Train in China

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1. Posted by hennaonthetrek (Full Member 123 posts) 47w Star this if you like it!

Has anyone travelled long distance by train in China? We are thinking about taking the train from Xi'ian to Lhasa and i would like to know your experiences :)

2. Posted by AngiebabeVT (Budding Member 13 posts) 47w Star this if you like it!

Hi its one of those recommended train journeys...particularly the part from xining to golmud, well that wss recommended to me to do for the scenery if i wasnt going up to Lhasa, which i wasnt, and i ran out of time doing that Xining Golmud stretch as i was travelling around the southern parts of Qinghai befor getting back to Xining in time to fly to Urumqi and leave China on the last day of my visa...then reentered with another visa from Kyrgzstan and went exploring Xinjiang.
But i love travelling on chinas trains, particularly the long ones as ive usyally been in 2nd or 3rd class and then youre havimg some interaction with the locals...though many are long distance workers who often have to leave families in rural areas or provinces undergoing a lot less development and travel to where heavy construction and development ie the push from rural to city living and therefore where the work is. They generally only buy standing tickets so in 3rd class youll see many sitting and lying in the aisles and swapping positions to share better spots with one another - they will move or assist with letting you through if youre looking for hot water to make tea or the restrooms or dining car etc...and all part of having exposure to lofe in China

And then of course take note of the scenery. The train is up on high tracks so youll get an even better view looking down at the landscapes, villages, people out working in fields etc

And being a slower approach it can be a slightly better way yo approach the altitude of Lhasa but i think its not very gradusl in that the altitude is mostly closer to arrival so you still need to take it easy and rest.
The www.travelchinaguide.com is what i found the handiest for checking train timetables and routes etc

3. Posted by UliS (Travel Guru 133 posts) 47w Star this if you like it!

Quoting AngiebabeVT

Hi its one of those recommended train journeys...particularly the part from xining to golmud, well that wss recommended to me to do for the scenery if i wasnt going up to Lhasa, which i wasnt, and i ran out of time doing that Xining Golmud stretch as i was travelling around the southern parts of Qinghai befor getting back to Xining in time to fly to Urumqi and leave China on the last day of my visa...then reentered with another visa from Kyrgzstan and went exploring Xinjiang.
But i love travelling on chinas trains, particularly the long ones as ive usyally been in 2nd or 3rd class and then youre havimg some interaction with the locals...though many are long distance workers who often have to leave families in rural areas or provinces undergoing a lot less development and travel to where heavy construction and development ie the push from rural to city living and therefore where the work is. They generally only buy standing tickets so in 3rd class youll see many sitting and lying in the aisles and swapping positions to share better spots with one another - they will move or assist with letting you through if youre looking for hot water to make tea or the restrooms or dining car etc...and all part of having exposure to lofe in China

And then of course take note of the scenery. The train is up on high tracks so youll get an even better view looking down at the landscapes, villages, people out working in fields etc

And being a slower approach it can be a slightly better way yo approach the altitude of Lhasa but i think its not very gradusl in that the altitude is mostly closer to arrival so you still need to take it easy and rest.
The travelchinaguide is what i found the handiest for checking train timetables and routes etc

AngiebabeVT was quite active in VT with excellent advise, she was also living some time in Xian, the travelchinaguide she mentions is good.
I went to Lhasa by bus (no trains in that time), but trains are comfortable in China.
I think you will need a permit for Lhasa, probably only with a tour.

4. Posted by hennaonthetrek (Full Member 123 posts) 47w Star this if you like it!

Thank you for your good advices! I did little reading and still it seems a bit confusing but i still have time to contemplate this better :) do you think we are able to get visas and permits if we leave Lhasa by plane to Delhi even if we came by train from Xi'ian?
Also what do you think about Terracotta Army, is it worth visiting?

5. Posted by UliS (Travel Guru 133 posts) 47w Star this if you like it!

Look first what you need for going to Tibet:
https://www.exploretibet.com/blog/the-5-tibet-travel-permits-and-visas-you-need/
Leaving Tibet by plane should not be a problem.
There are no direct planes, most likely via Kathmandu, visa for Nepal you can get on arrival, but these planes can get canceld, because of weather or political unrest.
A normal tourist visa for India you should get in your country, in some Indian Embassies it will be very difficult or even impossible to get a visa, don't know if Kathmandu is one of those.
There is also a Indian visa on arrival,you have to apply at least 4 days before online (but the Chinese are blocking a lot of web pages, don't know if this one is blocked), only valid on some airports and only 30 days.
https://indianvisaonline.gov.in/visa/index.html#

6. Posted by hennaonthetrek (Full Member 123 posts) 47w Star this if you like it!

Yes, the most direct flight was via Kathmandu. But it might be that they have the railroad between Tibet and Nepal ready by the time we are going so that might be option too, we will have to check that later..
Also China and India visas were quite straightforward even if its makes me little nervous to send my passport anywhere...:)
Thanks for the tip about travel agency! :)

[ Edit: Edited on 25-Jul-2018, at 07:27 by Hensku ]

7. Posted by AngiebabeVT (Budding Member 13 posts) 46w Star this if you like it!

Thanks UliS, :)
Yes the terracotta army is an amazing site, its a unesco site and regarded as one of the world's must sees, there are other historic sites just as recommended but i really think you should have a guidebook for China, particularly the Lonely Planet.
I would also recommend though that while you're in the vicinity that you visit Pingyao for one of the last remaining authentic walled cities, its beautiful and ive stayed twice with the Wangs in the LP at their harmony guesthouse and more recent Harmony hotel...a renovated 300 year old courtyard house.
Also Datong for the hanging temples is much recommended, then youll also be on the train to Lhasa.
You could look at places to get off along the way such as Lanzhou which has an important museum with artefacts pertaining to the Silk road, tho so does the main museum in Xian. A few other sights recommended from Lanzhou.
Also Xining.
But yes check permits for Lhasa because at times youre required to be with an agency or have a tour booked.

8. Posted by hennaonthetrek (Full Member 123 posts) 46w Star this if you like it!

I didnt find anyway to get TTP without travel agency so thats that, for now anyway, things could change in couple of years :)
Datong looked kind of scary but Pingyao went to our "definitely maybe -list" which is starting to be already full

9. Posted by AngiebabeVT (Budding Member 13 posts) 46w Star this if you like it!

What have you decided to do?

But do check out the travelchinaguide.com website, just click on the trains link at top of the page. Its got good info amongst its pages too but so does the chinahighlights.com website which ive used quite often to find lists of best places for....autumn colours in china, month by month lists of festivals or flowers or national parks, and did want info on travel agency stuff like for Lhasa or outback 4x4 type places theyre good for that, so is an agency i know in Xining.

Please let me know if you need any opinions or advice

Regards
Angela

10. Posted by hennaonthetrek (Full Member 123 posts) 46w Star this if you like it!

Than you Angela! There is an fair chance that i will have more questions! I know about China just that i absolutely want to visit there!
Nothing 100% decided yet, mostly we are still at the "money-saving phase" of our journey but i wanted to start to make rough plan on countries and routes to make budjeting little bit easier :)
Just every time i open travellerspoint i get new ideas and tips