How to Plan a Trip from Chengdu to Tibet
Neighboring Tibet, Chengdu is the best gateway to explore this mysterious land, to experience the Tibetan cultural, to observe the local people, and to appreciate the breathtaking natural scenery. If you are planning a trip from Chengdu to Tibet, you can get some inspiration from our article.
1. Choose the Best Time
Chengdu and Tibet have different weather conditions. Each season has its highlights. The best times to take a trip to Tibet from Chengdu are from May to June and from September to October.
The best times to visit Chengdu are from March to June and from September to November.
A summary of the weather in Chengdu might read "an early spring, a hot summer, a cool autumn, and a warm (relative to the surrounding areas) winter". Learn more about Chengdu Weather.
The best time to visit Tibet is from May to September when there is a more comfortable temperature, averaging above 10°C, and higher oxygen content.
Most of Tibet experiences frost at least 6 months of the year and the highest lakes have ice from October to March. The weather varies a lot from region to region. Learn more about Tibet Weather.
2. Things to Do in Chengdu and Tibet
Chengdu and Tibet provide abundant activities for tourists ranging from culture, fun, relaxation, and history to adventure.
Things to Do in Chengdu
- Join a Panda Keeper Program to interact closely with cute pandas.
- Try a hot pot to discover the culture of Chengdu’s cuisine.
- Wander along Jinli Ancient Street at night to see the Chinese-style buildings and lanterns.
- Visit Wenshu Monastery if you are interested in the Buddhist culture.
- Get a taste of the lazy local lifestyle by visiting People’s Park.
- Read more
Things to Do in Tibet
- Explore the Potala Palace, which is an iconic landmark in Tibet.
- Make a circuit of Barkhor Street to get an insight into the Tibetan culture and beliefs.
- Gaze at the beauty of Yamdrok Lake and Namtso - Tibet’s pristine landscapes.
- Adventure into Everest Base Camp.
- Read more
3. Consider Your Travel Duration
A basic tour of Chengdu and Tibet needs 8 days. You can extend your trip according to your schedule because Chengdu and Tibet are both worthy of in-depth exploration due to their rich tourism resources.
We suggest a 3-day visit in Chengdu so that you can experience the highlights there, such as pandas, Wenshu Monastery, and Jinli Ancient Street, at a leisurely travel pace.
If you are a panda lover or are interested in Chengdu’s surrounding cities, you can include one more day to have close contact with pandas, such as being their keeper, or go to Leshan to visit the Leshan Giant Buddha.
For a Tibet tour, you need at least 4 days. You can use the first day to have a good rest and adapt to the high altitude after your arrival.
During the remaining 3 days, you can visit the capital city, Lhasa, to see the Potala Palace, Jokhang Temple, Barkhor Street, Norbulingka, Sera Monastery, and Drepung Monastery.
You can extend your stay to explore Lhasa’s surroundings, such as Everest Base Camp, Yamdrok Lake, Karuola Glacier, and the Palcho Monastery. You can refer to our 8-Day Lhasa to Everest Base Camp Tour.
4. Choose Your Preferred Transportation
There are two ways for foreign tourists to travel from Chengdu to Tibet: by train and by airplane. We recommend taking a flight. The journey takes about 2½ hours.
Chengdu provides more than 10 direct flights to Lhasa daily. A flight ticket is easier to purchase than a train ticket, which is in high demand, especially in summer.
Taking a flight will make it easier for you to adapt to the altitude sickness in Tibet. 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. Learn more about How to Get from Chengdu to Tibet.
5. Consider the Accommodation in Chengdu and Tibet
Chengdu offers a range of hotels and you can easily find a nice hotel in one of the streets. It is not easy to decide where to stay for most foreign tourists, however, as it is probably their first time in Chengdu.
Chunxi Road and Tianfu Square are the most popular places to stay for foreign tourists because of the central location, convenient transportation, and better hotel facilities and services.
If you prefer a quiet environment, the area around Wenshu Monastery is a good choice. We offer a detailed guide on Where to Stay in Chengdu.
Tibet’s accommodation is not as good as Chengdu’s but Lhasa provides better accommodation than some remote regions, such as Everest and Ngari.
We suggest a hotel with a high star-rating, which also offers an oxygen supply. The areas near the Potala Palace and Jokhang Temple are good choices. Read our article introducing The Best Hotels in Tibet with Free Oxygen and Potala Views.
If you want us to help you book your hotels, feel free to tell us your requirements.
6. 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 what you need to do if you want to apply for a Tibet Travel Permit.
Itineraries for Inspiration
Are you struggling to decide on a travel plan? Here, we have provided you with itineraries to help you get inspiration. Our tours can be customized according to your needs and interests.
- 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.