The Beijing to Lhasa railway including the world’s highest railway, Qinghai-Tibet Railway, is an adventure tour route if you take a train from Beijing to Lhasa. The Qinghai-Tibet railway, which runs between Xining, the capital of Qinghai province, and Lhasa, the capital of the Tibet autonomous region, makes up the major part of the your Beijing to Lhasa train journey and authorities have been planning this project for a century. But it was only in 1984 that the first section of track – an 814-km stretch from Xining to Golmud – both in Qinghai province, was completed.
The Beijing to Lhasa train trip will cost you nearly 44 hours. The 44-hour train tour from Beijing to Lhasa is a zen-like way for those who want to slow their busy minds before arriving in Tibet. Once you choose the trip from Beijing to Lhasa by train, just feel the shocks this man-made world wonder will bring to you. Before boarding on the train from Beijing to Lhasa, knowing more about the track leading you to a heaven world will contribute more fun to your Beijing to Lhasa train tour.
When you are on the 1,142-km railway between Golmud and Lhasa, the most amazing engineering feat occurring in 2001 might come into your mind. The 30 billion yuan ($ 4.7 billion, 3.47 billion euros) high-altitude railway project employed about 100,000 engineers and construction workers for four years, and many staff had to use bottled oxygen and endure temperatures of minus 45 degrees. It is truly one of the engineering wonders of the world.
The railway climbs from 2,829 meters above sea level at Golmud to 3,641 meters at Lhasa and it is crowned the highest railway in the world. More than 550 km of track is laid on permanently frozen earth and its highest point reaches 5,072 meters above sea level.
If you are on the Beijing to Lhasa train, you should feel so lucky. You know, before the Qinghai-Tibet railway was built, travelers had to take a train as far as Golmud followed by a grueling 48-hour bus journey to Lhasa. Now you can take a direct train from Beijing to Lhasa, or from Chengdu, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Chongqing to Xian to Lhasa. In the near future, the Qinghai-Tibet railway will be extended 300 km west of Lhasa to Shigatse and then all the way to Nepal. Until then, you can take a direct train from Beijing to Kathmandu.
The T27 train from Beijing to Lhasa leaves Beijing West Railway Station at 20:09 daily and arrives at Lhasa Railway Station at 16:00 on the third day. It has 15 coaches and can hold 867 passengers at one time. There are three classes of tickets: soft sleeper at 1,189 yuan, hard sleeper at 766 yuan and hard seat at 363 yuan.
In addition to a train ticket, foreigners need a special travel permit to enter the Tibet autonomous region, that is, Tibet entry permit. Tibettravel.Org can normally handle this procedure for tourists who want to enjoy a train trip from Beijing to Lhasa of a lifetime. As the Beijing to Lhasa train trundles along, picturesque scenes of North and West China drift by. On the second day when the train leaves Xining at dusk, it rides onto the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau, an enormous highland 3,500 km across, with an average altitude of 5,000 meters.
The Beijing to Lhasa train previously runs at a speed of 160 km/h on the plain and then slows to 120 km/h at the high altitude plateau.
Though the altitude is as high as enough to cause high altitude sickness owing to the lack of oxygen, but do not worry too much about it. Oxygen-enriched air will be pumped through all the carriages. Personal oxygen masks are also available. However, smokers must refrain from smoking for the oxygen-enriched air is highly flammable. We advise you to get rid of it by focusing on the rich gourmet choices. Classic Chinese cuisines such as stewed beef, fish filets in hot chili oil, stir fried shrimps with gingko nuts and Mapo tofu are served in the restaurant car. Or just enjoy the beautiful views on the plateau.
The stunning scenery along the Beijing to Lhasa railway is also a compensation for any discomfort for those passengers who suffer from high altitude sickness. Vast farms, mines and the high-rises will be seen on the first day of your Beijing to Lhasa train trip. As the train enters the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau special sights can be seen. Flat plains and the snow-topped Kunlun Mountains give you another shock. Prayer flags string across glacial, fast-flowing rivers and streaming colorfully down steep hillsides; people dressed in chubas harvest barley, or rest beside yaks harnessed to primitive ploughs; and stone walls around old stone houses. Every thing on the Tibet Plateau is so peaceful and harmonious.
When you are entering the area of Hoh Xil Nature Reserve, also known as the last fairyland of wild life in China, you will catch sight of hordes of Tibetan antelope and yak. They frolic about the open grassland or stop to enjoy their grand banquet. If you are lucky enough or travel to Tibet in a proper season, you will see other wild animals in this area where there are a total of more than 230 species of wild animals, among which the Tibetan antelope is a unique species of China. Some wildlife conservators may worry about that the living condition or migration habits of these wild animals are destroyed or disrupted for the construction of the Qinghai-Tibet Railway. It’s not strictly necessary for a bridge of three to four meters high was built for them.
Above is only a few of the reasons that stimulate many tourists choose taking a train from to Lhasa. Once you are on the train, you will experience much more than that we could tell you.