There are three ways to travel to Tibet like train, flight, driving from Nepal. I recommend you’d better choose to take a train to Lhasa along the Qinghai-Tibet railway.
Qinghai-Tibet railway is famous for “Heaven Road”, starting from Xining, through Golmud, Kunlun Mountains Pass, crossing the Tanggula Mountain pass and then getting into Tibet cities such as Ando, Nagchu, Damxung, Yangpachen, and Lhasa. Lhasa city is the terminal of the Qinghai-Tibet railway. In September 2013, it was elected as “Global Century Project” in Barcelona at the centennial celebration of FIDIC. Qinghai-Tibet railway is a monument in the history of world railway construction.
As long as the Kunlun Mountains stands there, it is impossible to build a railway to Lhasa.” American traveler Paul Theroux claimed in the 20th century. A few years later, China people created a miracle that shocked the world as the Qinghai-Tibet railway officially opened on July 1, 2006.
About Qinghai-Tibet railway:
Open Date: July 1, 2006
Starting point: Qinghai, Xining
Destination: Lhasa, Tibet
Length: 1215 miles (1956 kilometers)
Tibet railway stretches: Lhasa – Shigatse, Shigatse- -Gyirong (China – Nepal railway), Lhasa- Yadong
Major railway lines of Tibet: Xining, Delhi, Golmud, Amdo, Tanggula, Nagqu, Damxung, Lhasa
Available Trains: At present, travelers can take direct trains from Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Chengdu, Chongqing, Xi’an, Lanzhou, Xining and many other large cities to Lhasa.
Running Time: at least 21hrs to over 53hrs, arrive on the 2nd or the 3rd day
Train Tickets: Soft Sleeper, Hard Sleeper, and Hard Seat.
Tickets price is different depends on respectively carriage choice. The Soft Sleeper is the most comfortable class.
Highest Elevation: 5072 m (about 16,640 ft.), Tanggula Mountain Pass
Altitudes Change: 234 m (Zhamalong Railway Station) to 5068 m above sea level (Tanggula Railway Station)
The top attractions along the Qinghai-Tibet railway:
Across the mountains, rivers, lakes, grasslands, densely populated cities and the desolate Gobi, the Qinghai-Tibet railway has a wide variety, especially the last part of Xining to Lhasa. The height rises from 2295 meters (7530 feet) above sea level to 3658 meters (12000 feet). The famous attractions include clear Qinghai Lake, spectacular Kunlun, and Tanggula mountain ranges, uninhabited Kekexili nature reserve, and the source of the Yangtze River. You also can view many wild animals such as Tibetan antelopes, yaks, and other rare wild animals. Together with warmly Tibet folk, colorful pray flags and Mani stones, they will reward you an unforgettable memory.
The Qinghai-Tibet Railway began in Xining, the first noble view of Golmud, where has China’s largest salt Lake- Qarhan Salt Lake. As the hot and dry climate produces a high level of salt concentration causing a mass of salt crystals to form beautifully carved transparent salt clusters to glitter like jade. These crystal-clear salt clusters decorate the lake like a fairyland.
As the train continues to move up, it will stop at Yuzhu station at the peak of 4160 meters. If weather permits, we can clearly view the peak of Yuzhu.
The train soon into the northwest of Qinghai Tibet Plateau, Kekexili nature reserve. It’s a place where has the smallest population, the Tibet antelope, wild yak, wild Tibet donkey and many other wildlife sites. Then the train will reach the Tuotuo River where you can enjoy the beautiful natural scenery of Tuotuo River and the source of Yangtze River.
The Tanggula station (5072m) is the highest place of the Qinghai-Tibet railway. If you take a train at such a high altitude, will make you really feel wonderful about “the road of the sky”.
After entering the Nagqu County, you can see one of the highest freshwater lakes in China, the Namtso Lake, which is only a few dozen meters from the railway. The lake looks like a precious mirror. You also can view the boundless Qiangtang prairie, which is one of the most famous pastures in north Tibet.
As the terminal of Qinghai- Tibet railway, Lhasa is the beautiful capital city of Tibet. You can appreciate its prominent historical architects of Potala Palace, mystical Jokhang temple, sprawling Sera, and Drepung monastery.
If you go for a Qinghai-Tibet Train Tour, you will enjoy the highest Rail travel in the World and reward an unforgettable memory.