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How to Get to Tibet in Different Ways - by flight, train, overland and more

How to Get to Tibet in Different Ways - by flight, train, overland and more

June,02 2023 BY Master Kungga Dundruk

Feel pretty exhilarated when planning your coming Tibet tour?

Believe me. I feel the same, the first time to Tibet!

The journey from your hometown to holy Tibet could be both long and arduous.

Where to start? How to change connecting flight or train? How many days and how much money are needed? Figuring out details like these could be overwhelmingly frustrating. 

However, don’t panic! Let’s our Tibet travel gurus put you back on track.

They will offer you loads of handy suggestions and help you map out an exciting travel route, equally money-saving and eye-pleasing.

As the leading expert of Tibet tour, each year we assist thousands of international tourists in planning their ways to Tibet. We help them book flight and train tickets, and organize day tour in connecting cities, etc.

I’m sure you will find the following tips and suggestions extremely useful, which include:

Cities to Take Non-stop Flights to Tibet & Flight Ticket Price

flights to tibet
Flights to Lhasa from different cities 

The top 5 cities where tourists can take non-stop flights to reach Lhasa are Kathmandu (Nepal), Chengdu, Chongqing, Shangri-La, and Xi’an.

Flying from any of these cities only takes around 2-3 hours to Lhasa. And the flight ticket costs between 270USD-350USD.

Meanwhile, Beijing-Lhasa flight, Shanghai-Lhasa flight and Guangzhou-Lhasa fight and Kunming-Lhasa flight will make a stopover in the most of the above non-stop flight cities.

The most convenient way to fly in is via cities like Kathmandu, Beijing, Shanghai and Chengdu. These 4 cities have most of the international flights connecting to the world.

Of course, if you plan to have a longer tour that covers both Tibet and other cities of China, you can visit the city first and then keep heading to Tibet after you get your Tibet Travel Permit.

Every year, more than 30% of international tourists prefer travelling to Tibet after finishing touring other parts of China or vice versa. In this case, we also have years of China Tibet tour running experiences.

If you need pro advice, please feel free to reach us.

Cheapest and Most Convenient Way to Tibet

chengdu lhasa flight
Chengdu-Lhasa flight is the most efficient way to Tibet

Indisputably, flying to Tibet is the most efficient way to reach Tibet, situated on towering Qinghai-Tibet Plateau. As you check the international flight online, it’s advisable to see if there is a flight between your city and Chengdu. If there is, things would be much easier.

After you land in Chengdu and get your Tibet Travel Permit, you can take Chengdu-Lhasa flight to Tibet, cost-effective and time-saving.

There are over 10 planes travelling between Chengdu-Lhasa on a daily basis. You can easily use them to fly to Tibet.

Besides, as the vital gateway city to Tibet, and hometown of adorable giant panda, Chengdu boasts a string of world-class natural heritages and historic relics.

With time permitting, you can visit our Chengdu-based office and chat with your travel consultant before flying to Lhasa. Or you can even spend a couple of days touring the highlighted attractions in Chengdu, like Giant Panda Research and Breeding Center, Wide and Narrow Alley, etc.

Overall, Chengdu-Lhasa flight is the cheapest one with many discount opportunities.

Take Tibet Train to Tibet: Best Way to Enjoy the Sublime View of Qinghai-Tibet Plateau

tibet train map
Major train routes to Lhasa, Tibet

As an engineering wonder on the highest plateau in the world, Qinghai-Tibet Railway also referred to as Tibet train serves as the most popular means of transport to Tibet for international tourists.

The scenic train departs from Xining, to the northwest of Qinghai-Tibet Plateau. And it connects Xining with other major railway systems travelling to Beijing, Shanghai, and Chengdu, Guangzhou, etc.

Speeding on the plateau averaging 4,000 meters above sea level, Tibet train takes you to experience a real drama that unfolds one after another before your eyes.

From snow-peaked Yuzhu Mountain, vibrant Kekexili nature reserve, to radiant sunset of Tuotuo River, majestic Tanggula Mountain, grazing Tibetan yaks dotted on boundless Changtang prairie, the ride to Tibet acts as a lifetime odyssey before formally arriving in the kingdom of spirituality.

If you opt for Xining-Lhasa train to Tibet, it will take around 21 to 22 hours to reach the destination. If you travel from other cities to Lhasa, it normally takes about 2 days.

