Train Travel to Tibet

Tibet is connected to other cities in China by regular flights and an efficient rail system. The Qinghai-Tibet railway (also called the Qinghai-Xizang, Rocket to the Roof of the World, Lhasa Express or Qingzang Railway) connects the capital of Tibet, Lhasa with cities in China. When you take a tour to Tibet you can choose whether to fly or take the train to reach Lhasa. One of the most popular options is to fly one way and take the train in the other direction. This is because the train journey is rather long (about 44 hours) yet it promises an unforgettable experience and a chance to travel through some breathtaking scenery on the way to Tibet. Your Tibet tour company can advise you about which option, air or rail, is best for you.

The Qinghai-Tibet railway covers 1,956km and is the world's highest railway, at the Tanggula Pass section of the journey the railway reaches an altitude of 5,072 meters above sea level. The Tibet railway is also the longest railway line in the world. The line's Fenghoushan tunnel is the world's highest rail tunnel at 4,905 meters above sea level. Along the way travelers pass over 675 bridges.

By including a train trip to or from Tibet in your Tibet tour you will find your journey more economical but still comfortable and enjoyable. Taking a train to or from Tibet will help your body get acclimatized to the different altitudes as the long train journey will gradually let your body get acclimatized. If for any reason you have trouble with the altitude as you approach Tibet there is oxygen and medical assistance on board the trains. Consider that Beijing has an altitude of 43 meters above sea level and Lhasa is 3,490 meters above sea level!

On a train journey to Tibet you will pass through three mountain ranges, pass over many rivers and see many lakes, the majestic scenery is untouched by man and offers the chance to see pristine natural countryside. Along the route there are 9 designated scenic areas including the grasslands and plateau meadows of Buqiangge; the crystal clear Cuona Lake which covers 400km²; snow covered Mount Yuzhu and Chumaer River where you can see herds of migrating animals.

On board the trains you are given top rate service by the staff and your sleeping arrangements are in comfortable soft-sleeper compartments which are shared by 4 passengers. The train has a dining car and clean bathrooms. On your train journey you will meet many Chinese travelers and will have a chance to spend time with your fellow travelers. This is a once-in-a-lifetime experience which can be included in your Tibet tour itinerary. When planning your tour to Tibet ask your tour operator about the travel options for reaching Lhasa, you might find that taking the train on just one of the legs of your journey will make your trip more interesting. Be sure to ask your Tibet tour operator about the necessary documents when visiting Tibet. Your Tibet tour operator can handle your train tickets, Tibet guide, accommodation and even help organize your Tibet travel permit.

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