If you've always dreamed of visiting something different from the usual past trips, and you want to feel the energy of Asian culture and tradition, and yet not being with Silk Road travel, travelling from Beijing to Tibet with Qinghai- Tibetan train is what you must have as an experience. This amazing tour experience with a Tibetan train will be one of the different railway trips in your life. If you wish to have breakfast while in the window you have beautiful sights to the Tibetan High Plateau or have the most beautiful views followed by unique nature, this is the journey for you.
Indeed travelling with an aeroplane is the fastest way to get to the direction, but going with a train is an experience that is fulfilled with incredible memories, and it has more fun during travelling. This fantastic train adventure has received the epithet "rail to heaven" or "rocket to the roof of the world". Facts About Tibetan Railway The Qinghai–Tibet railway or Qingzang railway has a length of 1.956 km. The construction of the first 815 km from Xining and Golmud was finished in 1984, the section between Golmud and Lhasa with a length of 1.142km was finished in October 2005, and for passengers was opened in 2006.
Flight vs Train
Prepare for an adventure, in my opinion, travelling by Tibetan train is exciting in itself. If you want to get from one destination to another, for example from Beijing to Lhasa, that's fine, but if you want to experience China and Tibet, then take a package offered by travel agencies that include stops in major cities, where you will have excursions across towns and visits to museums.
The real adventure starts from Xining and ends in Lhasa. This part of the trip takes only one day (20 hours 55 minutes). The highest point of this railway is Tanggula Pass which is 5.072m above sea level, and the world’s most upper railway station is Tanggula Railway Station. The railway line includes The Fenghuoshan tunnel which is the rail highest tunnel in the world at 4,905m above sea level.
I recommend that you go on this journey, full of expectations and expectations, and I am sure that you will not regret at any time that you have decided on such a trip with Tibetan train.
When to Travel
First, you must know that you need to book a ticket for at least one month before you go on a trip because it's hard to get to the tickets, especially in the peak season. The Peak season is from June to the end of September. The peak season is the season when it is the hardest to buy a ticket for the Tibetan train. There is the Low season from December to January, and normally this is the time of the year when getting tickets is easier. The Shoulder season is from April to May and from October to November. Those periods of the year are quite attractive to tourists, so my advice is to reserve the ticket as soon as possible. Source: https://www.chinahighlights.com/
In the train Bring water bottles as many as you can, especially if your travel is without stops. In the train always has boiling water for tea or to make noodles for yourself. If you want to eat different food you can go to the dining car. As the train is going highest, you will instantly feel a change in your breathing. You may have a headache and nausea. But do not worry. In the car will be done air that will reduce the difficulties you will begin to feel. If you still feel bad, the crew will give you a tube with 40% oxygen.
Different Cabins on Train
Soft sleeper cabin is comfortable. The cabin has a door so you will have more privacy, the cabin has more luggage storage and also has an oxygen supply system. Each soft sleeper cabin has four sleeping beds- 2 upper and two lower. Hard sleeper cabin: It doesn't mean that the beds are hard. Hard sleeper cabin is perfect for budget travellers, it has six beds in each cabin- 2 uppers, two middle and two lower berths. The berths are 60 cm wide and 180 cm long. Those cabins are not so private because there is no door.
When you book a ticket for Tibetan train, you don’t have the option to choose on which berth you want to sleep in the Hard sleeper cabin.
Toilets: There are two different toilets, but no toilet paper, so bring with you a roll of toilet paper.
There is a car with hard seats. It is complicated to sleep on them but is at half price, unlike sleeping cabins.
Let the Tibet train adventure begin.
Now you know more about Tibetan railway, you have a ticket, or you have already booked in travel agency a full package, you have your camera, and the bags are ready so that the adventure can start!
Where to start
After arrival on Beijing Capital, International Airport takes your time and explore the city, or you can get a fast transfer from the airport to the Beijing West Railway Station where you can start your adventure with Qinghai-Tibet train. The Qinghai Tibet train departure from Beijing at 20:00 and the trip is 40:40 hours to Lhasa. The distance from Beijing to Lhasa is 3.757 km. It is a very long trip but at the same time the most exciting and fantastic journey.
Because the train departure at night you will be not able to see landscape until next day when the train will be in Xining.
What to See on Board
From that moment you will have the most incredible views over Gobi Desert and Qarhan Salt Lake, which is the largest saltwater lake in China. The lake is about 750 km away from Xining. Next stop is at the Station of Yuzhu Peak, also known as also known as Sob Gangri. It belongs to the eastern part of the Kunlun Mountains, and it has height 6,224 meters above sea level.
Those are stunning mountains with the astounding landscape below. Here you can take photos of this incredible view. Next to admire is the Kekexili nature reserve which was listed among the World Heritage Sites as "the largest and highest plateau in the world”. The Kekexili nature reserve is home for the wild yak, brown bear, wild donkey, white-lip deer, and the endangered Tibetan antelope. Then the Tibetan train arrives at the Station of Tuotuo He River. The Tuotuo He River is the geographic source of the Yangtze River. The train continues to the highest place- The Tanggula Station.
After entering the Nagqu prefecture, you will see the highest fresh lake water- Tsonag Lake. It Is believed to be a sacred lake by Tibetan. The train will stop here, so be prepared to capture the iconic photos and also to enjoy the clean and calm nature. Next attraction is the Namtso Lake, or in the Tibetan language it means “Heavenly Lake”. This magnificent saltwater lake is the second large Salt Lake, and it is the biggest tourist attraction in Tibet.
Although the trip is 40 hours long, this will be your best trip ever. The beautiful scenery through which the train passes, amazed by the landscapes that look like they are painted on canvas by a famous artist it will leave you breathless.
It is a lifetime journey that everyone should have.
I started my travel career in 2005. It not only enriched my knowledge of tourism, but also inspired in me a love for traveling. Besides India, Nepal, USA, European and China; I have traveled to most of Tibet, including Lhasa, Tsedang, Gyantse, Shigatse, Everest Base Camp, Mount Kailash and so much more! I started working at WindhorseTour as Travel Advisor when it first opened in 2006. It has been fun to help grow our family - from specializing in Tibet travel to tours to now all over China.
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