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Tibet Travel Faqs

  • Lhasa-Kathmandu Overland or Reverse ?


    The Gyirong border is just open at the end of Aug 2017, many visitors want to travel overland between TIbet and Nepal, but which route is the best?  Let our experts tell you more. 


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    Overland from Kathmandu to Everest or Lhasa 

    If you come from Kathmandu to Tibet overland, it will be a bit risky or dangerous, becuase Kathmandu is only 1370m in elevation, then you will get to Gyirong border (2600m) for 1 night only, and then suddenly get to Everest base camp(5200m), you will not have enough time to acclimatize before reaching the highest 5200m elevation, and worse is there is almost NO medical facility around at Everest base camp, which will be really dangerous unless you are really fit.


    Overland from Kathmandu to Mt. Kailash

    For those who want to do Kathmandu to Mt.Kailash overland tour, it is same dangerous, the altitude in Kathmandu is quite low and Mt. Kailash area is 4000+ meters, it will not be any medical facility during the 3 days mount Kailash pilgrimage trek, so it is always better to start the trip from Lhasa and reach mount Kailash gradually. 


    What is the Safest Way

    The safest way is to do Lhasa to Kathmnadu overland tour, which is more reasonable route for altitude acclimatization, firstly spend 3 or more nights in Lhasa(3600m) for acclimatization, then going higher to Shigatse(3900m) for another night, then reach Everest(5200), after that to Gyirong border(2600m) for 1 night, and next day reach Kathmandu(1370m). So overall speaking, it is better to fly from Kathmandu to Lhasa first, and taking overland tour to Everest or Mount Kailash, finally reaches Kathmandu.  Or you can simply fly from Kathmandu to Tibet, then after the tour fly back to Kathmandu. 


    Sample Iitnerary

    Here we have 2 sample itineraries for your reference, it could be tailor made to make it longer or shorter, hope this helps your planning.


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  • How to read China train ticket

    If you do not read Chinese, it will be very difficult to find your seat on a Chinese train. While Chinese passengers and the train attendants are usually very helpful and would gladly walk you to your seat, below is a simple guide to help you read a Chinese train ticket. 


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    Sample 1     A China Train Ticket

    The sample above are what a China train ticket looks like. It's a paper ticket .  In this ticket from the left top, shows the information like below:

    • A)   Ticket number, this is the serial number of train tickets issued from one terminal or ticket window

    • B)   Departure station in Chinese

    • C)   Departure station in pinyin, the spell of this pinyin accords with China Railway Passenger Transport Price List, which was released by Ministry of Railways.

    • D)   Departure data and time - YYYY年MM月DD日hh:mm开

    • E)    Ticket price in RMB

    • F)    Validity information

           ---限乘当日当次车 - valid only on the specified date and specified train

           ---在3日内到有效 - the journey must be completed by day 3, day 1 is the departure day 

           ---中途下车失效 - invalid if journey broken

    • G)   21 digital numbers

    • H)   Code of the train ticket issuing station, it may not be the departure station. If you buy a ticket from Beijing to Shanghai at Hangzhou train station, then this code is Hangzhou train station

    • I)    Code of ticket sale way

    • J)    Code of ticket window

    • K)   Date of ticket released

    • L)   Ticket number

    • M)  Ticket issuing station

    • N)   Destination in Chinese

    O)   Destination in pinyin

    P)   carriage number, seat/sleeper number and train class  >> train number info details

           XX车YYY号 - carriage number XX and seat/sleeper number YYY 

           新 - New (higher standard)

           空调 - Air-conditioned 

           特快 - Express train 

           快速 - Fast train 

           普快 - Ordinary train 

           硬座 - Hard seat 

           软座 - Soft seat 

           硬卧 - Hard sleeper (上铺 - upper, 中铺 - middle, 下铺 - lower) 

           软卧 - Soft sleeper (上铺 - upper, 下铺 - lower) 

           高级软卧 - Deluxe Soft sleeper (上铺 - upper, 下铺 - lower) 

           一等座 - First class seat 

           二等座 - Second class seat 

    • Q)   Discount info

    • R)   2D bar code

    • S)   Train number  >> train number info details

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    Sample.2   A named ticket



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  • What to pack for Tibet travel

    When facing this question----Of course you will not forget the camera, passport, China visa, Tibet permit. But what other important items you need to pack for Tibet travel? Here is a thoughtful collection of the must-have items to ensure you a safe and comfortable Tibet tour.


