 1 3-pin plug and socket is used. In Tibet, plugs are rated as 220V 50Hz. Have some space left in your bags? You may choose to take some luxuries with you- personal music player, journal, binoculars, wide-brimmed hat, swim suit (for hot springs!), gloves, scarf, sunscreens, money belt or fanny pack and anything that may make you feel relaxed.

How to Get to Tibet?

Now, how do you exactly get there? Well, you will never run out of options. First, let us talk about how you can go from South Korea to China. You can browse the websites like Trip Advisor and Expedia, to compare the flight costs between airlines. This usually differs between seasons. In most cases, the international flights by China Eastern Airlines, with connections in Hong Kong are the cheapest. You can travel from Seoul to either Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Chengdu or any major cities of China for the best deals and then take a local flight or train to make your way to Lhasa.

China Eastern AirlinesChina Eastern Airlines

Domestic flights to Lhasa

The domestic airlines to Lhasa, Tibet include: Air China, China Eastern Airlines, China Southern Airlines, Sichuan Airlines, Tibet Airlines, etc.

Via Beijing-Lhasa flight
There are two direct flights (one by Air China and the other by China Southern Airline) a day from Beijing to Lhasa with a stopover in Chengdu and it takes about 5 hours to go from Beijing to Lhasa. The flight flies from Beijing in the morning and arrive in Lhasa in the afternoon. Air tickets cost usually 395USD including airport tax during peak travel seasons.

Beijing AirportBeijing Airport

Via Shanghai-Lhasa flight
There are three direct flights a day flying from Shanghai to Lhasa, operated by China Eastern Airline, Tibet Airline and Air China. It usually takes 7 hours to travel from Shanghai to Lhasa by plane, in which about 1 hour is for stopover at Chengdu or Xi’an. It takes around takes 6 hours to fly from Shanghai to Tibet via China Eastern Airlines with a cost of around 445USD for one way including airport tax and this flight is always at full fare all year around.

Shanghai AirportShanghai Airport

Via Guangzhou-Lhasa flight
At present there are three direct flights with a stopover in Chongqing flying from Guangzhou to Lhasa, operated by China Eastern Airlines, China Southern Airlines and Xiamen Airlines. Guangzhou Lhasa flight takes off from New Baiyun International Airport and arrives at Lhasa Gonggar Airport every day. It takes about 6 hours for these direct flights to Tibet and about 1 hour for stopover at Chongqing.

Guangzhou Baiyun AirportGuangzhou Baiyun Airport

Via Chengdu-Lhasa flight
More than 10 flights are available from Chengdu to Lhasa in peak travel season and 5 flights in low travel season, from early morning to late afternoon. The air ticket costs around 230USD (one-way flight) with Airport Tax around approximately 30USD.

Lhasa AirportArrive at the holy Lhasa city

What’s more, some connecting flights to Tibet are available at Chengdu, Xi’an and Kunming airports, and then you can transfer to Lhasa. The exact amount of flight prices are best confirmed by the airline you book.

Fly from South Korea to Tibet via HK

If you are considering going from Hong Kong to Tibet, you need to know some facts. The distance from Hong Kong to Lhasa is around 2,423km. There is no direct train or flight to Lhasa from Hong Kong, so for the tourists traveling from Hong Kong to Tibet, they need to transfer in Chengdu, Guangzhou, or Xining of mainland China.

Hong Kong's Night SceneHong Kong's Night Scene

Basically, there are few convenient ways to transfer from mainland China to Tibet by either train or flight, select one based on your personal preferences and budget. You can fly from Hong Kong to Chengdu and then take a second flight to Xining, from where you catch the train to Lhasa. This is one of the fastest ways to go to Lhasa from HK.

However, you may consider taking the train directly from Chengdu if you are looking for a more cost-effective option. However, the most time-saving option is to fly from Chengdu to Lhasa, but well, it can be expensive.

Fly from South Korea to Tibet via Kathmandu

You can also fly to Kathmandu from South Korea and later take a plane to Lhasa. The trip from Nepal to Lhasa is only 2 hours long. But you should know, there are not many airlines that fly from Nepal to Tibet. The two prime that do are Air China and Sichuan Airlines, both of which offer services throughout the week.

