As an important gateway city and transportation hub in Tibet, and the transportation in Lhasa is relatively convenient. Currently, the main modes of transportation to Lhasa include plane, train, coach, road trip and even hitchhiking and hiking. Air travel is the most time-saving and efficient way, and train travel to Lhasa is also very common. Road trip, hitchhiking and even hiking to Lhasa on well-designed routes are also interesting and eye-opening, but in the meantime, you should pay attention to self-safety, so as to avoid dangers on the road.
How to Get in Lhasa
Tourists can get to Lhasa by train, air and long-distance bus. Of course, some backpackers may go to Tibet by cycling and even hiking.
Lhasa's only airport is currently Lhasa Gonggar International Airport. Every year from May to October is tourist season, it is best to buy round-trip ticket in advance when arranging the trip. Most foreign tourists arrive in Lhasa by plane. Chengdu, Beijing, Xi'an, Chongqing and Xining are all starting points.
There are five airports in Tibet, Lhasa Gonggar International Airport, Nyingchi Mainling Airport, Shigatse Peace Airport, Qamdo Bangda Airport and Ngari Gunsa Airport. Among these airports, Lhasa Gonggar Airport is the most popular and significant one that connects the major cities in China, such as Beijing, Xian, Chengdu, Chongqing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Kunming, Shangri-La, etc. The flights for some prefectures in Tibet is also available, such as Nyingchi, Ngari and Qamdo.
Lhasa Gonggar airport is located in Jiazhulin town of Gonggar county, Shannan, Tibet. It is located on the south bank of the magnificent Yarlung Zangbo river, with an altitude of 3600 meters. The runway is 4000 meters long and 45 meters wide. About 85 kilometers away from Lhasa city center, the airport is a 4E military and civilian international airport, which is one of the highest airports in the world and the largest aviation hub in Tibet autonomous region.
Airport Shuttle Bus
|Airport- Potala Palace
|About 1 hour
Notes: According to the official website of China Eastern airlines in July 2019, tourists to Lhasa city center can wait the shuttle bus at the gate of arrival hall, and the departure time of the first and last bus at the airport is determined according to the flight situation. Shuttle bus from Lhasa City center to airport departs every 30 minutes.
Going to Lhasa by train is another choice. To get to Lhasa, it is cheaper to travel by train than by plane, and safer than by road and car. At the same time, trains into Tibet help the body gradually adapt to the rising altitude.
Daily or weekly trains run from the 7 gateway cities to Lhasa, including Beijing, Shanghai, Chengdu, Guangzhou, Chongqing, Lanzhou and Xining. Tourists can also take a train at the stations on the the midway, such as Nanjing, Xian, Taiyuan, etc. The train tickets are in short supply and sold out very quickly, especially during summer and holidays, even though there are at least 7 train routes to Tibet. It is strongly suggested to take a Soft Sleeper because you have to spend two nights on the train if you depart from Beijing, Shanghai, Chengdu, etc. However, the Soft Sleeper is extremely hard to book because each train has only 76 sleepers in total. So you'd better book the train ticket as soon as possible. According to the policy at present, one person can book the ticket up to 30 days in advance.
Main Railway Stations in Lhasa
There are three main railway stations in Lhasa city, Lhasa Railway Station, Lhasa South Railway Station and Lhasa West Railway Station.
- Lhasa Railway Station(拉萨站)
Lhasa railway station is located in Lhasa city, Tibet autonomous region, China, with an altitude of 3,600 meters, nearly 20 kilometers from Potala Palace. It is the largest station on the Qinghai-Tibet railway and also one of the landmark projects of the Qinghai-Tibet railway.
Address: Near Tongzhan Road, Doilungdeqen District, Lhasa拉萨市堆龙德庆区通站路附近
Tel: 0891-6756221 0891-6756222
Destinations: Beijing, Shanghai, Chongqing, Guangzhou and Chengdu, etc.
- Lhasa South Railway Station(拉萨南站)
Lhasa south railway station is located in Liuwu Township, Doilungdeqen District, Lhasa City, Tibet, 5 kilometers from Lhasa railway station and 12 kilometers from Lhasa west railway station.