    Tip: Travel light! Heavy baggage will weaken you on the plateau. But the things mentioned below are essential since Tibet is on the roof of the world and most part of Tibet is remote area.


    Bag

    • A large backpack and a smaller one. The smaller one can be used for daily activities and be put into the large backpack when necessary.

    • If you are going out of Lhasa for a few days, you do not have to bring the big suitcases with you, instead you can take the backpack and leave the heavy one in Lhasa hotel.

    • A waist bag to put important documents and property.


    Clothing

    • It's advisable to dress in layers that can be easily added or removed as temperatures vary greatly within a day in Tibet.

    • A windbreaker is advisable at any time of year.

    • A pair of durable and comfortable shoes. Water-proof and warm-keeping climbing shoes are recommended.

    • Waterproof clothing and raingear are highly recommended if you come to Tibet in July and August because it rains frequently during this period.

    • A down jacket (better with hat) together with other warm-keeping clothing is necessary if you want to travel into remote areas or to have a trekking tour.

    • Women should avoid skirts or dresses or high heel shoes.


    Daily articles

    Hotels or guesthouses in some remote areas are very simple, without towels, soap etc. You need to bring your own items such as a cup, a small towel, a toothbrush, toothpaste, etc. Or you buy in Lhasa. It is not convenient to wash clothes when traveling at remote places, you can buy some disposable underpants.


    Avoid Sunburn

    • High SPF sunscreen cream, sun block, skin cream and lip balm to against intense sunlight and dry weather.

    • Sunglasses and sunhat can protect you effectively from being exposed to the scorching sunlight.


    First Aid Kit Packing List

    • Please consult your doctor prior to your Tibet tour, and better have the body examination before coming!

    • Your prescription medication

    • Medicine to prevent and lessen High Altitude Sickness, such as Diamox.

    • Medicine for cold, headache, stomachache, diarrhea, nausea, insect bite, etc. such as Aspirin, Diphenoxylate, and Prochlorperazine.

    • Band-aids or other wound dressings.

    • Nasal ointment and throat lozenges if you are sensitive to chilly or freezing weather conditions.

    • Multivitamins

    • Headache medication such as Tylenol or Advil. Tylenol is good too especially if you end up with a fever.

    • Bandaids for the occasional blister from long walks.

    • Anti-bacterial ointment

    • Alcohol swabs

    • Hydrogen peroxide or other cleaning agent for small cuts.

    • Cotton swabs

    • Cotton bandages

    • Bandage tape

    • Ace bandage for the twisted ankle that might occur on the Great Wall or other hikes.

    • Nail scissors - perfect for cutting bandages and other essentials.

    • Diarrhea/nausea medication is essential as even if the food you eat is fine - it could upset your stomach because you aren't used to it. For bad cases of diarrhea, it's great to have Cypro along with you. Ask your physician about prescribing it for you.


    Other Equipment

    • A water bottle;

    • A solar flashlight (in case of black-out);

    • Oxygen canisters are easily available in Lhasa. You can buy them from hospitals, hotels, downtown markets, etc. if necessary.


    Trekking Equipment 

    Most hiking areas in Tibet are remote and with very few people living there,  if you book with us, we can prepare the trekking equipments for you in advance. 

    • Sleeping bags

    • Sleeping mats

    • Cookware and camp kitchen

    • Stoves

    • Compass

    • Tibet map

    • Water filter and purifiers,

    • Backpacks,

    • Dry bags,

    • Pack liners,

    • Trekking poles,

    • Hydration system,

    • Headlamps and torch,

    • Camp bathroom

    • First aid kits

    • Emergency shelters

    • Random handy gear

    • Navigation, expedition food

    • Hammocks

    • Swiss army Knives



  • How to Get to Tibet

    Located at the roof of the world, Tibet is mysterious and remote from mainland China, but this wonderland is never lack of visitors, with the modern transportation of trains and flights, a lot of visitors from home and aboard rushed in to discover it is real culture and scenery. But how to reach Tibet has been a question to many visitors, here TCT will provide you with the most specific guide for this topic. 


