I'm trying to figure out how to arrive to Xi'an from Lhasa... and obviously there are 2 main options:
The train takes around 20 hours, so it's a very long trip. It's cheaper, and I wonder if it's worth the journey, since I have heard it has a wonderful scenery.
So... any suggestions, or has anybody tried any of the options?
[ Edit: Edited on Jan 31, 2007, at 3:08 PM by Dem ]
Of course it will be a great trip by train from Lhasa to Xi'an. Go ahead and don't have any histate.
I also suggest go to Tibet by train, but only one problem, the ticket is very difficult to buy.
There are some beautiful scenes about Xining to Lhasa, on the train.
Xining – Golmud
Must See: Birds at Qinghai Lake Salt Lake at Chaerhan
Golmud – Wudaoliang
Must See: Mt.Kunlun, Kekexili
Wudaoliang – Naqu
Must See: Highest Railway Station, Qiangtang Grassland
Must See: Holy Lake Namtso, Yangbajing
Must See: Lhasa City, Potala Palace, Jokhang Monastery, Ramoche Monast
Go there by train is the best idea. There is many beautiful landscape on the way. I have many pictures about that, if you are willing to get them, you can contact me.
Train times of 20+ hours are actually quite normal in China. Hence, for those willing to spend a little bit more money on it, you can get a 'hard sleeper' (or even soft sleeper - but then prices start to become comparable to flight tickets) which is absolutely fine. You can lie or sit around during the day, look out the window and be chatted to by the other Chinese; and you can just get some shuteye when night falls. 20 Hours will be over in no time.
So, go for the train. If you can. Train tickets are, at times, hard to come by in China due to a very rigid and outdated system where it's generally a very good idea to buy your ticket 3 days in advance (any earlier and they might not sell them, any later and they might be sold out). I imagine this is especially difficult for the particular train journey on which you wish to partake.
I also suggest to travel to Tibet thru Qinghai-Tibet train. If you like to shorten the trip, can consider take train from Xining to Lhasa. Last year, around mid of Sept, I have my Tibet trip with 2 of my best friends by Tibet train from Xining to Lhasa, then return with flight from Lhasa to Chendu. We write to TibetFIT, "tibetfit.service" at their gmail account which is highly recommend by my friends to arrange the train ticket, Tibet permits and Everest Base Camp tour for us. They are friendly guy, expecially rachel and xuqiang. Ya, Tibet permit-TTB permit(hardcopy) is a compulsory document, without it you are not allow to take train, the checking is quit strict. I heard some of the backpackers not manage to get this permit from some of the travel agency, you must aware of this.
travelling by train do help with altitude sickness.....it offers enough time to make u get use to that..
specially important for people first time reach high altitudes
[ Edit: Edited on Feb 8, 2007, at 8:16 AM by cnadven ]
The train ride is actually about 37 hours, not 20 hours.
Other people who've answered have obviously not read carefully that you're going from Lhasa to Xi'an, not from Xi'an to Lhasa. Thus the train won't be helping you to acclimatise to the altitude.
I'm travelling in April with a group of friends who want to take the Xian-Tibet train. How long does this actually take and can anyone tell me how much 1st class tickets are (soft sleeper). Also, is this a recommended way to take the train or should we consider going from another city in China that is closer to Lhasa? Lastly, where can you get train tickets ahead of time from outside of China and what permits do you need for Tibet?