Air Travel to Tibet
Air Travel to Tibet
How can I get to Tibet easily? For overseas visitors, flying to Tibet is an easy and fast means of transportation. You can save more time to explore Tibet. Additionally, it is difficult for individual tourists to get train tickets by themselves especially during the busy Tibet railway travel season.
Here we gathered all the information you need to know about flights to and from Lhasa, including Tibet flights schedule and simple introduction of all Tibetan airports. By far, there are 5 airports in operation: Lhasa Airport, Chamdo Airport, Nyingchi Airport, Ngari Airport and Shigatse Airport. In addition, a sixth airport in Nagchu is planned.
Lhasa Gonggar Airport (LXA)
Lhasa Gonggar Airport is about 65 km (41 miles) from Lhasa downtown via the new Lhasa Airport Highway. There are non-stop flights between Lhasa and Chengdu, Chongqing, Diqing, Xi’an, Bamda (a town of Chamdo, Tibet) and Kathmandu (capital of Nepal). In the meantime, there are direct flights between Lhasa and Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou and Kunming with stops at Chengdu, Chongqing, Xi’ning, Xi’an, and Diqing-Shangri-la).
However Chengdu is the most important hub for flights going to and from Tibet as there are about 6 to 10 flights a day leaving Chengdu for Lhasa or vice versa. Besides, direct flights from other cities often go through Chengdu. Chengdu boasts many tourist attractions, including its famous Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding, the Ancient Sanxingdui Ruins, and the Terracotta Warriors No. 2 (the more famous Terracotta Warriors are in Xian). On the other hand, there are also many international flights to Chengdu thus you can fly to Lhasa the next day. So we recommend our tourists to stay overnight in Chengdu to take advantage of the tourists attractions.
Chamdo Bamda Airport
Chamdo Bamda Airport is the highest airport in the world till now, at an elevation of 4,334 m, with one of the longest runway. Chamdo Airport is far from Chamdo town with a distance of 140 km and flights here are delayed frequently due to the harsh weather in the plateau. Thus there is no fixed flight schedule and the tickets can only be issued in counter desk for the paper ticket about 1 week before the flight departure. As a result, most tourists prefer Lhasa Airport rather than Chamdo Airport.
Nyingchi Milin Airport
Nyingchi Milin Airport, the 3rd civil airport in Tibet, formally went into operation in 2006, providing more convenience to domestic and overseas tourists coming to Tibet. Nyingchi Airport may become many tourists’ first stop in Tibet because its altitude is less than 3,000 meters, allowing visitors to get well acclimatized and adapt to higher altitudes gradually.
Ngari Gunsa Airport
Ngari Gunsa Airport in northwest Tibet opens from July 1, 2010. Farthest from Lhasa among all Tibetan prefectures, Ngari is difficult for tourists to get due to long distance and poor road conditions. Before the airport construction, Ngari was linked to Lhasa only by road and it took 3 days to cover the 1,600 km route. Luckily, Ngari now is easily accessible. It will take only one and a half hour to reach Ngari from Lhasa. What’s more, Ngari Airport will make a less than 4 hours traffic possible from Chengdu to Ngari.
Shigatse Peace Airport
Shigatse Peace Airport, built near the world’s tallest peak Mount Everest in Shigatse Tibet, opens from October 30, 2010, marking the launch of the 5th civil airport of Tibet. Shigatse is located 250km from Lhasa and it normally takes 3-4 hours to get there due to poor road conditions. Flights now only take 2 hours and 15 minutes from Chengdu to Shigatse and 30 minutes from Lhasa to Shigatse.