    Generally speaking there are 3 ways to reach Tibet, we will show you one by one in details:



    Flight to Tibet

    Flight travel is certainly the most convenient way to visitors, but the disadvantage is that you will not be able to see the scenery along the Qinghai Tibet railway, but still flight travel is chosen by 60% of our visitors. Currently visitors can take flight to and out of Tibet from these cities:


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    Flight to Tibet




    Train to Tibet

    Taking train to Tibet is a bit difficult to many visitors as the Tibet train ticket is usually hard to guarantee in peak season (Jul to Aug) and too long ride (usually 40 hours). Due to the limited tickets and hot demand, travel agencies have to pay high booking fee to special ticket-booking agent so as to guarantee the tickets, it is not much cheaper than flight, sometimes even more expensive.  So it is chosen by 30% of our clients.  So far victors can take train from following cities:


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    Train to Tibet



    Highway to Tibet (Overland to Tibet)

    So far there are 4 highways available for vehicles to Tibet, but only 2 are available to foreign visitors, there are: 


    Taking a 4WD or Van from Nepal (Kathmandu) to Tibet is a popular way among visitors, by doing this route you do NOT need any China visa from your home country, instead you will need to a so called Tibet Group Visa (TGV) from the Chinese embassy located in Kathmandu, Nepal. Check more Tibet Group Visa


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    Overland to Tibet


  • Qinghai-Tibet Highway

    Qinghai-Tibet Highway is strictly referred to the highway departing from Sining in Qinghai and arriving in Lhasa via Golmud. As a part of the No. 109 National Highway, Qinghai-Tibet Highway stretches across the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau in China. With the mean altitude above 4,500 meters (snow line), the road condition of this highway is the most stable one compared with other two highways to Tibet Autonomous Region (Xin-Zang Highway and Sichuan-Tibet Highway). The constructors of this road were mainly soldiers, and the leader General Mu Shengzhong was hailed as the Father of Qinghai-Tibet Highway. The road plays an important role in stabilizing the situation in Tibet Autonomous Region. The road, formally opened to traffic on December 25, 1954, served as the most important supply line of Chinese troop during the Sino-Indian War in 1962.


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    Qinghai-Tibet Highway



    Qinghai-Tibet Highway is one of the highways with the highest altitude in the world, and pertains to national level two arterial highway, of which the overall length reaches 1,160 kilometers, the width of roadbed is 10 meters, the gradient is less than 7%, and the maximal safety driving speed is 60 km per hour. As the world first case of highway which is totally paved on the black level road surface, Qinghai-Tibet Highway is known as the “Suez Canal on Spine of the World”, and borne with 80% of the transportation for supplies in and out of Tibet Autonomous Region. The average elevation of the whole line is more than 4,000 meters.

     

    Walking on the Qinghai-Tibet highway, what comes into view are the luxuriant and meandering Kunlun Mountains and the boundless and vast prairies, which will shock you unexpectedly and agitate your heart fiercely. A kind of naturally ascending and ego transcendental feeling will surely accompany your journey, centuries old and long standing.

     

    Traffic guidance: to enter Tibet Autonomous Region from Qinghai, it is practicable to first arrive in Golmud from Sining by bus. Golmud is approximately 1,100 kilometers away from Lhasa, and the range of driving is approximately 24 hours. Most of vehicles to Tibet Autonomous Region fare forth from Golmud, and there are several passenger cars (home-made car, imported grand luxurious and sleeping car) available to Lhasa everyday from Qinghai Qaidam Transport Company and Tibet Autonomous Region assenger Transport Company. There are also many trucks available to Lhasa at the Golmud-stationed transportation depot to Tibet Autonomous Region, which allows thumbing a lift, and the price is discussed personally with the driver. The Lanzhou-Lhasa tour line (homemade luxurious sleeping car) is also opened up, passing by Kumbum Monastery, Riyue Mountain, Qinghai Lake, Golmud Salt Lake, Tanggula Pass, Geladandong, Tuotuohe, Nagchu and Dangxiong prairie, Namtso, Yangpachen and other tourist attractions.


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    Qinghai-Tibet Highway



  • How to plan a Tibet Tour

    If first timing traveling to Tibet, you might be confused of various Tibet tours selling online, but mainly there are 2 types of Tibet tours available, one type is Tibet Private Tours, the other is Tibet Group Tours. And these Tibet tours ranges from 4 to 17 days depends on what places you want to see. Here TCT will guide you how to better plan a Tibet tour. You can see following the most popular Tibet tours to gain a rough idea, or if you need more tour info, please feel free to contact us. 



