If fast trains, (really fast trains), unbelievable great heights, majestic scenery, and Tibetan and/or Chinese culture call to your inner most adventurous spirit, you need to explore this crazy-fun, unique train travel experience! But — as you read on, take note, this trip is not for the faint-of-heart!
Exceptionally modern and beautiful, this high-speed bullet train runs daily from Beijing to Tibet and takes about 44 hours, covering approximately 2,345 miles. Its operational speed is anywhere from 65 to 280 miles plus, per hour, depending on the elevation of the landscape.
The most exhilarating and popular portion of this train travel adventure is experiencing the “world’s highest railway track”, the Tanggula Pass, at an amazing 16,640 feet. Known as the Qinghai-Tibet Railway, its alternative name is indeed “the rocket to the roof of the world”. It is unparalleled and extremely attractive to international travelers, and has become the most fun-packed, enjoyable way to get to Tibet.
Adding to the mystic of this unique train travel adventure are the exceptionally long and high elevation tunnels, 675 bridges, and the most impressive, 400 miles of railway laid on permafrost–a remarkable feat!
Many tourists travel to Tibet by train not only because of its cost-efficiency, but also for the enjoyment of the unique, relaxing, ravishing landscape on the Qinghai-Tibetan Plateau. A world of exploration, unlike any other, is yours, all the way to Tibet.
About the Train: The temperature in the train is regulated and pressurized. All windows are also glazed with a UV coating and oxygen is available for those who may find it difficult to breathe. As a modern convenience, the altitude, temperature and train speed are all shown in each cabin.
A Canadian company supplied the insulation, air filtering system, oxygen breathing devices, and air conditioners. Unique features of the train allow for passengers to travel in comfort within high altitudes. And as an added measure of safety, each car has oxygen dispensing facilities near seats and hallways.
Meals: Each train has a dining car. The dining car offers 3 meals a day, available for purchase. A normal breakfast is about $2.00US, and lunch or dinner about $5.00US. Sanitized drinking water is available at no cost. Always available, a stewardess with a cart moving through the train for those who prefer a convenient packaged lunch or dinner priced at $3.25US. Where else in the world can you eat at those prices?
Accommodations: There are 3 types of accommodations on the train — 1st class soft berth sleeper ($158.00US), 2nd class soft berth sleeper ($102.00US), and hard seat uprights ($49.00US). All prices are approximate. Since the journey is long, most travelers prefer the sleepers. Also, if you are sensitive to smells, have allergies, are not very sociable (shame on you), then do not opt for the hard seat. If however, you want a cultural experience and/or want to save money … the hard seat is the way to go. The total cost of the trip, including the service fees of a travel agency for booking and required travel permits averages about $260.00US –what an outstanding value for a fabulous and most educational experience!
History: The designers and engineers of this railway had to solve many difficulties in its construction — the fragile ecosystem, the lack of oxygen, and permafrost. Many foreign experts agreed it was impossible for the Chinese to conquer these difficulties. However, several years later, they were more than shocked to see this man-made world wonder, and reputed it as an amazing miracle in engineering.
Since its operation, the Qinghai-Tibet Railway has become one of the busiest railways in Asia. Travelers flock to the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau to experience this unbelievable work accomplished on the snow fields.
Security: The train has onboard security and no random person can enter the train without a ticket.
Note: This Tibetan Train journey is not for everyone. For those who have trouble breathing or suffer from heart or blood pressure ailments should probably avoid the trip, regardless of the fact that there is oxygen in the cars. Consult your personal physician for more information and/or a release of travel to be safe.