listicon
Get Tour Quote
TOP

Flights between Lhasa and Kathmandu: Travel to Tibet and Nepal by Air

Last Update: June 24, 2019

Lhasa, the capital of the Chinese autonomous province of Tibet, is a world-class destination. With the altitude of around 3,650 meters above sea level, this cosmopolitan city is among the highest cities in the world. More so, Lhasa is the gateway to Tibet, which occupies the world's highest plateau and, thus, features spectacular landscapes, towering mountains, and diverse wildlife. Except for the Chinese cities, you can fly to Lhasa only from Kathmandu, which is the capital of neighboring Nepal. Before you book a flight, there are procedures you need to complete to fly from Kathmandu to Lhasa.

Lhasa to Kathmandu Flight

Flying from Lhasa to Kathmandu and vice versa is the quickest option of traveling between Tibet and Nepal. Direct flights are available daily and last up to two hours. Lhasa is in the China Standard Time zone (GMT+8), while Kathmandu is in the Nepal time zone (GMT+5:45).

Lhasa to Kathmandu Flight Schedule

Because of the time zone difference, you gain time when flying directly from Lhasa, Tibet, to Kathmandu, Nepal. The duration of the flight is around 1:30 hours, and if the flight departs around noon, you land at the Kathmandu airport around 11 am. Airlines flying directly between Kathmandu and Lhasa are Sichuan Airlines and Air China. The average flight fare is around US$450, and there is one direct flight between the capital cities of Tibet and Nepal every day. Because of the limited number of departures and seats, flight deals are almost always high.

However, you can cut these expenses down if you act timely and are flexible. According to statistics, the most affordable day for flying from Lhasa to Kathmandu is Tuesday, with the US$370 price for a one-way ticket on average. Journeys in this direction are typically the most expensive on Thursday (US$540). If you book a ticket a few months, even a month, in advance, you may decrease the expense down to US$250. When booking a flight, take into account that the flight fares rise during the high tourist season and Chinese holidays.

Lhasa to Kathmandu Flight Schedule

AirlineFlightDepartureArrivalTravel TimeFrequency
Sichuan Airlines 8719 10:55 am 10:30 am 1:50 hours Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Sunday
Air China 407 11:50 am 11:10 am 1:35 hours Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday

Lhasa Gonggar Airport

Standing 3,570 meters above sea level, Lhasa Gonggar International Airport is among the world's highest airports. Besides Air China and Sichuan Airlines, some airlines flying to this airport are Tibet Airlines and Hainan. The distance from the Lhasa downtown to the Gonggar airport is about 60km/38.5mi, and transfer times are usually between 45 minutes and an hour.

Lhasa Gonggar Airport serves the only international flight route to Tibet from Kathmandu, Nepal. Aside from this one, the airport serves only domestic flights. Direct flights are available from Beijing, Chengdu, Kunming, Xi An, and Wuhan among other Chinese cities.

Picked up at Lhasa AirportOur clients have been picked up at the airport upon arrival by flight to Tibet.

Chinese residents may hire shuttle buses (around CNY50/US$7) and taxis (up to CNY150/US$21) to get to the Tibetan capital. For international visitors who booked a tour through us, you can get a warm welcome from our local guide at the airport, and get safely transferred to the downtown by private car. If you need to spend some time at the airport, browse stores and eateries on Floor 2.

Kathmandu to Lhasa Flight

The only international flights that transport passengers to Lhasa, Tibet, depart from Kathmandu. To be eligible to travel from Nepal, or any other foreign destination, to Tibet, you need to apply for certain travel documents.

Kathmandu to Lhasa Flight Schedule

The flight from Kathmandu to Lhasa lasts between 1:30 and two hours. Due to the time difference, however, you land in Tibet after around four hours by the local time following the departure. According to statistics, the average flight fare for traveling between the capital cities of Nepal and Tibet is US$435. To lower the cost, you should consider booking flights on Wednesday and Sunday, which are the least expensive days for traveling on this route. If you are flexible, you may lower the cost of the one-way flight down to US$370, even to US$200 at times. Note that flight deals increase during the high tourist season and Chinese holidays.

