Tibet Airports - Top 5 Airports in Tibet
In 1956, Damxung County, about 103mi (166km) from Lhasa City, was chosen as the base to construct the first airport in Tibet. On May 29, 1956, a Convair CV-240-401 departed from Guanghan Airport in Sichuan Province, and made successful landing on the runway of Damxung Airport. With the deployment of both aerotechnics, there were four five more airports was constructeded. Firstly it was Gonggar International Airport constructed in 1965. After the establishment of Lhasa Gonggar Airport, Damxung Airport was dismantled. Later, Qamdo Bangda Airport, Nyingchi Mailin Airport, Shigatse Peace Airport and Ngari Gunsa Airport were established successively. Currently there are five airports are under operation, connecting Tibet with outside world with fast and comfortable flights.
Lhasa Gonggar International Airport (IATA: LXA, ICAO: ZULS) is the largest and most important airport in Tibet Autonomous Region. It also is the most important arrival hub for both domestic and international travelers which provides a lot of convenient and efficient flights connecting Lhasa with other major airports in the rest cities of China, such as Beijing, Chengdu, Xian, Shanghai, Chongqing, and an international city Kathmandu. The airport is one of the highest airports in the world with an elevation of 3,570 meters (11,710 ft).
Chinese Name: 拉萨贡嘎国际机场
IATA: LXA | ICAO: ZULS
Address: Gyazuling Town, Gonggar County, Shannan Prefecture, Tibet, about 60km from Lhasa downtown
Nyingchi Mainling Airport (IATA: LZY, ICAO: ZUNZ) is located in the Yarlung Zangbo River Valley. With an altitude of only 2,949 meters (9675 feet), Nyingchi Mainling Airport is the lowest airport in Tibet and it is the most challenging airport for flight. It is available to take a nonstop flight to Nyingchi from Chengdu, Chongqing and Guangzhou, and connecting flights from Beijing, Shanghai, Xian, Guilin, Lanzhou etc. with a transfer at Chengdu or Chongqing.
Chinese Name: 林芝米林机场
IATA: LZY | ICAO: ZUNZ
Address: Yarlung Zangbo River Valley, Mainling County, Nyingchi
Shigatse Peace Airport, about 43km to the downtown Shigatse City, is the fifth civil airport in Tibet and the fifth highest airport in China at an elevation of 3,782m. The airport links Shigatse, the second largest city in Tibet, with the most important and famous city Chengdu in southwestern China. Except the road traffic, tourists can fly to Shigatse for Mt. Everest, Tashilhunpo Monastery and many famous spots in a more convenient way.
Chinese Name: 日喀则和平机场
IATA: RKZ | ICAO: ZURK
Address: Jangdam Township, Sangzhutse District, Shigatse City, Shigatse Prefecture, Tibet, about 43km to the Shigatse urban area and 155 km to Lhasa Gonggar Airport
Qamdo Bangda Airport (IATA: BPX, ICAO: ZUBD) is the second highest airport in the world with an elevation of 4,334m (14,219 ft). Situated in east Tibet area, Qamdo Bangda Airport is known for the farthest distance to downtown with the world’s worst climate and the longest runway. Currently, Qamdo Airport has flights to Lhasa, Chengdu, Chongqing and Anhui Fuyang (安徽阜阳). It offers a convenient way to visit famous spots, like Ranwu Lake and Karuo Relics in Qamdo.
Chinese Name: 昌都邦达机场
IATA: BPC | ICAO: ZUBD
Address: Bangda Prairie, Qamdo Prefecture, Tibet, about 136km to the nearest Qamdo Town, over 1,300km to Lhasa and Chengdu
Ngari Gunsa Airport, or Ali Airport, is situated 45km from southwest Shiquanhe Town. It was operated on 1st July 2017 and became another important entrance to Tibet. It took about four years to construct Ngari Airport. This airport is one of the high plateau airports which are able to serve the takeoff and landing of the high-plateau-typed airplanes. At present, tourists can get to Ngari from Lhasa, Urumqi and Kashgar by flight.
Chinese Name: 阿里昆莎机场
IATA: NGQ | ICAO: ZUAL
Address: Gunsa Village, Shiquanhe Town, Ngari prefecture
How to Plan A Tibet Tour
Tibet is too vast to be visited in one single trip, but planning ahead of time can make most of your holiday. A classic Tibet tour always takes about 4 ~ 8 days. Apart from 2 days for arrival and departure, it usually needs 2 other days to explore majestic Potala Palace and other landmarks in Lhasa, the capital of Tibet. With a day trip’s distance from Lhasa, Namtso Lake is another perfect tour extension if you visit Tibet from May to October.
To explore further, it’s strongly recommended to travel from Lhasa to Mount Everest via Gyantse and Shigatse, which usually needs 4 more days. It is an unforgettable sightseeing trip with lots of attractions to visit, such as Yamdrok Lake, Karola Glacier, Kumbum Stupa of Palcho Monastery, Tashilhunpo Monastery, etc. Of course, the biggest draw must be gazing upon the unparalleled north face of the world’s highest peak – Mount Everest.
For Buddhist followers and hiking lovers, you are suggested to travel to Ngari to join the kora around the holy Mt. Kailash and sacred Lake Manasarovar, which usually takes about 5 ~ 8 more days from Lhasa. The wild nature of Ngari is spectacular as well.
If you are looking for a longer Himalaya adventure, you can travel Tibet with two other charming Himalayan Kingdoms – Nepal and Bhutan by overland driving or flight. If you have your own needs or interest, just feel free to contact us to customize a trip of your own!