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Most Helpful Tibet Flight FAQs and Tips

14 December 2022 Last updated at 11:55

What cities should I go to take a flight to Tibet in China?

Currently, you can take flights to Tibet from following cities: Chengdu, Beijing, Xian, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Chongqing, Kunming, Shangri-La, Lijiang, Zhengzhou, Kangding, Mianyang, Xining, Xiahe, Yushu, and Urumqi.

The mostly used flight hubs are: Chengdu, Beijing, Xian, Shanghai, Chongqing and Kunming

Air Route Distance Duration Frequency Flight Type
Chengdu Lhasa 768miles (1286km) about 2.5 hours appr 12 flights per day direct flights
Beijing Lhasa 1867 miles (3004 km) 4~6 hours appr 3 flights per day direct flights
Xian Lhasa 1230 miles (1980 km) about 3 hrs 20 mins appr 7 flights per day direct flights
Shanghai Lhasa about 1930mi (3107km) about 7~9 hours appr 5 flights per day stopover / connecting
Chongqing Lhasa 985miles(1585km) about 2hrs 50mins appr 10 flights per day direct flights
Kunming Lhasa 1220 miles (1963 km) about 3~5 hours appr 4 flights per day direct flights
Guangzhou Lhasa 1647miles (2651km) about 6~9 hours appr 5 flights per day direct / connecting
Xining Lhasa 968miles (1558km) about 2.5~7 hours appr 5 flights per day direct / connecting
Zhengzhou Lhasa 2107 miles (3392 km) about 3hrs 50mins appr 2 flights per day direct / connecting
Shangri-La Lhasa 542 miles(872km) about 2 hours appr 1 flight per day direct flights
Lijiang Lhasa 593 miles (954 km) about 2hrs 15mins appr 1 flight per day direct flights
Mianyang Lhasa 1412miles (2274km) about 2 hours appr 3 flights per day direct / connecting
Kangding Lhasa 652miles (1050km) about 2 hours appr 5 flights per day direct / connecting
Yushu Lhasa 437miles (704km) about 1.5 hours appr 3-6 flights per day direct / connecting
Xiahe Lhasa 1435 miles (2309 km) about 2hrs 20mins appr 1 flight per day direct flight
Xinjiang Ngari 908 miles (1462 km) about 2.5 hours appr 1~2 flights per week direct flights

What kinds of flights are available to take to go to Tibet?

There are three kinds of flights you can take to Tibet: non-stop flight, stopover flight and connecting flight. Usually the closer cities like Chengdu, Chongqing, Kunming, Xining, Shangri-La, etc., operate more non-stop flights to Tibet. Farther cities, like Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, usually operate some stopover flights and connecting flights.

Is there any international flight to Tibet?

Currently there is only an international air route connected with Tibet: Kathmandu – Lhasa. During summer days, there are daily direct flights operated, sometimes two flights and sometimes just one flight. Only Air China and Sichuan Airlines are operating the Kathmandu - Lhasa flights.

Tibet Flight Tips
A Flight Arriving at Lhasa Gonggar Airport

How to take a flight to Tibet from Kathmandu?

Travelers can go to Kathmandu Tribhuvan International Airport (IATA: KTM, ICAO: VNKT) is the only airport you can take flights to Tibet. It is only about six kilometers east from the city center of Kathmandu. It has one domestic terminal and one international terminal in the airport. You need to go to international terminal to board the airplane to Lhasa.

There are two available flights from Kathmandu Tribhuvan International Airport to Lhasa Gonggar Airport. One is 3U8720 operated by Sichuan Airlines departing from Kathmandu at 11:30 (Kathmandu Time) and arriving at Lhasa at 15:10 (Kathmandu Time). The other flight – CA408 operated by Air China takes off at 12:10 (Kathmandu Time) in local time and lands on Lhasa at 16:00 (Kathmandu Time). The fly duration is about 1.5 hours. In the low seasons, there might be less or no daily flights between Kathmandu and Lhasa.

To take a flight from Kathmandu to Lhasa, one will need a Group Visa, Tibet Travel Permit and Tibet Border Pass. Only Tibet travel agency can apply for the permit and pass.

Tibet Flight Tips
Kathmandu International Airport

What necessary permit should I have to take a flight to Tibet?

  • Chinese visa is always needed no matter you are taking a flight or a train to Tibet. The office man in the airport will check your Chinese visa when you board the plane.
  • The passport will be needed for many situations: booking flight ticket, checking in flight, checking in hotel, checking in the Border Station in Tibet, etc. Make sure your passport is valid and original.
  • Original Tibet Travel Permit will be checked when you board your plane at the airports. It can only be issued by Tibet Tourism Bureau in Tibet, which makes many travelers call the permit as TTB Permit. With the permit, you can visit Lhasa, Shigatse, Namtso Lake, Everest, Mt Kailash, etc. It usually takes about 15~20 days to obtain the permit (submit application, waiting for approval, receiving the permit).
Tibet Flight Tips
Tibet Travel Permit

There are how many airports in Tibet? Which one should I choose?

Tibet has five airports in total. Besides Lhasa Gonggar Airport, there are four smaller prefectural airports - Shigatse Peace Airport, Nyingchi Mainling Airport, Ngari Gunsa Airport and Qamdo Bangda Airport. But only certain cities in China operate flights to these smaller cities.

