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How to Travel to Tibet from Malaysia?

  • by Mark
  • Last Updated: 2024-06-05

Malaysia is the main source of tourists to Tibet. Malaysian travelers who want to go to Tibet must be on an organized tour that includes a pre-arranged itinerary, a private vehicle, a driver and a tour guide. There are no exceptions to these travel regulations. Only a Tibet travel agency can arrange a journey to Tibet and obtain a travel permit for you. Solo Malay travelers also can visit Tibet but still need to be part of an organized tour. To go to Tibet, Malaysians need to contact a reputable, local-owned travel agency in Tibet and they will take care of ALL arrangements for you inside Tibet.

Important Notice: Visitors from Malaysia can enjoy a 15-day China visa-free policy till 31 December 2025.

Tibet via Chengdu, China

As there are no direct flights from Malaysia to Tibet, one way to get to Tibet is by taking a plane from Kuala Lumpur to Chengdu, China. There are daily flights between KL and Chengdu all year round on Air Asia. Before you fly to Chengdu, you will need to apply for a China visa(Better L tourist visa). A tourist visa for China can be obtained at the China Embassy in Kuala Lumpur or at the China Consulates in Kuching, Penang and Kota Kinabalu. When you apply for a Chinese tourist visa, do NOT list Tibet on your visa application. If you do, you almost certainly will have problems getting your China visa.

There are 8 to 12 flights that reach directly to Lhasa from Chengdu. The flight takes about 2 hours and you can enjoy the spectacular mountain views along the way. In addition to the daily flights to Lhasa, you can also take the train from Chengdu to Lhasa. The train takes just less than 2 full days to reach the Tibetan capital. You'd better relax in Lhasa for the first or two days as your body adjusts to the high elevation. Try not to hike strenuously, climb the stairs of the Potala Palace and drink alcohol during these two days.

Flights to Lhasa from mainland Chinese cities
Flights to Lhasa from mainland Chinese cities

Tibet via Kathmandu, Nepal

Another way of reaching Tibet from Malaysia is via Kathmandu, Nepal. There are direct flights to Tibet every day on Air Asia in Kathmandu. And from where you can either fly or go overland to Lhasa. For taking a flight from Kathmandu to Lhasa, it takes about 1 hour and 20 minutes and you may see the awe-inspiring Himalayan scenery. Currently the flight is operated by Himalayan Airlines and there are 3 flights on Mon/Wed/Fri per week. >> See more about Kathmandu to Lhasa flights

For taking an overland tour from Kathmandu to Lhasa, usually takes 3 to 4 days. You can first visit Kathmandu, the capital of Nepal, then cross the Himalayas, go along Friendship Highway and visit the top attractions of Tibet such as Mount Everest, Yamdroktso Lake, Potala Palace, Jokhang Temple, etc. >> See more about Kathmandu to Lhasa overland trip

It is extremely important to you that your travel route includes proper acclimatization if you go overland from Kathmandu to Lhasa. Many budget tour agencies in Nepal and Tibet offer itineraries that do not think about acclimatization and eventually put travelers at serious risk of altitude sickness. Kathmandu is not high enough to help with the acclimatization process with only 1350 meters. Some travel agencies have routes that take customers from Kathmandu directly to Everest Base Camp with an elevation of 5200 meters in only 2 days. This is extremely unsafe. Going that high so quickly can cause serious altitude sickness or even high altitude pulmonary edema (HAPE). If possible, please book with a Tibet travel agency with a good reputation.

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It's different to go to Tibet from Nepal or from mainland China. When going to Tibet from any city in Mainland China, all you need is a normal Chinese tourist visa and a Tibet Travel Permit. One can be obtained from the Chinese Embassy in Kuala Lumpur or at the Chinese consulates in Kuching, Penang or Kota Kinabalu and another is from the Tibet Tourism Bureau. However, if you plan to enter Tibet from Nepal, you must get a China Group Visa from the Chinese Embassy in Kathmandu, as well as a Tibet travel permit. Going this route, you can't use a Chinese visa that you already applied for in Malaysia or anywhere else to go to Tibet from Nepal. To get a China group visa, you will need to submit a visa invitation letter which is issued by Tibet Tourism Bureau, and your passport to the Chinese Embassy in Kathmandu. The Chinese Group Visa normally takes about 3 business days to obtain. Here is one more point. Starting from 1 May 2023, a China group visa only can be issued per 4 participants. If you are a solo traveler, you can't obtain it.

Regarding the Tibet travel permit, it's a mandatory document if you board a flight or train to Tibet and it takes at least 2 weeks to be processed. You should book with a Tibet local travel agency before you plan to get to Tibet. If you plan to go to Mt. Kailash, Lake Manasarovar or other areas of far Western Tibet, book with a travel agency at least 5 weeks before you plan to arrive.

Tibet travel permit
Tibet travel permit

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Typically Asked Questions from Our Clients

Asked by Pusp***

Hi I’m  planning to visit Tibet in September 2025 for 15 days with my friend from Chengdu to lasha to two of us. Please send me the details thank you.

Answered by Merry

Dear Pusp****, 

According to your inquiry, I recommend 15 days Mt.Everest & Mt.Kailash Kora Pilgrimage Group Tour to you. For this group tour, the best travel time is from late April to June or from September to early October. We can open one for you in Sep.2025 and it needs further confirmation.