If traveling to Tibet is on your wish list, you are in the right place! Tibet is like a rare treasure box filled with crown jewels, you can’t miss it! But before you embark on the incredible journey to Tibet in a once lifetime, there are a few things you need to know.
1 Apply for Tibet permits before traveling to Tibet
Tibet travel permit（TTB）is similar to the process of entering Nepal. As a foreigner who came to Tibet or a Chinese citizen who doesn’t have a Chinese passport, wherever you enter Tibet, you need to apply for Tibet permit. It is issued by the Tibet Tourism Bureau and must be applied through the Tibet travel agency. Before applying for Tibet permit, the travel agency also needs to confirm your Tibet travel itinerary, China visa and the six-month validity of your passport. It will take about 7 or 8 working days, but the travel agency usually takes at least 20 days of the whole process. You need to show valid Tibet travel permit when you enter Tibet by train and board on the flight.
China Visa – if you enter Tibet through China mainland, you will need an effective China visa. You can apply for a China visa through the Chinese Embassy in your country. But if you plan to travel to Tibet from Kathmandu, you need to stay three days in Kathmandu to apply for China group visa instead of China Visa. China group visa is not only suitable for Tibet tourism, but also to other cities in China.
Independent travel to Tibet
Although you may want to make a reservation for a ticket to Lhasa on your own, you can’t do it. Travel to Tibet is strictly controlled for foreign travelers, and it is actually illegal for foreigners to use public transport outside Lhasa. Of course, you can thumb a ride around Tibet, but the road will be highly regulated every few hours. We were prevented from checking every single file, so I don’t think thumb a ride is a viable option.
The best way to travel to Tibet
Chengdu is a very popular starting point for a train to Tibet. The time of Chengdu to Lhasa by train is less than other big cities in China, such as Beijing, Shanghai, and Guangzhou. You will spend about 44 hours on the train to experience the highest railway in the world, enjoy the endless snow mountains outside, and witness the wildlife of the plateau.
Like all the trains to Tibet, there are three types of tickets for you to buy. Hard seat is the cheapest, but not recommended, because in two days of train travel, you will feel uncomfortable. The cabin of hard-sleeper contains six paving paved with soft mattresses, but there is no door. The best choice is to sleep four adults soft cabin with a lockable safety door and a display of local small TV program. The world’s tallest train journey through Himalaya Range, actually conveyed oxygen to the cabin, because it reached about 5000 meters (15000 feet). After your time in Tibet, you are unlikely to stay about forty hours again on the train. Flying to Chengdu back, and then connect to any place you want.
Chengdu Lhasa Train Ticket Price
Train No. From / To Dep./ Arr. Duration Frequency Hard sleeper Ticket Soft Sleeper Ticket
Z322 Chengdu/Lhasa 14:48/09:55 43:07 Every Other Day CNY668 CNY1062
Z324 Lhasa/Chengdu 18:20/14:26 44:06 Every Other Day CNY668 CNY1062
Another good choice to travel to Tibet is to take a train to Lhasa from Xining. Because Xining is the capital of Qinghai province, it is the actual starting point of the Tibet railway. It is located at 2275 meters above sea level and is a good place to adapt to high altitude in Lhasa. Besides, you are easier to get a train ticket from Xining to Lhasa than other cities in China.
Xining Lhasa Train Ticket Price
Train No. From / To Dep. / Arr. Duration Frequency Hard Sleeper Ticket Soft Sleeper Ticket
Z6801 Xining/Lhasa 14:01/11:10 21:09 Every Other Day CNY495 CNY781
Z6802 Lhasa/Xining 08:50/06:43 21:53 Every Other Day CNY495 CNY781
Travel to Tibet, the roof of the world is often regarded as a mysterious and difficult destination. But when you have done enough research and plan in advance, there is no reason not to travel to Tibet.