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How to Travel from Kathmandu to Lhasa: Useful Guide on Overland, Flight, and Cycling Options

Last Update: August 3, 2023

An increasingly popular tourist destination, Tibet is easily accessible from Nepal. Most Western countries do not need a visa to travel to Nepal, which makes it an ideal starting point for a tour of Tibet.

Flights from Kathmandu run daily, and it makes sense to travel from Kathmandu to Tibet for ease of travel. The Sino-Friendship Highway also creates the perfect chance for an epic road trip from Kathmandu to Lhasa.Check this passage to know more details on how to get to Lhasa from Kathmandu.

How to Get to Lhasa from Nepal

Kathmandu to Lhasa by Overland: The Most Scenic Way

Currently, it is available for international tourists to travel overland from Kathmandu to Lhasa, owing to the opening of the border crossing at Gyirong Port.

After completing all necessary border formalities, including obtaining your Chinese Group Visa and Tibet Travel Permit, you can enter Tibet through the Gyirong Port. From Kathmandu, the road to Gyirong stretches 160km, which is only 7-9 hours to get to the Gyirong border.

Once you enter Tibet, the path seamlessly connects with the famous G318 Highway in China. With well-paved asphalt roads, it is quite convenient and easy to make the drive across the Tibetan Plateau.

Kathmandu to Lhasa overlandIt is convenient to travel from Kathmandu to Lhasa by overland.

In fact, the overland trip from Kathmandu to Lhasa can award you more, as it passes some of the most highlighted attractions in Tibet. You can visit the famous Everest Base Camp on the Tibetan side, the historical cities of Shigatse, the famous holy lake of Yamdrok, the splendid architecture of Gyantse Kumbum, etc.

Altogether it will take only 8 days to complete this wonderful trip, including a two-day sightseeing in Lhasa city. Join us on our classic 8-day Kathmandu to Lhasa trip, and let us handle all the details including the permits, allowing you to relax and savor every moment of this extraordinary adventure.

Kathmandu to Lhasa by Flight: The Fastest Way

Obviously, the fastest way to get to Lhasa from Nepal is by air from Kathmandu. Two airlines run flights from Kathmandu to Lhasa: Sichuan Airlines and Air China.

Air China runs flights daily, both ways, while Sichuan Airlines flights run every other day, again in both directions. The distance from Kathmandu to Lhasa is around 600km, and the flights take around an hour and a half.

To take the flight, you need to go to Kathmandu Tribhuvan International Airport, which is situated around six kilometers from Kathmandu city center, on the Kathmandu Ring Road. As Nepal’s only international airport, your flight from your home country would land here too. Your connecting flight to Tibet will depart from TIA through the international flight departure area.

Kathmandu to Lhasa FlightThe Kathmandu to Lhasa flight crosses the Himalayas.

Your flight will land at Lhasa Gonggar Airport, a remarkable aviation hub in Tibet, situated at an elevation of 3600 meters. And we proudly offer a free airport pick-up service as long as you book your Tibet tour with us. You can have a seamless and hassle-free arrival and start your adventure in the holy land.

One thing that needs to be noted is that Kathmandu is not high enough to allow proper acclimatization to the higher altitudes of Tibet, so it would be a good idea to rest for a day, at least, on your arrival in Lhasa, to reduce the risk of altitude sickness.

Kathmandu to Lhasa by Cycling: The Most Adventurous Way

Exploring Tibet by bicycle presents an incredible opportunity to immerse oneself in the region's enchanting landscapes. While it poses physical and psychological challenges, a cycling tour in Tibet offers unparalleled rewards, granting a deeper appreciation of the breathtaking scenery.

Many adventurers opt for guided mountain bike tours to maximize their experience. However, it's important to note that this option may not be suitable for inexperienced cyclists.

Cycling from Kathmandu to LhasaCycling from Kathmandu to Lhasa.

You can take your bike, or you can buy or hire one. It is a good idea, if you are traveling in a group, to all use the same type of bike, as this will make it easier to share spare parts you may need along the route.

Tips for smooth cycling from Kathmandu to Lhasa

Some of the things you will need are additional to what a normal tour in Tibet requires. A good, waterproof tent is a must, as is a warm sleeping bag. Always carry a basic first-aid kit, for emergencies, and plenty of food. You will be able to get the basics of Tibetan food, such as tsampa or beef, but many other foods will be scarce outside Lhasa.

As you are required to have a guide with you during your visit, they will be able to show you some of the routes you can try, but a map is still a good idea so that you can plan your own route with your guide.

Packing for cycling toursPacking is important for cycling from Kathmandu to Lhasa.

Tibetan climate is harsh, and you will need warm clothes for when it is cold, and waterproof for rain. In summer, cycling gear is fine, as long as you have warm clothes for when you stop, or at night, as the night-time temperature can drop below freezing even in the summer.

Additionally, it is important to remember to warm up before you start the day, and stretch after the day is over, to reduce the chance of muscle cramps, which can occur more in the higher altitude.

Can I Travel from Kathmandu to Lhasa by Train?

As of this time, there is no overland railway linking Nepal with Tibet. The Lhasa to Shigatse extension of the Qinghai-Tibet Railway has been put into operation in August 2014, and the Chinese government has plans to further extend the line into Nepal for better travel between Nepal and Tibet. Once completed, the railway line from Kathmandu to Lhasa will cover a total distance of almost 1,000 kilometers and will take less than one day to traverse.

Required Documents for Travelling from Kathmandu to Lhasa

Before you can travel from Nepal to Tibet, you need to get your Chinese Group Visa and Tibet Travel Permit. While the Tibet Travel Permit grants access to Tibet and permits visits to destinations in the vicinity of Lhasa, it is important to note that exploring more remote areas of Tibet requires additional travel documents.

Tibet Travel Permit SampleA sample of Tibet Travel Permit we have obtained for our clients.

Our tour operator can help to apply for all the required documents for your Kathmandu to Lhasa tour. The processing time for the Chinese Group Visa is typically around 4 days, while the Tibet Travel Permit takes approximately 8-9 working days. To ensure a seamless application process, we recommend contacting us at least 20 days prior to your departure to Nepal.


Traveling to Lhasa from Kathmandu offers a popular route to explore Tibet for many international tourists. And there are mainly two options: taking a direct flight or opting for an overland journey. It depends on you to choose the best way to get to Tibet. And if conditions allow, you can also take a bike trip from Kathmandu Valley to cross the plateau.

As a trustworthy local tour agency with extensive experience, we offer a collection of Nepal Tibet tours for different choices. As long as you book your tour with us, you will rest assured to enjoy your trip from Nepal to Tibet with no worry about the permit application, etc. We can also customize your perfect itinerary according to your own needs.

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