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How to Get to Lhasa from Kathmandu: by Flight or Drive in 2024?

February,21 2024 BY Master Catherine Jigme 0 COMMENTS

Located on the Roof of the World, Lhasa is the stunning regional capital of Tibet. And getting to this beautiful city is often best done from exotic Kathmandu, the capital of Nepal, Tibet’s closes neighbor. Getting to Lhasa from Kathmandu may seem tricky, but with modern transport, this trip is not as difficult as one might imagine. There are many organized tours through which you can get to Lhasa from Kathmandu, and we can show you the best options for taking that trip.

How Far is Lhasa from Kathmandu? The Location Map of Lhasa and Kathmandu

Lhasa is located in the south-east of the Tibet Autonomous Region, while Kathmandu lies roughly central in Nepal. The straight-line distance from Kathmandu to Lhasa is 608 kilometers (378 miles), but when driving, it is a lot further. On the normal route to get to Lhasa from Kathmandu, crossing the border at Gyirong Port and traveling through Shigatse to the Tibetan regional capital, it is a trip of around 980 kilometers (609 miles) , traveling through some of the world’s most outstanding landscapes.

The Location Map of Lhasa and KathmanduThe Location Map of Lhasa and Kathmandu.

Get to Lhasa from Kathmandu by Flight: the Most Convenient & Fastest Way

Visiting Lhasa from Nepal by air is the most convenient choice for tourists, because it’s the fastest, as it only take around 1.5 hours. Tribhuvan International Airport in Kathmandu is the only international airport offers direct flights to Tibet. Generally, there are 1 to 2 flights per day available between Kathmandu and Lhasa, while in the peak season, there are normally around four flights per day across the plateau.

Visit Himalaya by Lhasa to Kathmandu flightThe Kathmandu to Lhasa flight passengers an outstanding view of the world’s highest mountain.

Considered to be one of the most stunning flights to Lhasa, the Kathmandu to Lhasa flight crosses the mighty Himalayas above Mount Everest, giving passengers an outstanding view of the world’s highest mountain, as well as surrounding peaks including Mount Lhotse and Mount Kanchenjunga.

Get to Lhasa from Kathmandu by Overland: the Most Spectacular and Recommended Way

Traveling overland from Kathmandu to Lhasa is not just the cheapest way to see the plateau region; it is also the most amazing journey you will take in your lifetime. The overland route from Kathmandu to Lhasa takes you across stunning landscapes, via astounding Buddhist monasteries and temples, past the world’s highest lakes, and through one of the most unique and stunning cultures on this planet.

Kathmandu to Lhasa overland tourKathmandu to Lhasa overland tour.

The road trip across Tibet takes you to see beautiful waterfalls, fast-flowing rivers, mountains draped in snow, and the stunning beauty of this highland nature, not to mention the panorama that is the Himalaya Mountains.

Generally, the Kathmandu to Lhasa tour starts from Kathmandu to Rasuwa Gadhi, the Nepalese border town, where you will cross into Tibet, and then along the main asphalted roads to Gyirong, Old Tingri, the Everest Base Camp, Shigatse, and on to Lhasa.

The journey usually takes 7 to 8 days, including visits to the most amazing sights and attractions of Tibet along the way. For better acclimatization to the altitude, we recommend taking the 8-day overland tour from Nepal to Tibet. This way, you can stay one more night at Gyirong to get used to the sudden altitude increase from 1400 meters in Kathmandu to over 2000 meters after passing through the Gyirong border.

Get to Lhasa from Kathmandu by Train: Going to Be Open Soon

Unfortunately, at this time, there is currently no train to unite Kathmandu and Lhasa. But there will be soon. The route for the railway that is currently under constructions will run along the Lhasa-Shigatse line (the extension of the Qinghai-Tibet Railway), and then continue on to Gyirong Port and drop down from the mountains into the Kathmandu Valley, finally ending in Kathmandu itself.

Since the first days of rail transport in Tibet, the region has become quite developed in its railways, not only with the new railway joining Lhasa with Chengdu, but the extension line that runs to Shigatse, Tibet’s second city, which will eventually connect to Kathmandu in Nepal, giving travelers another amazing route to get from Kathmandu to Lhasa.

Get to Lhasa from Kathmandu by Bus: Not Recommended

While there is a bus that runs direct from Kathmandu to Lhasa, it is, unfortunately, not available to international travelers, as they are not permitted to travel in Tibet without a guide and on a private organized tour.

