Chengdu is an important transportation hub for entering Tibet and it is convenient to get to Tibet from Chengdu. For foreign tourists, there are two main ways to travel to Tibet from Chengdu: by airplane and by train.
Chengdu to Tibet by Airplane
Chengdu Shuangliu International Airport provides the most frequent amount of flights to Tibet than any other airport in the country, with more than 30 flights to Lhasa daily, including flights from many of the other major airports across China that go through Chengdu to get to Tibet.
There are also non-stop flight routes from Chengdu to Nyingchi and Shigatse as well as connecting flights from Chengdu to Chamdo and Ngari.
Chengdu–Lhasa Direct Flights Schedule
Departure: Chengdu Shuangliu International Airport
Arrival: Lhasa Gonggar Airport
|Airline||Departure Time||Duration (approx.)|
|2 h 30 min|
2 h 20 min
|2 h 20 min|
|China Eastern Airlines||06:10
|2 h 30 min|
- Note: The schedule is for reference only. Departure times may vary slightly from day to day. Please check the official website of each airline for the latest information.
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Taking a Flight Is Recommended
A flight ticket to Tibet is easier to get than a train ticket. Train tickets to Tibet are in high demand, especially in July and August.
Taking a flight to Tibet is a more comfortable experience before you begin exploring the region. A train journey from Chengdu to Lhasa takes about 36 hours. Lack of rest on the train may make you prone to altitude sickness when you arrive in Lhasa and feel tired when you tour around.
Some people think that taking a train to Tibet will gradually help them get used to the high altitude. Actually, no matter whether you take a flight or a train journey to Tibet, it's hard to avoid altitude sickness.
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Chengdu to Tibet by Train
As the important transfer hub in Southwest China, Chengdu not only offers direct flights to Tibet but also train routes to Tibet. There is a direct train from Chengdu Railway Station to Lhasa Railway Station: Z322.
Train Z322 departs every other day at 21:37 from Chengdu and arrives in Lhasa at 09:55 on the third day. The journey takes about 36 hours.
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Chengdu–Lhasa Train (Z322) Schedule
|Chengdu||485 m||--||21:37||--||Day 1||--|
|Guangyuan||488 m||02:23||02:40||17 min||Day 2||319 km|
|Lanzhou||1,520 m||09:10||09:27||17 min||Day 2||902 km|
|Xining||2,200 m||12:07||12:27||20 min||Day 2||1,118 km|
|Delingha||2,980 m||16:35||16:37||2 min||Day 2||1,639 km|
|Golmud||2,780 m||19:24||19:49||25 min||Day 2||1,948 km|
|Nagqu||4,500 m||05:59||06:05||6 min||Day 3||2,768 km|
|Lhasa||3,650 m||09:55||--||--||Day 3||3,070 km|
Awesome Scenery and Landscapes Along the Way
The beautiful scenery along the way is a big reason why many people choose to take the train.
As the route heads out of Xining, the start of the Qinghai–Tibet Railway, you begin the longest high-altitude train trip in the world. From Xining to Lhasa, this 1,956-kilometer route will take you “all the way to the sky”.
Tall buildings and crowds are both left behind, and the scenery out of the window is beautiful, stark, and almost otherworldly. You will pass the boundless Qinghai Lake and through the magnificent Kunlun Mountains.
After crossing these stunning mountains, the train will run across the Kekexili Nature Reserve, the largest no-man's-land in China and the third largest in the world, and it will reach the Tanggula Pass, which is the highest railway pass in the world.
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Then the train will travel across the endless Changtang Prairie, the highest and largest natural pasture in China, and pass by the stunning Namtso Lake. Set against the blue sky, white clouds, and green grass, the crystal clear lake looks like a mirror inlayed on the plateau.
Summer is the best time to travel by train because of the beautiful scenery. However, it is very hard to get tickets to travel on a Tibet train from June to October. We suggest booking your ticket as early as possible. If you want to have a scenic train trip and can stand a long journey, then opt for this way to travel.
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Traveling Overland from Chengdu to Tibet
The Sichuan–Tibet Highway is regarded as one of the most beautiful roads in China and rated as one of the most dangerous roads on the planet. Along the way are rolling mountains, crystal clear lakes, vast grasslands as well as the blue sky and white clouds, which seem to be just within reach. Unfortunately, this route is not open for foreign tourists.
How to Apply for a Tibet Travel Permit
Due to Tibet's political situation, foreign tourists cannot travel to Tibet alone and must apply for a Tibet Travel Permit. You have to find a China-based travel agency, like us, to help you do this as foreign tourists are not allowed to apply for Tibet permits independently.
Learn more about Tibet Travel Restrictions
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How to Reduce/Deal with Altitude Sickness in Tibet
Chengdu is located in the Sichuan Basin at a height of 485 meters. Lhasa, on the other hand, is located on the Tibetan Plateau at a height of 3,650 meters. It’s hard to avoid altitude sickness because you ascend to such a high altitude, especially when you are used to living at a low altitude.
You can take some medicine that can prevent or relieve altitude sickness before heading to Tibet. Move slowly in Tibet even if you feel energetic. Eat more vegetables and drink more water. Ask your guide for help if you feel uncomfortable. Here, we offer more details about dealing with altitude sickness.
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Let Us Optimize Your Tour
Just tell us your requirements and interests, and we will tailor-make a satisfying tour for you. A private tour will minimize the discomfort of traveling in a foreign country while giving you the most insight into the charm of a city. See our recommended Chengdu and Tibet tour for reference:
- 8-Day Chengdu and Lhasa Classic Tour: Suitable for a first-time visitor who seeks a tour containing the most important features of Chengdu and Lhasa: Pandas, Sichuan cuisine, holy temples and picturesque landscape.
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