Booking an airline ticket to Lhasa also involves having a Tibet Tourism Bureau permit. Even if you can buy a ticket without the permit, it's highly unlikely that you will be allowed to board.
Air China, Sichuan Airlines, China Southern Airlines, and China Eastern Airlines are some of the 16 airlines with frequent service to Lhasa, with the brand-new Tibet Airlines starting in 2011. The easiest direct route is from Chengdu, which has as many as 10 daily flights during the summer months for about Y1,500 each way. Flights to Lhasa depart from Beijing (five hours), Guangzhou (five hours), Xi'an (3½ hrs), Chongqing (three hours), and Chengdu (two hours). The airport is 53 km (32 mi) southwest of Lhasa, which takes about 45 minutes by taxi (Y180) or more than an hour by shuttle bus (Y25).
If you are coming from Kathmandu, the nonstop flights made four times a week will give you fantastic views of the Himalayas. You must show your permit from the Tibet Tourism Bureau when you check in.
Fodor's Trip Planning Ideas
- Fodor's 100 Hotel Awards: Check out the winners of 2013
- Weekend Getaways: Fodor's Recommends the Best Weekend Escapes in the US
- Great American Vacation: Find Your Next U.S. Trip with Fodor's
- 80 Degrees: Fodor's Helps You Find Your Best Beach Vacation Spots
- Best of Europe: Fodor's Picks the Best Places to Visit in Europe