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Transportation
 

Transportation - - - To enter Tibet, flights, railway, highways are the main transport modes.


By plane

Plane in LhasaAir-tickets to Lhasa can be obtained from the airlines in Chengdu, Beijing, Chongqing, Xi’an, Xining,
Shangri-la and Kathmandu with the Tibet entry permit.

You can fly to Lhasa and also Nyingtri but flying in from a much lower altitude city puts you at high risk
of altitude sickness
because of the quick transition. If you are in Sichuan or nearby (and aren't
satisfied visiting the many easily accessible ethniclly Tibetan areas to the east of the Tibetan
Autonomous Region) flying from Chengdu is the easiest option.

According to signs (posted in train stations among other places) to go to Tibet after June 26th you
need a great deal of official paperwork. Hostels in Chengdu can handle that paperwork for a very
reasonable fee, and you shouldn't be intimidated by it. Just show up at a large hostel and ask to book a flight to Lhasa, they'll handle the rest
(cost 2000 RMB).

By train

Train in Tibet

The Qinghai-Tibet (Qingzang) Railway from Golmud to Lhasa started operating in July 2006. The
journey all the way from Beijing takes just under 48 hours, costing 389 yuan in the cheapest hard
seat class and 1262 yuan for a soft sleeper. Direct trains to Lhasa originate in Beijing, Shanghai,
Guangzhou, Chongqing and Chengdu.








By road

Road on TibetThe main highways to Tibet are the Chengdu-Lhasa, 2,330 kilometers long; the Xining-Golmud-Lhasa,
1,907 kilometers long. The average elevation of this highway is above 4,000 meters, running through
the mountains of Kunlun and Tanggula; the Yecheng-Burang, 1,455 kilometers. This highway is the
highest highway in the world, passing through five mountains above 5,000 meters high. The highest
mountain is 6,035 meters above sea level; the Xiaguan- Markam, 800 kilometers long; Lhasa-Zhamud
Friendship Bridge-Kathmandu, 900 kilometers. Every day, two buses shuttle between germu and
Lhasa. They start from germu at eight in the morning and arrive in Lhasa the next afternoon.
Train transport became another important way to Tibet, since the Qinghai-Tibet Railway started on July
1, 2006. Qinghai-Tibet Railway is the world's highest railway. Part of its tracks is located 4,000 meters
above sea level and the highest point is 5,072 meters. There are abundant tourism resources along
the route, including Qinghai Lake, Potala Palace, as well as habitats for many special wild animals.

Road transport is the principal transport mode in Tibet.

Airport - Lhasa : 100Km / 2 hours / bituminous macadam with flat surface / fit for all motor vechile.
Lhasa - Gyantse : 270Km / 5.5 hours / macadam road around the moutain / fit for all motor vechile.
Gyantse - Shigatse : 90Km / 1.5 hours / macadam road around the moutain / fit for all motor vechile.
Shigatse - Lhasa(new road) : 300 Km / 5.5 hours / bituminous macadam / fit for all motor vechile.
Shigatse - Zhangmu : 490Km / 15 hours / macadam road around the moutain / only fit for jeep and middlebus.
Tingri - Mt. Everest :
100Km / 3 hours / macadam road around the moutain / only fit for jeep.
Lhasa - Tsedang : 220Km / 3 hours / bituminous macadam / fit for all motor vechile.
Lhasa - Nyingchi : 430Km / 10 hours / bitminous macadam road around the moutain / fit for all motor vechile.
Lhasa - Yanjing : 1500Km / uncertainly / macadam road around the moutain / only fit for jeep.
Lhasa - Golmud : 1900Km / 48 hours / bitminous macadam / fit for all motor vechile.
Lhasa - Shiquanhe : 1800Km / uncertainly / macadam road around the moutain / only fit for jeep.

There are four roads into Tibet, roughly corresponding to the cardinal directions:

North: The road from Golmud (Ch:Ge'ermu) is the easiest legal land route at present. It is however nearly as costly as flying, if one follows all the
rules, i.e. travels by bus. The landscape is beautiful but difficult to appreciate after the long rough ride.
It's possible to travel this way by hitch-hiking on trucks if you are well prepared (camping equipment, food and water for a day). Expect to spend a
few days. There are police checkpoints on the way but the only one that is a problem is the one 30 or so km out of Golmud. If you walk around it
and a few km beyond you should be able to get a ride without too much of a problem. There are plenty of places to eat on the way but be prepared
to get stuck in the middle of nowhere. There are also are places to sleep ranging from truck stop brothels to comfortable hotels, however these
should be avoided as you're likely to get picked up by the police. Tibet Chuanzang Road

East: There is no legal way to travel this road (except as part of an expensive organised tour; see Overland
to Tibet) and the security is tighter than from the north. Travellers do get through this way, but for people
who are obviously not northeast Asians it's dificult.

West: From Kashgar (Ch:Kashi) much of the way is technically off limits. However there is a steady stream
of hardy travelers coming this way, usually hitching rides on trucks. The road is totally unpaved for over a
thousand kilometers with villages and water few and far between. The main advantages of this way is that
it passes by Mount Kailash and through a beautiful, very remote region inhabited by nomads. You should
be very well prepared to travel this way and take everything you would need for independent trekking:
camping equipment suitable for freezing temperatures even in summer, a good tent and at least a few days
of food (there are a few truck-stop places on the way but not always when you want them). Expect the trip to
take two weeks or more. From Kashgar it's much farther to go to Lhasa via Urumqi and Golmud but the
better transport (trains and good paved highways) make it no more time consuming to travel this way.
There are many interesting things for the tourist to see on the way and it is worth considering traveling this
way instead of via Mount Kailash.

South: From Nepal the international border makes any sort of breaking of the rules impossible, so the only
option is to book a tour with a travel agent in Kathmandu. In addition, as of 2007, you need a group visa for
China itself to cross the border
, so don't both applying before you get to Kathmandu. The drive from Kathmandu to Lhasa takes five days and is
very rough, but pretty.

Southeast: After 44 years of closure, the Nathu La pass to Sikkim, India — a part of the historic Silk Road — opened again in July 2006. At time
of writing, the border is not yet open to foreign tourists, but this is expected to change soon and there are plans for a Gangtok-Lhasa bus service.
See also Overland to Tibet.


 
 


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