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How to Travel to Tibet From Australia?

Many Australian tourists visit Tibet every year to experience its unique religious and cultural heritage. There are no direct flights from Australia to Tibet, however, and from down under, you only have two viable routes to reach Tibet: the first one is via mainland China and the second one is via Kathmandu, Nepal.

Before you fly to China from Australia, you have to get a Chinese entry visa. Usually, the Chinese Embassy and Consulate General in Australia don’t accept the application directly. You need to submit the visa application online first then go to the relevant CVAS (Chinese Visa Application Service Center) in Canberra, Sydney, Melbourne, Perth or Brisbane. It's easy to get a China entry visa if you are not a journalist or a government official. You can use your return flight tickets and hotel reservations in China to get the visa. By the way, do not mention your trip to Tibet, otherwise, your application may get rejected by the China Embassy.

Foreigners can't visit Tibet without a Tibet entry permit. So you should find a reputable Lhasa-based travel agency on the internet, and they will help you to get your Tibet permit after you book your Tibet tour with them.

Tibet Travel Permit
Tibet Travel Permit is an essential document for entering Tibet.

Flights from Australia to China

If you are coming from Sydney, Australia, your first leg of the trip would be from Sydney to any point of entry city to China like Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Chengdu, and Hong Kong. Once you have arrived in China and have reached your hotel, your travel agent will hand over to you your Tibet Travel Permit. You will present this Tibet Travel Permit before you board a train or plane to Tibet.

  • The non-stop flight from Sydney to Beijing usually takes around 11 hours and 40 minutes; while those flights from Australia with a stopover at HGH, TPE, FOC, or CAN take around 14 hours and 5 minutes.
  • The non-stop flight from Sydney to Shanghai takes around 10 hours and 30 minutes, while flights with a stopover at FOC, TPE, CAN, or KUL take around 13 hours and 55 minutes.
  • The non-stop flights from Sydney to Guangzhou usually take around 9 hours and 30 minutes, while flights with a stopover at PVG, KUL, CKG, or SIN take around 15 hours and 10 minutes.
  • The non-stop flight from Sydney to Xiamen will take around 9 hours and 15 minutes, while flights with a stopover at HK, KUL and MNL take around 15 hours. The Non-stop flights from Sydney to Xiamen depart every Tuesday, Thursday, and Sunday. Sometimes, there is also a non-stop flight on Saturday.
  • Non-stop flights from Sydney to Chengdu take around 10 hours and 55 minutes; and flights with a stopover at FOC, PVG, or HKG take around 17 hours and 10 minutes. The Non-stop flights from Sydney to Chengdu depart every Monday, Thursday, and Saturday.
  • Non-stop flights from Sydney to Hong Kong take around 9 hours and 5 minutes, while flights with a stopover in KUL, SIN, or TPE would take around 19 hours and 35 minutes.

Get to Tibet by Plane in China

After your arrival in China, taking a plane to Tibet is the fastest way as it only costs travelers a few hours. Meanwhile, there are many cities that have direct flights to Lhasa, such as Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou and Chengdu. Many airlines could offer discounts in winter, especially flights from Chengdu to Lhasa.

Most Australians prefer to choose the route of taking a plane from Melbourne or Sydney to Chengdu, and then flying to Lhasa. It's commonly known that Chengdu is the economic and cultural center in the southwest of China and also the city closest to Lhasa. Moreover, there are more than ten flights a day from Chengdu to Lhasa therefore it's relatively cheap.

No matter which city you choose to fly to Tibet, you will be arriving within 7 hours. It takes about 4 hours and 30 minutes from Beijing to Lhasa, 7 hours from Shanghai to Lhasa, 6 hours from Guangzhou to Lhasa, and 2 hours from Chengdu to Lhasa.

Timetable and Schedule of Flights to Tibet

Flight to Tibet Flight Number Departure Arrival Duration Frequency
Beijing to Lhasa

CA4125 Air China

07:25 11:50 4 hours and 25 minutes
Every Day
Beijing to Lhasa TV9816
Air China
14:55 19:35 4 hours and 40 minutes
Every Day
Shanghai to Lhasa MU6957
China Eastern Airlines
08:25 13:20 4 hours and 55 minutes
Every Day
Guangzhou to Lhasa MU5774
China Eastern Airlines
06:50 12:40 5 hours and 50 minutes
Stopover in Diqing
Every Day
Chengdu to Lhasa CA4403
Air China
07:00 09:30 2 hours and 30 minutes
Every Day
Chengdu to Lhasa CA4401
Aire China
08:00 10:20 2 hours and 20 minutes
Every Day
Chengdu to Lhasa 3U6635
Sichuan Airlines
11:30 14:00 2 hours and 30 minutes
Every Day
Chengdu to Lhasa TV9882
Tibet Airlines
19:05 21:20 2 hours and 15 minutes
Every Day
Gonngar Airport in Lhasa
Gonggar Airport in Lhasa.

Get to Tibet by Train in China

Taking a train is the cheapest way to Tibet. If your travel budget is tight and your time is loose, it would be the best choice for you to take a train to Tibet. Many cities also have the train to Lhasa, such as Beijing, Shanghai, Xining, Chengdu and Guangzhou, etc. It usually takes two or four days to get to Tibet according to the place of departure.

