Flights to Tibet from Main Chinese Gateway Cities/Kathmandu

Flight to Lhasa, Tibet

Compared with the way to Tibet by train, flying to Tibet proves to be far more time-saving. Many tourists worry that altitude sickness is more likely to occur when taking flights to Tibet. But in fact, even if you take the train into Tibet, altitude sickness is possible to happen.

Nowadays, there are a total of 5 airports in Tibet that are in use. And basically, visitors from all countries land at Lhasa Gongga International Airport. No direct long-haul flights to Tibet are available and you have to stay for a while in main Chinese gateway cities or Kathmandu, Nepal before flying to Lhasa.

Part 1. Flights to Tibet from Main Chinese Gateway Cities
Part 2. International Flights to Tibet from Kathmandu, Nepal
Part 3. Tips for Getting Cheap Flights to Tibet
Part 4. Required Travel Documents for Taking Flights to Tibet
Part 5. Insider Tips When Booking Flights into and out of Tibet

Part 1. Flights to Tibet from Main Chinese Gateway Cities

At present, there are a total of 18 provincial capitals and large cities in mainland China offering direct flights to Lhasa. Some main gateway cities are more popular, including Chengdu, Chongqing, Xi’an, Xining, Beijing, Kunming, Shangri-La and Shanghai. They provide tourists with more frequent flight schedule.

Airport in Lhasa

  • Chengdu to Lhasa Flight :
    Chengdu is the most convenient gateway hub into Tibet. There are up to 17 one-way flights to Lhasa every day in the peak tourist season for your choice. And most flights are non-stop flights, which take only about 2.5 hours.
  • Chongqing to Lhasa Flight :
    Over 10 non-stop flights from Chongqing to Lhasa are available every day, usually with big discount. That proves to be a very good bargain. Only about 2 hours and 50 minutes are required.
  • Beijing to Lhasa Flight :
    As a metropolis city, Beijing operates many international flights as well as domestic flights to most cites in China, including Lhasa. Several non-stop and stopover fights from Beijing to Lhasa are available. And the non-stop flights to Lhasa takes about 4.5 hours.
  • Xi’an to Lhasa Flight :
    Xi’an is also a popular departure station for tourists to Tibet, as it is a major tourist destination itself, with a long history. There are more than 10 non-stop and stopover flights to Lhasa from Xi’an Xianyang International Airport every day, which takes about 3 hours and 20 minutes.
  • Shanghai to Lhasa Flight :
    Currently, Shanghai offers no non-stop flights to Tibet. About 2 stopover flights and more than 5 connecting flights are available every day. It takes about 7-8 hours to fly from Shanghai to Lhasa. And the fare is expensive. So it is relatively not a popular route due to the cost and time.
  • Kunming to Lhasa Flight :
    Kunming Changshui International Airport is one of the major gateway airports in China with more than 300 flight routes to international destinations and domestic tourist cities. There are 4 non-stop flights serving between Kunming and Lhasa every day. Tourists only just need to spend 3-4 hours on Kunming to Lhasa flight.
  • Shangri-La to Lhasa Flight :
    Shangri-La Airport is close to Tibet and operates regular flight routes to Lhasa, Kunming, Chengdu, Beijing, Shanghai Guangzhou, Chongqing, etc. There are about 2-6 non-stop or connecting flights from Shangri-La to Lhasa every day. It takes only 2 hours from Shangri-La to Lhasa.
  • Xining to Lhasa Flight :
    In addition to a popular gateway city to take train to Tibet, Xining is also a nice option to fly to Lhasa. The cheap plane ticket to Tibet makes it a great deal. And it is one of the shortest routes to Lhasa by flight and takes only 2.5 hours. About 5 flights to Lhasa are offered every day.

A Summary of Flights to Tibet from Main Chinese Gateway Cities

Air Route Distance Duration Flight Type
Chengdu to Lhasa 768 miles (1286km) 2.5 hours non-stop
Chongqing to Lhasa 985 miles (1585km) 2hrs 50mins non-stop
Beijing to Lhasa 1867 miles (3004km) 4-6 hours non-stop/stopover
Xi’an to Lhasa 1230 miles (1980km) 3hrs 20mins non-stop/stopover
Shanghai to Lhasa 1930 miles (3107km) 7-9 hours stopover/connecting
Kunming to Lhasa 1220 miles (1963km) 3-5 hours non-stop/connecting
Shangri-La to Lhasa 1188 miles (1913km) 2 hours non-stop/connecting
Xining to Lhasa 968 miles (1558km) 2.5-7 hours non-stop/connecting

Part 2. International Flights to Tibet from Kathmandu, Nepal

Airport in Kathmandu, Nepal

Kathmandu, the capital of Nepal, is an ancient city with a history of more than 1200 years. There are over 2700 temples in the city, which is known as the “city of temples”. Currently, the only international flights to Tibet takes off from Kathmandu. It takes only 1.5 hours over a distance of about 375 miles (603.5km) from Kathmandu to Lhasa.

There are two non-stop flights from Kathmandu to Lhasa, separately run by Sichuan Airline and Air China. Several connecting flights are also available, making a stopover in Chengdu, Chongqing or Kunming.

