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How to Get to Lhasa from Hong Kong - by Train or Flight

September,11 2019 BY Sonam Tenphel 0 COMMENTS

The constant opening of new air routes and great changes taken place in railroad transportations facilitate our trips with variety of possible travel routes, making the distance between the departing place and the destination shortened by spending less time on it. Follow us to see what the fastest travel route from Guangzhou (Guangdong Province) to Lhasa by train and by flight respectively and other alternatives.

Important Notice: Due to the completion of Guangzhou–Shenzhen–Hong Kong Express Rail, from Sept, 23 this year international tourists can enjoy the high speed train from Hong Kong (West Kowloon) directly to Guangzhou (48min) and further take Guangzhou-Lhasa train (52 hours and 34 minutes) or flight to Tibet. For the first-timers to China, you may take high speed train from Guangzhou to Shanghai (7h) or from Guangzhou to Beijing (8 hours and 3 minutes) for a brief visit before taking Tibet train or flight to Lhasa (Updated, Jan.8, 2019). More than 30 trains depart from Hong Kong to Guangzhou each day with the average ticket price of CNY 200.

How to Travel from Hongkong to Tibet MapMultiple options to travel from Guangzhou to Tibet

Fastest travel route from Hong Kong to Lhasa by train:

First section of the trip: From Hong Kong to Guangzhou

The shortest distance that covered from Hong Kong to Lhasa is about 4,615 km by train. The entire distance includes 146 km’s trip from Hong Kong (West Kowloon) to Guangzhou (Guang Zhou South Railway Station) by the latest Guangzhou-Shenzhen-Hong Kong Express Rail and 4473 km’s trip from Guangzhou to Lhasa by the regular train.

Since the Opening of Guangzhou-Shenzhen-Hong Kong Express Rail (Also known as Guangshen’gang XRL for short) on Sep. 23 this year, the time consumed from Hong Kong (West Kowloon) to Guangzhou (Guang Zhou South Railway Station) has been greatly condensed to 48 minutes. So if you want to try this latest Express Rail or wish to arrive at Guangzhou a little bit earlier, then book the Express Rail ticket at a comparatively higher price.

Insider tips:
1. Two phases of trips can be found during this Express Rail. The first phase which commenced revenue operation in December 2011 starts from Guangzhou South to Shenzhen North. Services were extended to the city center of Shenzhen at Futian in December 2015. The final phase which connects Shenzhen-Futian to Hong Kong (West Kowloon) was inaugurated on Sep. 22 2018 and opened for public on Sep. 23 2018.
2. In terms of the speed, the ticket price as well as the consumed time, totally three types of the rolling stock are operated on this railway link for passengers to book according to their time schedule and paying capacity.

Second section of the trip: From Guangzhou to Lhasa with the railway engine transferred at Xining Railway Station of Qinghai Province

Further take the regular Guangzhou-Lhasa train. Trains taken in this section of the trip will make a temporary stop at Xining railway station, for the railway engine is require to be changed for the imported GE made engine with electric drive and alternating current traction. In fact, from Xining station, the train starts to run on the Qinghai-Tibet Line and any train without renewed railway engine is not permitted to enter this area, for the elevation becomes much higher while the rail road turns to be steeper.

Benefit: If you are a big fan of train journey, this travel route to Tibet will be the ultimate journey you are looking for. After you take Kowloon-Guangzhou Train to Guangzhou, then you can board Guangzhou-Lhasa train and spend the next two days from the south all the way to central and western China. During the long train journey tourists can have the bigger picture of the most diversified landscapes and cities in China.

Disadvantage: For the elderly or small children, the lengthy train ride (4980km from Guangzhou to Lhasa) could be a huge challenge and potentially make them feel restless and drained.

Insider tips:
1. Just the change of the railway engine in Xining Station, passengers do not have to worry about transferring to another train.
2. Due to the thin oxygen content during this section of trip from Xining station to Lhasa, an oxygen providing system is attached to the newly replaced railway engine. Passengers suffering from altitude sickness can uptake the oxygen by connecting a tube directly to the oxygen hole nearby the window.
3. Views from Golmud station (The next station after the train’s departing from Xining) to Lhasa are thrilling. So get your camera ready and shoot these fantastic and rarely-seen views outside the window.

