Lhasa: Arriving & Departing

Visitors have a few options for getting to Lhasa, which include by air, road, or rail.

Flying is the most common way of getting to Lhasa, and visitors who choose this option will land at the Gongkar Lhasa Airport which is located about 60 miles south of the city.  This is the area’s largest and busiest airport (but is quite small when compared to other airports), and the most common departure city for this flight is Chengdu, which is located in the Sichuan province of China. The flight takes around 2 hours to complete.  Beijing and Chongqing are two other domestic departure cities, but their flight frequency is smaller.  Travelers in Nepal can fly from the Katmandu International Airport. 

Driving to Lhasa can be a great experience, and there are a few options for routes to take.  Certain routes within China are closed to tourists, so make sure to investigate this before-hand.  The route from Katmandu, Nepal is beautiful, but takes many hours to complete because of its horrible condition.  Four wheel vehicles are highly recommended (if not required) for this route.   However, before deciding to get behind the wheel of a car, make sure to visit this Driving in China page.  Note: Chinese driver’s licenses are required to drive in the country.

From Nepal you can travel only in arranged groups , travelling by jeeps. Typically these make overnight stops in Nyalam , Lhatse , Gyantse and Shigatse. Altitude sickness is a real concern on this route , you go slightly higher than Lhasa already on  your first night , and all nights enroute are higher than Lhasa. The only good way to prepare for this is to spend some nights preferably at 3000+ before setting out – Kathmandu wll not help you acclimatize.

Train travel to Lhasa is possible via the Qingzang Railway, which connects Xining to Golmud, and Golmud to Lhasa.  For route information, check out this Railway Map.

Lhasa: Getting Around

Visitors to the Tibetan Chinese city of Lhasa have a number of options for getting around, which include by car, train, bus, and taxi. 

A personal vehicle is the most convenient form of transportation available in Lhasa, as it allows the greatest freedom and flexibility in exploring the area.  Note: Chinese driver’s licenses are required to drive in the country.  Because many of the roads leading into, and around Lhasa are in very poor condition, Land Cruisers are the most popular rental vehicles.

There are a few ways of getting from Lhasa to various other cities in China, as well as to Katmandu, Nepal.  The Qingzang Railway connects Lhasa to the city of Xining through the city of Golmud.  For route information, check out this Railway Map.  There is a bus that travels between Lhasa and Katmandu, Nepal, but the services are at times halted.    For more information, visit thisBus to Katmandu page. 

Taxis are a good way of getting around the immediate city of Lhasa and can be found on any busy street.   Pedicabs can also be found throughout the streets of Lhasa, but can only take two passengers at a time.   Minibuses work much like taxis, but they may take various groups of people to different locations in similar areas.   Fares for all of these are to be negotiated, and should be agreed upon with the driver before starting a journey.   Because most drivers do not speak English, it is wise to bring along a map with the desired destination circled.  

 

Lhasa: Public Transportation

Visitors to Lhasa have a few of options for getting around the city and the rest of the country with public transportation. 

Although it is possible to get around Lhasa and its surrounding area only with public transportation, many visitors choose to rent a personal vehicle.

There most common ways of getting around the city of Lhasa are by taxi, pedicab, or minibus.   Taxis can be found in busy areas all around the city.  Fares not based on meters, are to be negotiated, and should be agreed upon with the driver before starting a journey.  Pedicabs can also be found throughout the streets of Lhasa.  They can take two passengers at a time and fares are to be negotiated.   Minibuses work much like taxis, but they may take various groups of people to different locations in similar areas. 

Lhasa: Taxis & Rental Cars

Taxis and rental cars are both available for visitors to Lhasa.  However, rental cars may be obtained from departure cities within Nepal or China.  If driving, there are certain issues that should be considered and precautions that should be taken.

Taxis are a good way of getting around the immediate city, but if planning on traveling much further, consider another option as they may be more convenient.   Taxis can be found in busy areas all around the city.   Fares are based on meters, also to be negotiated, and should be agreed upon with the driver before starting a journey.   Because most drivers do not speak English, it is wise to bring along a map with the desired destination circled.   Minibuses are also available in the city, and work much like taxis.  

A personal vehicle is the most convenient form of transportation available in Lhasa, as it allows the greatest freedom and flexibility in exploring the area.   However, first time visitors to the country should check out this Driving in China page before deciding to get behind the wheel of a car.   Note: Chinese driver’s licenses are required to drive in the country.

Lhasa: Tibet Train Information

Train to Tibet is becoming very popular among the travelers, both Chinese and foriegners, though there are trains from most of Major cities in mainland China to Lhasa, but due to excess numbers of visitors, make the train tickets to Tibet are very demanding the hard to get, more over the online train ticket booking system is recently in operation and still available only in Chinese and certain limitations.

 From where the trains available to Tibet

From

To

Train No.

Departure

Time taken

Availability

Beijing

Lhasa

T27

20:00

43h40m

Everyday

Shanghai

Lhasa

T164/165

19:36

48h39m

Everyday

Chengdu

Lhasa

T22/23

20:55

43h40m

Every other day

Guangzhou

Lhasa

T264/265

19:20

55h1m

Everyday

Chongqing

Lhasa

T222/223

19:37

44h58m

Every other day

Lanzhou

Lhasa

K917

12:07

26h27m

Every other day

Xining

Lhasa

Four trains

All in the afternoon

23h30m

everyday

 How to buy the train tickets

 Buying the train tickets is very difficult for foriegners, because the China railway official online booking website is all in Chinese and payment is only accepting China credit card, so booking the train tickets from local travel companies by paying service fees are the best option, specailly during the high season it is very difficult to get even you pay the train ticket cost more than the flight cost.

What are most difficult season to get the train tickets

 As the Tibet tourism is very seasonal and it is known as high season from June to Sept, so these months are comparatively difficult to get the tickets, then end of Sept and first week of Oct is also difficult to get the ticket as it is the national holiday, so from Nov to March it is more easier to buy the train tickets to Tibet, but the train tickets in China are start selling 20 days before the train departure date, so earlier you went to either the train station or train ticket selling counter in town, better chance to get the train tickets

 You can also check the train stations and train photos of at Offical Site of China Tibet Train

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