    Differences of of Tibet group tours and Tibet Private Tours


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    Tour Lhasa in 3/4 Days

    Four days in Lhasa will be plenty to see things slowly and adjust to the high altitude. Lhasa sits at nearly 12,000 feet or 4,000 meters. Note, altitude sickness can strike without prejudice - 22-year-old marathoners and 50-year-old couch potatoes have equal chances of getting it. Check our classic Tibet tours.

    Day 1 - Lhasa arrival and rest in the afternoon

    Day 2 - Lhasa City: Potala Palace, Jokhang Temple, Barkhor Street

    Day 3 - Lhasa City: Deprung Monastery, Sera Monastery + debate.

    Day 4 - Lhasa Departure or go for further tour

    >> 4 Days Lhasa Group Tour



    + 1 More day to Namtso Lake 

    Day 4 - Drive 500KM round-trip to visit Namtso Lake and return to Lhasa

    Day 5 - Lhasa Departure

    >> 5 Days Lhasa & Namtso Lake Tour



    + 1 More day to Yamdro Lake

    Day 4 - Drive 240KM round-trip to visit Yamdrok Lake and return to Lhasa

    Day 5 - Lhasa Departure

    >> 5 Days Lhasa & Yamdrok Lake Group Tour



    + 2 More day to Namtso Lake and stay 1 night at the lake

    Day 4 - Drive 250KM to visit Namtso Lake and stay at Namtso Lake

    Day 5 - Drive 250KM to from Namtso Lake back to Lhasa

    Day 6 - Lhasa Departure

    >> 6 Days Lhasa & Namtso Lake Tour



    +3 More day to Kathmandu (Nepal)

    Day 4 - Drive 380KM to Shigatse, on the way visit Yamdrok Lake, Karola Glacier, Pekhor Monastery

    Day 5 - Visit Tashilumpo Monastery, drive 360KM to Rongbuk Monastery for overnight (dorm tent)

    Day 6 - Morning visit from Rongbuk Monastery to Everest Base Camp, then drive 100KM to Old Tingri

    Day 7 - Drive 9 hours to Giyrong Port, then on your own transport to Kathmandu

    >> 7 Days Lhasa & Kathmandu overland tour 



    + 4 More days to Everest 

    Day 4 - Drive 380KM to Shigatse, on the way visit Yamdrok Lake, Karola Glacier, Pekhor Monastery

    Day 5 - Visit Tashilumpo Monastery, drive 360KM to Rongbuk Monastery for overnight (dorm tent)

    Day 6 - Morning visit from Rongbuk Monastery to Everest Base Camp, then drive back to Shigatse

    Day 7 - Drive from Shigatse back to Lhasa,

    Day 8 - Lhasa Departure

    >> 8 Days Lhasa & Everest Group Tour



    + 6 More days to visit Everest & Namtso Lake

    Day 4 - Drive 380KM to Shigatse, on the way visit Yamdrok Lake, Karola Glacier, Pekhor Monastery

    Day 5 - Visit Tashilumpo Monastery, drive 360KM to Rongbuk Monastery for overnight (dorm tent)

    Day 6 - Morning visit from Rongbuk Monastery to Everest Base Camp, then drive back to Shigatse

    Day 7 - Drive from Shigatse back to Lhasa

    Day 8 - Drive 500KM round-trip to visit Namtso Lake, then return to Lhasa

    Day 9 - Lhasa Departure

    >> 9 Days Lhasa & Everest & Namtso Lake Group Tour

     


     + 7 More days to visit Everest & Namtso Lake

    Day 4 - Drive 380KM to Shigatse, on the way visit Yamdrok Lake, Karola Glacier, Pekhor Monastery

    Day 5 - Visit Tashilumpo Monastery, drive 360KM to Rongbuk Monastery for overnight (dorm tent)

    Day 6 - Morning visit from Rongbuk Monastery to Everest Base Camp, then drive back to Shigatse

    Day 7 - Drive from Shigatse back to Lhasa

    Day 8 - Drive 250KM to visit Namtso Lake and overnight at lake side guesthouse (no shower, public toilet)

    Day 9 - Drive 250KM to back to Lhasa

    Day 10 - Lhasa Departure

    >> 10 Days Lhasa & Everest & Namtso Lake Group Tour



    + 5-7 More days for Ngari are to trek around Mt. Kailash & Lake Manasarovar

    Mt. Kailash is the most significant peak in the world without any known climbing attempts. Taking a trek to explore the holy heart of Asian Buddhism.