[h3] A Schedule of Non-stop Flights to Lhasa, Tibet from Kathmandu, Nepal

Airline Take-off&Landing Time Flight Type Time
Sichuan Airline
11:30-15:10 (local time) non-stop Every Mon, Wed, Fri & Sun
Air China
12:10-16:00(local time) non-stop Every Tue, Thu & Sat

Part 3. Tips for Getting Cheap Flights to Tibet

As you can see, there are many available options for flying to Tibet. And you might have noticed that the plane ticket to Tibet is not cheap. Why are the flights to Tibet so expensive?

  1. Lhasa Gongga International Airport is 3,600 meters above sea level. Planes to Lhasa must be equipped with oxygen supply system, increasing the cost of aircraft.
  2. The complicated and changeable meteorological conditions in the plateau increase the difficulty of flight. Therefore, in order to ensure safety, the plateau aircraft requires two captains, which raises the labor costs.

The fact that flights to Tibet are expensive is inevitable, but there are chances for you to get the best deals. The following tips are offered for your reference:

  • Flights to Tibet from Chongqing, Xining, Kunming and Chengdu are cheaper.
  • To travel there in low seasons from December to February, you can get cheaper Tibet flight tickets.
  • Making an early travel plan and doing more comparison can help you save more money on the flight ticket.

Part 4. Required Travel Documents for Taking Flights to Tibet

Tibet Travel Permit

Some necessary documents are required to take flights to Tibet.

  • The passport is required when you book flight tickets, check in flight, check in hotel, and check in the Border Station in Tibet. Please make sure your passport is valid and original.
  • Chinese visa is always needed no matter you take a flight/train to Tibet. The office man in the airport will check your Chinese visa when you board the plane.
  • Tibet Travel Permit is a MUST-HAVE document for taking flights to Tibet. When you check in and out the airports, the original Tibet Travel Permit is required.
  • Chinese Group Visa is needed if you fly to Tibet from Nepal. It is also valid to extend your trip to other destinations in China after your tour in Tibet.

Part 5. Insider Tips When Booking Flights into and out of Tibet

There are some tips for you to book flights into and out of Tibet:

  • Do not book plane tickets to Tibet on Chinese ticketing websites such as Ctrip and Elong because these sites require your Tibet Travel Permit firstly. But as a matter of fact, the Tibet Travel Permit can only be obtained via your Tibet tour agency after you obtain your Chinese visa.
  • If you plan to travel to Tibet in July and August, you’d better book Tibet flight tickets in advance at least one month, because the two months are the peak seasons.
  • To catch a glimpse of Mt. Everest on the plane, you can choose the left side when flying from Kathmandu to Lhasa. When you come to Kathmandu from Lhasa, you can choose the seat on the right.

Travelers' Questions Might Help

The questions raised by our past customers can help you get a more clear picture about tours to Tibet, read them or tell us your own questions please contract us, our specialists will reply you within 24 hours.

Ms. Ho*** from: When to get my Tibet permit
January 15, 2020 05:11

Hello, we are considering to travel in Tibet in summer. We are a family of 5, two adults and three kids, age 13(then), 10, 8. We are interested in the 10 days Mt. EBC & Namtso Lake Group tour. We are US citizens with valid 10-year Chinese multiple entry visa, which we have applied when we went to Beijing in 2019. We are currently living in South Korea.  


1. Are kids suitable (or even allowed) for this tour?  

2. If kids can join, are there any discount deals for kids?

Answered by Helen
January 15, 2020 07:54

Dear Ms. Ho***,

    Greetings from Helen at Budget Tibet Tour and welcome you to join our 10 days Mt. Everest & Namtso Lake group tour. For your questions: 1. Your kids are suitable for this tour. Travelling in Tibet is as safe for kids as it is for their parents. While the high Tibetan plateau may be the highest place on the planet, very often, the kids that visit this region are more adaptable and have fewer problems than their parents. We also have arranged wonderful Tibet tours for many families with kids such as a tour to EBC for a family with a 3-year-old son, a 9-year-old girl and a 11-year-old boy, they did have fun in Tibet and there is no problem for them. Or you can take some medicine under the guidance of doctor to prevent high altitude before enter Tibet. 2. If kids travel with you, we'll offer some discount for them, please check your email and find more detailed information. Thanks & Regards

Email to Helen about any question or tell us your own questions via the form on the right side

You might be also interested in

8 Days
From 827 USD
Lhasa - Gyantse - Shigatse - Mt. Everest Base Camp - Lhasa
Tour features:
1. Visit all the holy cultural landmarks in Lhasa
2. Four days acclimation before reaching EBC
3. Half day to explore base camp of the highest mountain in the world
4. Cheapest way to travel to the highest place you may ever reach in your lifetime
8 Days
From 950 USD
Lhasa - Gyantse - Shigatse -Sakya - Tingri - Everest Base Camp - Gyirong Port
Tour features:
1. Visit all the holy cultural landmarks in Lhasa
2. Five days acclimation before reaching EBC
3. Explore the base camp of the highest mountain in the world
4. Budget way to discover Buddhist kingdoms in the Himalayas
4 Days
From 440 USD
Lhasa city tour
Tour features:
1. Visit world heritage sites of Potala Palace & Johkang Temple
2. Stroll around the bustling Barkchor Street of medieval atmosphere
3. Learn Tibet Buddhism by visiting the two most important monasteries in Lhasa
4. Cheapest Tibet tour you could have