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Beijing To Tibet, Mt. Everest And Nepal All In 10 Days

Beijing To Tibet, Mt. Everest And Nepal All In 10 Days

Old May 13th, 2013, 09:19 AM
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Beijing To Tibet, Mt. Everest And Nepal All In 10 Days

After spending a day and a half in Beijing, I make way to the West Beijing Train Station. With my ticket and passport checked, I purchase an advertised Noodle Bowl special (RMB$15.50) and head towards Track No.2. There I join a queue of hundreds where again my ticket is checked. Descending a set of stairs I am staring down at my home for the next 44 hours.

Making my way to the 5th Train Car, I meet two of my travel companions for the next 10 days, Kathy and Bill from Montana. After brief introductions, we do some jostling around to store our luggage and get somewhat comfortable.

We are sharing a 4 person soft sleeper cabin along with a Chinese national and I end up with an upper berth.

At 8pm, T-27 leaves Track No.2 at the West Beijing Train Station and our 10 day adventure begins.
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Old May 13th, 2013, 10:05 AM
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I am joining you for this journey, so share as much as you can as I want to experience it all while sitting at my desk far, far away.
Hoping someday I will follow your trail in the real manner and benefit from your experience.
So you have taken a train from Beijing and where will be your first stop and how well is the ride, the scenery and is there any food available or you are carrying your own.
Love to hear all details.
Wishing you a pleasant and a safe journey filled with all the adventures you have been dreaming of.
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Old May 13th, 2013, 12:35 PM
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Train To Lhasa Day One

For a regular train traveler there is probably not too much to get excited about when your future holds 44 hours of swaying back and forth in the same direction. However, for a non-regular train traveler headed to one of the more restrictive and unique places to visit on the planet, for now, it is 44 hours of rocking and rolling fun.

Our departure from Beijing is in the evening so after a little settling in and exploring a few cars of the train it is pretty much “Bedtime for Bonzo”. My upper berth bed is somewhat firm although it is called a “soft sleeper” and my pillows are like oversized beanie bags, uncomfortable. Fortunate for me, I have the gift of a horse to be able to sleep standing up.

About twelve hours into the journey we make a stop and I wake up to views of China that I have never seen before, a mostly barren landscape under clear morning blue skies. Occasionally some green and other blues are added to the scenery as we past what appears to be grazing land along with some high altitude lakes and river streams. The views remind me of crossing some parts outside of Chandler, Arizona minus the cactus.

Posted on the walls in different cars is our itinerary to Lhasa showing points of interest along with the time and altitude at various spots along our journey. At about 8am in the morning we will be at the highest point on our trip 5072m, well over 15,000 feet. There are oxygen outlets in our room should we need it.

Although we have provisions for the trip, Kathy, Bill and I decide to venture to the dining car for an early evening supper. We order up thin sliced green peppers that can be easily mistaken for green beans, pieces of pork with lots of grilled onions and rice along with a beer that surprises us when it is served.

On a Chinese train bound for Tibet we are drinking “GI Beer” made by PBR in memory of the US Army.

I never would have imagined I would be drinking a beer in honor of a branch of the US military in of all places, China. I hope the Chinese will always feel this way about us because in my opinion it is difficult to be angry with someone that you are willing to share a cold brew with.

Night falls with us still rocking and rolling a long about 60 miles an hour. As I look out at a rising full moon, I think this is still fun and I am one lucky traveler.


Video:http://youtu.be/KegeTHP-tko
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Old May 13th, 2013, 12:43 PM
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ileen,

