Arrive in either Beijing or
Shanghai, then fly directly to Xining (Amdo, plus) or Lhasa
by China Air or China Southern. Lhasa Gonggar Airport
is around 97 km away from the city. You can also fly directly in or
out of Chengdu (Pandas & Giant Buddha). From Kathmandu,
Nepal there are several 55 minute flights that offer
gorgeous views of the Himalayas and the southern Tibetan
Overland from Kathmandu over
the Friendship Highway is the most popular overland route,
but if you are flying into Chengdu and the region is open
and its the right season, hire a Land Cruiser for the
beautiful overland northern route from Chengdu to Chamdo to
Lhasa. It's well worth the effort! Not recommended in
2006 the fast service to Lhasa is open as LHASA EXPRESS.
Be sure to
get a soft sleeper if you want any comfort level. The hard
sleeper (6 bunks inside a 'closet') is very tight. The
middle seat which is best, you cannot sit up.
The lower seat
is where everyone sits when they are not in their bunk. The
top bunk, well, better have some muscles for that one! The
soft sleeper has only four bunks offering much more room.
Plus if traveling as a couple you might opt to buy the four
sleepers and have it as a private room. Anyway, there is a
lot of talk about this train, because it was a marvel that
they could construct it atop of permafrost (ice) (global
warming comes to mind?) Personally I didn't find the comfort
level anywhere near comparable to European trains. My
recommendation, if you really want to do this train, is to
fly to Xining, then take the train from there, only 24
hours. From Beijing its twice that, from Shanghai, well,
here's the link. Check out these fantastic paintings of the
you are adventurous, you can get just about anywhere in the
Tibetan area by public bus. There are long-distance buses,
local buses (city to city or intercity), minivans, taxis
(very economical, only about a dollar anywhere in the city),
and in Lhasa there are the man-powered rickshaw tricycles of
green and yellow that are the same price as the taxis, but
are open-air and a cool experience.
I took a public bus from Xining
to Kanbula Nature Reserve, well to the city just before
that. We found a taxi to take us inside the reserve, which
entrance is a series of switchbacks that climb to 14,000 ft
or something like that. The taxi took us all the way to the
nunnery, then we hiked up to the top of the new temple.
Drove back, had dinner by the river in an off-the-beaten
path place right on the water, even slept there, then took
the bus back to Xining. I can say this about the buses;
after Mexico and Central America they are really decent!
Taken from Lhasa Express
From Xining to Lhasa 2008
|Oh, BOOK a week
or more ahead or you'll have no chance for soft sleepers!
The dining room staff and the
train staff are highly trained and professional. The food
isn't gourmet, but you won't starve. Try an afternoon
sitting in the dining car after lunch, order a pot of tea
and enjoy the huge windows, the best place for photos!
You'll love this experience!