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Travel to Tibet

Flying to Tibet

Flights to Tibet are operated by Air China (www.airchina.com), China Eastern (www.ceair.com), China Southern (www.csair.com), Shenzhen Airlines (www.shenzhenair.com), Sichuan Airlines (www.sichuanair.com) and other domestic airlines which fly into Lhasa from Chinese cities and from Kathmandu in Nepal. High season is June to October, with demand spiking during national holidays in early May and early October.

There are only a couple of domestic flights inside Tibet and very few travelers use them to get around the country. Weekly flights run from Lhasa to Qamdo (Changdu) in the east and to Ngari (Ali) in the far west. In general it's better to travel overland in order to help with acclimatisation.

Flight times

From London - 19 hours 30 minutes (including stopovers); New York - 24 hours (including stopovers).

Departure tax

Included in the price of the air ticket.

Travelling to Tibet by Rail

The remarkable but controversial Qinghai-Tibet railway line is the world's highest, complete with piped oxygen in the cabins to guard against altitude sickness. Trains run to Lhasa from Xining (21 hours), Lanzhou (24 hours), Beijing (40 hours), Shanghai (47 hours) and several other Chinese cities. An extension to Tibet's second city, Xigazê, opened in 2014 and is 3 hours by train.

Driving to Tibet

Road is the primary way to get around Tibet. Main roads are paved and in good condition and a modern tarmac road now reaches as far as Mt Kailash in the far west. Roads to the east are rougher and are affected by annual monsoon landslides.

Getting to Tibet by boat