Essential travel documents for Kathmandu to Lhasa Tour involves your passport, Group Tourist Visa and Tibet Travel Permit. Travelers who enter Tibet from Nepal are required to apply for Group Tourist Visa – a kind of single entry visa. This visa must be obtained at Chinese Embassy in Kathmandu. Tibet Visa has an office in Kathmandu and can help tourists apply for the Tibet Visa.

Essential Travel Documents for Kathmandu to Lhasa TourEssential Travel Documents for Kathmandu to Lhasa Tour

Gyirong Port is the new overland border between Kathmandu and Lhasa, making by road trips possible, which became impossible after a fatal earthquake. It generally takes about one week to go from Kathmandu to Tibet overland, including making a detour to the famous Everest Base Camp and some famous tourist attractions off Sino-Nepal Friendship Highway.

From Major Cities of China to Tibet by Train

However, flying to Tibet is not the finest way to get to Tibet since it does not give your body enough time to gradually acclimatize to extreme altitudes. Hence, you are likely to suffer some mild altitude sickness in one way or the other. A decent recommendation is to fly to major cities like Xining and Chengdu from South Korea and later take Qinghai-Tibet train to Lhasa. This way ,the steady ascent can help you familiarize the high altitude better. The train schedules are best provided or tailor-made with your travel agency consultant or online. You do not want to ruin your trip by falling sick, so trains should seriously be considered.

Qinghai-Tibet trainQinghai-Tibet train

Via Beijing-Lhasa train
Getting to Lhasa from Beijing by train will be a lifetime experience for you. Launched in July, 2006, the Beijing to Lhasa train (No.Z21), stretching as far as 3,757 km, has been one of the three initial railway routes to Tibet. Crossing 8 provinces from Northern China Plain to the world highest Qinghai-Tibet Plateau, the train from Beijing to Lhasa will add to your Tibet tour more unforgettable experience with a 40:30h sky train journey onboard the Tibet train from Beijing to Lhasa.

Beijing-Lhasa trainBeijing-Lhasa train

Via Chengdu-Lhasa train
The Chengdu to Lhasa train, Z322, is the third shortest in terms of total trip duration, next to that from Xining and Lanzhou. The Chengdu-Tibet train departs every other day at 14:48 from the Chengdu Railway Station, and arrives in Lhasa at 09:55 on the third day.

Chengdu-Lhasa trainChengdu-Lhasa train

Via Xining-Lhasa train
The distance from Lhasa to Xining is 1972km / 1233 miles. We recommend that if you want to experience the new train to Tibet but do not want to spend hours travelling from other cities, you should fly into Xining and then take the train to Lhasa from Xining.

Xining-Lhasa trainXining-Lhasa train

On Board Facilities of Tibetan Trains
Exceptional features of the Tibet train allow passengers to travel in comfort to altitudes in excess of 4000 meters. The temperature in the train is controlled and pressurized. All windows are glazed with a UV coating, while you can enjoy the highlighted scenery of Tibet and emergency oxygen is available.

All windows are glazed with a UV coating, while you can enjoy the highlighted scenery of Tibet and emergency oxygen is available.All windows are glazed with a UV coating, while you can enjoy the highlighted scenery of Tibet and emergency oxygen is available.

You will find a Tibet train equipped with a dining cart and restaurant. You can always buy a snack inside the train or at stops. There are 3 meals a day. Passengers can also buy beer, tea, or soft drinks. You can order food in the dining car, usually on the seventh coach with 44 seats. The dining car onboard offers three meals a day, which are all Chinese style and Tibetan style and cost from 20 to 50 Yuan.

