Either from Chengdu, Zhongdian or from Kathmandu, these
flights offer the most spectacular landscapes of the world:
countless glaciers, magnificent mountain ranges as well as
pyramidal snow peaks.
The northern route:
The main access to Lhasa is the northern route from
Golmud that is augmented by a new railway since July 2006.
It passes through very high plateaus as well as the
KekeXilli Reserve on the way up to Tangula Pass, in excess
of 5,000m. There are lots of snow peaks and in fact, at high
grounds, rivers are frozen stiff even in the midst of
The comfortable train journey takes 12 hours from Golmud
to Lhasa. Now there are direct trains from Beijing, Chengdu
The bus journey from Lhasa to Golmud is supposed to be
about 16 hours; however as is the norm in Tibet, it could
take 20 hours. The main reason is mechanical problems with
buses. It is reported that many drivers are very rude to
The western route:
The west overland road from Kashgar, Xinjiang, to Lhasa
is the longest, wildest and the most adventurous route. The
road passes though Mt Kailash, Lake Manasarovathe, and a
vast desolate plateau. It offers a chance to visit the
mysterious Guge Kingdom that disappeared several hundred
years ago. (please see separate article on Road to Tibet: From the remote west - Ngari or
The southern route:
The south road from Nepal is international travelers’
favourite route as it provides them with the possibility to
visit some of the most famous and popular sights in Tibet
such as the Everest North BC, Shigatse, Gyantse, Lake
The eastern route:
Whether it is from Sichuan or Yunnan, the eastern roads
cross regions of China with the richest geographical and
cultural diversities. In addition to the flamboyant minority
villages, there are deep river gorges formed by great rivers
such as the Yarlong Tsangpo (Brahmaputra), the NuJiang
(Salween), the LanChangJiang (Mekong) and the Yangzi.
Precipitous mountain ranges, primitive forests with abundant
plants and animals and vast grasslands dots the whole area.
The region offers China’s best hikes and drives.
The overland approaches from the east are less hardy
nowadays thanks to great improvements on road conditions
against landslides. Now a sleeper bus with two or three
drivers can run non-stop day and night from Chengdu to Lhasa
for a distance of 2,400km within three to four days.
Tour operators in Chengdu, Kunming and Zhongdian offer 8
to 16 days overland trips to Lhasa.