    Manasarovar Lake is one of the clearest lakes in the world. Camping on the bank of the holy lake, cleansed your soul, and staying away from the mundane world

    >> 15 Days Mount Kailash Group Tour



  • Differences of Tibet Private tour & Tibet Group Tour

    For visitors travel to Tibet, you need to know that there are mainly 2 types of tours available, they are Tibet private tour, Tibet group tours.  Here we are going to guide you more of the differences of these 2 types of tours. 



    Tibet Group Tour:

    • Cheaper in price

    • Fixed itinerary

    • Shared Tibetan guide and vehicle

    • Fixed airport/train station pickups and drop-offs

    • Hotel is fixed, but we can exclude hotels for your own booking

    • Group size is 12 persons at maximum, but mostly 4-8 persons

    • Fixed 5-10 arrival dates in a month, or book 90 days ahead we can set up the tour based on your timeframe


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    Tibet Group Tours



    Tibet Private Tour:

    • Higher in price

    • Flexible itinerary and fully customizable

    • Private Tibetan guide and private vehicle

    • Flexible airport/train station pickups and drop-offs

    • Hotel is flexible to meet your standards

    • The tour is just for you, NO other visitors will join in

    • Flexible arrival date, fully customizable to meet your time frame

     

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    Tibet Private Tours




    Should i choose a Group Tibet Tour or Private Tibet Tour ?

    • If you are 1 to 3 person's group and in a budget, you can join in the group tour for great value

    • If you are 3+ person's group, you may consider private tour for better quality and more flexible services, usually if you are more than 4 persons, the private tour price sill be same or even less than group tour

     

     

    Can I travel Tibet alone? 

    Independent travel without guide and driver is strictly prohibited in Tibet since the riots in March 2008. And Tibet has been annually closed in every March since then. You should book a tour with the local travel agency for the arrangement of the Tibet travel permit + tour guide + vehicle, otherwise you will not be able to enter Tibet.

     


    Can i walk around in Tibet during my free days? 

    Yes if you have 1-2 free days in Tibet, you can walk around the street on your own without guide.  BUT you are not allowed to visit any tourist attractions if without the guide's company, otherwise the travel agent will be seriously punished by government. So please never try to visit any thing if without guide. 


    A case is that 10 years ago, a Germany visitor joined a group to Tibet, but he left the group and hide in a monastery with monk's help, the local policeman and travel agent spent a lot of effort to find him after 1 month later, the tour guide since then was fired and forbidden to work as a guide, and the travel agent was fined with a huge sum of money and almost bankrupt. So please take this seriously and follow the regulation.

     

     

    Can you arrange the Tibet permit without tour? 

    The answer is NO. Tibet Travel Permit is only granted to visitors who have booked a tour with local travel company, the travel company will be responsible to all your behaviours in Tibet. But you may book hotel on your own.  Read more.


  • Medicine for Altitude Sickness in Tibet

    Acute mountain sickness (AMS) is caused by a lack of oxygen in the body of individuals exposed to higher elevations. This usually occurs when they travel to an altitude over 10,000 feet (3,000 metres) without proper acclimatization before engaging in physical activities. Mountain climbers, trekkers, skiers, and travelers to the Andes or Himalayas, etc.

     

    While individual tolerance varies, symptoms usually appear within several hours of ascending, with those in poor physical condition being most susceptible. Headache, fatigue, shortness of breath, nausea, and poor appetite occur initially. Inability to sleep is also frequently reported. In more severe cases thinking and judgment may become impaired. 


    The symptoms of acute mountain sickness can be prevented or minimized by gradually ascending (less than 500 meters/day) over several days to give your body a chance to acclimatize to the higher altitude.


    Once the symptoms begin to occur, they usually subside over several days without treatment provided there has been adequate time for acclimatization. However, if they worsen, they can be relieved with the administration of oxygen or descent to a lower altitude.


    Following are some useful medicine for AMS:



    1. Diamox

    This is the most tried and tested drug for altitude sickness prevention and treatment. Unlike dexamethasone, this drug does not mask the symptoms but actually treats the problem. It seems to works by increasing the amount of alkali (bicarbonate) excreted in the urine, making the blood more acidic. Acidifying the blood drives the ventilation, which is the cornerstone of acclimatisation.


