How to Enter Tibet

Entering from Nepal

By Air: So far, there are two direct flights between Lhasa and Kathmandu, run by Sichuan Airline and Air China. The best thing about flying to Tibet from Nepal is the stunning bird’s-eye view of the Himalayas including Mt. Everest, the world’s highest peak.

By Road: This is the most common way to enter Tibet. Thanks to many cheap direct international flights to Kathmandu, many tourists find it convenient to fly to Kathmandu and then enter Tibet via land. However, if you are already in Nepal, you can enter Tibet via Kerung, Simikot, and Kodari borders. Due to the Nepal earthquake in 2015, the Kodari border is temporarily closed. Instead, the Kerung border which is 3 hours away from Kathmandu is used. Note that the Simikot border is used mostly by travelers wishing to tour/trek Kailash. There are plenty of cars, vans, and buses that frequent the Kerung border.

Entering from Mainland China

Train/Railway: There are five routes that connect China and Tibet by train. The popular choice is to take the Qinghai-Tibet Railway. It takes 2 days for travelers to reach Lhasa from Beijing. Traveling from Xining to Tibet takes around 21 hours. There is a daily train service from Shanghai to Tibet. The Chengdu-Tibet train departs every other day and takes around 43 hours. The train ride from Guangzhou to Tibet train is the longest and takes around 54 hours.

Flights: Tourists can fly to Tibet from Beijing, Shanghai, and Chengdu within 7 hours. Many airlines offer discounts in winter, especially for flights from Chengdu to Lhasa. At present, there are direct flights to Lhasa from Beijing, Shanghai, Chengdu, Shangri-la, Kunming, Guangzhou, Chongqing, Xian, Xining, and Kathmandu. There are also several daily flights from Chengdu to Shigatse and Nyingchi in Tibet. By land: Entering Tibet via mainland China by land is very expensive and takes from 7 – 15 days. Qinghai-Tibet Highway (1937km, an estimated 5-7 days), Xinjiang-Tibet Highway (2086km, an estimated 10-15 days).