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Few places in the world inspire a sense of mystery and magic quite like the Tibetan capital of Lhasa. Closed off to outside visitors for generations, it has only been within the last 50 years that Tibet’s 12,000 foot (3,657.6 meter) capital has been accessible to a handful of lucky visitors. As an area that is still very much protected from the influences of foreign tourists, nearly all travelers must obtain a Tibetan Tourism Bureau permit and be part of an organized tour group. While pockets of semi-rogue travelers have found ways to skirt the stifling Chinese regulation surrounding Tibetan travel, virtually all visitors to Lhasa will be doing so as part of a packaged experience. For the chance to stand on the roof of the world, however, and marvel outside the steps of the Potala Palace—former home of the exiled Dalai Lama—all of the hassle and prior arrangements are undoubtedly worth the effort.

While many visitors to Lhasa opt to enter the region on a flight from Kathmandu, visitors approaching from the east oftentimes choose the Sichuan capital of Chengdu as their jumping off point for the Tibetan Plateau. From Chengdu it’s possible to embark on your trip to Lhasa through a variety of transportation options including planes, trains and automobiles. While the flight from Chengdu to Lhasa lasts little more than two hours, oftentimes those who have flown from the 1,600 foot (4,876.8 meter) elevation of Chengdu to the towering heights of Lhasa are more prone to altitude sickness due to lack of acclimatization.

For those Lhasa bound travelers departing from Chengdu, popular overland options include multi-day overland tours, which weave their way through the Gongha Mountains and high alpine lakes, as well as the 44-hour train ride which gradually ascends its way into the high Tibetan Plateau. Though Lhasa may be the capital city and heart of many Tibet tourist itineraries, the sweeping and rugged landscape which exists on the eastern boundaries of Tibet and western Sichuan province make the journey from Chengdu to Lhasa a memorable part of a mystical Tibetan experience.

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3-Day Best of Tibet Tour from Chengdu by Air: Lhasa, Yamdrok Lake and Khampa La Pass

Travel by air to Lhasa, round-trip from Chengdu, and visit the UNESCO World Heritage-listed Potala Palace and Jokhang Temple Monastery. This private 3-day tour ...  Read more

Location: Chengdu, China
Duration: 3 days (approx.)

From USD $1,623.99

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