• by Apple
  • Last Updated: 2018-04-11

What is the best way to travel Tibet? For foreign travelers, fly to Tibet is a much better option, not only faster but most cost-effective as well, since the train tickets have to be booked in advance and overland has to be accompanied by local guide & vehicle. There are flights to Tibet from many cities of mainland China, as well as from Kathmandu, Nepal, the one and only international flight. Since there are no direct long-haul flights to Lhasa, travelers usually have a stopover in mainland China, to receive their original Tibet Permit, then carry on to fly to Lhasa. The usual cities are Chengdu, Beijing, Shanghai, Xian, Xining, Diqin (=Shangrila), Chongqing, Guangzhou, etc.

 

Domestic Flights
In China, there are non-stop flights connecting Lhasa with Chengdu, Chongqing, Diqing, and Xian, while direct flights connecting Lhasa with Beijing, Shanghai, and Guangzhou make stops at Chengdu, Chongqing, Diqing or Xian. Flying from Chengdu will be most convenient, as more than one flight leave Chengdu for Lhasa.

 

International Flight
There is only one international airline getting to Tibet. Travelers often arrive at Kathmandu and then transfer to Lhasa. But departures are limited.

 

Flight Route Duration One Way per Person
Chengdu ↔ Lhasa 2h30m CNY 1680
Chongqing ↔ Lhasa 2h20m CNY 1890
Beijing ↔ Lhasa 5h30m CNY 3260
Shanghai ↔ Lhasa 5h30m CNY 3340
Xian ↔ Lhasa 3h10m CNY 2280
Xining ↔ Lhasa 2h30m CNY 1850
Diqin (=Shangrila) ↔ Lhasa 2h CNY 1570
Guangzhou ↔ Lhasa 5h20m CNY 2690
Kathmandu ↔ Lhasa 1h20m Changeable

 

Currently, there are 5 airports running in Tibet: Lhasa Airport, Chamdo Airport, Nyingchi Airport, Ngari Airport and Shigatse Airport. Ngachu Airport is still under construction.

 

Lhasa Airport

Lhasa Gonggar Airport is about 62km from Lhasa downtown. There are non-stop flights connecting Lhasa with Chengdu, Chongqing, Diqing, Xian, Bamda (a town of Chamdo, Tibet) and Kathmandu (capital of Nepal). Meanwhile, direct flights connect Lhasa with Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, and Kunming (which make stops at Chengdu, Chongqing, Qinghai, Xian, and Diqing. 

Chengdu is the most important hub for flights going to and from Tibet as there is more than 1 flight leave Chengdu for Lhasa DAILY. Besides, direct flights from other cities often go through Chengdu.

 

Chamdo Airport

Chamdo Bamda Airport is the highest airport in the world till now, at an elevation of 4,334 meters, with one of the longest runways. Chamdo Airport is far from Chamdo town (distance: 140 km) and flights here are frequently delayed due to the harsh weather in the plateau. Therefore, most tourists prefer Lhasa Airport than Chamdo Airport.

 

Nyingchi Airport

Nyingchi Airport, the 3rd civil airport in Tibet, formally went into operation in 2006, providing more conveniences to domestic and overseas tourists to Tibet. Nyingchi Airport may become many tourists' first stop in Tibet because its altitude is less than 3,000 meters, allowing visitors to acclimatize themselves gradually to higher altitudes.

 

Ngari Airport

Ngari Gunsa Airport in northwest Tibet opens from July 1, 2010. Farthest from Lhasa among all Tibetan prefectures, Ngari is difficult for tourists to get to due to long distance and poor road condition. Before the airport, Ngari was linked to Lhasa only by road and it took 3 days to cover the 1,600-km route. Luckily, Ngari now is easily accessible. It will take only one and a half hour to reach Ngari from Lhasa. What’s more, Ngari Airport will make a less-than-4-hour traffic possible from Chengdu to Ngari.

 

Shigatse Airport

Shigatse Peace Airport, built near the world's tallest peak Mount Everest in Shigatse Tibet, opens from October 30, 2010, marking the launching of the 5th civil airport of Tibet. Shigatse is located 250km from Lhasa and it normally takes 3-4 hours to get with good road conditions. Flights now only take 2 hours and 15 minutes from Chengdu to Shigatse and 30 minutes from Lhasa to Shigatse.

 

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