For those that can take this option, taking around 12 hours of travel time, the bus runs from Kathmandu to Lhasa along the Friendship Highway, crossing the border at Gyirong Port and passing through Tingri and Shigatse on the 1,100 km route to Lhasa. However, due to snow in the winter, the trip is not open all year round.

Get to Lhasa from Kathmandu by Adventurous Way, Like Bicycling or Motorbiking

Following the same route as other overland tours, a trip across the plateau from Kathmandu to Lhasa by bicycle or motorbike is undoubtedly one of the most unique and stunning ways to cross the plateau region.

A bicycle tour from Kathmandu to Lhasa not only gives you all the breathtaking views that come with every tour of Tibet, but it lets you to get closer to the natural environment and landscapes of Tibet in a way that no other tour allows. With no glass to see things through, and nothing between you and nature, cycling the plateau is a mesmerizing and extraordinary way to get from Kathmandu to Lhasa.

Kathmandu to Lhasa bicycling tour via Tibet Everest Base CampKathmandu to Lhasa bicycling tour via Tibet Everest Base Camp.

And if you are not into the effort of cycling, but want all the thrills of being out in the open air, what better way to take this route across the plateau than on a motorcycle to Tibet? Roaring across the verdant landscape, with the wind in your face and the sun blazing down has got to be the most thrilling way to explore Tibet.

The Most Popular Tour Itineraries for Traveling Lhasa and Kathmandu Together

From bikes to buses (or not) and planes to trains, the best way to visit Lhasa and Kathmandu together is on one of the world’s most popular tours with us. Our Tibet Nepal tours let you take in the breathtaking sights of Tibet on a trip through the Sino-Nepal Friendship Highway that will leave you begging us not to let you go home.

8 Days Driving Across Himalaya Overland Adventure from Kathmandu to Lhasa

As one of the best ways to get from Kathmandu to Lhasa, this 8-day Kathmandu to Lhasa overland adventure begins in the amazing and colorful city of Kathmandu, the capital of Nepal, Tibet’s closest neighbor. After visiting the local sights, you will travel upwards into the mountains to Rasuwa Gadhi, crossing the world’s highest mountain range at Rasuwa Gadhi, and crossing the Friendship Bridge into Tibet and up to Gyirong Town.

This once-in-a-lifetime trip brings you across the stunning Tibetan plateau through ancient towns and villages, alongside stunning rivers that eventually wend their way to the sea in foreign lands, and past sacred lakes that have been sites of Buddhist worship for thousands of years. You will get the chance to visit some of the ancient Buddhist monasteries, before arriving in Lhasa to explore this sacred city and its delights.

7 Days Lhasa to Kathmandu Overland Small Group Tour

Another popular tour for you to explore the best of the Tibetan Plateau and the Himalaya is the 7-day overland tour from Lhasa to Kathmandu. This exciting and adventurous trip across the vast expanse of Tibet takes one week and not only allows you to stand in the shadow of Mount Everest, at the very spot where many intrepid explorers began their ascent, but shows you the delights of Tibet as you have never imagined them.

This epic overland adventure is best taken from April to May and September to October, but ca actually be done all year round if you are not averse to the different weather conditions in this high-altitude four-season climate.

Starting with the delights of Lhasa, including the Potala Palace, the Jokhang Temple, and the surrounding monasteries, the trip then takes you west to Shigatse, passing by the holy Lake Yamdrok, and then on through Old Tingri to the famous Everest Base Camp (EBC). From there, you will pass through some of Tibet’s most fertile landscape, before heading through the Gyirong Valley as you cross the mighty Himalayas to the border, and then dropping down to finally reach exotic Kathmandu.


There are many ways to get from Kathmandu to Lhasa, and while not all of them are available to international travelers, there are still a variety of trips you can take to get to this amazing high-altitude capital city from exotic Kathmandu. And we can guarantee that, whether you choose to cycle, ride a motorbike, or join one of our exclusive and exceptional Tibet Nepal tours, this will be the trip of a lifetime, and one that will leave you yearning to come back for more.

Master Catherine Jigme

About the Author - Master Catherine Jigme

With exceptional passion and outstanding leadership, Mrs. Catherine has dedicated herself to Tibet inbound tourism and China tour for 15 years. As one of the handful females who see great potential of Chinese inbound tourism, Catherine has made great contribution to promoting Tibet tourism and enhancing the employment of Tibetans and prosperity of local Tibetan community.

Over the years, she travelled overseas with Tibet Tourism Bureau many times to promote Tibet tourism. Currently, Catherine works as the marketing director of Tibet Vista, an opinion leader behind the whole team of Tibet Vista.

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