Overseas tourists to Tibet must hold a valid passport and visa, issued by Chinese embassy or consulate. However, tourists from a country, that has signed a visa-free protocol with China, can visit Tibet without a visa, max. of 30 days.
Airlines & Airports
There are no direct long-haul flights to Tibet. You will probably have to stop over in Kathmandu, Chengudu, Beijing or Hong Kong, even if you are making a beeline for Lhasa.
For traveling to China, you have the choice of flying first to Beijing, Shanghai or Hong Kong, although there are a small but growing number of direct flights to Chengdu or Kunming. The new terminal at Beijing Capital Airport is the world’s largest. Hong Kong’s Chek Lap Kok Airport is also new. There’s little difference in fares to these airports, but if you want to stay in Tibet longer than 30 days then you may want to fly via Hong Kong as Hong Kong allows you to get a longer-stay visa for China/Tibet.
KLMhas direct flights from Amsterdam to Chengdu and offers connections from many cities. The main carriers into Kathmandu are Gulf Air, Indian Airlines, Qatar Airwaysand THAI Airways. Depending on where you are coming from, it may be cheaper to fly to Delhi and make your way overland from there.
The Qinghai-Tibet (Qingzang) Railways. The journey all the way from Beijing takes just under 48 hours, costing 389 yuan in the cheapest hard seat class and 1262 yuan for a soft sleeper. Direct trains to Lhasa leave from Beijing, Xining, Lanzhou, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Chongqing and Chengdu. For a mid-range sleeper from Chengdu with 6 bunks in each room, the ticket costs 692 yuan. Be aware that these trains are not for the faint-hearted and the less adventurous type: they do not have Western-styled toilets and bunks are relatively cramped. The main advantage for this mode of transportation is the fact that you could slowly adapt to high altitude conditions instead of a sudden shift if you were to take a plane.