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Travel to Tibet from United Kingdom

  • by Eric
  • Last Updated: 2024-05-02

Travelers from the United Kingdom often ask the question, “How do I travel to Tibet?” As a professional Tibet-based tour operator, we are fully competent to help Brits get to Tibet. Meanwhile, we could provide you with detailed information about the way to Tibet from London as well as the necessary documents you need, which could make it easier to enter this autonomous region with no worries.

How to Travel from the U.K. to Tibet?

In general, there are two options for Britons from London to Tibet, flying to Kathmandu(the capital city of Nepal) or mainland China first. Currently, the only international flights to Tibet are from Kathmandu, or else, you can fly to a major city of China first, such as Beijing, Shanghai, Chengdu, etc. then take domestic flights to Tibet. There are two points you may need to know beforehand, flying to Kathmandu and then to Lhasa(the capital city of Tibet Autonomous Region) takes an extra 3 working days to apply for your China Group Visa and it requires 4 participants to get a group visa. So if you don't have any plans to stay in Nepal or if there are fewer than 4 people from you, you may consider flying to mainland China first.

Get to Tibet through China

Getting to Tibet through China by flight or by railroad is a good option. Firstly, you can take a flight from London to the gateway cities of China such as Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, and so on. This is a great way for Brits who desire to travel to some of the Chinese major cities. You could visit these cities for various attractions before you fly to Lhasa, or take a Tibet train journey. Whatever you plan to do, we can provide a one-stop service by arranging all your tours in China and Tibet.

From the U.K. to China by Flights

Some flights from London to Chinese gateway cities are listed below. Prices here are only for your reference and could vary a lot due to the different seasons and airlines you select.

Flights Duration Costs
London to Beijing (LGW - PEK) Around 10h Around £1000
London to Shanghai (LGW - PVG) At least 11h 15m Around £1220
London to Guangzhou (LGW - CAN) At least 11h 10m Around £802
London to HongKong (LGW -  HKG) At least 11h 35m Around £700
London to Chengdu (LGW - TFU) At least 10h 40m Around £560

From Chinese Cities to Tibet by Flights

There are some flights that start from Chinese major cities to Lhasa including Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Hongkong, and Chengdu. Please note that the duration and prices are listed here for your reference only.

Flights Duration Costs
Beijing to Lhasa (PEK - LXA) At least 4h 25m Around £420
Shanghai to Lhasa (PVG - LXA) At least 7h Around £500
Guangzhou to Lhasa (CAN - LXA) At least 6h Around £400
Hong Kong to Lhasa (HKG - LXA) At least 7h 50m Around £445
Chengdu to Lhasa (TFU - LXA) Around 2h 20m Around £250

From Chinese Cities to Tibet by Trains

A Tibet railway trip is also an option for visitors, and actually, it could be more fun to take a train tour than to take flights. About your train Tour, there are three classes of tickets for your choice, namely, soft sleeper, hard sleeper, and hard seat. From the top to the end, the cost of train tickets decreases a lot. And, of course, the standard is quite different, you may check inside Tibet Train to know more details. However, if you purchase a soft-sleeper ticket, you could stay more comfortable in a cozy cabin instead of sitting in a hard-seat carriage with a bunch of passengers around you.

Qinghai Tibet Railway
Qinghai Tibet Railway

So if you are not on a tight budget, or you are taking the elderly or children with you, the soft-sleeper ticket is your first choice. Here is a chart for you containing the duration and approximate costs of the Tibet train tour from some Chinese major cities. You can check it out and find one that fits your plan the most.

Number of Trains Trains Duration Costs(soft-sleeper ticket)
Z21 Beijing to Lhasa Around 40h 40m Around £153
Z164 Shanghai to Lhasa Around 44h 30m Around £166
Z264 Guangzhou to Lhasa Around 53h 53m Around £204
Z322 Chengdu to Lhasa Around 34h 29m Around £135

(*Please note that you also can take combination trains to Lhasa, not only the one listed in the chart.)

