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Best Way to Get to Tibet: The Cheapest, Fastest, or Most Scenic Way?

Last Update: May 31, 2023

Tibet lies on the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau which is known as the roof of the world. So, it seems an unreachable and mysterious place for the majority of tourists. In fact, it is not difficult to travel to Tibet. So far, there are three major ways to get Tibet: by train, by air and by road.

You may wonder which one is the best way to go to Tibet? As the saying goes: The most appropriate is the best. You should depend on your needs to choose. If your budget is limited, you can choose the cheapest way; if you don't have enough time, you can opt for the fastest way; if you are a photography enthusiast, the most scenic way is a good option for you. The followings are a detailed introduction of these three ways.

How to Get to Tibet? By Train, Flight or Overland? Which One is the Best?

The Cheapest Way to Get to Tibet

The cheapest way to get to Tibet is by train. For most tourists, one of the main reasons they travel to Tibet by train is the relatively cheap price. Even from Guangzhou – the most remote city, to Lhasa, Tibet, is significantly lower than the airline fare. And during the high season, the price of the plane ticket will rise sharply. While the price of the train ticket will not change drastically, and it basically stay the same throughout the year.

In China, there are seven gateway cities where you can take trains to get Tibet: Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Chengdu, Chongqing, Lanzhou, and Xining. Most of foreign travelers prefer getting to Tibet from Beijing. Flight from Beijing to Lhasa is not cheap, even when you opt for the budget airlines. The cheapest flight from Beijing to Tibet will normally cost around US$380, plus airport taxes, etc. However, the soft sleeper berth which is the most expensive type in the Beijing Tibet train only requires about US$ 175.

Get to Tibet by trainThe cheapest way to get to Tibet is by train.

Besides, from Guangzhou to Tibet by train is more expensive than from other six gateway cities, because it is the longest journey of all seven journeys to Tibet. It takes 53 hours to travel to Lhasa from Guangzhou. Correspondingly, Xining, the capital of Qinghai Province, is the cheapest one in these cities to go to Tibet by train. Xining Lhasa train tour only needs around 21 and a half hours. Meanwhile, there are more train tickets available if you head for Lhasa from Xining.

Tibet train tours are very popular for travelers, not only because of its low price, but also owing to the appealing charm along the Qinghai Tibet Railway. Qinghai-Tibet Railway is one of the must-do experiences of your Tibet tour. Qinghai-Tibet Railway is an engineering marvel of the world. It is the world’s highest railway: 86% of the line is above 4000m and the highest point is 5,072 meters. Taking Qinghai-Tibet Train you can experience this world engineering miracle closely.

So, if your budget is limited, meanwhile you have plenty of time. It is suggested that you get to Tibet by train. It is important to note that although there are many trains to go to Tibet every day, you still need to reserve your ticket as early as possible, especially during the peak tourism months. The best choice is booking your Tibet train ticket via us, we wholeheartedly for your service.

The Fastest Way to Get to Tibet

The fastest way to get to Tibet is by flight. Flying to Tibet is the best option for tourists who don’t want to spend too much time on their way. There are flights to Lhasa from a lot of cities in China: such as Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Xi’an, Chengdu, Chongqing, Xining and so on. Even from the farthest city in China, it only takes 8-9 hours to reach Lhasa, while the shortest train journey still requires about 22 hours. If you head for Tibet by plane, you can save a lot time to enjoy sightseeing in Tibet.

Get to Tibet by flightThe fastest way to get to Tibet is by flight.

Kathmandu, the capital of Nepal, is the only city in the world with international flights directly to Tibet. These flights usually take only 90 minutes. While the Tibet train or overland tour will take several days. Flying from Kathmandu to Tibet has an added advantage of being able to overlook Mount Everest as the plane flies over the Himalayas.

Lhasa Gonggar International Airport is a unique international airport in Tibet. There are a large number of planes taking off and landing every day. Even so, it is suggested you book flight as early as possible to avoid missing out your preferred flight to Tibet, notably in the high season.

The Most Scenic Way to Get to Tibet

The most scenic way to get to Tibet is by road. For those travelers who would like to profoundly explore the stunning view of Qinghai-Tibet Plateau, meanwhile have plenty of time to travel, an overland trip is the top choice. Although you can also appreciate the beauteous view through the Tibet train window, you can’t get close to feel those sights and local culture on the train. The Tibet overland tour can fulfill you wish. There are 5 overland routes to Tibet: Yunnan-Tibet Highway, Sichuan-Tibet Highway, Qinghai-Tibet Highway, Xinjiang Tibet Highway, and Sino-Nepal Friendship Highway.

Get to Tibet by roadThe most scenic way to get to Tibet is by road.

Sichuan-Tibet Highway is the most popular one of all the overland routes. Because it has the unique, various landscapes, and complicated topographic features that attracting many people from all over the word to explore. It starts from Chengdu of Sichuan to Lhasa of Tibet, with a total distance of more than 2,000 km. This miraculous road will take you pass through Hengduan Mountains and get into the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau. There are many beautiful attractions along the road trip from Chengdu to Lhasa.

Wolong National Nature Reserve located in the Qionglai Mountains region and established in 1963. It is famous for the Panda Research Center. It is home to many endangered species like pandas, golden monkeys, white-lipped deer, etc.

Namtso Lake, is a must-see scenic spot, lie in the between Damxung County of Lhasa Prefecture and Baingoin County of Nagqu Prefecture. It is the highest Salt Lake in Tibet, at an elevation of 4, 718m.

Maoya Grasslands, situate in the west of Litang, is a vast grassland surrounded by mountains. Meanwhile, you also have a chance to soak up the Genie Mountains which formed by three main peaks, separately at an elevation of 6,224m, 5,807m and 5,780m.

The Midui Glaciers is called “the world wonder of glaciers". It is one of the most beautiful glaciers in china. The main peak is at the elevation of 6,800 m.

Lulang Forest is a famous tourist site. There are many kinds of rare plants here. It is recommended you taste Shiguo chicken in Lulang town. It's really delicious and unique.


Tibet, a land of mystery, attracts thousands of tourists to visit every year. You have three main ways to get to Tibet. Which way you choose depending on your personal preference, time, and budget. Train is the cheapest way, especially you take trains in Xining. Flight is the fastest one, if you fly to Tibet from Kathmandu, you only need 90 minutes. If you want to stop to take photos and view the scenery, and you have plenty of time, traveling overland from Chengdu to Tibet will be a great choice. The rolling mountains, luxuriant pristine forests, magnificent glaciers, vast grasslands, lovely wild animals, etc. make Sichuan-Tibet Highway a heaven for photography.

As a Tibet tour expert with over 10 years of Tibet tour running experience, booking your Tibet tour package through us is a sensible option. We promise you a seamless Tibet tour, including booking your Tibet train/flight tickets, providing a designed customized overland tour for you, arranging vehicle, accommodation, and guide service, etc. For more questions about the best way to get to Tibet, you can just feel free to contact us.

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