So far, more than 50% of our clients prefer to begin their Tibet tour after enjoying Tibet train journey. And such trend is gaining ground.

However, due to the popularity of Tibet train, language barrier and the limited train tickets, it would be extremely difficult for international tourists to get train tickets, esp during the high season of Tibet tour (April to Oct.)

But, please feel rest-assured that Tibet Vista is one of the handful Tibet tour operators with ticket guarantee to ensure a hassle-free China and Tibet tour.

Get to Tibet from Kathmandu

Travelling by air and overland are the two major ways to enter Tibet from Nepal.

fly kathmandu lhasa
Enjoy the birds eye view of majestic Himalayas from Kathmandu-Lhasa flight

Currently, there are two direct flights flying from Kathmandu to Lhasa on a daily basis. It only takes about 1:35h and costs around 300-400 USD for the one way flight.

Short as the flight is, the extraordinary aerial journey gives tourists a rare chance to fly over awestruck Himalayan Range and enjoy entire view of Qinghai-Tibet Plateau.

Personally, I would recommend you to get the window seat on the left side of the plane. You will be treated with the jaw-dropping view of lofty mountain peaks averaging 8000m above the seal level, esp. the towering Mt. Everest, the third pole of our planet.

Another exciting way to enter Tibet is via overland trip 

kathmandu tibet overland

Having the Kathmandu to Lhasa overland trip

Situated to the opposite Himalayas, Tibet (TAR) and Nepal are great neighbors. To enter Tibet from Nepal, tourists need to pass the frontier, ie, Gyirong County

What makes this journey so special is that by following the winding road along vibrant ravines on the edge of magnificent Himalayan Range, you gradually ascend from Kathmandu Vally (1400m) to soaring Qinghai-Tibet Plateau (above 4000m).

With so many steep gorges, primeval forests and gushing waterfalls filled along the way, there are few overland journeys in the world that reward exploration as exciting as overland trip from Kathmandu to Lhasa via Sino-Nepal Friendship Highway (800km).

On top of that, the overland trip wisely weaves the highlights of epic Himalayan scenery together with sacred Tibetan lakes. You can experience the distinct beauty and culture in three historical Tibetan cities, such as Shigatse, Gyantse, and Lhasa. 8 days are needed to enjoy this once-in-a-lifetime experience.

Besides, to enter Tibet from Kathmandu, international tourists need to have Group Tourist Visa and Tibet Travel Permit.

You need to fly to Kathmandu at least 5 working days before your intended departure date and apply for the visa with your original passport during this time.

As a vital gateway city to Tibet, Kathmandu will accommodate a great number of international tourists travelling to Tibet. To facilitate these tourists, we have a Kathmandu-based office, providing one-stop service for application of Group Tourist Visa and Tibet Travel Permit.

Sichuan-Tibet Highway: the Most Attractive Overland Route to Tibet

sichuan tibet highway
travel from Chengdu to Lhasa via Sichuan-Tibet Highway (southern route) 

If you are a fearless adventurer who prefers an in-depth tour to explore the breathtaking view of Qinghai-Tibet Plateau, then travelling from Chengdu to Lhasa via Sichuan-Tibet Highway (2149km, southern route) shall be your top choice.

The notoriously challenging road takes you to venture into mountainous regions of Hengduan Mountains and Tibetan Plateau.

Flanked by towering rugged mountains and luxuriant pristine forest, you travel beside the raging torrent of Jinsha River, Lancang River and Nu River. The grazing Tibetan yaks on the pasture and fluttering colorful Tibetan prayer flags on the snow-capped mountain passes, running young shepherd, exotic village houses, etc. make Sichuan-Tibet Highway a heaven for photographers.

So far, the entire Sichuan-Tibet Highway has been built with quality asphalt road. It remains one of the most popular self-drive routes with most favorable reviews worldwide.

Now: Have some ideas to travel to Tibet? Let's work it out with together!

tibet airline

Hopefully, having read our recommendation above, you would find an appropriate way to enter Tibet that suits your time, budget and hobby.

If you need more detailed information, consultancy or other help, please do not hesitate to consult our travel consultants.  They will be willing to help you out. 

Weather you choose our service or not, the consultancy is For Free.

One More Thing - Tibet Vista gives incentive policy to anyone who successfully gets other tourists to join a small tour group. The organizer gets a discount for his or her payment, or wins a free tour!

If you have some special interests or preferences, hopefully you will find the following travel guide useful.

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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