Get to Tibet through Nepal

For British tourists, it's also an option to get to Tibet from Nepal as there is a direct flight from London to Kathmandu via New Delhi. This route deserves your consideration because it is really fast and convenient, only taking around 12 hours to reach Kathmandu, which takes around  £370. And then you could select 2 ways to arrive in Tibet, by flight or road.

From Kathmandu to Lhasa by Flight

After you land in the first exotic area, a direct flight from Kathmandu to Lhasa is available for your choice, operated by Himalayan Airlines. Only 1 hour and 25 minutes are taken for this Kathmandu-Lhasa flight trip. Currently it only runs on Monday, Wednesday and Friday.

Besides, the best part of it is, that you could take a look at the magnificent Mt. Everest, appreciating the charm of the world’s highest peak. However, the flight almost sells at the full price which is around £390. If you desire a fast arrival in Lhasa, it will be beneficial for you to take this flight. Moreover, please choose the left seats by the window, as you will view the magnificent Mt. Everest on the plane! >>See more about Kathmandu to Lhasa flight

Overlook Mt. Everest from a plane

From Kathmandu to Lhasa by Land

Besides the flight trip, you could enjoy the epic overland tour from Kathmandu to Lhasa as well. This overland tour is highly recommended by tourists for a fascinating experience along the Friendship Highway, and viewing both sides of the Himalayas. On the Nepal side, you will feel the warm moist air as well as lush plants; while on the Tibet side, You will feel the opposite and view the landscape of Mt. Everest, Karola Glacier, and Yamdrok Tso Lake, as well as Tibetan monasteries such as Tashilumpo Monastery, Sakya Monastery, Gyantse Kumbum, along the way.

Friendship highway
The landscape of the Friendship Highway

Tibet Travel Permits Required for Britons

Tibet is an autonomous region with special regulations for tourists who intend to enter it. Here are some necessary documents you need to know beforehand.

Tibet Travel Permit

A Tibet Travel Permit is required for every foreign passport holder. Generally, this permit is applied by the local travel agencies in Tibet. As the top Tibet-based tour operator, Great Tibet Tour has arranged thousands of applications for this kind of permit. We are experienced and qualified enough to help you obtain it, as well as arrange a great trip. To apply for a Tibet Travel Permit, scans of your valid Chinese Visa page and passport page are needed. Please send us these documents at least 20 days in advance before you start your Tibet journey.

Group Tourist Visa

China Group Tourist Visa is required for tourists who have plans to enter Tibet from Nepal. As the local tour agency, we can also help you get this document by sending a tourist invitation letter from Tibet. With the invitation letter, your passport and 2 photos(the same size as the photo in your passport but with a white background), you can apply it from the China Embassy in Kathmandu in 3 working days.

Final Words

As above, we have introduced the specific flights and trains from Britain to China or Nepal, and some permits you require. Now it is your time to make a plan related to the itinerary, budget, and transportation. We sincerely look forward to your arrival and joining our great Tibet Tour!

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Typically Asked Questions from Our Clients

Asked by Ri S***

Hi there, wondering if tibet is open for tours from Nepal for people travelling from UK / are your tours operating? Or a way to get bus and train from Nepal to Hanoi in Vietnam? We are looking from 12th April this year, 2022. Many thanks, Ri (UK passport)

Answered by Beatrice

Dear Ri Sham,

Currently Tibet has not yet been opened to international tourists. so I'm afraid your Tibet trip starting from April 19 is not applicable at this moment. By the way, you can take a car from Kathmandu to Lhasa, but there's no train connecting the two places. If you want to go to Hanoi in Vietnam, you may need to get to Lhasa from Kathmandu first, then take connecting flights to Hanoi via Chengdu or Xián in mainland China.  Hope the above info helps. Also, Tibet might get open in the second half of the year. If you can travel here later, please feel free to contact us.