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Xining to Lhasa Flight: How to Take the Flight from Xining to Tibet?

Last Update: June 30, 2020

At an altitude of 2,184 meters, Xining is in fact one of the best options for flights to Tibet, despite it is always the first choice for travelers to take train to Lhasa. For anyone who want to save more time for getting to Tibet, the flight from Xining to Lhasa will worth your trial. It only takes about 2.5 hours and there are several flights for your choice every day. Read this passage to know more details about how to take the flight from Xining to Lhasa.

Why take the flight from Xining to Lhasa?

While it is not the closest airport to Lhasa in terms of direct distance, it is one of the most favorable of all the airports in provinces that lie next to the Tibet Autonomous Region. The airport, which lies close to Xining, the capital of Qinghai Province, has five daily direct flights to Lhasa, as well as several indirect flights, which makes it one of the airports with the most frequent flights to Tibet’s capital.

Xining Qinghai LakeYou can tour the beautiful Xining Qinghai Lake while you stop in Xining.

Xining is also one of the best places in China for those that want to aid in acclimatization to the higher altitude of Tibet. At an altitude of around 2,275 meters above sea level, Xining is the perfect place for intermediate acclimatization, which makes your acclimatization in Lhasa a little easier. And with flights taking around 2 hours 15 minutes to 2 hours 35 minutes, flight times make it one of the fastest routes to Lhasa from mainland China.

How to take the flight from Xining to Lhasa?

Arranging your flight to Lhasa from Xining is not hard at all, as there are plenty of flights to choose from, and you can manage your flights and bookings easily.

Book the Flight from Xining to Lhasa

You can book your flight to Lhasa from Xining in one of two ways, either online or through a travel agency. If you are booking online, you will need to ensure that you have the right flight for your travel date to Lhasa. If you are traveling in the peak season for tourism in Tibet, then it is essential that you book the flight as early as possible to avoid disappointment. However, while you can easily book the tickets with Sichuan Airlines online direct through their website, direct booking with Tibet Airlines is only possible if you understand Chinese, as their website is not in English.

For many people, booking your flights through a travel agency is the much easier option. And we can make the booking on your behalf when you book your tour with us to save you from hassle. Once we know the dates of your Tibet tour, we can arrange your flights from Xining, and you can simple collect the tickets from the airport once you arrive.

Xining to Lhasa Flight Schedule

Airline & Flight No.Dep./Arr.DurationFrequency
Sichuan Airlines 3U8687 10:05/12:20 2h 15m Daily, Monday to Sunday
Sichuan Airlines 3U8901 11:45/14:20 2h 35m Daily, Monday to Sunday
Tibet Airlines TV9918 12:55/15:15 2h 20m Daily, Monday to Sunday
Tibet Airlines TV9940 13:45/16:00 2h 15m Daily, Monday to Sunday
Tibet Airlines TV9942 14:50/17:05 2h 15m Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday

Obtain the Tibet Permit before You Go

Before you travel to Lhasa from Xining, it is important to make sure that you have the Tibet Travel Permit. This permit, which is required for all international tourists to Tibet, is also required in order to board the flight to Lhasa. You will not be able to board the flight without it.

However, since the permit is required for all international tourists to Tibet, you will need to first book the trip with a travel agency that is registered with the Tibet Tourism Bureau in Lhasa. Once you have booked your trip with us, we will be able to make the application for the Tibet Travel Permit on your behalf. Applications for the permit can only be made through a registered travel agency, and can take up to 15 days to process. So it is important that you book your trip with us well in advance, so that we can ensure your permit is ready for your journey to Lhasa.

Head to Xining Airport in Advance for Boarding

Once your flight is booked, and you are ready to depart for Lhasa, you will need to get to Xining Caojiabao International Airport. The airport actually lies around 30 kilometers to the east of downtown Xining, so you will need to have transport to get there. It is advisable to arrive at the airport to check in for your flight at least two hours before the flight departure time, and check-in counters normally close at least 30 minutes before departure. You can check in through the automatic check-in machines in the airport concourse if you have an e-ticket.