Glad to have you along
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Old May 13th, 2013, 01:11 PM
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So glad you are posting this report. I loved the video. Many of us will not be able make this trip so give us all the details.
Plus, how much was the train fare? More or less than flying? I do understand that the train trip is an adventure in itself. Will you fly to Nepal? or how will you exit Tibet. I do hope you will post videos of your entire adventure.
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Old May 13th, 2013, 01:59 PM
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DMB---Sincere Thanks for sharing the video. I am truly enjoying my armchair travel with your help. You are doing a superb job in capturing the scenery, the train's interior, the meal and the excitement.
Keep up the great job of sharing your travel adventures to inspire others.
A few questions:
*Did you come from US to Beijing to continue on this journey or were you already in China? What made you decide to take the train and not a plane? Maybe the fare!
*Did you have to get any special visa or other papers?
*When altitude changes while you are in the moving train do you physically feel something---maybe light-headed or something?
*Did your train fare include the meals or is it a la carte?
Beijing weather is hot these days, so what sort of weather will be you expecting at your destination?
Have fun.I am chugging along with you for the entire journey!
ENJOY
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Old May 14th, 2013, 04:53 AM
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Great questions! Reading along and waiting for more info.
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Old May 14th, 2013, 07:22 AM
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Following your trip also, love it
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Old May 14th, 2013, 08:56 AM
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ileen,

Flew from US to Beijing. This was my third attempt to visit Tibet. First trip cancelled because needed 5 of same nationality in a group for Tibet permit but 3 family members had to pull out at last minute. Second trip unable to get permit because China closed Tibet early because of Chinese New Year.

Took the train to minimize altitude adjustment problems. Still took getting use to... so I imagine more time would have been required if I took airplane.

Surprisingly, there is really not much difference in plane or train tickets when booked thru an agency. My tour cost was US$1086.00 (Beijing-EBC-Nepal) which included a single supplement and did not cover admission fees and tips etc.

I have a one year Chinese Visa from last summer but had to get permits for Tibet and Mt Everest base camp. All handled by travel agency.

No effect from altitude while on the train and I did not use any medication. Did experience some shortness of breath climbing a few stairs and hills, I did have to use some portable oxygen during stay at EBC.

Brought provisions for the train with the most important being T.P. Meals were not included during tour but were affordable in general on the train and elsewhere.

Actually, outside of Beijing weather was very nice about 60's during the day with low 40's over night except at EBC where it was in the 30's during the night.
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Old May 14th, 2013, 10:53 AM
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Waiting for more. Will you be flying or training back?
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Old May 14th, 2013, 02:58 PM
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coming along for the ride.
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Old May 14th, 2013, 03:46 PM
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Train To Lhasa Day Two

I wake up after my second night on the train and the scenery has changed a bit from the previous morning. There now areas of white on the ground and in the distance as the signs of winter linger around even into late April.

Somewhere earlier this morning we were at the highest point on our journey about 15,000 feet above sea level (5072m). Surprisingly, I have felt no noticeable affect from the change in altitude and have taken no medication for altitude sickness.

My plan is to stay hydrated, eat well and avoid doing jumping jacks or my regular 1,000 push-ups a day. So far, it seems to be working.

Life on the train has not been too difficult and with just about five hours to go I cannot believe I have had a one track mind for over 30 hours. The only disappointment on the train has been going to the bathroom after fellow passengers that seem to lack some common public decency.

The train staff has done a good job keeping the train clean and the environment comfortable. I was surprised to discover that regular toilet paper was not available after the first day but I came prepared thanks to Wal-Mart in Beijing.

About three hours from Lhasa we make a stop and a good majority of passengers leave the train. Our stop is long enough to give us an opportunity to get off the train for a few minutes. It is nice to step outside and breathe the crisp cool air at about 12,000 feet.

One more non-verbal all aboard call and we begin the final leg of our 44 hour journey. The scenery is still amazing as we pass fields with grazing yaks and a few small towns become more common with snow capped mountains in the background.

At about 3pm in the afternoon we arrive in Lhasa pretty much on schedule. For me, the trip has not been a bad one and the time has passed well enough. I am sure my travel companions had a lot to do with it. Thanks, Bill, Kathy, Craig and Marciso.


Video:http://youtu.be/VtQc_2j5f2Q
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Old May 14th, 2013, 03:47 PM
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dgunbug,

It's a one way trip to the Nepal border with plans to fly home from Katmandu
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Old May 14th, 2013, 04:12 PM
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Loved seeing the mountains. The Lhasa station is very clean.
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Old May 14th, 2013, 07:18 PM
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DMB--Thanks to replies to all my questions.
Your 2nd video is gorgeous, the mountains with snow covered peaks are beautiful and I am envious!!!!
But, glad you are taking me along as I have watched the video more than once and I feel I am experiencing everything through the pictures and your voice.
Please keep up the good writing and recording as we tag along!
So glad to know that altitude did not give you any problems and the train is sort of clean. Bathroom is not neat is kind of very typical of China toilets, thus no surprise.

