Lhasa, being the capital of Tibet, is also the main transportation center in Tibet. Though Tibet is becoming more and more accessible, Lhasa is still the main entry and exit point, and sometimes the only choice for outside visitors. The transportation system in the city has been updated, and consists of air, railway and highway services.
Opened in 1965, Lhasa Gonggar Airport is the original airport and also the one that has the most flights in Tibet. It now has flights to Beijing, Shanghai, Hong Kong, Guangzhou, Shenzhen, Kunming, Diqing, Chongqing, Chengdu, Lanzhou, Xian, Xining, Chamdo and Katmandu, with over 40 flights every week. Among these, the Chengdu-Lhasa air route is the most frequently flown.
The airport is located in Gonggar County in Shannan, about 100 km. (62 mi.) south of Lhasa, and is at an altitude of 3,600 m. (11,811 ft.). The passenger terminal, looking like a gigantic yak head, features the distinctive Tibetan style. It has two floors: the first floor is built with an arrival lounge for distant flights, ticket offices, departure lounge and luggage hall, while the second floor has a waiting hall, dining hall and shops. The consultation phone number of the airport is 0891-6182220.
As to the transportation between the airport and the city district, there are Shuttle buses every day, which takes about 2 hours and cost CNY 20 per person. Buses from Tsedang and Shigatse also stop at the airport, which cost CNY 20-30 per person. Taxis are another way of traveling and cost CNY 150-250. The road is bituminous and winds along the Yarlung Tsangpo River and Lhasa River, and is in good condition with interesting surroundings.
The Tibet Railway, which is the section between Golmud and Lhasa, was launched on Jul.1st, 2006, and is another miracle in the transportation history of Tibet. There are now trains between Lhasa and Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Xining, Lanzhou, Chengdu and Chongqing, which pass through Xian, Baoji, Shijiazhou, Nanjing, Zhengzhou, Wuxi, Xuzhou, Golmud, and other cities in the hinterland, as well as Nakchu, Amdo, Damxung and other regions in Tibet Plateau.
The Lhasa Railway Station is located in Toelung Dechen County of Lhasa, only 20 km. (12 mi.) away from Potala Palace. The opening of the first overpass of Tibet, Lhasa Liuwu Bridge has linked the railway station and the city district and are reached by using the bus route numbers, 91, 86 or 89.
There are five highways to Tibet: Sichuan-Tibet Highway (Chengdu-Lhasa), Qinghai-Tibet Highway (Xining-Golmud-Lhasa), Xinjiang-Tibet Highway (Yecheng-Purang), Yunnan-Tibet Highway (Xiaguan-Markham) and Sino-Nepal Highway (Lhasa-Zhangmu-Katmandu), which are intersect at Lhasa.
Coaches are the main transport method within Tibet. There are now four coach stations in Lhasa: Lhasa Coach Station (Lhasa West Suburb Passenger Station), Lhasa North Suburb Passenger Station and Lhasa East Suburb Passenger Station and the new Lhasa Liuwu Coach Station.
Lhasa Coach Station, located at the intersection of Minzu Lu and Jinzhu Zhonglu, is the orginal coach station in Lhasa. It's main use is focused on Shigatse, Shannan and the long distance transport into the hinterland of China and Katmandu.
Lhasa North Suburb Passenger Station, located opposite to Lhasa Racecourse, is a newer and also a top class passenger station in Lhasa. It mainly focuses on coaches to Chamdo, Makham, Shangri-la and the passing counties. In addition, coaches to Nakchu , Shigatse, Shannan and Ngari can also be caught here. There are also tourist buses to Namtso Lake, Basum Lake, Mt. Everest and Shigatse from this station.
And Lhasa East Suburb Passenger Station on the Jiangsu Donglu line mainly dealt with the transportation to the counties in Lhasa, as well as Nyingchi and Shannan somewhat.
Lhasa Liuwu Coach Station is located near the Lhasa Railway Station. It is a newly launched staion that has recently been put into service. The recovered international bus running between Lhasa and Katmandu just departs from this station. There is one bus every week, which departs at 10:30 on Tuesday. The bus fare is USD 70. It takes three days, with one night staying in Latse and another in Zhangmu in Shigatse. The bus is equipped with a tourist guide informative with Chinese, Tibetan, English and Nepali. (Station Tel.: 0891-6947216).