How to Get around Lhasa
In Lhasa City, famous destinations Potala Palace, Jokhang Temple, Barkhor Street, Sera Monastery and Norbulingka are concentrated in downtown area within short distance. Independent tourists can take a public bus or taxi to those attractions. The bus fee is much cheaper (1-2 CNY per person), but it’s hard to find the stops which aren’t noted in English. A better choice is get there by taxi, charging fare over 10 to dozens of CNY based on driving distance. Still, there are other featured transports in Lhasa – rickshaw and sharing bike, such as OFO and MOBIKE. For foreigner tourists, Tibet Discovery offers convenient car service to the scheduled destinations or your hotel.
Transport Map of Lhasa and Surroundings
Lhasa to Namtso Lake
Namtso Lake, the highest lake in the world and the second largest lake in Tibet, located in the northwest of Lhasa, is about 200 km to Lhasa. Tourists will spend around 4 hours driving from Lhasa to this holy lake via the National Highway 109 which is in relatively good road condition.
Lhasa to Shigatse
Shigatse, the second largest city in Tibet, is about 270km to Lhasa. Tourist can get to Shigatse from Lhasa by car or by train. The fast and convenient Lhasa Shigatse Train only takes less than 3 hrs, which is scheduled four trains every day. For driving, there are 2 different routes for your option. The recommended one is driving to Shigatse passing Yamdrok Lake, Kharola Glacier, Palcho Monastery in Gyantse for about 8~9 hrs. Another route is driving to Shigatse directly through National Highway 318, costing nearyly 5~ 6hrs, much faster but with few sightseeing on the way.
Lhasa to Nyingchi
Nyingchi, Swizerland in Tibet, is about 400km east of Lhasa. Tourists can get to Nyingchi from Lhasa in different ways: driving or taking a flight. Driving to Nyingchi takes about 7~8hrs walking the National Highway 318. Or you can take a daily Lhasa Nyingchi Flight spending 40mins only, which saves a lot of time.
1. For travelers who visit Lhasa Tibet the first time, taking a train to Lhasa from cities at a lower elevation helps to acclimate themselves to high altitude if time allows.
2. Book your tour package as early as possible, for it’s difficult to buy ticket of flight or train in summer peak season. Tibet Discovery will work out a professional and reliable tour arrangement for you.
3. Get everything ready before you go. Packing well (prepare your passport, cloth, permits, supplies, common medicines and other useful goods) and know some info about the weather, customs, etc. Especially do lots of protection against sunburn and high altitude sickness. Since foreign tourists must be accompanied by local tour guide and driver, you are free to contact the local guide, driver or us once need some help during the Tibet travel.
4. Most road condition in Lhasa is good, but some sections to far away destinations may be a little bumpy. Keep a good physical and mental condition is essential. And remember to take our useful advice.
Lhasa Transportation - Get to Lhasa & Get around Lhasa
Lhasa, located in southwest China, is the capital city of Tibet Autonomous Region and also the transportation hub in Tibet, for it has multiple links with most major cities in China (like Chengdu, Beijing, Shanghai, Xian, etc.) as well as other popular Tibetan destinations (like Shigatse, Nyingchi). With the rapid development of transportation, currently Lhasa is chosen by almost all tourists as the first destination and most favorite gateway for Tibet tour. Easily tourists can reach Lhasa and leave Lhasa in two main traffic means: by air and by train. Get to know more details about Lhasa transportation will help you better make Tibet itinerary.
Linked with many domestic cities and a famous international tourist destination - Kathmandu Nepal, Lhasa has opened many airline routes for travel convenience. If you would like to get to Lhasa by flight, you have over 50 flights to select every day.
Domestic Flights to Lhasa
Lhasa has the most number of flights in Tibet, operating dozens of domestic flights originated from various cities in China: Beijing, Chengdu, Shanghai, Xian, Guangzhou, Chongqing, Xian, Kunming, Shangri-La, Lanzhou, Xining, Lijiang, etc. Among all the cities, Chengdu is the most popular gateway to Lhasa, because Chengdu offers nearly 20 flights to Lhasa every day. Besides, you can also transfer to international destination or fly back to home country from the above major gateway cities.
International Flight to Lhasa
So far, there is only one international air line connecting Lhasa: Kathmandu – Lhasa. Only Air China and Sichuan Airlines are operating this international flights. In peak tourist season like summer, there is 1~2 flights every day.
Lhasa Gonggar International Airport
As the biggest and most important airport in Tibet, Lhasa Gonggar International Airport (LXA, 拉萨贡嘎国际机场) is known as one of the highest airports in the world with an altitude of 3,570m. The Airport is located in Gonggar County, Shannan City, Tibet, about 60km to downtown Lhasa City. It takes about 1h~1.5hrs to drive from the airport to central Lhasa area. There are airport shuttle buses in fixed route and flexible taxies you can take, normally the bus costs about 25CNY and taxi fee is around 150-200CNY to the centralized accommodation Barkhor Street area. Tibet Discovery will offer all-inclusive package including convenient and comfortable pickup and drop off service and quality Tibet tour for you if you take our tour package.
Except the flight way, Lhasa is accessible by train as well. Since the official operation of Qinghai Tibet Railway in 2006, Lhasa started its connection with major inland cities in China. Now taking a train to Lhasa is praised as once in a lifetime travel experience for every Tibet tourist. If you prefer a budget and special way to Lhasa, taking a train is a good choice you can’t miss. You will not only experience the unique Tibet train travel but also enjoy the impressive scenery along the route. Still Lhasa has opened fast and convenient daily train to Shigatse, which only needs less than 3hrs.
Where to Take Trains to Lhasa?
Lhasa is well connected with main popular domestic tourist cities. Currently, passengers can take direct trains to Lhasa from Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Chengdu, Chongqing, Xining and Lanzhou. If you are in the passing by cities like Xian, Nanjing, Suzhou, Zhengzhou, Shijiazhuang, Changsha and so on, you can also catch the Lhasa trains. The daily direct trains to Lhasa costs around 21- 53hrs based on the distance to Lhasa, while Chengdu and Chongqing run trains to Lhasa every other day for about 43hrs duration.There are 3 kinds of seats are available on each specilized plateau train: Soft Sleeper, Hard Sleeper and Hard Seats. Better plan your itinerary as early as possible, because each kind of ticket is in highly demand and difficult to book in summer peak seasons.
Lhasa Railway Station
Sits in southwest Lhasa, the Lhasa Railway Station (拉萨火车站) is the terminal and the biggest station of Qinghai Tibet Railway. It is located in Liuwu New District, southwest of Lhasa, nearly 10km to the downtown Lhasa area, for about 30mins riding to Potala Palce from the railway station. At an elevation of 3,641 meters above sea level, the railway station build on plateau is about 71meters higher than Lhasa Gonggar Airport, so please walk slowly when you get out of the train station against altitude sickness.
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