Tibet tour

The Best Way to Get to Tibet

Tibet, often referred to as the “Roof of the World,” is a land of stunning landscapes, rich cultural heritage, and spiritual significance. Nestled high in the Himalayas, reaching Tibet is an adventure in itself. In this blog post, we will explore the best ways to get to Tibet, on this extraordinary journey and experience the wonders of Tibet.

Potala Palace in Lhasa

Potala Palace in Lhasa

By Air

The most convenient way to reach Tibet is by air. The Lhasa Gonggar Airport serves as the main gateway to Tibet and is well-connected to major cities in China, including Beijing, Shanghai, Chengdu, and Kathmandu in Nepal. Several airlines operate regular flights to Lhasa, making it easily accessible for travelers from around the world.

There are several airlines that operate direct flights from Beijing/ Shanghai/ Chengdu to Lhasa. Some of the popular ones include:

Flight Details

1. Air China: Air China offers multiple daily flights from Chengdu Shuangliu International Airport (CTU) to Lhasa Gonggar Airport (LXA). They provide a reliable and comfortable flying experience.

2. Tibet Airlines: As the name suggests, Tibet Airlines specializes in flights to and from Tibet. They operate direct flights between Chengdu and Lhasa, allowing travelers to easily access the region.

3. Sichuan Airlines: Sichuan Airlines is another reputable airline that offers direct flights from Chengdu to Lhasa. They provide a range of flight options to suit different schedules.

4. China Eastern Airlines: China Eastern Airlines operates direct flights between Chengdu and Lhasa, providing convenient travel options for passengers.

These airlines offer regular flights, and the duration of the flight is approximately 2 hours. It’s always advisable to check with the airlines directly or consult with a Tibet travel agent to get the most up-to-date information on flight schedules and availability.

How to get to Tibet?

By Train

For those seeking a more scenic and immersive experience, traveling to Tibet by train is an excellent option. The Qinghai-Tibet Railway, also known as the “Sky Train,” is an engineering marvel that offers breathtaking views of the Tibetan plateau. The train journey starts from various cities in China, such as Beijing, Shanghai, Chengdu, and Xining, and takes you through awe-inspiring landscapes, including snow-capped mountains, vast grasslands, and picturesque Tibetan villages.

Tibet Railway Schedule

Train No. From To Departure Arrival Duration Available Day
Z164 Shanghai Lhasa 20:02 18:46 46h 44m Daily
Z21 Beijing Lhasa 19:55 12:29 40h 34m Daily
Z265 Guangzhou Lhasa 10:32 16:56 54h 24m Daily
Z164 Nanjing Lhasa 23:01 18:46 43h 45m Daily
Z164 Suzhou Lhasa 20:58 18:46 45h 48m Daily
Z265 Xi An Lhasa 9:54 16:56 31h 2m Daily
Z322 Chengdu Lhasa 21:08 10:15 37h 7m Alternative day
Z323 Xining Lhasa 12:20 10:15 21h 55m Daily(4 different trains)

Traveling by train to Tibet is a journey like no other. Not only is it a great opportunity to explore the Himalayas, but it also offers a unique experience of high-altitude travel as well as a chance to get lost in the culture and beauty of this remote land.

The Tibet train journey starts in Mainland China(Beijing, Shanghai, Xi’an, Guangzhou, Chengdu, and Xining), and runs for around 30-60 hours before reaching Lhasa, the capital of Tibet. It passes through the provinces of Gansu and Qinghai and takes you through some of the most spectacular mountain scenery on earth. The train’s altitude gradually increases as it moves further west, and the highest point is at Tanggula Pass, which lies at an elevation of 5072 meters above sea level.

The journey itself is an experience that will stay with you forever. You’ll have plenty of time to get to know your fellow passengers, and you can also use the time to explore the stunning countryside that passes by your window. As the train passes through the mountains, keep an eye out for snow-capped peaks, lush green valleys, and the occasional yak grazing in the meadows.

Best time to travel to Tibet

The Tibet train offers several classes of tickets, ranging from the most basic, hard seats, to the more comfortable soft seats and deluxe cabins. The seats in the hard-seat cars are usually filled with locals and are quite crowded, but the soft-seat cars are much more spacious and provide a relatively comfortable ride. If you’re looking for the ultimate in luxury and comfort, opt for the deluxe cabins, which are equipped with air-conditioning and private bathrooms.

What is special about the Tibet train journey?

One of the highlights of this train journey is the food available on board. The train offers a range of local dishes, and you can also purchase snacks and drinks at the on-board canteen. Be sure to try the local specialties, such as momos (Tibetan-style dumplings), Thukpa (noodle soup), and butter tea.