    For prevention, 125 to 250mg twice daily starting one or two days before and continuing for three days once the highest altitude is reached, is effective. Blood concentrations of acetazolamide peak between one to four hours after administration of the tablets. Studies have shown that prophylactic administration of acetazolamide at a dose of 250mg every eight to twelve hours before and during rapid ascent to altitude results in fewer and/or less severe symptoms (such as headache, nausea, shortness of breath, dizziness, drowsiness, and fatigue) of acute mountain sickness (AMS). Pulmonary function is greater both in subjects with mild AMS and asymptomatic subjects. The treated climbers also had less difficulty in sleeping.


    Gradual ascent is always desirable to try to avoid acute mountain sickness but if rapid ascent is undertaken and actazolamide is used, it should be noted that such use does not obviate the need for a prompt descent if severe forms of high altitude sickness occur, i.e. pulmonary or cerebral oedema.


    Side effects of acetazolamide include: an uncomfortable tingling of the fingers, toes and face carbonated drinks tasting flat; excessive urination; and rarely, blurring of vision. On most treks, gradual ascent is possible and prophylaxis tends to be discouraged. Certainly if trekkers do develop headache and nausea or the other symptoms of AMS, then treatment with acetazolamide is fine. The treatment dosage is 250 mg twice a day for about three days. A trial course is recommended before going to a remote location where a severe allergic reaction could prove difficult to treat if it occurred.


    Diamox.jpg

    Diamox




    2. Dexamethasone

    This is a drug that decreases brain and other swelling reversing the effects of AMS. The dose is typically 4 mg twice a day for a few days starting with the ascent. This prevents most of the symptoms of altitude illness from developing.

    WARNING:  Dexamethasone is a powerful drug and should be used with caution and only on the advice of a physician and should only be used to aid acclimatisation by sufficiently qualified persons or those with the necessary experience of its use.

    Dexamethasone.jpg

    Dexamethasone




    3. Rhodiolae (红景天), purchase in China only

    A traditional healthcare product of Tibetans that can strengthen your body and alleviate high altitude sickness; take it at least 10 days in advance. 

    As a natural plant growing in the pure snow area at 3500-5000 meters high, it contains rich Rhodioloside and Aglycone tyrosol which is not only resistant to fatigue, hypoxia, microwave radiation, but also can regulate nervous system and metabolism, and most importantly, can help you adapt to the environment. Normally its root and rootstock are used into medicines, but the whole plant can also be used.     


    In fact, Rhidiolae has been applied over 2000 years ago by people from Tibetan Plateau into medicines to build up their bodies and resist the effects of disagreeable environment. It is also normal to see people put it in drinking water and wine to relieve fatigue or shield themselves from cold as well as to prevent diseases and supplement nourishment. Due to its functions of maintaining health and enriching blood and nourishing lung, it has been regarded by Tibetan doctors as one of the ‘three treasures ’. When there is inadequate oxygen, we will show symptoms of hypoxia, including headache, tiredness, difficult breathing and dizziness, etc, or coma or even death if it’s severe or sudden. Generally speaking, it usually happens on the plateau area, which will lead to mountain sickness or deadly complications. Hypoxia, a tension stimulation, will result in a series of stress reaction. As an adaptogen, Rhidiolae can improve the body’s nonspecific resistance against destructive stimulus together with its adaptation ability. In the case of hypoxia, it effectively raises the body’s adaptation to lack of oxygen by accelerating the oxygen diffusion of our cells or improving the use efficiency of the oxygen and our body’s oxidation resistance     


    Rhodiolae.jpg

    Rhodiolae (红景天)




    4. GaoYuanan  (高原安), purchase in China only

    A healthcare product beneficial for easing mountain sickness; take it after you arrive in Tibet Autonomous Region. The main contents of Gao Yuanan are Ginseng, Rhidiolae, Ginseng fruit, codonopsis pilosula, Poria cocos, Plantain herb, Semen coicis, Astragalus and Semen boitae. You can buy either the capsule or pellet or granule. The effective would be the best if you take it one day beforehand and continue it for another three days after in Tibet Autonomous Region. It can help ease the headache, dizziness, cyanotic lip, palpitation and shortness of breath.  


    gaoyuanan.jpg

    GaoYuanan  (高原安)




    5. Ibuprofen

    A study published in 2012 in the Annals of Emergency Medicine by Dr. Grant Lipan, a professor of emergency medicine at Stanford University School of Medicine and a climber, recommends that taking a few ibuprofen tablets can prevent and alleviate the symptoms of AMS. Lipman says, "Ibuprofen can prevent 26% of cases of altitude sickness and help people who are without symptoms to stay without symptoms."


