Posted on January 6, 2018
Flights to Tibet from Nepal
Traveling from Kathmandu to Lhasa is one of the main options for visitors to Tibet, and getting there is not as hard as people think. Most countries around the world are permitted to obtain a visa for Nepal on entry to the country, and once there your Tibet tour operator can arrange your visa and travel permit for getting into and around Tibet. While Tibet is the land of snows, Nepal is the land of mountains, and the Himalayan mountains that border Tibet and Nepal are some of the most dangerous, remote, and inaccessible places in the world. Despite being separated by international borders, the two places have a lot in common, and not just the sharing of Mount Everest. Both places are hugely Buddhist or Hindu and have very similar traditions, monasteries, and warm, friendly locals.
There are several flights a week from Kathmandu to Lhasa, and vice versa, and the flight is only an hour long. In the summer months from May to early October, the number of flights increases to cover the demands of the peak tourist season in Tibet, and conversely, the number drops in winter, when fewer people are visiting the region. The main airport in Nepal is the Tribhuvan International Airport (KTM), at Kathmandu, and is the only airport in the country that operates flights to and from Lhasa. Flights can be booked online, but only if you are traveling alone. If you are traveling with a group that has been collected together by a group tour operator, then you may have to book once you are all together in Nepal, to ensure that you all arrive at the same time.
Requirements for Flights from Kathmandu to Lhasa
There are certain visa requirements that must be completed before you can even board the plane to Lhasa. Unlike traveling to Lhasa from China, the Tibet Travel Permit is processed at the same time as the Tibet Group Tour Visa, although both need to be obtained through a local Tibetan tour operator, and also require you to have a booked itinerary with a tour group before issue. While they are called “group” visas, they are available for single persons without a group. However, if you are part of a group, it is important to remember that every member of the group will be mentioned on the visa, and all members must depart from Tibet at the same time, from the same place.
The visa is available from the Chinese Embassy in Kathmandu and takes around four working days to process. Visas are normally for a period of 15 to 20 days, and cannot be extended, so it is a good idea to make sure your tour starts immediately you get the visa.
It is very important not to lose the visa, as you may be asked to produce it at certain checkpoints throughout Tibet, and the Tibet Travel Permit is required if you are traveling outside Lhasa, especially to certain military sensitive areas like Everest. Your guide will obtain the additional permits once you are in Lhasa, and will also require your original passport.