The spectacular scenery of the Tibetan plateau is one of the main attractions of the Tibet Train journey. From the stunning snow-capped mountains to vast rolling plains, the landscapes of the region are breathtaking. As the train passes through the vast Tibetan countryside. The Tibet train will pass through Qinghai Lake(Tsongonpo) and Kekexinlin National Park. It is home to the world’s rarest species like Tibetan antelopes, wild yaks, bucks, and Tibetan foxes. The terrain is incredibly varied, with vast grasslands, towering mountain peaks, deep river valleys, and dense forests.

Travel to Tibet

Kekexinlin National Park also boasts an incredible array of flora and geological features. There are various species of rare and endangered plants, as well as an abundance of colorful and unique rock formations.

Qinghai Lake, located in Qinghai Province in northwestern China, is a stunning natural wonder that is a must-see for any traveler. The lake is the largest saltwater lake in the country, with an area of 4,583 square kilometers. It is also the largest inland lake in China and the second-largest saltwater lake in the world.

The lake is surrounded by beautiful scenery and is a great destination for bird watchers. There are over 300 species of birds that make the lake their home, including the Tibetan brown crane and the black-necked crane. For those looking to take in some of the stunning views of the lake, there are boat tours available.

get to Tibet

Then you’ll pass through the vast pasture land occupied by Tibetan nomads. Nomadic life in Tibet is centered around the pastoral lifestyle of the nomadic people. This means they are constantly on the move, following the grasslands and natural resources that sustain their herds of yaks and sheep. Throughout the year, the nomads move their tents and homes, sometimes over long distances, in search of better grazing grounds for their animals.

Living in the high altitude of the Tibetan Plateau, nomadic life is difficult and challenging. The nomads must be able to cope with extreme weather conditions, including freezing temperatures, high winds, and heavy snowfall. They also face the constant threat of natural disasters such as landslides and avalanches. But despite these harsh conditions, the nomads have adapted and flourished in this environment.

As the train approaches Lhasa, you’ll be able to catch a glimpse of the Potala Palace, the ancient seat of the Dalai Lama, as well as other iconic landmarks of the city. Once you arrive in Lhasa, be sure to explore the city’s stunning temples and monasteries, as well as its many local markets and restaurants.

Traveling by train to Tibet is a unique experience that will stay with you for the rest of your life. It’s a journey that will take you through some of the most spectacular mountain scenery on earth, as well as a chance to explore the culture and beauty of one of the world’s most remote lands. So what are you waiting for? Hop on board the Tibet train and let the journey begin!

Trip to Tibet

Overland Journey to Tibet

If you are an adventurous soul and have ample time, embarking on an overland journey to Tibet can be an unforgettable experience. There are several routes to choose from, depending on your starting point and preferences. The most popular overland routes include the Sichuan-Tibet Highway, Yunnan-Tibet Highway, and the famous Friendship Highway from Nepal. These routes offer stunning scenery, allowing you to witness the gradual transition from lush green valleys to the rugged beauty of the Tibetan plateau.

Overland Tibet Tours

Here are some of the best overland Tibet tours that offer unforgettable experiences:

1. Friendship Highway Tour: The Friendship Highway is a popular route that connects Lhasa in Tibet with Kathmandu in Nepal. This tour takes you through breathtaking landscapes, including the Everest Base Camp, where you can catch a glimpse of the world’s highest peak. Along the way, you’ll visit iconic monasteries, such as the Tashilhunpo Monastery in Shigatse, and explore the ancient cities of Gyantse and Zhangmu.

2. Sichuan-Tibet Highway Tour: This tour starts from Chengdu in Sichuan province and takes you through the picturesque Tibetan regions of Kham and Amdo. You’ll drive through stunning mountain passes, visit remote Tibetan villages, and witness the unique Tibetan culture and traditions. Highlights of this tour include the stunning Tagong Grassland, the sacred Yarchen Gar Monastery, and the serene beauty of Qinghai Lake.

3. Yunnan-Tibet Highway Tour: Starting from Kunming in Yunnan province, this tour takes you through the breathtaking landscapes of Yunnan and Tibet. You’ll drive through the famous Tiger Leaping Gorge, visit the mystical Shangri-La, and explore the ancient town of Lijiang. As you enter Tibet, you’ll witness the stunning beauty of the Tibetan plateau, visit sacred monasteries, and experience the rich Tibetan culture.

4. Northern Tibet Adventure: This tour focuses on the remote and less-visited regions of northern Tibet. You’ll journey through vast grasslands, visit pristine lakes, and explore ancient Tibetan monasteries. Highlights of this tour include the stunning Namtso Lake, the sacred Mount Kailash, and the ancient Guge Kingdom ruins.

5. Overland Journey from Xinjiang: For those seeking a truly off-the-beaten-path experience, an overland journey from Xinjiang province in western China to Tibet is an incredible adventure. This route takes you through the remote and rugged landscapes of western China, including the stunning Karakoram Highway and the famous Kashgar Sunday Market. You’ll cross high mountain passes, visit ancient Silk Road cities, and finally enter Tibet, where you’ll explore the wonders of Lhasa and beyond.

