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Train to/from Tibet, what time has the best scenery?

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Jun 26th, 2011, 06:37 AM
  #1
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Join Date: Mar 2005
Posts: 190
Train to/from Tibet, what time has the best scenery?

Hello,
I am thinking of taking the train either to or from Lhasa sometime in September. From the discussions here, it doesn't sound like it makes any difference in terms of adjusting to the altitude. Here are the trains/times I am considering. I want to be sure to pass through the most scenic areas during daylight.

A - K917

Lanzhou
--
12:15
Xining
14:35
14:55

Delingha
21:13
21:19

Germu
00:41
01:01

Anduo
09:02
09:04

Naqu
10:30
10:36

Dangxiong
13:00
13:09

Lhasa
15:05
--

B - K918

Lhasa
--
12:00
H m
Dangxiong
13:59
14:10

Naqu
16:19
16:25

Anduo
17:53
17:55

Geermu
02:15
02:35

Delingha
05:49
05:55

Xining
12:18
12:38

Lanzhou
15:06

Thanks,
Carl
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Jun 26th, 2011, 08:35 AM
  #2
 
Join Date: Feb 2004
Posts: 23,074
I don't understand why you're only comparing these two. There are usually 4 trains a day between Lhasa and Lanzhou each direction. While only one origin/terminate at Lanzhou, there are also one daily from/to Beijing, one to/from Shanghai/Guangzhou, and one to/from Chengdu/Chongqing.

While for going FROM Lanzhou to Lhasa it is indeed easier and better to get the K917, for Lhasa to Lanzhou, you can get any of the 4 daily trains.

Another thing is the schedule you get. Don't know where you get that, but I see K918 departing now at 8:20a and arriving Lanzhou 10:12a+1.

Anyways, in my opinion, the most scenic and amazing part is between Amdo/Ando and Geermu/Golmud. So, if you decide to take the train out of Lhasa, the K918 is indeed the best one since it's the earliest one, so you get to see the most of the Tibet/Qinghai Plateau before it gets dark.

On the other hand, if you decide to ride the train into Tibet, then K917 is the earliest and worst of the 5. You want the last train into Lhasa so you see the most during that 2nd day of the trip. That'd be the T165 from Shanghai or T265 from Guangzhou.
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Jun 26th, 2011, 10:24 AM
  #3
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Thanks. I picked these because they were the ones that had origin/terminate at Lanzhou, and it seemed easier to arrange tickets for. I will look into one of those earlier trains.
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Jun 27th, 2011, 03:31 AM
  #4
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I got these train schedules from chinatraintickets.net, but maybe that was out of date. Is the K9811 train out of Xining a good option? They are giving me a departure of 22:00, 21:40 arrival into Lhasa. Thanks.
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Jun 27th, 2011, 04:20 AM
  #5
 
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Posts: 12,269
weather2travel.com Climate Guides

seat61.com China/Tibet training info

summer best after several mos of greening up for me.

Hopping on and off neat places best along your way

monitor consular advisories and insuremytrip.com always wise

not the stablest of regions.
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Jun 27th, 2011, 04:23 AM
  #6
 
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Posts: 12,269
The first regular passenger trains started running over the new railway to Lhasa in Tibet on 1 July 2006. The Qinghai-Tibet Railway is the highest in the world, climbing from 2,829m above sea level at Golmud (Geermu) to 3,641m at Lhasa, much of it built on permafrost. Its highest point is in the Tanggula Pass, at 16,640 feet (just over 5,000m) above sea level. Because of the lack of oxygen at that altitude, all passenger coaches have extra oxygen pumped into them, and oxygen is available to passengers through tubes if they have problems. Before the railway was built into Tibet, travellers had to take a train as far as Golmud (which the railway reached in 1984) followed by a gruelling 48 hour bus journey to Lhasa. Now there are direct air-conditioned trains from Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou & Xian to Lhasa.

Regular passenger trains to Lhasa from Beijing, Xian, Shanghai, Guangzhou...
There are several trains a day to Lhasa, including a daily express from Beijing to Lhasa (a 2-night journey, 3,753km) and other trains running every second day from Xian, Shanghai & Guangzhou (formerly called Canton, near Hong Kong) to Lhasa. These are modern air-conditioned Chinese Railways trains, with soft & hard class sleepers, soft & hard class seats & a restaurant car. Photos of the new Beijing-Lhasa train interior. Train times & fares for these trains are shown below.

How to buy tickets...
Bookings open 10 days in advance. In the first months of operation of the new line, tickets were reported as selling out almost as soon as bookings open, with no sign of demand diminishing. However, it's become easier to get tickets, and you can now arrange tickets & tours through www.chinatraintickets.net or www.chinahighlights.com. Alternatively, you can try buying tickets yourself at the station, arranging a permit separately, see how to buy tickets.

Getting a permit for Tibet...
In addition to a normal Chinese visa, foreigners require a special permit to enter Tibet, although there is talk of discontinuing this requirement in the near future, so please check. The only way to get a permit is through a Chinese travel agency, for example www.chinatraintickets.net or www.chinahighlights.com who can arrange both trains and tailor-made tours. The permit is valid to enter Tibet and reach Lhasa, though a further permit is required to travel any further. There's a good article about Tibet permits at http://kekexili.typepad.com/life_on_..._in_tibet.html.

seat61.com(schedules there also)
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Jun 27th, 2011, 05:53 AM
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K9811 is a theoretically a good choice for watching the scenery into Tibet. But there are two problems - one is that the Xining train station is known to be very corrupt, so they hoard tickets into Lhasa. Last summer, we've been quoted a surcharge of 1,000RMB each ticket during peak season from Xining to Lhasa via various agents.

Second, it'll be after dark when you arrive into Lhasa. Getting into Lhasa during the day with first look of the Potala Palace is something pretty amazing. Yes, it is lighted, so you will still see it from the train going in. So, it's your choice.
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