How to Travel from Switzerland to Tibet?

How to Travel from Switzerland to Tibet?

Tibet, the Land of Snows, the roof of the world, is without doubt one of the most remarkable places to visit in Asia, which offers fabulous monastery sights, breathtaking high-altitude treks, and stunning views of the world’s highest mountains. Tibet trip will take you past glittering mountain and turquoise lakes over high passes draped with colourful prayer flags. Tibet attracts many international travellers among which Swiss are a small yet consistent bunch. From Switzerland to Tibet is about 6744 km or 4190 miles. If one could drive a straight line from Switzerland to Tibet it would take about 68 hours assuming with an average driving speed of 100 km/h or 60 miles/h. Even so it doesn’t stop the enthusiastic Swiss travellers travel from Switzerland to Tibet every year. Here Tibet4Fun shares with you some useful tips about how to travel from Switzerland to Tibet.

Generally speaking there are two major routes: to travel Switzerland to Tibet via China & to travel Switzerland to Tibet via Nepal. Both routes have their own pros and cons. To put it briefly, via China is the slightly better choice because you can have all travel documents done in advance before your journey starts while from Nepal you need to stay at least 3 working days in Kathmandu to do a special Chinese visa there, which is rather a bummer if you don’t have sightseeing plans there.


Book Your Tour
Most travellers tend to apply Chinese visa, book international flights, and sometimes even hotels in Lhasa before they contact a Tibetan travel agent. This is NOT a better way to do it. It happened before when a traveler had all these above done for his Tibet tour in March, only to find out later from Tibet4Fun that Tibet is closed for foreigners every March. You see, all these could be avoided if you contact a local travel agency first to give you the up-to-date customized information. It’s also better than to search randomly online with lots of maybe-true-maybe-false information about Tibet travel. Tibet4Fun would not only help you finalized your Tibet tour but also give you suggestions about your Chinese visa application, international flights to/from China, and domestic trains & flights inside China…

Chinese Visa
Chinese visa is needed for your tour from Switzerland to Tibet via China. There are Chinese Embassy and Consulates in Bern and Zurich where you can have you Chinese visa applied. Embassy often would ask you to provide your international flight info to and from China, and your hotel booking or itinerary in China. If your itinerary is asked, it’s best to avoid mention that Tibet is included in your plan because embassy may then ask for more documents and make everything more complicated than necessary. To travel Switzerland > China > Tibet > China > Switzerland, you only need 1-entry visa since Tibet is a part of China. For more inside tips please email us:

Chinese Embassy in Switzerland, Bern

Name Chinese Embassy in Switzerland
Address KALCHEGGWEG 10, 3006 BERN
Tel 004131-3527333
Fax 004131-3514573
Chinese Embassy in Switzerland, Bern, Consular Office
Address Lombachweg 23, 3006 Bern
States Covered Except the consular districts of Chinese Consulate in Zurich
Tel 0041-31-3518257
0041-31-3514593 (manual answered between 14:30 – 15:30)
Fax 0041-31-3518256
Office Hours Monday-Friday: 09:00 – 12:00 (except holidays)

Consulate General of China, Zurich

Name Consulate-General of the People’s Republic of China in Zurich
States Covered Aargau, Appenzell Ausserhoden, Appenzell Innerhoden, Glarus, Graubunden, Luzern, Schaffhausen, Schwyz, ST. Gallen, Zug, Thurgau, Zurich, Principality of Liechtenstein
Address Bellariastrasse 20, CH-8002 Zurich, Switzerland
Tel 0041-44-2011005 (Duty Phone)
0041-44-2091518 (Administrative Office)
0041-44-2058421 (Protocol Office)
Fax 0041-44-2017712
Office Hours Monday-Friday: 08:30-12:00, 14:30-18:00 (except holidays)
A General Application Fee Table for your reference: (monetary unit: Swiss Franc)
Number of Entry Swiss Citizens U.S. Citizens Romania Citizens Citizens of Third Countries
 Single Entry  80  150  80  80
 Double Entries  100  150  110  100
 Multiple Entries for 6 Months  130  150  160  130
 Multiple Entries for 12 Months or more  190  150  160  190
Regular Service: Visas can be obtained on the fourth business day
Visa fees for certain third countries may vary from the list above based on reciprocal agreements
Further details can be found in

