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Lhasa Nyingchi Railway: Tibet railway extension and vital section of new Sichuan Tibet Railway

November,26 2019 BY Master Kungga Dundruk 0 COMMENTS

Lhasa Nyingchi Railway - shortening Tibet train ride from Sichuan

The Lhasa-Nyingchi Railway is the proposed section of the Sichuan Tibet railway, which will soon become the second railway to Tibet from mainland China. Built in four sections, Lhasa to Nyingchi, Chengdu to Ya’an, Ya’an to Kangding, and Kangding to Nyingchi, the Sichuan Tibet Railway is already under construction. Once complete, it will shorten the time it takes to get from mainland China to Lhasa to around 7-8 hours.

The section from Lhasa to Nyingchi was begun on October 31, 2014, and construction is well under way, with the section expected to be completed in the early part of 2019. Stretching for 434 kilometers, the tracks have a design speed of around 60 kilometers per hour, making the trip from Lhasa to Nyingchi much faster than by road, even with the new High-Grade Highway. The section is set to have 34 stations at the major towns along the route, and will start at the Shelrong Station in the Tibetan capital. The route takes the line across the Yarlung Zangbo River and turns east through Shannan Prefecture, passing close by the Nyingchi Mainling Airport before reaching Nyingchi City.

Map of Sichuan-Tibet RailwaySichuan Tibet Railway Map

Map of Lhasa-Nyingchi RailwayLhasa Nyingchi Railway Map

How to Travel between Lhasa and Nyingchi Currently?

As of this time, the railway is still not complete, and while it is still under construction, there are still two other ways to get to Nyingchi from Lhasa. For those visiting Nyingchi as part of their tour, they can still travel to the easternmost part of Tibet by flight or by road.

Lhasa to Nyingchi Overland via Lhasa-Nyingchi High Grade Highway

One of the best ways to travel to Nyingchi from Lhasa for those that love the Tibetan scenery, the new and attractive road from Lhasa to Nyingchi is the High-Grade Highway. Starting in the Liuwu New District of Lhasa, the route follows roughly along the same route as the older G318 National Highway, otherwise known as the Sichuan Tibet Highway. Running a total length of 409 kilometers, the new highway began construction in 2013, and was completed and opened for use just this year.

A completely toll-free road, the highway has cut down travel time to Nyingchi from Lhasa to around five hours, from the previous 8-hour drive along the G318. The culmination of this unique highway is in Bayi Town, the seat of Nyingchi and a popular tourist location in the prefecture. Following the beautiful Niyang River Valley, the new highway runs across the Mila Mountain Pass at more than 5, 000 meters above sea level, and consists of four lanes of smooth asphalt highway, two lanes in each direction.

Lhasa to Nyingchi by Flight

Located in Mainling County of Nyingchi, 60 kilometers to the southwest of Bayi Town, Nyingchi Mainling Airport was previously able to provide flights from Lhasa to Nyingchi, usually as part of a flight from Lhasa to Chengdu. However, the services that offered this flight have stopped, and currently, there is no direct flight to Nyingchi from Lhasa.

Recommended Tibet Nyingchi Travel Route

For those that want to travel to Nyingchi from Lhasa as part of their tour, we have several small group tours that include Nyingchi on their itinerary, and allow travelers to make the most of their time in the Switzerland of Tibet.

8 Days Lhasa Nyingchi Tour with Namtso Lake

Starting in Lhasa, and taking in Lake Namtso as well as Nyingchi, this 8-day tour of Tibet is the ideal short tour to get the best of the Tibetan capital, the “Heavenly Lake”, and the stunning Alpine area of Tibet. Giving travelers a completely different view of the Tibet that most people are accustomed to, this unique tour takes you to a brand-new world of lush green vegetation, fertile river valleys, snow-capped peaks, and peaceful and tranquil villages.

The tour starts within Lhasa, commencing with the city tour of the stunning attractions of the Tibetan capital, including the Jokhang Temple, Potala Palace, and the various monasteries of the city. Then it is onto Lake Namtso, the “ Heavenly Lake” in the north of Lhasa, bordering on Nagqu Prefecture.

Located in Damxung County of Lhasa, the largest lake in Tibet lies in between the lush green Changtang Prairies and the Nyenchen Tanglha Mountains, and is fed by streams that run down from the mountains, filling the lake during the snowmelt of spring. One of the Great Three Holy Lakes of Tibet, which also includes Lake Yamdrok and Lake Manasarovar, Lake Namtso is a saltwater lake and is the highest saltwater lake in the world at 4,718 meters above sea level.

Namtso Lake, one of the great three holy lakes in TibetOur clients have payed a visit to the holy Namtso Lake before travelling to Nyingchi.

After the visit to the lake, where you will stay overnight in one of the local guesthouses near the lakeshore, you will head back towards Lhasa, stopping at the luxurious Yangpachen Hot Springs along the way, to help relieve the aches of the body after the long car journeys and the exploration of the lake. One of the most popular hot springs in Tibet, Yangpachen is a popular place to visit after spending time at the lake.

After a night in Lhasa, you will head off to Nyingchi in the morning, taking in the stunning views of the Mila Mountain Pass along the way, at an altitude of 5,13 meters. At the top of the pass, the rocks are strewn with prayer flags, and the views of the surrounding mountains. After passing through Kongpo Gamda, the trip takes a short side route to one of the most stunning lakes in Nyingchi, Basum Tso. Lying at an altitude of 3,500 meters, this tranquil and turquoise lake is surrounded by snow-capped alpine mountains, and has several small islands that have temples built on them.