Soft sleeper on Tibet trainSoft sleeper on Tibet train

There are two kinds of toilets available at the end of each carriage. One is a squat type toilet and the other is a western toilet. There are three types of rooms on the Tibet train, the first class soft-berth sleeper, the second class soft-berth sleeper and soft seat coaches. Since the journey is really long, most travelers prefer the soft sleepers. The second class soft-berth sleeper is also known as hard sleeper. Both are soft and comfortable. The prime difference between soft sleeper and hard sleeper is that in hard sleeper you are in a compartment having 6 beds with 3 levels rather than 4 beds with 2 levels and there's no door on the compartment. It just provides basic beds and quilts. It is about 600 hard sleeper berths in one train, so the tickets are relatively easier to be reserved.

>> Join-in the most classic Tibet Train Tours from Beijing, Chengdu and Xining

Best time to visit Tibet

Are we all set? Not yet. You must be thoughtful over the ideal time to visit Tibet. The land that hosts spectacular landscapes and presents exclusive Tibetan culture all around the year attracts tourists in a heartbeat. You choose whether you want to experience the most colourful surrounding of Tibet in autumn or witness the spiritual life of Tibetan pilgrims during the winter. Thus, the monthly-highlights, climate conditions, cost of tour, Tibetan Festivals etc. play a role in deciding when to step into Tibet.

Considering only the weather, April to early Oct is the ideal time to make your journey to Tibet because this is when the weather will not be too harsh, making most tourist areas, like Mount Everest and Lake Namtso, accessible to you.

 Lake Namtso Lake Namtso

One of the most sought after options is the trek tour to Tibet to explore the hidden attractions of this region. The best time to trek is around April, May, Sept, Oct when the weather is mild without the interference of rainy days.

But, winter is also an option if you want to experience the intense religious atmosphere and cover tour from Lhasa to Shigatse. Due to the strong UV light, unique topography, winter in Tibet is not that cold as you imagine! And if you are a fan of Tibetan festivals, do not forget to first check with the updated Tibetan Lunar Calendar before making a tour to Tibet.

Most Classic Tibet Tour Routes

1) Lhasa to Everest Base Camp Tour - Now, are you looking for some good tour options? Let’s tlk about some. If you are someone who wants to experience the stunning beauty of Great Himalayas, the best option for you can be the Lhasa to Everest Base Camp Small Group Tour whereby you get to visit Potala Palace, Jokhang Temple, Barkhor Street and the renowned monasteries upon arrival to Lhasa, experiencing old markets and tasting the famous Tibetan teas.

After spending a couple of days in Lhasa for acclimatization, you can drive from Lhasa to Shigatse and enjoy the Korola Glacier, Manak Dam Lake and the far view of the Gyantse Fortress. And the next day, you can travel to the Everest Base Camp where you can embrace the panorama of Himalaya at Gawula Pass and tahe sunset of golden Everest peak, provided that the nature concedes.

2) Lhasa to EBC and Mt. Kailash Kora - A second option for your tour from Lhasa can be enjoying Lhasa to EBC tour and keep moving to Ngari to visit Mt. Kailash, a lofty mountain shaped like a pyramid, depicting the values of the Bon- native Tibetan religion and Buddhism. Here you have options to trek and visit the various monasteries if those interest you.

3) Lhasa to Nyingchi Tour - One final and beautiful option is visiting Nyingchi to experience nature at the best. You can visit the Great Cypress Nature Reserve area here and drive into the Lunang Forest to catch the dense bushes, spruce trees and pines. Gorgeous, isn’t it?

So, what are you waiting for? Saved enough for a much needed vacation whereby you can pamper yourself with stunning nature and treasurable experience? Then buckle up and set off for Tibet. Happy Traveling!

Master Kungga Dundruk

About the Author - Master Kungga Dundruk

The Lhasa-born prodigy used to study business overseas, and got his Bachelor of Business in Nepal and India before moving back to his homeland.With pure passion for life and unlimited love for Tibet, Kunga started his guide career as early as 1997.

Responsible, considerate and humorous, he devoted his entire life guiding and serving international tourists travelling in Tibet.As a legendary Tibetan travel guru with 20-year pro guide experience , he once had an exclusive interview with the US media. Currently he is working in Tibet Vista as the Tour Operating Director. Whenever our clients run into troubles, he is your first call and will offer prompt support.

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