Tibet trekking tour

Tibet Group tour

When planning an overland Tibet tour, it’s advisable to book with a reputable tour operator who specializes in Tibet travel. They can provide knowledgeable guides, arrange necessary permits, and ensure a safe and well-organized journey. Remember to check the latest travel restrictions and permit requirements before embarking on your adventure.

Join a Guided Group Tours

To make the most of your trip to Tibet and ensure a smooth and hassle-free experience, joining a guided tour is highly recommended. A reputable tour operator will take care of all the necessary permits, accommodations, and transportation, and provide knowledgeable guides who can offer insights into Tibetan culture, history, and spirituality. They can also help you navigate the unique challenges of traveling at high altitudes, ensuring your safety and well-being throughout the journey.

When it comes to exploring Tibet, there are numerous tour options available that cater to different interests and preferences. While it’s challenging to narrow it down to just three, here are three highly recommended Tibet tours that offer unique and unforgettable experiences:

1. Classic Tibet Tour: The Classic Tibet Tour is perfect for first-time visitors who want to explore the highlights of Tibet. This tour typically includes visits to iconic sites such as the Potala Palace and Jokhang Temple in Lhasa, the spiritual heart of Tibet. You’ll also have the opportunity to explore the ancient monasteries of Gyantse and Shigatse, including the famous Tashilhunpo Monastery. The tour often includes a visit to the stunning Yamdrok Lake and a scenic drive through the high-altitude landscapes of the Tibetan plateau.

2. Mount Kailash and Lake Mansarovar Tour: For those seeking a spiritual and adventurous journey, the Mount Kailash and Lake Mansarovar Tour is a once-in-a-lifetime experience. Mount Kailash is considered sacred by multiple religions and is believed to be the abode of Lord Shiva. This tour takes you on a pilgrimage around the holy mountain, known as the Kora, which is a significant spiritual practice for many. You’ll also visit the pristine Lake Mansarovar, known for its stunning beauty and spiritual significance.

3. Everest Base Camp Tour: The Everest Base Camp Tour is a popular choice for adventure enthusiasts and nature lovers. This tour takes you to the base camp of Mount Everest, the highest peak in the world. You’ll witness breathtaking views of the Himalayas, including the majestic north face of Everest. Along the way, you’ll visit iconic monasteries, such as Rongbuk Monastery, and experience the unique Tibetan culture and hospitality.

This tour offers an incredible opportunity to witness the grandeur of Everest up close.
When selecting a Tibet tour, it’s essential to consider factors such as the duration, level of physical activity, accommodation options, and the reputation of the tour operator. It’s also advisable to check the latest travel restrictions and permit requirements to ensure a smooth and enjoyable journey.

Tibet group tour

Tibet group tour

Acclimatization and Altitude Sickness

One crucial aspect of traveling to Tibet is acclimatization. Due to its high altitude, it’s essential to allow your body enough time to adjust to the thin air. It is advisable to spend a few days in Lhasa or other lower-altitude areas before venturing into higher regions. Stay hydrated, avoid strenuous activities initially, and listen to your body. If you experience symptoms of altitude sickness, such as headaches, dizziness, or shortness of breath, seek medical attention immediately.

Respect Local Customs and Culture

Tibet is a deeply spiritual and culturally rich destination. It’s important to respect local customs and traditions during your visit. Dress modestly, be mindful of your behavior in religious sites, and seek permission before taking photographs, especially of monks or religious ceremonies. Engage with the local community, learn about their way of life, and embrace the unique spiritual atmosphere that permeates the region.

 Explore the Wonders of Tibet

Once you have arrived in Tibet, prepare to be captivated by its awe-inspiring beauty and cultural treasures. Visit the iconic Potala Palace, the former residence of the Dalai Lama, and explore the sacred Jokhang Temple in Lhasa. Embark on a pilgrimage to Mount Kailash, considered sacred by Buddhists, Hindus, Jains, and Bon followers. Discover the serene beauty of Yamdrok Lake and the majestic Everest Base Camp. Immerse yourself in the vibrant Tibetan festivals, such as the colorful Saga Dawa and the mystical Tibetan New Year celebrations.

Potala Palace in Lhasa

Potala Palace in Lhasa


Getting to Tibet is an adventure in itself, offering a gateway to a world of natural wonders, spiritual enlightenment, and cultural immersion. Whether you choose to fly, take the train, embark on an overland journey, or join a guided tour, the journey to Tibet will leave an indelible mark on your soul. Embrace the unique experiences, respect the local customs, and allow yourself to be enchanted by the mystical charm of the Roof of the World.