Getting to Tibet and Away
Gongkhar Airport near Lhasa is the main airport in TAR. Other airports such as Chamdo and Nyingchi do not have reliable services at the time of this print.
From Kathmandu: Air China operates daily flight during the peak tourist season from July till September. After December till February, there is normally one flight per week on Saturdays. At other times of the year, they generally operate on Tuesday and Saturdays.
ChengduCNY 1,500.: There are more then 2 flights daily to and from Chengdu. Chengdu is well connected from other cities and there are few international
there is also a daily flight from Beijing to Lhasa (about CNY 2,430). From Chongqing to Lhasa (about CNY 1,630), the schedule has been readjusted to more than 20 flights every week. It is also possible to go from Xining (about CNY 1,610) and Xian (about CNY 1,650). With about 18 flights every week in Xian, taking the plane is more convenient for travelers. Also, several flights from Guangzhou (about CNY 2,500) in Guangdong Province and the direct flight between Lanzhou (about CNY 1,560) in Gansu Province and Lhasa are available now.
The Qinghai-Tibet (Qingzang) Railway from Golmud to Lhasa started operating in July 2006. The journey all the way from Beijing takes just under 48 hours. Trains to Lhasa originate in Beijing, Xining, Lanzhou, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Chongqing and Chengdu.
By Road Lhasa By Road Bus Schedule
There are four main roads into Tibet, roughly corresponding to the cardinal directions.
- The most popular and spectacular overland crossing route is from Kathamandu, Nepal.
- From north, the road from Golmud (Germu) is the easiest legal land route at present. However with the arrival of the train along this way, this route is used less often.
- East from Chengdu or Yunan is long and in places the road is rough, but this is a great option for those who wish to see bit of Kham areas before entering into Tibet.
- From Kashgar (Kashi) in Xinjiang province in the west, the route is for hardy travelers as the road for most part is unpaved and villages are small and few along this way. The main advantage of this way is that it passes by Mount Kailash and through a beautiful, very remote region inhabited by nomads.
- Southeast to India: After 44 years of closure, the Nathu La pass to Sikkim, India, a part of the historic Silk Road was opened in July 2006. At time of writing, the border is not yet open to foreign tourists, but this is expected to change soon and there are plans for a Gangtok-Lhasa bus service.
Chinese-Nepalese Highway is another main road traveled often. It stretches 900 kilometers (558 miles) from Kathmandu to reach Shigatse and Lhasa.
A minibus is the main form of transport in Lhasa. It is a quick and convenient way to get across town. Travelers can easily find minibuses around Beijing Road and they operate a fixed charge of CNY 2 per person. Generally the bus starts operation late in the morning and stops early at night due to the temperatures.
Bus No. 1 and 2 goes through the Norbulingka to the coach station.
Bus No. 3 and 5 run to the Drepung Monastery.
Bus No. 4 runs to the Sera Monastery.
Bus No. 91 runs between the city center and the Lhasa Railway Station. Eight more public buses including No. 82 and 83 were open in 2007.
It is easy to hail a taxi on the city streets. The taxi fare is RMB 10 for travel anywhere within the city. For longer trips, you need to negotiate a fare with the driver beforehand. For instance, if you intend to visit the Drepung Monastery, the taxi fare will be about RMB 20.
Pedicabs are unique vehicles to get around downtown. A pedicab can carry two people and generally costs RMB 4 to 7. It is a more time-consuming journey than traveling by minibus but is an interesting and popular way to see downtown Lhasa.
If your schedule and health permit, traveling by bike is another pleasurable way to look around the city. Bikes can be rented from many hostels along Barkhor Street. Generally, the rental for an ordinary bike is RMB 2 per hour and RMB 20 per day; for a mountain bike it is RMB 3 per hour and RMB 30 per day.