(PRWEB) June 25, 2012
Explore Tibet, a locally-owned Lhasa-based Tibet travel agency, now offers an 11-day train Tibet tour from Xining city in China’s Qinghai Province, to Lhasa, the capital of the Tibet Autonomous Region.
In 2006 the Xining-Lhasa rail line opened, marking the first rail connection between Tibet and the Chinese mainland. Renowned as the “highest train in the world,” 86% of the line is at an elevation above 4,000 meters. The highest point is 5,072 meters at the Tangu-la Pass, where the train passes into Central Tibet. Over 550 kilometers of track lies over permafrost, and specially-engineered cooling pipes are installed to keep the ground frozen below the tracks during spring thaw. Some parts of the track cross elevated pylons to maintain migration corridors for plateau wildlife.
Xining can be reached from mainland China by air or train. Connecting trains can be caught in Beijing, Chengdu, Chongqing, Shanghai, Lanzhou, Xi’an and Guangzhou. With a top speed of 120 kilometers per hour, the entire train trip takes about 24 hours. The train is scheduled to run through scenic areas during daylight hours, with stops for tourists to disembark and take photographs.
About 100 kilometers west of Xining is China’s biggest lake, Kokonur or Qinghai Lake. This saline lake is located on the Tibetan Plateau in the ethnic Tibetan region called Amdo. Twenty-three rivers and streams feed the lake, and the area is a protected nature zone. The grasslands are used by Tibetan and Mongolian nomads.
“The train ride from Xining to Lhasa offers spectacular views of snow-capped peaks and glaciers on the Tanggula mountain range, which is the source of the Yangtze River” Explore Tibet said.
Other sights on the 24-hour train ride include wildlife, like the antelopes of the Kekexilin Wildlife Reserve, sparse nomadic families living in distinctive black yak-hair tents, and the scattered villages of the Changtang (northern plain).
After arriving in Lhasa, the remainder of the journey is dedicated to the famous sights of the capital city and the surrounding areas. The scheduled tours in Lhasa include the Potala Palace, the monasteries of Sera and Drepung, the holy Jokhang Temple and the Barkhor market and pilgrimage circuit.
From Lhasa travelers will journey by 4WD overland to the Yarlung Valley, called the cradle of Tibetan civilization. Here they will visit ancient monasteries and the burial mounds of the ancient kings. Travelers will also visit the cities of Gyantse, famous for its ancient Kumbum stupa, and Shigatse, location of the Tashilhunpo Monastery, traditional abode of the Panchen Lama. The tour also includes a trip to holy Yamdrok Lake, renowned for its beauty and azure-blue color.
Explore Tibet is a Tibetan-run travel agency focused on responsible tourism, Tibet visa and sustainable practice.