Travel route alternatives from Hong Kong to Lhasa by train

Varied travel schedules with the start from Hong Kong can possibly result in different travel routes. If you decide to get to Lhasa by train, then the following routes can be the alternatives for you to choose:
1. Take the high speed rail from Guangzhou to Shanghai (7h) and then transfer to the Shanghai Tibet train heading for Lhasa (48h).
2. Take the high speed rail from Guangzhou to Beijing (8h) and then transfer to the Beijing Tibet train heading for Lhasa (40h).

Fastest travel route from Hong Kong to Lhasa by flight

Lhasa Kongga International Airport has opened approximately 20 direct flights to cities around the country, but Hong Kong is not among them. So for tourists traveling from Hong Kong to Lhasa, you need to transfer in Chengdu, Chongqing, Xining, Xi’an, Kunming, Shangri-La, Beijing, Shanghai or other cities that have direct flights in mainland China.

HK-Chengdu-Lhasa Flight

1. Take the flight in Hong Kong, no need to rush to other cities.
2. HK---Chengdu (Transfer)---Lhasa Flight is recommended (The entire fly itself only takes around 5.5 h, transfer to airport not included, Most time-saving and efficient, so far the fastest way you can find to travel from Hong Kong to Tibet)

1. Higher cost with higher risk of developing altitude sickness due to abrupt ascent.
2. Almost all the flights from Hong Kong to Lhasa take a flight or even airport transfer in the mainland cities. Time consumed in most of these transfer cities could be more than 10 hours. If you don’t bother to carry your luggage from one airport to another or you don’t mind the long waiting hours then just go for it.

HK-Cuangzhou-Chengdu-Lhasa Flight

Or you can have another good choice, and that is what we also strongly recommend to you:
1. Arrive in Guangzhou by taking the Guangzhou-Shenzhen-Hong Kong Express Rail (48 min)
2. Take off at Guangzhou Baiyun international airport and head for Lhasa by the stopover city of Chengdu or Chongqing in mainland China. Comparing to other stopover cities, we firmly recommend Chengdu and Chongqing, for both of the two cities make the distance from Guangzhou to Lhasa much shorter than any other cities with direct flights.

1. Guangzhou---Chengdu---Lhasa flight (the entire flight itself only takes around 5 hours and 20 minutes , transfer to airport terminal not included)
2. Most of the flights make a temporary stop (Only a few hours) in the transfer cities, so you don’t have to waste more time in waiting.

Take off from Guangzhou, so you must arrive in Guangzhou first

Insider tips:
The two ways listed above by flight are the widely chosen travel routes for Hong Kong tourists, and are also the fastest and comfortable routes we recommend to our guests.

Different travel routes to Lhasa

Besides the fastest train and flight we recommended above, why not try some combinations? Sometimes, the train and flight combined travel route makes the whole journey much more amazing and full of excitement. Here are two carefully selected travel routes for you according to your travel schedule, personal preferences and budget.

Way I: HK---flight---Chengdu---flight---Xining---train (24h) ---Lhasa

Benefit: This is the second fastest way to access Tibet. You can first fly to Chengdu, one of the major overland gateways to Tibet, and enjoy giant pandas and later board Xining-Lhasa train, the essence of Qinghai-Tibet Railway, to Lhasa. In addition, it only takes around 24 hours from Xining to Lhasa by train. The train ticket booking is much easier than booking Tibet-bound trains from Beijing and Shanghai during peak travel season. Meanwhile, taking train to Lhasa can effectively minimize the potential altitude sickness risk for travelers who start your journey from places with low or minus altitude.

Disadvantage: none

Way II: HK---flight---Chengdu---train (44h) ---Lhasa

Benefit: This travel route is cost-effective and promises great sightseeing in Chengdu and stunning scenery for the train ride from Chengdu to Lhasa. Meanwhile, travelling to Tibet by train can allow your body to have gradual ascent from basin to plateau with extreme altitude. In other words, it can prevent you from developing acute altitude sickness symptom (such as shortness of breath, headache, fatigue, loss of appetite, dizziness, insomnia, etc.). Refer to Chengdu-Lhasa train for detailed information.

Disadvantage: Compared with travelling to Tibet from Xining-Lhasa train, the Chengdu-Lhasa train takes much longer time, around 44 hours.

Tibet Travel Documents for Hong Kong Citizens

The Hong Kong citizens don’t need Tibet travel permits to enter and travel Tibet, just bring your Chinese SAR Passport and Home Return Permit. No matter how you plan to travel from Hong Kong to Lhasa, we will provide wholehearted services to you. Please refer to our home site for further information.

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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