Xining Caojiabao International AirportYou are advised to arrive at airport to check in for your flight at least two hours before the departure time.

Getting to the airport can be done by shuttle buses on three lines, by taxi, or by private vehicle, if you have one booked from your hotel. Some hotels in the city offer airport car transfer services for an additional cost.

Buses run regularly on the Downtown Line for those traveling to the airport from Downtown Xining, and on the East Line for those traveling from Xining Railway Station. The Downtown Line starts at the Yile Hotel, in Chengxi District, and loops around the district, before heading over the Huangshui River and along the Beijing-Lhasa Expressway to the airport. The buses from Downtown Xining run every hour from 8:00am to 6:00pm and take around an hour to reach the airport from the starting point. Tickets generally cost around 21 yuan per person for the full-distance fare.

For those traveling from Xining Railway Station, the shuttle buses depart from the Passenger Transport Center near the railway station, and heads through the Chengdong District, picking up at the Bayilu Coach Station, Fuyin Changle International Hotel, Afif Hotel, Xinqian International Plaza, and Huitong Hotel, before taking the expressway to the airport. The trip from the station generally takes around an hour, and runs hourly from 7:00am to 8:00pm, with a single run departing at around 5:30am. The shuttle also costs around 21 yuan per person.

If you are thinking of taking a taxi to the airport, the fare largely depends on where you are departing from in Xining, but will not be very different, as Xining is not a very large city. That said, the taxis do charge from 40-50 yuan for trips from Bayilu Coach Station, and around 90-100 yuan for trips from Xining Railway Station. A fare from Downton Xining will cost around 100-120 yuan, and all taxis drop off at the official taxi stands at the first floor of the Arrival Hall.

Arrive in Lhasa

Once you arrive in Lhasa at the Lhasa Gonggar International Airport, you will have a couple of options available for getting to your hotel in the capital. The airport lies around 60 kilometers to the southwest of Lhasa itself, and this is normally the only time that you will be permitted to use public transport in Tibet.

Lhasa Gonggar International AirportUpon your arrival, our local guide will greet you at the Lhasa Gonggar International Airport.

Regular airport shuttle buses run from the airport to the city, and this is normally a very convenient option for travelers, as the costs are lower. The shuttle buses normally cost around 30 yuan per person for the whole trip to downtown Lhasa, which takes 1-2 hours, depending on the traffic. However, the shuttle can fill quickly, so you should make your way to the shuttle as soon as you land to get a seat. And once you arrive in Lhasa, you will need to find your own way to your hotel from the city center drop-off point.

Alternatively, you can get a taxi from the taxi stand outside the airport, which will get you to Lhasa and your required hotel in around an hour or so. However, this is the more expensive option, with drivers charging from 160-200 yuan for the trip. It is advisable to negotiate the fare before you get in and depart, as drivers on this route rarely use the meter, and you will pay more if you have not agreed on a price in advance.

The third alternative is often the best, and if you book your tour through us, we offer a free airport shuttle service for travelers arriving at the Lhasa Gonggar International Airport. Our airport shuttles depart from the airport for the city at 9:30am, 1:30pm, and 4:30pm daily, which usually covers most inbound aircraft from Xining without you having to wait for long. You can meet the Tibetan driver outside the airport, who will direct you to the shuttle bus to take you direct to your hotel in Lhasa.


Taking the flights to Lhasa from Xining is not only a convenient way to travel, but has the added advantage of allowing you to acclimatize for a day at lower altitudes before arriving in Lhasa. Xining flights run daily to Lhasa, with several flights a day, and take just over two hours to reach the Tibetan capital. So, if you are planning a trip to Tibet from Xining, you can consider to take a flight as well to enjoy shorter flight times, cheaper flight ticket and more advantages.

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