Your second day is complete and you have reached Lhasa--so exciting. I am surprised to see the very nice looking train station of Lhasa. I had the impression it is kind of a not too developed area and assumed that the station would be a tiny little place, but it looks pretty charming to me.

You were even able to get out and breathe the fresh air---that is indeed a bonus! Beijing air is so foul, so I am sure you could tell the different---cool, fresh and nostalgic!
Surprised to see so many elks. But you did not see any people near the elks---farmers! I love their outfits---seen in some photographs. Hope you get to capture some colorful photos of the natives in their outfits.
Enjoy your adventures, I am sure there will tons of fun stuff, so we are waiting. It is almost night in the US, so while we sleep, you explore. Hope you have a fantastic day and see some really new things.
Have a safe and a memorable time.
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Old May 14th, 2013, 07:49 PM
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Enjoying your trip! Thank you so much for sharing and sharing the videos!
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Old May 15th, 2013, 08:09 PM
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Thank you for sharing DMB..video tell a story for us...will be awating Nepal and the peaks. It's been 68 years since I tasted GI Beer (3.2%)...can't say that I miss it..but it sure brings back memories for a 17-year old enlistee.
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Old May 16th, 2013, 11:22 AM
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A Police Welcome

We arrive at the Lhasa train station and as a group face a little bit of confusion. We all expected that we would be met by our tour guide once we got off the train. Earlier as we pulled into the station at one end of the platform there was a large group of singing school kids that for a fleeting moment I thought was our welcoming committee.

As we are pondering our dilemma, we are approached by a smiling and friendly police officer or member of the Chinese military. I guess he has seen this situation many times before and beckons us to follow him. I quickly gather that all visitors are met at the outer boundary of the train station.

Scanning the crowd we are a bit disappointed that no one seems to be there to meet us and we are right. A phone call by our police escort and we learn that our driver is late to pick us up. I guess 44 hours was not enough notice that we were coming.

Before too much longer we are given a lame “Tibetan Welcome” and loaded into a mini-van that we will spend a lot of time in for the next few days. Traveling solo, I am a bit lucky because I will have the whole back seat to myself along with just a few small pieces of luggage.

My first impression of Lhasa is “wow”. This is a lot different than expected especially when I see an amusement park with a large Ferris wheel being built not too far from the train station. I am told that last year only about 30,000 non Chinese nationals visited Tibet, so no doubt this is a popular destination for locals to support a "Mini-Disneyland".

The weather is near perfect as we cross a modern bridge and head into town. The main street where our hotel is located is lined with high end shops and is bustling with activity. I wonder if I can get a bargain on an iPhone-10 at The Apple Store?

Our stay for the next three nights is at The Yak Hotel a 4-5 Star tourist class hotel. It is about 5pm when we arrive there and I am definitely feeling the need for a hot shower and a comfortable bed without beanie bag pillows. However, we have been advised to not take a shower until the next day. Not quite sure of the reason but it is suppose to help with the altitude adjustment and prevent us from getting sick with a cold.

This will make about three days that I have not taken a shower. The last time I did that I started to grow a long black and white tail and lost a few friends. At least this time hopefully it will be a group effort and whether they like it or not Bill, Kathy, Craig and Marciso are stuck with me for the next eight days.

I get my first dose of not being use to high altitude living as I climb a set of stairs to my fourth floor room. By the time I hit my bed there is not much motivation to do much of anything else than to catch my breathe. Taking the "no shower" advice comes easy.

Now if I can only drown out the street construction noise beneath my window I just might get a good night's sleep.
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Old May 16th, 2013, 12:23 PM
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tower,

Thanks for your service

Maybe you can fill us in on the history of GI Beer and why it is served on a Chinese train which I found interesting.
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Old May 16th, 2013, 12:39 PM
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I imagine you had to put up with your travel companions lack of hygiene as well. As long as the odors blended together, I'm sure you were fine! Looking forward to more video and tales of your adventures.
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