The trip then takes you to Bayi Town for the night, and on the following day, you get to visit some of the most amazing sights of Nyingchi, including the Great Cypress Nature Reserve, which contains several giant cypress trees that stand more than 50 meters tall, the oldest of which is around 3,000 years old. You will also get to travel to the Lulang Forest, an amazing alpine meadow area, and get to see the famous Namche Barwa Mountain.

11 Days Best of Tibet Tour with Lhasa EBC Nyingchi

For those that want to include Nyingchi on a classic tour that covers Lhasa and Mount Everest Base Camp, there is an 11-day tour of Tibet covering that too. Starting in Lhasa with a tour of the city for the first two days, including the Potala Palace and the Jokhang Temple, the tour then heads out to Gyantse, to see the Pelkor Chode Monastery and the stunning, 32-meter Kumbum Stupa, the only stupa of its kind in Tibet. Then it is on to Shigatse, where you can visit the seat of the Panchen Lama, the second incarnation in Tibetan Buddhism, at the Tashilhunpo Monastery. After spending the morning in Shigatse, it is off again to visit the famous Sakya Monastery, in Sakya County, the principal monastery of the Sakya School of Tibetan Buddhism that was built in the 11th century.

Mt.Everest, the world's highest peakCapturing the stunning sunrise over Mt.Qomolangma from Everest Base Camp.

After Sakya, it is then off to Rongbuk Monastery, to prepare for the ultimate adventure of the tour, a trip to Everest Base Camp, at 5,200 meters. After staying the night in the Rongbuk Monastery Guesthouse, renowned as being the highest monastery in the world, you will finally get to travel to the world’s highest mountain, which you will have been looking longingly at for more than a day as you travel. The Mt. Everest Base Camp is indescribable, and has to be experienced to get the full effect of that massive peak looming above you. After the trip to EBC, you will had back to Shigatse for the night, and then on to Lhasa in the morning.

After a good night’s rest from the long drive along the Yarlung Zangbo River Valley, you will depart from Lhasa once more, and cross the 5,013-meter Mila Mountain Pass as you drive along the new High-Grade Highway towards Nyingchi. After a stop at Basum Tso, the most stunning lake in Nyingchi, you will head for Bayi Town, and get to spend the last few days experiencing the stunning sights of the area of China that is known as the Swiss Alps of Tibet.

12 Days Lhasa Nyingchi Tsedang Shigatse Tour along the Brahmaputra River

If you are looking for a more cultural experience, then there is no better tour than this 12-day trip that takes you from the Tibetan capital to the Swiss Alps of Tibet, and then on into the heartland of Tibetan civilization and culture, in Shannan Prefecture of Tibet, to the south of Lhasa.

Starting with a tour of the sights of Lhasa, including the Potala Palace and the Jokhang Temple, the tour then takes you out of the city and along the new High-Grade Highway to Nyingchi, stopping at Basum Tso and Bayi Town, where you can experience the stunning scenery of what is often referred to as the most breathtakingly beautiful landscape in Tibet. From the Lulang Forest and Giant Cypress trees to the stunning view of Mount Namche Barwa, where it sits at the bend of the Yarlung Zangbo River, the mouth of the world’s largest canyon.

Yumbulakang Palace, the first Palace in TibetOverlooking the Yarlung valley, Tibetan villages and mountains from Yumbulakang Palace in Tsedang.

Then it is on the south to Lhoka Prefecture, the local name for Shannan, and Tsedang, the cultural hub of this area of Tibet. The drive takes all day, and on the following morning you will get to explore the extremely fertile Yarlung Valley, the cradle of civilization in Tibet and the location of Tibet’s first palace, Yumbulakang Palace. Built by the ancient people of Tibet, more than 2,000 years ago, this unique palace was dedicated to the first Tibetan King, and remained the center of Tibetan civilization until the 7th century.

You will also get to visit the Trandruk Temple, the oldest Buddhist temple in Tibet, built as one of eight unique temples by the 33rd Tibetan king, Songtsen Gampo. Then you will get to take a trip to the Samye Monastery, the first Buddhist monastery in Tibet that dates back to around 650 AD, with its uniquely stunning views over the Yarlung Valley.

From Tsedang, the next stage of the tour takes you to Gyantse, passing by the stunning Lake Yamdrok along the way, and visiting the Pelkor Chode Monastery, with its 32-meter stupa. Then it is on to Shigatse, with the beautiful Tashilhunpo Monastery, and the trip to Everest Base Camp and Rongbuk Monastery. After spending the day at the base camp of the world’s highest mountain, with the summit of Everest looming large above you, just 12 kilometers away and so close you could almost reach out and touch it, it is back along the Friendship Highway to Lhasa, and your departure from this beautiful land at the Roof of the World.

Master Kungga Dundruk

About the Author - Master Kungga Dundruk

The Lhasa-born prodigy used to study business overseas, and got his Bachelor of Business in Nepal and India before moving back to his homeland.With pure passion for life and unlimited love for Tibet, Kunga started his guide career as early as 1997.

Responsible, considerate and humorous, he devoted his entire life guiding and serving international tourists travelling in Tibet.As a legendary Tibetan travel guru with 20-year pro guide experience , he once had an exclusive interview with the US media. Currently he is working in Tibet Vista as the Tour Operating Director. Whenever our clients run into troubles, he is your first call and will offer prompt support.

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