Transportation condition in Tibet has changed greatly in recent years. Not too long ago, pack animals were the main mode of transportation into the region. Now, Tibet's major cities have their own transportation systems, as well as highways, airlines, and the Qinghai Tibet Railroad connecting it to other regions of China.
Getting Around Tibet
It is easy to hail a taxi on the city streets. The taxi fare is RMB 10 for travel anywhere within the city. For longer trips, you need to negotiate a fare with the driver beforehand. It is necessary to point out that during peak seasons the drivers like to charge higher prices.
By Bus or Mini-bus:
Buses is available in central Tibet, but for tourists, they can take these buses only if they have the travel permit. Mini-busses are the main form of transport in Lhasa city, and throughout Tibet. It is a quick and convenient way to get across town. Travelers can easily find microbuses and charges usually start at 5RMB.
By Pedicab (Rickshaw) or Jeep:
Pedicabs (Rickshaws) are unique vehicles to get around downtown. The pedicab can carry two people and generally costs 4 to 7RMB. It is a more time-consuming journey than traveling by mini-bus but is an interesting and popular way to see downtown Lhasa. Jeep tours are a popular way of getting around Tibet. Though prices are relatively high, they can get to places many other forms of transport cannot.
Roads in Tibet vary from rough dirt tracks to good quality paved roads. There are restaurants, truck stops and shops scattered around, so traveling by bike is another popular way to look around the city. Renting bicycles have become the most popular way for visitors to get around Lhasa. Bicycles can be rented from many hostels along Barkhor Street. Generally, the rental fee for an ordinary bike is 2RMB per hour and 20RMB per day; for a mountain bike, it is 3RMB per hour and 30RMB per day.
Getting Around China from Tibet
There are flights from Lhasa to the Tibetan cities of Diqing and Chengdu. There are also flights from Lhasa to many of China's major cities including Beijing, Chengdu, Guangzhou, Chongqing, Shanghai, and Xi'an. There are also flights to Kathmandu, Nepal's capital city. It takes about one and a half hours to get to Gonggar Airport from Lhasa City.
Note: During peak travel seasons it may be difficult to get tickets, so booking tickets at least three days in advance is recommended.
There are several major highways leading into Tibet. They are the Tibet-Sichuan Highway, the Qinghai-Tibet Highway, the Xinjiang-Tibet Highway, the Yunnan Tibet Highway, and the China-Nepal International Road. These form a network in and around Lhasa and all major towns.
Contact us if you want to explore more of Tibet or other cities of China.