And there are several types of seats you can choose from - hard seat, hard berth, and soft berth. Hard seat is the cheapest class of seating on the China Railway, but it is not suitable for long-distance travel. The hard berth is more comfortable than the hard seat cos you can lie down rather than relying on the back chair when you want to sleep. The soft sleeper is the most comfortable class in Chinese railway seats. Although the price of the soft berth is the most expensive, there are lots of people choosing it.

For many Australians who want to enjoy the scenery along the Qinghai-Tibet railway, the flights from Melbourne or Sydney to Xining are the most popular, after you reach Xining, you could take a train from Xining to Lhasa.

It takes 21 hours from Xining to Lhasa. At the same time, you will be accustomed to the climate here, reducing the risk of altitude sickness after arriving.

Timetable and Schedule of Trains to Tibet

Train to Tibet Train Number Departure Arrival Duration Distance Frequency
Beijing to Lhasa Z21 19:55 12:29 40 hours and 34 minutes 3757 km Every Day
Shanghai to Lhasa Z164 18:33 15:06 44 hours and 33 minutes 4373 km Every Day
Guangzhou to Lhasa Z265 08:24 14:17 53 hours and 53 minutes 4980 km Every Day
Chengdu to Lhasa Z322 21:13 07:42 34 hours and 29 minutes 3070 km Every Other Day
Xining to Lhasa Z971 12:50 10:21 21 hours and 31 minutes 1972 km Every Day
Scenery along Qinghai Tibet Railway
Amazing scenery along Qinghai Tibet Railway, which is also been called sky road.

Get to Tibet by Highways in China

It's the most expensive way to go to Tibet by driving, and it would cost travelers a lot of time on the road, but you can enjoy the most spectacular view, so if your time and money are sufficient, this is also a good choice.

There are four highways in China to get to Tibet, namely Qinghai-Tibet Highway, Xingjiang-Tibet Highway, Sichuan-Tibet Highway, and Yunnan-Tibet Highway. Whatever highway you choose to go to Tibet, it usually takes 1 to 2 weeks.

Drive to Tibet
If your time and money are sufficient, you may have an overland tour to Tibet.

Sydney To Tibet via Kathmandu

From Australia, the second viable way to Tibet from Australia is via Kathmandu, Nepal. From Kathmandu, you can either board a flight from Kathmandu to Tibet or take an overland trip from Kathmandu to Lhasa.

If you are coming from Sydney, your other viable option to reach Tibet aside from that of mainland China is via Kathmandu, Nepal. Since Tibet is under the jurisdiction of the Chinese Government, flights coming from mainland China are considered local flights to Tibet. Hence, the only direct international flights to Tibet are those coming from the country of Nepal. Flights from Sydney to Kathmandu usually take around 21 hours and 8 minutes with stopovers either in KUL, DOH, AUH, or BKK.

Once you arrive in Kathmandu, you need to set about applying for your China Group Visa with the help of your tour agent. With your China Group Visa, you can board a flight to Lhasa, Tibet, or cross the Sino-Nepalese Border. For your Tibet Travel Permit, your agent will hand over it to you at Lhasa Gonggar Airport after your arrival or at the border before you get through.

  • The best option to reach Lhasa from Kathmandu is by plane. Plane travel usually takes around 1 hour and 25 minutes. Flights between Kathmandu and Lhasa and vice versa are currently provided by Himalayan Airlines, on Monday, Wednesday and Friday, starting from 17 April 2024. The costs of these flights generally vary from season to season, depending upon your time of travel. From April to October, plane tickets generally cost around AUD599.
  • You will be required to get a Group Tourist Visa and Tibet Travel Permit before you can travel to Tibet. The upsides of traveling by plane to Lhasa include getting the chance to get a bird’s eye view of the peak of Mount Everest. Moreover, it is the fastest way from Kathmandu to Lhasa.
  • The second viable option to reach Tibet from Kathmandu is via an overland trip to Lhasa. This overland trip usually takes longer. The travel time usually takes several days and covers around 943km of road travel. The upsides concomitant with the overland trip from Kathmandu to Lhasa include the chance to explore the real beauty of Nepal and Tibet up close and personal. Despite being a very exhilarating journey, it is worth taking because it allows you to personally experience the religious and cultural heritage of both Nepal and Tibet simultaneously. Once you have secured your Group Tourist Visa, you can then take a jeep to the Gyirong Port at the Sino-Nepal Border. There, your Tibetan guide will be waiting for you to accompany and guide you through your overland trip to Tibet.

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Asked by Mich***

Hi, would you happen to know where exactly the last picture was taken, or what mountain is in the background?


Answered by Cherry

The mountain in the background is Mount Kalish. Mount Kalish is considered to be sacred in four religions: Jainism, Buddhism, Bön, and Hinduism. Every year, thousands make a pilgrimage to Kailash, following a tradition going back thousands of years. Pilgrims of several religions believe that circumambulating Mount Kailash on foot is a holy ritual that will bring good fortune. Would you like to have a once-in-a-lifetime pilgrimage journey to Mount Kalish? We have 15 Days Mt.Everest & Mt Kailash Kora Pilgrimage Group Tour. What do you think? Here is the itinerary of 15 Days Mt.Everest & Mt Kailash Kora Pilgrimage Group Tour.