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How to Get to Nyingchi from Lhasa - Train, Flight or Bus?

Last updated: June,26 2017

Nyingchi(also know as Linzhi) is a prefecture-level city in southeastern Tibet, famous for its natural scenery, steep cliffs, crystal clear lakes, and long, flat valleys. It is the lowest area of Tibet, with an average elevation of around 3,000 meters. Its lowest points are below 800 meters, although Namjagbarwa Peak soars up to a heady 7,782 meters.

 Nyingchi Nyingchi Prefecture

Nyingchi Travel Information

The weather is warm and humid for most of the year, similar to the weather in the lower reaches of the Yangtze River. It is one of a few areas in the world that has very few people, and is constantly being investigated and explored for scientific purposes. It is also a very popular tourist destination, and has many wonderful sights to take in, from sacred mountains to holy monasteries, and even a ruined palace.

 Nyingchi Nyingchi scenery

The land is alpine, though not as high as the rest of the region. It has become known as "Switzerland in Tibet", for its lower elevation alpine landscape, reminiscent of the Swiss Alps. There are many wonderful sights in the area, including the King Cypress, a giant cypress tree that is around 50 meters tall and over 2,600 years old. Tibetans call it the "God of Trees", and it is surrounded by other giant cypresses that are up to 44 meters tall. It is believed to be the "life tree" of Tonpa Shenrab Miwoche, the founder of the Bon religion in Tibet.

 King Cypress Nyingchi King Cypress

The area is also home to the Lulang Forest, a 15km-long valley full of wild flowers and old forests. In Tibetan, Lulang means Dragon Valley, and can be directly translated to "the place where you will not be homesick". High, green mountains tower over the valley on both sides, covered by pine trees, spruce, and brush. Winding stream flow down past wooden houses, and wild flowers in a multitude of colors fill the meadows. The Dragon Valley is a true dream land.

 Lulang Forest Lulang Forest

You will also be able to see one of the most beautiful lakes in the world, Basomtso Lake. This holy lake is a sacred site for the Nyingma Sect of Tibetan Buddhism, also known as the Red Sect, and sits at an elevation of over 3,700 meters. Lying quietly between snowy mountains and thick natural forest, the lake is a peaceful place, and a popular holiday destination for Tibetans who are bored of the endless gobi and glacier-covered mountains. The peace and tranquility of the lake, along with its humid weather, makes for a welcome change.

 Basomtso Lake Basomtso Lake

Visitors can travel to Nyingchi from Lhasa, and we have tours that take in the wondrous sights of the area, including the lakes, monasteries, and forests. The best time to visit is from October to April, as the weather is not too hot, though the deep winter months can still be quite cold. From May to September, the weather is a lot warmer than the rest of Tibet, although part of this is the monsoon season, so some heavy rain can be expected.

>> Check the detailed itinerary of 16 Days Xi’an to Lhasa and Nyingchi, Tsedang and Shigatse Tour

Lhasa to Nyingchi Train

Currently, there is no train that goes from Lhasa to Nyingchi, though it is already being built, and is expected to open in 2019 or 2020. The Qingzang Railway is the first, and only, railway that runs from China to Tibet, and is the main route for travelers going to Lhasa, and beyond. This track is now being extended to Shigatse, Tibet's second largest city, and other extensions and branch lines from Lhasa are planned for the future.

 Qingzang Railway Qingzang Railway

The project for trains to Nyingchi was started in 2014, and once completed will cut the travel time down to just 2-3 hours. The train route will be near by the Lhasa River and going east through Gongga. Towns near the railways are Nedong, Nang, Mailing, and eventually ending up in Nyginchi County. There are 17 planned stops along the projected route, as well as 47 tunnels and 118 bridges. Two of the major landmark projects are the Dagala Tunnel, which will cover 17.31km, and the first weather-proof steel bridge (without protective coating), Zangmu Grand Bridge. These are definitely things to look forward to in Tibet's bright future.

 Lhasa River Bridge Lhasa River Bridge

Construction in the area is hard, and building the railway through the different climates is a challenge. Transportation to and from the railway line route is extremely difficult, and many workers suffer from high altitude sickness in the higher elevation stretches. The building of the railway has had to contend with landslides, collapses, flooding, icing disasters, and earthquakes since it was first started.

>> Check all the Tibet trains to Lhasa in 2017 & 2018

Lhasa to Nyingchi Highway

Driving to Nyingchi from Lhasa is a popular trip among Chinese travelers in Tibet. Thousands of people take the highway to Nyingchi every year, driving along the Sichuan-Tibet Highway. The highway takes in many spectacular sights along the way, and is more than just a drive. As the trip only takes 7-8 hours, travelers can stop off at many points along the way to get the most out of the amazing landscapes and wildlife of Tibet.

 Sichuan-Tibet Highway Sichuan-Tibet Highway

The highway is the Lhasa section of the State Road 318, and is one of the best sections of the Sichuan-Tibet Highway, an important channel into Tibet for freight transport. The highway will also soon incorporate the world's highest super-long tunnel, which is expected to open in September 2017. The tunnel, to be known as the Mila Mount Tunnel, will run for around 5,727 meters, and incorporate two lanes in each direction. The tunnel is expected to cut driving times between Lhasa and Nyingchi in half, making it only around 3-4 hours. It will have a major social and economic impact on the development of both cities, and make it much more convenient for locals traveling between Lhasa and Nyingchi.

Lhasa to Nyingchi Bus

Bus travel is still the best way to get from Lhasa to Nyingchi, and this mode of transport is used by thousands of visitors every year. There are two main types of buses that run along the route. The ordinary bus, which has standard seats and can fit around 60 passengers, and the business-class coach, which has soft, reclining seats, air-conditioning, and only carries around 45 passengers.

 Nyingchi road Travel to Nyingchi from Lhasa by bus

There are regular buses from Lhasa to Nyingchi that depart every morning, starting at 8:00am. The road from Lhasa to Nyingchi Town is 633km long, and takes 7-9 hours. The cost of the ticket is around 155CNY for the bus or 180CNY for the business-class coach, and it is best to book in advance.

Lhasa to Nyingchi Flights

There are also now two flights from Lhasa Gonggang Airport to Nyingchi Mainling Airport, which take around 40 minutes. The flights leave daily, in the morning, and are through Tibet Airlines and Shenzhen Airlines.

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