Kathmandu to Lhasa Flight Schedule

AirlineFlightDepartureArrivalTravel TimeFrequency
Sichuan Airlines 8720 11:30 am 3:05 pm 1:20 hours Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Sunday
Air China 408 12:10 pm 4 pm 1:35 hours Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday

Kathmandu Tribhuvan International Airport

Located several kilometers from Kathmandu, the Tribhuvan International Airport has basic facilities and a convenient connection to the city. Travel times between the airport and the city are about 30 minutes for bus transfers and around 20 minutes for taxi transfers. You should note that buses are affordable transfer options, but tend to run infrequently. Consequently, they usually transport a lot of commuters, which renders this type of transfer unsuitable for travelers with a lot of luggage. Taxi fares start at NPR700, which corresponds to US$6.5.

Tribhuvan International AirportTribhuvan International Airport in Kathmandu

Tribhuvan International Airport has two terminals that accept international and domestic flights and share the same building. The airport features dining facilities on the ground floor, as well as duty-free shops. Offices for money exchange are available in the departure and arrivals lounges.

Tibet Permit and Visa for Flight from Kathmandu to Lhasa

To be eligible to enter the Chinese autonomous province of Tibet, you need to obtain the Tibet Travel Permit. Moreover, to enter Tibet from Nepal, you need to apply for the Chinese Group Visa.

To visit Tibet, book an individual or a group tour via a Tibetan tour operator and arrange all the details. Before you apply for the Tibet Travel Permit, secure the Chinese Visa. Once you fulfill these formalities, you can apply for the travel permit. Documents you need to send to your Tibetan travel agency are copies of the passport and Chinese Visa and a photo. In general, the authorities issue the document in eight or nine workdays and then deliver the Tibet Travel Permit to the tour operator. Once you enter Tibet via the airport or the Gyirong border crossing, a tour agent will welcome you with the travel permit.

Travelers entering Tibet from Nepal, in addition, need to apply for the Chinese Group Visa, which is valid for 30 days. Since the law prevents individual entries from Nepal to Tibet, you need to be part of a group tour to enter Tibet from its southern neighbor. More so, all group members must leave the autonomous province at the same time. Contact a travel agency in Kathmandu to arrange details of the tour and send them a scanned copy of your passport so they can get an invitation letter for you. Afterward, the tour operator will need a copy of the letter, passport, your photo on a white background, and paid application fee to apply for the group visa on your behalf. The issuing of the Chinese Group Visa usually takes four workdays, so arrive in Kathmandu at least several days ahead of your Tibet tour.

Air Route Map between Lhasa and Kathmandu

Aside from direct flights between Lhasa and Kathmandu, you may opt for journeys with layovers if you have additional plans. What you should note is that connecting flights are almost always more expensive than direct flights on this route. Also, have in mind that layovers are usually long. So, resort to this option only if you wish to visit some other destination(s) during your trip.

So, if flying from Kathmandu to Lhasa and vice versa, you may choose to visit various cities along the way. Among other destinations in China, you can fly from Kathmandu to Xi An, Chengdu, Kunming, Lijiang City, Guangzhou, Chongqing, and Xining. In general, you can catch a connecting flight to Lhasa from any of these cities. Some airlines providing connecting flights between Kathmandu and Lhasa are Tibet Airlines, China Eastern, and China Southern.

Conclusion

If flying directly between Lhasa and Kathmandu, you will save a significant amount of time compared to other transportation options. Since there is only one direct flight per day in each direction, fares are higher than you would expect for an hour-and-a-half flight. Also, be aware that you are likely to experience symptoms of high-altitude sickness after the flight from Kathmandu to Lhasa. Given that you are in a position to choose how to combine different transportation options when traveling to Tibet, it is always better to take a flight when leaving Tibet.

Related Tibet Trips

Ask a Quick Question

Question Summary*

Details*

SUBMIT

Please fill in your contact information, we will send you the answer by email

SUBMITCancel

Be the First One to Comment "Flights between Lhasa and Kathmandu: Travel to Tibet and Nepal by Air"