Frequently Asked Questions about Chengdu to Lhasa Overland Tour
How long is the distance from Chengdu to Lhasa by overland?
Well, one can take a road trip from Chengdu to Lhasa via two different ways, namely the northern route and southern route of Sichuan Tibet Highway. The northern route, as a part of G317 National Highway, extends around 2320 kilometer from Chengdu to Lhasa, and passes major cities as Garze, Dege and Qamdo. The road basically stretches northwards along the Yalong River, and then traverses grasslands, canyons, agricultural areas and a few temples.
The southern route, more reputed and well-known to travelers, is a part of the famous G318 National Highway. It covers about 2146 km and traverses quite a number of high mountains, larger rivers and deep gorges along the way. The main midway cities along the route include Litang, Batang, Mangkang, Bomi, Nyingchi. Compared to the northern route, the southern route is more dangerous yet boasts more unique natural beauty.
When is the best time to travel overland from Chengdu to Lhasa via G318 Highway?
The best time to drive from Chengdu to Lhasa is spring and autumn, though the world-class G318 Highway presents different landscapes in each season. In spring from March to April, it is the flowering season to appreciate the gorgeous peach blossom in Nyingchi region. It is also the time when temperature warms up and icy roads become unfrozen.
When it comes to autumn, mountain flowers are in full bloom and red leaves decorates in almost everywhere. It is the best time to drive on the road, owing to the pleasant weather and brilliant scenery. When it comes to late October, the temperature gets obviously cold, and some passes will become blocked when it snows a lot.
July and August are the two months when most sections of the road will suffer from heavy rainfalls. It is recommended to avoid this period of reason seasons despite the scenery of this time is beautiful as well.
Do I need a permit to drive from Chengdu to Lhasa?
As most people know, it is required to obtain a Tibet Travel Permit for foreign travelers before you enter to Lhasa, whether you choose to take a flight or train. Well, the rule is the same with travelling overland from Chengdu to Lhasa. Throughout the road from Chengdu to Lhasa, there are many checking points of permits, especially after you drive to the region of Tibet. Besides the Tibet travel permit, the Aliens’ Travel Permit is also required once you drive to Nyingchi region.
Since all travel permits to Tibet can only be obtained as a part of an organized tour, it is recommended to contact an authorized local tour agency like us in advance, to help arrange the itinerary and apply for the permits on behalf of you.
Is it possible to cycle from Chengdu to Lhasa? How is the road condition from Chengdu to Lhasa?
Cycling from Chengdu to Lhasa is doubtlessly a test of perseverance and strength. The 2200km bike trip will last around 21 to 26 days, and riders will need to overcome a dozen mountains, rivers, with numerous climbs and descends. So, it does require you to have a good level of physical fitness to take this epic adventure.
However, the entire line of G318 Road is basically tarmac, and many mountains have opened tunnels. Even the precipitous Nujiang 72 Curves is totally asphalt, and a new Tongmai Bridge is built to replace the old steel cable bridge to cross the dangerous Tongmai Natural Barrier. For most riders, you will not have much difficulty in riding this route, and can also enjoy the scenery all the way.
Compared to the southern route, the 317 Road is relatively arduous and the road condition are even worse. There are several sections of dirt roads and gravel roads, which will turn to mud roads when it rains. Parts of the road will also be blocked sometimes. It is recommended to avoid this route unless you are quite skilled and experienced in riding and willing to challenge yourself. Besides, no matter which way you take, make sure you have some basic fitness exercises in advance is important.