Travelling to Tibet from inland China has always been easy when it comes to both policy and transport. Since Tibet is an autonomous region of China, foreign travelers only need a Chinese visa and a Tibet permit to enter the region from gateway cities of inland China. These cities are also popular domestic tourist destinations with plenty of economical flight and train options to Tibet. So, why not try our one-stop China-Tibet tour package and explore these different cultures during the same trip? It’ll be an experience you won’t forget.
Getting to Tibet is accessible by flights, trains or overland from several major hubs within inland China. Direct daily flights to Lhasa are available from more than ten cities throughout the country, including Beijing, Shanghai, Xi’an, Chengdu, etc. By train, all options passing by Xining will ensure that you don’t miss the spectacular landscapes on the Tibetan Plateau along the way. Traveling overland to Tibet is another way to discover this region at your own pace. You'll find more information below.
Flight Options from Inland China to Tibet
Taking a flight to Tibet is the fastest and most convenient transportation option. There is an abundance of flights going to Lhasa every day from major cities throughout China, such as Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Chengdu, Chongqing, Xi’an, Kunming, Lijiang, Shangri-La, Lanzhou, Xining, etc. And among these cities, Chengdu and Chongqing have the most flights into Lhasa with relatively economical airfare. During the high season, more than 10 flights are available each day going to Lhasa from the two cities.
Besides flying to Lhasa, there are also some flights to Nyingchi and Shigatse from a few cities, which are Chengdu, Chongqing, and Xi’an.
Train Options from Inland China to Tibet
If you have a more flexible schedule for the trip, then experiencing the miraculous Qinghai-Tibet train will be a wonderful option. Tourists most commonly take trains to Tibet from the eight cities of inland China, which are Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Chengdu, Chongqing, Xi’an, Lanzhou, and Xining.
As an important transportation hub of the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau and the starting point of the Tibetan Railway, Xining has the shortest ride to Lhasa with only 21 hours by train. In comparison, it takes over 40 hours to arrive in Lhasa if you get on the train from Beijing, Shanghai or Guangzhou.
Overland Options from Inland China to Tibet
Apart from the flight and train options, you can also choose an overland tour to Tibet by car. Presently, there are four overland routes from inland China to Tibet. Two of the routes start from Sichuan and Yunnan in southwestern China, and the other two routes start from Qinghai and Xinjiang in northwestern China.
GoToTibet.com provides well-selected China Tibet Tour Packages. The tours include the popular destinations, such as Beijing, Shanghai, Xi’an, Guilin, Chengdu, Xining, and Lhasa, etc. Each of our tours is crafted with the very best landmarks and attractions to ensure that you experience the most authentic charm of the country. Moreover, we only use excellent local guides, reliable airlines, and comfortable trains to guarantee you a safe and enjoyable trip.
Traveling from the capital of China to Tibet is one of the most popular routes. There are two or three flights, and one train departs from Beijing to Lhasa every day. The fastest flight only takes 4.5 hours, but if you wish to experience the spectacular landscapes along the Qinghai-Tibet Railway, the whole train journey takes nearly 41 hours. You’ll have a chance to explore the imperial heritage of ancient China with the holy land of Tibet on this trip.
Chengdu has the busiest flights from southwestern China to Tibet. You could find around 12 flights from very early morning to the evening. The flight duration is only about 2.5 hours, and you will need about 36 hours if you take the train. The good news is that an express Sichuan-Tibet train is being built, which will shorten the ride to about 13 hours. Hug a panda in Chengdu before heading to the Roof of the World!
Shanghai is the most popular gateway city for traveling from eastern China to Tibet. Regularly, two daily flights are available with almost 9 hours of flying time. The train from Shanghai to Tibet takes more than 47 hours, which is the second-longest train journey among all the Tibet trains just behind from Guangzhou. This is an incredible trip mixed with both modern fashion and devout Buddhism culture.
Xi'an plays a very important role in Chinese history, and it is definitely worth a visit on your China tour. Located in the middle of China, Xi'an is a convenient hub for taking a trip from inland China to Tibet. With about 3 hours of flying or 30 hours of riding on the train, you'll be able to shoot a picture from the antique City Wall and Terracotta Warriors to the symbolic Potala Palace and its devout pilgrims.
Situated at the edge of the Yangtze River, Chongqing is the starting point of the magnificent Three Gorges Cruise. Meanwhile, the transportation between Chongqing and Tibet is convenient, as Chongqing has the second-highest rate of flights going to Tibet within China. The flight takes less than 3 hours. A train from Chongqing to Lhasa is also available if you don’t mind 35 hours of riding. Just don’t forget to try Chongqing’s No. 1 specialty-hotpot before you leave for Tibet.
As the saying goes, “East or west, Guilin landscape is the best.” Guilin has always been famous for its scenery nationwide. Unlike the other popular tourist destinations in China, Guilin has neither a direct flight nor a train to Tibet. Nevertheless, you’ll find it’s easy to get to Tibet, with a flight transit in Chengdu or Chongqing within a day. Enjoy a startling contrast of landscapes between lovely southern China and the wild Tibet.
Hong Kong is one of the major international financial centers and tourist destinations in Asia. Benefited from a blending of cultures, Hong Kong has become a popular gateway to mainland China. There’s no direct flight or train from Hong Kong to Tibet, but it’s convenient to travel from the neighboring city of Guangzhou in mainland China to Tibet. A connection flight via Chengdu is also a good way.
Xining is one of the closest gateway cities from inland China to Tibet, and the starting point of the Qinghai-Tibet Railway, so taking a train to Lhasa from here would be much more exciting than flying. Besides, a side trip to the Ta’er Monastery and Qinghai Lake around Xining would be a good way for acclimation. By the way, you’ll also have an option of traveling by car from Xining to Tibet alongside the spectacular plateau landscapes.
Yunnan adjoins the Tibetan Plateau, so you’ll find either several short flights or even an overland tour from this multi-ethnic province of western China to Tibet. Flights to Tibet are available from 3 cities in Yunnan, such as Kunming, Lijiang, and Shangri-La. However, the most popular way is to start the trip from Kunming, and then travel westward to Lijiang and Shangri-La which are geographically closer to Tibet. There’s no train from Yunnan to Tibet yet.
All foreign tourists are required to get a Tibet Tourism Bureau (TTB) permit for visiting Tibet. Furthermore, an Alien Travel Permit is additionally needed for the trip to Everest Base Camp, as well as a Military Permit for the trip to Mt. Kailash or other sensitive border areas. All the permits will be organized by travel agencies on our side as part of our service, and the permit application process generally takes 15-20 work days depending on different routes of your Tibet tour. You can see more details below.