Tibet, known as the roof of the world, is a place of mystery and legend for most outsiders. Blue sky, white clouds, holy mountains and sacred lakes make it reputed as the last piece of pure land on earth, arousing people’s yearnings. Travelers always hold a firm belief that Tibet is the destination i won’t miss in my life. Hence, here comes the question. How can I get to Tibet? Which is the best way to get to Tibet?
Actually, there are a handful of ways to travel Tibet, namely, by Tibetan train (the most popular), flight (the most comfortable), overland driving (the most flexible), motorbiking (the most exciting), cycling (the biggest physical challenge), hiking+free-riding (the most innovative), prostration (the most sincere). However, the most popular ways for foreigner tourists to go to Tibet are riding a Tibet train, taking flight and overland driving. Whether to take Tibetan train, flight or drive overland to Tibet totally depends on your travel plan, budget, personal interests, etc. However, different way offers you different experience.
Get to Tibet by Train – The Most Rewarding Way to Go to Tibet from China
The famous railway itself, spectacular scenery along Qinghai-Tibet Railway and adapting high altitude gradually are the major reasons for visitors to take trains to Tibet.
1. Qinghai-Tibet Railway
Qinghai-Tibet Railway is always regarded as the man-made world wonder. Riding a train on the world’s highest railway will be a brand new experience in your life. Facilities on Tibetan trains are pretty good. Two sets of oxygen supply system are installed here. One is used to increase carriage oxygen level, and the other is private oxygen supply tude and mask for passengers. You can either choose the cozy soft sleeper or the economic hard sleeper. Sitting straight is only available on the lower berth for the middle and upper berths are too narrow. Putting your luggage at the end of upper berth is ok and no need to worry about safety. Charging also can be done at the corridor of hard sleepers.
2. Qinghai-Tibet Plateau Scenery
On this train journey, you can not only get a good view of beautiful natural scenery of the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau but also taste Tibetan cultural landscape with strong religious flavor. Just outside the window, the grasslands with Tibetan herds and flocks, snow-covered mountains and peaks, sparkling lakes and rivers, fluttering prayer flags will fest your eyes. You shouldn’t miss Qinghai Lake, Hohxil Natural Reserve, Cuona Lake, Yuzhu Peak and Mt.Tanggula en route.
3.Adapting to High Altitude
As for altitude sickness, it varies from person to person in Tibet tour. After train entered Xining, some mild AMS symptoms might happen, like nausea, vomiting, headache, etc. Just take things easy. Sometimes, those symptoms will disappear in the following hours. If getting worse, you can ask train attendants and doctors for help.
4. Trains to Tibet from Mainland China
At present, there are several direct trains to Lhasa from Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Chengdu, Chongqing, Xining and Lanzhou. If you have a tight schedule and still want to experience Tibet train, getting to Xining first and then transferring to Lhasa is worth trying.
1. Food on the train is much more expensive than those in cities, but quality is not so good as its price. It’s suggested to bring some foods and drinks with you.
2. Each train has a short stopover. During this period, you can get off the train to breath in fresh air and take some photos. Please keep one thing in mind : never move too fast!
Get to Tibet by Plane and Overland Driving
There is no wonder that taking flight to Tibet is the most convenient way. The flying is particularly bumpy but the views are really breathtaking. As the plane approaches Tibet, you’ll see snowy mountains stretch for hundreds of miles under your foot. It’s also a great chance to catch a closer look at the Yarlung Zangbo River. Lhasa Gonggar Airport is much smaller than other airports in China and you can find the exit easily. The airport shuttle bus just waits outside and ticket price is CNY25 per person. Only one hour later, Lhasa city comes in front of you. Don’t forget to ask for distinctive invoice as memorial.
If time allows, you can try to go to Tibet by overland driving from Sichuan, Yuannan, Qinghai, Xinjing and Nepal. It’s unparallel in flexibilty. You can stop to take photos, enjoy the beauties, even linger one or two more days as you like. Among the five overland routes, Sichuan-Tibet Highway is recommended for the superb scenery and slow rise in elevation. It’s good for your body to get used to high altitude gradually.
Considering the time, scenery and experience, tourists are recommended to take train into Lhasa and fly out. Please feel free to contact us for useful info.