Train to tibet – the land of snows


The questionable train line linking Xining to Lhasa opened up in This summer 2006. The train line from Xining to  Golmud was finished in 1984, however the goal was always to achieve the train extend completely to Lhasa. In 2001, the development work commenced. Over 100,000 workers were introduced towards the Tibetan Plateau to operate around the railway. The railway was finished 24 months sooner than the forecasted 2008 date. The very first couple of several weeks following the new train line opened up, it had been very nearly impossible to find tickets. I had been very fortunate which i could get tickets for that new train merely a couple of days after it started. Since that time, I’ve taken the train many occasions over the Tibetan Plateau.

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The state beginning reason for the Tibetan Railway may be the town of Xining within the traditional Tibetan province of Amdo. However, there’s also trains to Lhasa starting in Beijing, Chengdu, Chongqing, Shanghai, Guangzhou and Lanzhou. Contrary to public opinion, there’s no train to Lhasa beginning in Golmud. All trains to Lhasa go through Golmud, but there’s no train beginning in the central Qinghai city. You’ll be able to get train tickets to Lhasa in Golmud, consider there’s no train beginning in Golmud there’s merely a limited quantity of tickets available which rapidly become unattainable. Plus, the travel agencies in Golmud that arrange permits for people from other countries to visit Lhasa have a tendency to charge way too much for his or her tours. Prices for permits and tours to Lhasa tend to be cheaper in Xining or Chengdu. Only arrange your permit and tour in Golmud if you do not mind being scammed. There is also no train to Lhasa beginning in Xi’an. The trains from eastern China go through Xi’an enroute to Lhasa, but no train begins operating in Xi’an which goes to Lhasa. Because of this, Xi’an isn’t the best option in looking to get tickets to Lhasa. Because the train only goes through Xi’an, there’s a really limited quantity of tickets for Lhasa plus they rapidly become unattainable. If at all possible, try to start your train journey to Lhasa from Xining, Chengdu or perhaps Beijing. It will likely be much simpler and cheaper to set up your permit and tour during these metropolitan areas.

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From eastern China, the train to Lhasa goes through endless farming villages. The landscape is good, but becomes quite monotonous, especially through the finish from the second day. Beginning in early stages the 3rd day from Beijing or second day from Xining and Lanzhou, the scenery has drastically altered. The train has become around the northern Tibetan Plateau heading south from Golmud. Gone would be the farmlands and a specific item rather are endless grasslands lived on by yaks, sheep, Tibetan antelope along with other wildlife indigenous to the Tibetan Plateau. High snow-capped mountain tops are visible in the space. Around 120kms south of Golmud, the train passes the 6178m/20,270 ft Mt. Yuzhu, the greatest mountain within the eastern Kunlun Range. On the obvious day, viewing mountain in the train is amazing.

DSC09926 Around 400kms south of Golmud you go through the little village of Tuotuo He. Tuotuo He can be found near the headwaters from the Yangtze River, referred to as Dza Chu in Tibetan. Though Tuotuo He’s listed like a destination across the Tibetan Railway, it really isn’t feasible to obtain off there. A few hrs south of Tuotuo He you’ll go into the Kekexili Nature Preserve. This nature preserve situated in far southwestern Qinghai and also the far northern Tibet Autonomous Region hosts the majority of Tibet’s remaining antelope, wild yaks and snow leopards. This protected area is essentially not inhabited and it is frequently covered in snow even throughout the summer time. You will be able to see several herds of antelope in the train while you go through el born area. 

DSC09992 If using the train from Xining or Lanzhou, you’ll mix the Tanggu La Pass, the greatest point around the Tibetan Railway at 5072m, around 3pm. This is actually the greatest railway pass on the planet and forms the border between Qinghai and also the Tibet Autonomous Region (TAR). Around 3:50pm (from Xining or Lanzhou) you achieve Amdo, the very first town within the TAR. This is actually the first stop from Golmud where pasengers are permitted to obtain from the train. Laying at 4702m, Amdo is among only a number of towns found on Tibet’s northern Changtang region. El born area hosts nomad Tibetans who reside in black yak made of woll camping tents.


1 1 / 2 hrs south of Amdo may be the capital of scotland- Nagchu sitting at 4500m. Nagchu has among the largest horse festivals in Tibet every year in August. Nomads from over the Changtang get to town for that festival. Couple of people from other countries remain in Nagchu, but it’s really a fairly nice place to look at for a couple of days. After Nagchu the train continues heading south. A Couple Of hrs after departing Nagchu you get to Damshung that is near Nam Tso. Two hrs after Damshung along with a little over 14 hrs past Golmud, you get to Lhasa, the main city of Tibet.


The railway from Beijing to Lhasa is 4064kms lengthy. From Guangzhou Lhasa is 4980kms away and from Xining it’s 1972kms. Over 960kms from the railway lies above 4000m with 550kms standing on permafrost. Throughout the busy summer time tourist season, over 8500 people get to every day in Lhasa around the train. The only method people from other countries may take the train to Lhasa is to possess a Tibet Travel Permit, which could simply be arranged with a travel agent, and also to book an excursion. Permits are often checked before boarding the train. Without having a permit and therefore are checked, you won’t be permitted to board the train.


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