Qinghai Tibet Railway Travel: A Once In A Lifetime Experience
Taking the Qinghai Tibet train is probably a once-in-a-lifetime experience for westerners. Since its completion in early 2006, the railway has become an increasingly popular Tibet tour option that offers stunning views of the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau. Those looking for in depth cultural experiences will love taking the train; it provides opportunities to meet people from all over Tibet and China! Tibetan and Chinese are among the friendliest of people and they will be just as excited to meet travelers on the train as travelers will be to meet them.
The scenery along the Qinghai Tibet railway is breathtaking. Tourists will have opportunities to have spectacular views of snowcapped peaks, glaciers, and stunning lakes. Many endangered wildlife lives in the region, such as Tibetan antelopes, wild horses, eagles. You can also see scattered nomad families dwelling in black tents in remote villages. Below are few facts about Qinghai Tibet railway and travel tips. Find out more essential information on Qinghai Tibet train travel before you go.
Qinghai-Tibet Railway Map - Plan your Tibet railway trip now!
Qinghai-Tibet Railway - The Highest Railway in the World
- Qinghai-Tibet Railway is the highest railway in the world, and it is at least 200 meters higher than the Peruvian railway in the Andes, which was previously the world's most elevated track. There are about 960 kilometers tracks located 4,000 meters above sea level.
- The railway is the world's longest on a plateau. It is 1,956 kilometers between Xining (Qinghai Province) and Lhasa, the capital of Tibet Autonomous Region (TAR).
- Altogether there are 45 stations along the railway.
- Tanggula Railway Station, 5,068 m, is the highest railway station in the world.
- There are about 550 kilometers of the tracks running on frozen earth, the longest of its kind.
- Fenghuoshan Tunnel, 4,905 m, is the world's most elevated tunnel on frozen earth.
- Kunlun Mountain Tunnel, running 1,686 meters, is the world's longest plateau tunnel built on frozen earth.
- Construction of the Golmud-Lhasa section of the landmark railway commenced on June 29, 2001 and test runs started on July 1, 2006.
- Speed limit: Max speed 100 km/h on the frozen earth areas; 120 km/h on non-frozen earth.
Qinghai Tibet Train travel Ticketing and Altitude Sickness
- Trains run on fairly low altitude from sea level till Xining. Trains can depart from Beijing/Chengdu/Shanghai/Xi'an/Guangzhou/Lanzhou/Chongqing to Lhasa, but all go through Xining. To travel flexibily you can also arrive in Xining by air before transferring to the train.
- Xining to Lhasa train takes 1 day and is helpful with altitude acclimatization. However, this doesn't mean flying to Lhasa will definitely cause altitude sickness. No matter how you arrive in Lhasa, it is always important to rest well at the beginning of the trip.
- In low tour season (April, November, December, January and February), train tickets are normally widely available, and booking is easier and cheaper.
- In high tour season (May, June, July, August, September, early October), Both Tibet inbound and outbound train tickets are in high demand and often sold out soon after the tickets release. So, try to have your schedule flexible according to the train ticketing availability. As a professional agency, we normally can get certain information around one month before train departure date.
- Train tickets are only released and available for booking about 30 TO 60 days in advance (and the ticketing schedule is subject to China railway policy, e.g. in peak holiday, China may have many restrictions on train ticketing), and there are many government regulations in the market.
Tibet Train Travel Photo Album
A train trip to or from Tibet is the crown jewel of any cultural tour of Tibet! Riding the train gives travelers opportunities to interact with local Tibetan and Chinese travelers that they may not otherwise have. This, coupled with the magnificent scenery and opportunities to learn about Tibetan culture, creates a rewarding travel experience that gives travelers insight into the diversity of people that live in Tibet and China. Travelers with questions about Tibet travel or questions about the Qinghai-Tibet Railway are welcome to contact us local Tibet travel agency now.