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Tibet , Llasa

Old Oct 8th, 2009, 06:49 AM
  #1  
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Tibet , Llasa

What is the best way to apply for China visa if I plan to go to Llasa..not to mention that I am going to Tibet for fear that the embassy may deny my China visa..? Where and how do I get a Tibet visa while I am incountry.? Is the train ride from Beijing to Llasa tortuous or an experience to remember.?

If going to Urumqi and Kashgar..to mention or not on my application for China visa.?
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Old Oct 8th, 2009, 07:41 AM
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If you put Tibet or any Xinjiang destination on your visa application it will almost certainly be refused. In the case of Tibet you'll be sent off to a local approved (or bribe-issuing) travel agency to buy a package of some kind. You should only write on your application the kinds of safe, mass tourism destinations most frequently discussed here: Beijing, Shanghai, Yangshuo, etc. Your visa is nevertheless valid for the whole country (except in reality Tibet and a few other closed areas, or places where there's something happening the government doesn't want you to see).

Tibet permits can be obtained from a number of sources in Beijing, and hotel travel desks can often give you numbers. Try these: 8161 5919, 8161 3694. What you're after is a 游行卡 (youxing ka). With that, and your passport, in hand, you can buy a rail ticket for yourself at Beijing West.

BUT NOTE: Regulations (or the way in which things actually operate regardless of regulations) change all the time. You may well be required to accept a guide and not allowed to go anywhere on your own. You should resist allowing any individual or agency to book you hotel for you however, unless you really want to spend a great deal more than necessary, most of which will go as a kick-back. In the past the (high) price of a permit has included a tour and guide but most people just ignored this and went their own way (and all parties were satisfied). Recently this has not been possible.

I've travelled to Tibet, but not taken the train. Colleagues say that the section beyond Golmud is spectacular, however. This is the highest railway line in the world.

Peter N-H
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Old Oct 8th, 2009, 08:23 AM
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About the train ride... I have no 1st hand experience, but I've rode long-distance Chinese trains a few times, I have read some accounts of this particular train, and I am also very interested in railroad, etc... And my parents have been to Tibet, so have some of my other relatives.

Here's what I'd do if I were to go. I'd fly to Lhasa and take the train out of Tibet instead of going in. And no reason to ride it beyond Xining or Lanzhou.

Two reasons. First, altitude rises quickly southbound from Germu up the Tibetian plateau. That's when some passengers experience altitude sickness. So, you may find yourself fairly uncomfortable during the ride into Lhasa, which was supposed to be the highlight of your trip. But if you fly in, you can just rest in Lhasa for a day or two to acclimate. By the time you ride the train out, you'll be mostly fine.

Second, the "T" trains from various Chinese cities to Lhasa usually take 40+ hours, or two overnights. Conditions on the long-distance trains, like cleanliness of the bathroom, usually deteriorate over time. Therefore, it's better to just take the "K" trains from Lanzhou or Xining up to Lhasa. If you decide to fly in and ride out, then it doesn't matter which train you take out of Lhasa. You get to Xining the next morning or Lanzhou early afternoon, and that's enough...
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Old Oct 8th, 2009, 08:24 AM
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I just went thru this; the form said what cities do you plan to visit and I included Lhasa. The consulate rejected that and told me to apply from within PRC & erase that city name from my app. The current ban on foreign devil travel into Tibet is scheduled to end today (8 X, 09), and I am waiting to see if it will happen. It happens that when PRC bans travel to Tibet, they usu. include the Tibet Autonomous Region (TAR) which means parts of Yunnan (which I am booked to visit in 9 days) & places like Xinjiang - which used to be Tibet until China had a fit of acquisitiveness.
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Old Oct 8th, 2009, 09:16 AM
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The Tibet 'Autonomous' Region does not include parts of Yunnan. But parts of Yunnan were (along with Qinghai, and parts of Sichuan and Gansu) part of Tibetan territory before 1949, and some still delight in the title of Tibetan 'Autonomous' County, or similar. Entry to these may also be restricted, but the Yunnan ones are mostly remote from any areas usually visited by tourists (and some are pretty hard to reach). Thus typical tourist travel to Yunnan will not be affected.

Peter N-H
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Old Oct 9th, 2009, 04:11 PM
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Peter N - If you refer to "Mapping the Tibetan world" pubished by Kotan - which is a fine book indeed - it clearly shows the TAR extending into Yunnan and including Zhongdian and Deqin. Further, there are references on LP to travellers who were barred from going to both of these cities and the region during the previous ban on foreigners.
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Old Oct 9th, 2009, 04:27 PM
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Whatever the situation may have been in the past, there is no overlap between the current entity known as the Xizang Tibetan Autonomous Region and any neighbouring administrative units, any more than there is between any other two provinces, ARs, or SARs in China. Tibet is governed from Lhasa, and Yunnan from Kunming. Territory currently either falls into one, or the other, but not both.

That entry has sometimes been forbidden to Tibetan dominated areas in other provinces was clearly stated, and does not appear to be a point of disagreement. This, however, has no effect whatsoever on the overwhelming majority of Yunnan, nor the plans of the overwhelming majority of visitors to Yunnan.
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Old Oct 10th, 2009, 08:14 AM
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Your replies are all great and I knew that I would get experts to respond..now about Kasgar and Urumqi..despite the recent problems there..I am assuming that putting these places on the application is still ok..?

Any thoughts about going to Linxia and Xiahe..instead of Kashgar, Yarkand and Khotan..??
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Old Oct 10th, 2009, 08:45 AM
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Actually, things are still very tense in Xinjiang right now. Han won't go to Uighur areas and vice versa. And still lots of army cruising the cities. So, while not impossible, I don't see it's that much fun going there right now.

Anyways, you don't need any permit to go there. So, why even put them on the visa application? Just put Beijing and Shanghai!
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Old Oct 10th, 2009, 09:54 AM
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> now about Kasgar and Urumqi..despite the recent problems there..I am assuming that putting these places on the application is still ok..?

It really helps to read the replies, one of which said:

> If you put Tibet or any Xinjiang destination on your visa application it will almost certainly be refused.

If you're not aware that Kashgar and Urumqi are in Xinjiang, then perhaps rather more reading is needed.

Gansu's Linxia and Xiahe have seen unrest in recent times, and there are reports of entry being refused. But you can but try once in China. However, you wouldn't want to put these on your application either.

The need to avoid putting Xinjiang destinations on your application has nothing to do with recent unrest, or whether tension continues as now abates to its usual anyway fairly high level, but is likely to cause your application to be turned down at any time.

Peter N-H
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Old Oct 14th, 2009, 11:38 AM
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Ok got it....I am applying for my visa with a travel agency that deals exclusively in China tours... and I am banking that this carries weight when they send my passport in to SF China Consulate to approve my visa...I think the agency here may have kept my application with Xinxiang cities on it...by mistake...crossing my fingers.
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Old Oct 14th, 2009, 01:44 PM
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Hmmm, Peter N-H's statements are largely correct, but seem to contain some doubletalk which sounds very official/bureaucratese. For example, well, okay it did happen but never mind, it is irrelevant to me and therefore it is irrelevant to you if you want to travel to some area I will not specify under circumstances I prefer to ignore.
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