  • Lhasa Gonggar International Airport was chosen by more than 90 percent of flight travelers. It is well connected to the rest cities in China, such as Beijing, Chengdu, Shanghai, Xian, Guangzhou, Kunming, etc.
  • Shigatse Peace Airport is about 46km from Shigatse city. It has a daily flight to Chengdu each day in summer and autumn. Recommended for whom wants to end Tibet tour at Shigatse.
  • Nyingchi Mainling Airport. Chengdu usually offers 4 morning flights to Nyingchi Mainling Airport. While its neighboring city Chongqing also has 3 morning flights to Nyingchi each day. If you travel from Nyingchi to Lhasa, you are recommended to take a flight to Nyingchi firstly from Chengdu or Chongqing. It is also available to fly out Tibet directly from Nyingchi.
  • Qamdo Bangda Airport has flights connected to Chongqing and Chengdu. But there are few travelers have chosen this line because Qamdo is not a popular tourist destination in Tibet.
  • Ngari Gunsa Airport is the remotest airport in Tibet. But it is close to Kashgar in Xinjiang which is an important board port for those want to enter China from Middle Eastern countries. There are weekly flights to Ngari from Urumqi and Kashgar.
Tibet Flight Tips
Lhasa Gonggar Airport
Tibet Flight Tips
Nyingchi Mainling Airport

How to transfer between Lhasa Gonggar Airport and Lhasa downtown?

Lhasa Gonggar Airport is about 60km from Lhasa downtown. It costs about 100~200 CNY to the Barkhor Street area of Lhasa city. Airport shuttle bus is also available, and costs only about 25 CNY. It usually takes about 1~1.5 hours to transfer between the airport and Lhasa downtown.

Tibet Discovery also provides you convenient and comfortable airport pick-up and drop-off services which are usually included in our Tibet tour packages. If you take our group tours, you will enjoy our free airport pick-up and drop-off services which are offered at contain hours.

Tibet Flight Tips
Shuttle Buses of Lhasa Gonggar Airport

How to book a Tibet flight?

The flight ticket can be booked at online websites, such as, Expedia, Ctrip, Qunar, etc. You can also buy the ticket from the airports in China or flight resellers. You are also welcomed to let us book your flight. We are always keeping up with the latest flight news and usually can book the ticket at a cheaper price. During summer and autumn, it usually gets difficult to book the flights to Lhasa. While using our booking service, we will not only book the ticket, but also arrange a valuable tour package.

How do I receive my flight ticket?

Since most flight tickets are booked online, so firstly you will receive an e-ticket. You will change a paper ticket when you checking in your flight at a counter in the airport.

Tibet Flight Ticket
A Tibet Flight Ticket from Chongqing to Lhasa

How much baggage can I bring with me to take a flight to Tibet?

Luggage Type First Class Business Class Economy Class Allowed Baggage Size
Allowed Carry-on Baggage 5kg * 2 pieces 5kg 5kg 55cm/20cm/40cm(L/B/H)
Allowed Checked-in Baggage 40kg 30kg 20kg 100cm/60cm/40cm(L/B/H)

Will my kids get a discounted flight ticket in China?

Kids aging 2 to 12 years old (including 12) will get a discount of 50% of the full price of the flight fare. If an adult take a flight to Lhasa from Chengdu with a child aging at 10 and the full price for the economy class is 1680 CNY, the ticket fare for the child is 840 CNY. The child also doesn’t have to pay for Airport Construction Fee while the adult has to. Infant under 2 years old only has to pay 10% of the full price, but the separate seat is not provided.

When is the best time to fly to Tibet for a tour?

Generally speaking, months from April to October are recommended for traveling in Tibet. Other months are usually very cold, and possibly have heavy snow, especially in regions like Mount Everest, Mount Kailash, Namtso Lake, etc. The flights schedules are also more frequent during April to October. During December to March, the airline companies will cut down the flight schedules, usually from daily weekly, even to none. But top cities like Chengdu and Xian still operate daily flights during the shoulder season. It is recommended to take the morning flight so that you can get to Lhasa before late afternoon, and have enough time to acclimatize yourself to the altitude and thin air in Lhasa. The morning flights also cut down the risk that your flights would be delayed or canceled.

Tibet Flight Travel
Beautiful Yamdrok Lake in Autumn

Should I book a flight first or book a tour first?

Booking Tibet flights early can usually ensure a great discount but we advise settling on a tour before booking a flight just in case that you may want to change your plan, such as changing date, changing destination, extending the trip length, etc. Besides, you need to check from your travel agency that whether your Tibet Travel Permit is obtainable. The best way is to confirm the tour early, and let your travel agency apply for the permit, then book flight as quickly as possible before the airfares discount out of date.

Recommended Tibet Tour Packages

Tibet Discovery Tours is specialized in finding unique experience of Tibet, and leading you to explore what interests you most. Our Private Tibet Tours will take you to explore deep into the Holy Land, with loads of options, freedom & flexibility. You can choose from the following hand-picked tour packages which have been successfully operated for many years and created loads of amazing experiences for our customers, or check more Tibet Tours >>

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