Tibet Permits
All foreigners need Tibet Permit(s) to travel Tibet besides Chinese visa. There are 3 types of Tibet Permits in general: Tibet Travel Permit (TTB permit, also called Tibet Entry Permit), Alien’s Travel Permit (PSB permit) and Military Permit. Tibet Travel Permit is a must for every foreigner who wants to travel Tibet, the other two are optional based on your itinerary. We call them collectively as Tibet Permits. The more complicated of your itinerary the more Tibet Permits you need thus the longer it takes to apply them all.

There’s a tricky questions we as Tibetan travel agents most afraid to hear: how long does it take to do Tibet Permits? Depends on your itinerary, the process takes from a few days to a month or more. It’s not easy to give you a precisely days needed, Tibet Tourism Bureau where we apply Tibet Permits for you, is not famed for its accuracy and efficiency (Shhh…). That’s why you are suggested to book your Tibet tour early rather than late to avoid any possible unexpected situations.

Flight from Switzerland to China
There is no direct flight from Switzerland to Tibet. Your journey from Germany to Tibet includes two legs: Switzerland to China then China to Tibet. Nowadays there are many direct flights from Switzerland to China, such as Zurich to Beijing, Zurich to Shanghai, and Geneva to Beijing. It is said on 23 June 2018 there will be a new line opens from Zurich to Chengdu which takes about 14 hours. Chengdu is generally considered the best and easiest transit city to Tibet.


Book Your Tour
Same as from China, to book your tour prior everything is suggested. More so if you are traveling Switzerland to Tibet via Nepal when dates & days are mostly important due to the Chinese embassy’s opening time of the week. More will be explained below.

Chinese Group Visa
To travel from Switzerland to Tibet via Nepal, a special visa called Chinese Group Visa needs to be applied and obtained in Kathmandu Nepal. The usual Chinese visa is of no use here. Any previous owned Chinese visa will be automatically expired once Chinese Group Visa is applied. Chinese Group Visa needs to be applied after your arrival in Kathmandu with your original passport & one passport photo which takes 3 working days. This will be taken care of by the Nepali partner of Tibet4Fun and your presence is not required. Chinese embassy in Kathmandu works from Monday to Friday and is off on both Nepalese and Chinese holidays, which are a lot. That’s why you need to be extra careful with your travel dates when travelling from Switzerland to Tibet via Nepal. Consult Tibet4Fun prior any booking of flights and hotels is highly recommended. With Chinese Group Visa alone you can travel from Nepal to Tibet, either by flight or land.

Tibet Permits
With Chinese Group Visa alone you can travel from Nepal to Tibet, either by flight or land, but Tibet Permits are still needed upon entry. According to local regulations, we cannot mail Tibet Permits abroad. When travel from Switzerland to Tibet via Nepal, Chinese Group Visa alone is sufficient for you to take a flight to Lhasa from Kathmandu or by land from Kathmandu to Gyirong border. Upon landing in Lhasa Airport or arriving in Gyirong Port, your Tibetan guide needs to show authority your Tibet Permits in order to pick you up and start your journey in Tibet.

This is a rough sum-up about how to travel from Switzerland to Tibet with information you may or may not needed. The better way is always to contact Tibet4Fun so useful and necessary information will be provided according to your unique plan and situation. Tibet4Fun is aimed to help more Swiss travellers to come to Tibet and to promote Tibet with its extraordinary culture in the process.

This article is written by Tashi, Tibet travel specialist of Tibet4Fun