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Getting around by air

Flying out of Lhasa is considerably easier than flying in. No permits are necessary – just turn up at the Civil Aviation Authority of China office and buy a ticket. In August and around national holidays, you’d be wise to book your ticket at least a week in advance. At other times you'll generally get a 30% discount off the full fare.

To book a ticket you'll need to complete a form, get a reservation and then pay the cashier (cash only). Sample full fares include ¥1680 to Chéngdū, ¥3260 to Běijīng (only some flights are direct) and ¥1900 to Xīníng.

Air China

China Southern

Sichuan Airlines

Tibet Airlines

To & From the Airport

Modern Gongkar airport is 66km from Lhasa, via the new expressway and Gālá Shān tunnel.

Airport buses leave up to 10 times a day (¥30, 1¼ hours) between 7:30am and 1pm from beside the CAAC building and are timed to meet flights. From the airport, buses wait for flights outside the terminal building. Some agencies will let their tourists travel by airport bus as long as they buy a return ticket for the guide. Buy tickets on the bus.

A taxi to the airport costs ¥200.