Visitors have a few options for getting to Lhasa, which include by air, road, or rail.

            Flying is the most common way of getting to Lhasa, and visitors who choose this option will land at the Gonggar Airport (LXA) of Lhasa, which is located about 60 miles south of the city.  This is the area’s largest and busiest airport (but is quite small when compared to other airports), and the most common departure city for this flight is Chengdu, which is located in the Sichuan Province of China.  The flight takes around 2 hours to complete.  Beijing and Chongqing are two other domestic departure cities, but their flight frequency is smaller.  Travelers in Nepal can fly from the Katmandu International Airport. 

            Driving to Lhasa can be a great experience, and there are a few options for routes to take.  Certain routes within China are closed to tourists, so make sure to investigate this before-hand.  The route from Katmandu, Nepal is beautiful, but takes many hours to complete because of its horrible condition.  Four wheel vehicles are highly recommended (if not required) for this route.   However, before deciding to get behind the wheel of a car, make sure to visit this Driving in China page.  Note: Chinese driver’s licenses are required to drive in the country.

            From Nepal you can travel only in arranged groups , travelling by jeeps. Typically these make overnight stops in Nyalam , Lhatse , Gyantse and Shigatse. Altitude sickness is a real concern on this route , you go slightly higher than Lhasa already on  your first night , and all nights enroute are higher than Lhasa. The only good way to prepare for this is to spend some nights preferably at 3000+ before setting out - Kathmandu wll not help you acclimatize.

 

            Train travel to Lhasa is possible via the Qingzang Railway, which connects Xining to Golmud, and Golmud to Lhasa.  For route information, check out this Railway Map.