Address: Liuwu Village, Doilungdeqen District, Lhasa
- Lhasa West Railway Station(拉萨西站)
Lhasa west railway station is 7 kilometers away from Lhasa railway station on the altitude of 3664 meters above sea level, opened on July 1, 2006. This station is the largest freight station in Tibet section of the Qinghai-Tibet railway (in addition, Lhasa south railway station is also a freight station).
Address: Duilongdeqing District, Lhasa, Tibet
- Damxung Railway Station(当雄站)
Address: Dangxiong railway station, located in Damxung County of Tibet Autonomous Region, is 4293 meters above sea level, and is 164 kilometers from Lhasa railway station and 978 kilometers from Golmud railway station.
Main Raiwlays in Lhasa
- Qinghai-Tibet Railway
- Sichuan-Tibet Railway
- Yunnan-Tibet Railway
- Xinjiang-Tibet Railway
- China–Nepal Railway
- Lhasa-Shigatse Railway
By Long-distance Bus
Five highways including Sichuan-Tibet Highway, Qinghai-Tibet Highway, Xinjiang-Tibet Highway, Yunnan-Tibet Highway and China-Nepal Highway, pass through the mysterious high land. Choose to enter Tibet from Yunnan or Sichuan, you need a transfer to reach Lhasa.
Main Long-diatance Bus Stations in Lhasa
- Lhasa Bus Station(拉萨汽车站)
Address: No.1, Jinzhu Middle Road, Chengguan District, Lhasa拉萨市城关区金珠中路1号
Major Destinations: Every day, there are long-distance buses to Qamdo, Shigatse, Golmud, Quxu, Tongmai, Zhamo, etc.
- Lhasa East Suburb Bus Station(拉萨东郊汽车客运站)
Address: No.3, Jiangsu East Road, Chengguan District, Lhasa拉萨市城关区江苏东路3号
Major Destination: Mainly regular buses to the surburb of Lhasa.
- Lhasa North Suburb Bus Station(拉萨北郊汽车客运站)
Major Destination: There are long-distance buses to Shangri-la, Jomda County, Markam County, Qamdo, etc.
- Expressways of China
- Roads in China
- Transportation in China
- Railways in China
- Beijing-Lhasa Expressway
- Chengdu-Lhasa Transportation
How to Get Around Lhasa
Lhasa's internal transportation is very convenient, with buses, taxis, pedicabs, chartered buses and other forms of transportation.
Minibus is one of the main means of transport in Lhasa. It's a quick and easy way to get around the city. Tourists can easily find minibuses near Beijing road, where they run in a fixed fee of 2 yuan per person. Generally speaking, because of the temperature, the bus runs late in the morning and stops early in the evening.
There are more than 20 bus routes in Lhasa, including No.101, 102, 103, 104, 105, 106, 107, 108, 109, 111, 96, 97, 98, 99, 24, etc. The ticket price is usually 1 yuan, and most buses depart every 30 minutes. The No.24 bus is a touist special line that passes through the famous scenic spots in Lhasa like Drepung monastery, Potala Palace and Sera Monastery.
It's quite convenient for tourists to take a taxi in Lhasa. Usually it will cost about 20-30 yuan to get to some places at a distance and 10-15 yuan to travel in town. The starting fare is 10 yuan within 3 kilometers and the price will add 2 yuan per kilometers beyond 3 kilometers.
The pedicab is a unique means of transportation in Lhasa. A pedicab can carry 2-3 people and usually costs 4-7 yuan. And the Beijing Road in front of Potala Square is unavailable to pass by pedicabs. It's a more time-consuming journey than taking a minibus, but an interesting and popular way to see the city.
If the time and health permit, cycling is another pleasant way to look around the Lhasacity. Bicycles are available at many hostels along barkhor street. Generally speaking, the rental fee for an ordinary bicycle is 2 yuan per hour, 20 yuan per day; It's 3 yuan per hour and 30 yuan per day for renting a mountain bike.