What is the Best Way to Get to Tibet

Centered around Lhasa, a transport network has taken shape in Tibet, including highways, airlines, railroad, etc. For tourists, the most common used ways are by air or by train. If you want to travel by road, the only way is to rent a car accompanied by a driver and tour guide. Well, what is the best option for tourists. Most tourists consider the best way to enter Tibet is via Qianghai-Tibet Railway. The Qinghai-Tibet railway radiates from major cities across the country. Passengers from Beijing, Shanghai, Chengdu, Guangzhou, Xining and Xi ‘an have traveled to Tibet on the Qinghai – Tibet railway. For further information please keep reading.

Facts about Sky Train to Lhasa Tibet

Known as “Sky Train to Tibet’’, the total line of Qinghai-Tibet is 1,142 kilometers long with 45 stations, while about 960 kilometers of it sits at 4,000 meters above sea level. It is the longest and highest railway built atop a plateau, which is China’s first railroad to Tibet. 

There are three main challenges met in the construction: the protection of the fragile ecosystem, the lack of oxygen at high-altitude and the perennial frozen ground. The world engineering wonder has created 9 extraordinary world records: the longest “plateau” railway, the longest railway crossing on frozen-earth plateau, the highest-altitude railway station, the highest frozen-earth plateau tunnel, the longest railway bridge, etc. 

So if your time allows, take the Tibet train to see the breathtaking scenery along the world’s highest railway, and experience what Forbes calls the engineering miracle?

Why take Qianghai-Tibet Railway to Tibet?

1. Breathtaking Scenery

Traveling to Tibet by train is bound to be a wonderful experience, as the railway that tourists take is the highest in the world. Along the way, tourists can enjoy the stunning scenery. Especially the section of Xining and Lhasa, there are alpine sceneries full of snow caped mountains, lakes, vast plateau plains littered with nomads, yaks, Tibetan antelope and lots of wildlife.It offers a once in a life-time experience and gives you an opportunity to witness the very rural parts of Tibet. 

The most famous place on the route is probably the Tanggula Pass, which is the highest point on the earth that you can cross with a train. The endless Qiangtang Prairie is one of the best pastures in Tibet and home to many species of rare wildlife, as well as nomadic herders and their livestock. Nomads on the Qinghai-Tibet plateau have lived the same way for thousands of years. In the summer, they can often be seen grazing sheep, goats and yaks on the high grasslands. The grasslands have some of the most beautiful high desert areas in the world, with rocks emerging from grassy plains, clear pristine lakes and lush green grasslands. Between Naqu and Lhasa, the train passes by the sacred Namtso lake. The sparkling, crystal-clear lake is China’s second-largest saltwater lake and a place of worship for pilgrims who come here to pray, walk along its shores in holy Kora, and many worship at specific places along the way. In Tibet, the name means “heavenly lake” and it is one of the biggest tourist attractions in Tibet. You will also pass through Hoh Xil, China’s largest uninhabited area, which is full of wonders of stone forests and valleys. Wildlife is thriving here, and lucky travelers can see all kinds of wildlife grazing by the tracks.

2. Better Acclimation to Plateau

The second reason is taking a train to Tibet can minimise the altitude sickness. Altitude sickness is a common problem in Tibet. It occurs when you cannot get enough oxygen from the air and feels like a bad hangover. Taking a train to Tibet allows your body time to adapt. Experts recommend that it takes at least one to two days to adjust to lower altitudes before traveling to Lhasa and the plateau. So it’s a good choice to stay at Xining for one or two days. After the train passes Golmud, the oxygen system is turned on, and it pumps oxygen into the train compartments, increasing the oxygen levels inside the train to higher than that outside. 

3. Cost Effectiveness

In fact, one of the biggest advantages of taking the train over flying to Lhasa is the cost, only half or one third of the flight ticket fare. It is relatively cheap and convenient to take a train to Tibet from other cities in China. It only takes a few hundred money while the air fare may be more than one thousand Yuan. If you are looking for a cost effective way to get to Tibet from one of the gateway cities in China, the train is the best option. Lhasa Railway Station is about 8 kilometers southwest of Lhasa downtown, for 15-20 minutes’ drive. It will take about 20-40 hours getting into Tibet by train. However, in the peak season from May to October, it is difficult to get train tickets to Tibet due to the great demand. So please plan the train tour to Tibet and reserve the ticket in advance. We are a professional Tibet travel agency and can help you book the ticket.

Best Time to Take a Tibet Train Tour

Usually, April to November is the best time to travel to Tibet by train. As you might expect, the winter in Tibet is quite harsh, and any trip, such as hiking or biking out of Lhasa, is very difficult. During this time, April to May and August to October are the most rain free time and not too hot.

Peak Tibet Travel Season

Train travel to Tibet has become more and more popular since it opened in 2006. In fact, in the peak season, the demand for trains in Tibet may exceed the supply of tickets. You should submit your reservation as early as possible. The holiday travel rush season in China is traditional Chinese Spring Festival and summer and winter vacation for mainland Chinese students. Flying to Xining and then take the train from Xining to Lahsa is highly recommended, which is the real Tibet train tour. 

Keeping Reading

Tibet Train Ticket Booking and Reservation Tips

Trains to Tibet

Qinghai – Tibet Railway

Best Time to Visit Tibet