    Prior to the study, recommended medications for acute mountain sickness (AMS) included dexamethasone and acetazolamide or Diamox, a prescription-only drug. Now add ibuprofen to the list of altitude cures. Ibuprofen has lots of plusses; it is fast-acting, cheap, readily available, and quickly absorbed by the body. Both dexamethasone and acetazolamide have adverse effects and require a doctor's prescription, whereas ibuprofen has few side effects except for an increased risk of gastrointestinal and kidney problems in users who are dehydrated and it is availavle over the counter from your pharmacy. As we ascend to higher altitudes, our bodies adjust to decreased oxygen in the air and reduction in air pressure, which leads to a swelling of the brain in some climbers. This allows fluid to build up in the brain, putting pressure on cranial nerves and causing headaches, dizziness, and the other symptoms of altitude sickness.

    Ibuprofen, an anti-flammatory drug, decreases the swelling, lowering the risk of headaches and helping the body to adjust to an oxygen-deprived environment.




    6. Nifedipine

    This drug is normally used to treat high blood pressure and angina, but also seems able to decrease the narrowing in the pulmonary artery (pulmonary vasodilation) resolving the pulmonary hypertension responsible for the high pressure leak in the lungs caused by low oxygen levels, thereby improving oxygen transfer. It can therefore be used in the treatment of HAPO, though unfortunately its effectiveness is not anywhere as dramatic that of dexamethasone in HACE. Oxygen saturations gusually improve slightly after administration of nifedipine. The dosage is 20 mg of long acting nifedipine, six hourly.


    Nifedipine can cause postural hypotension; a sudden lowering of blood pressure so the patient has to be warned to get up slowly from a sitting or reclining position. It has also been used in the same dosage to prevent HAPO in people with a past history of this disease.



    7. Frusemide

    It may clear the lungs of water in HAPO and reverse the suppression of urine brought on by altitude. However, Frusemide can also lead to collapse from low volume shock if the victim is already dehydrated. Usage of frusemide without medical supervision is not routinely recommended. The treatment dosage is 120mg daily.


  • Adapters, Plugs, Wall Sockets in China and Tibet

    If you're going to China or Tibet, don't forget to pack your plug adapters and voltage converters along with your hair dryer and alarm clock. Because of various engineering influences, China has several types of electrical sockets, but with a good adapter set you should be fine.



    Voltage Converters/Transformers

    Voltage in China is 220V/50HZ. In Mainland China, Tibet, Hong Kong, and Macau, the common power voltage is 220 Volt 50 Hz AC.

    Before you use an American appliance in China, you'll need a voltage converter or transformer. Most North American countries use 110V electricity, while China uses 220V electricity, and if you try to plug an an appliance in using just a plug adapter, you'll ruin your appliance and might destroy the socket and cause an electrical short. Voltage converters and voltage transformers "step down" electricity to 110V, so your appliances will run properly. You'll want to check how many watts your converter or transformer can handle: It's best to buy a converter or transformer that can handle at least 25 percent more wattage than the appliances you plan to use. Not all appliances will need a voltage converter 


    The Accepting Wall Sockets in China

    Now to the actual wall sockets, the photo below is what most wall sockets look like these days in China. The top socket takes a two-prong plug. The prongs must be the same size ("Type A"), although many modern devices with Type A plugs have one wider prong. This type won't fit into a Chinese wall socket and will require an adapter. This socket will also take a "Type C" or "Type F" plug that is standard in Germany.  


    Wall-Sockets-in-China.png




    Adapters to Bring or Buy

    You can buy adapters before you leave at travel-supply stores and electronic stores. Airports also sell universal adapters, especially in the international departure gate area. But if you don't get one before you go, you'll be able to pick them up easily in China (and they'll be a whole lot cheaper). Your hotel should also be able to supply you one for free during your stay.



    adapter-for-china-tibet.png



    Converter or Transformer

    Most travelers to China will probably need only a voltage converter, a small box that uses a plug adapter to plug into the socket. A voltage converter is useful for small appliances like a hair dryer, electric toothbrush or an alarm clock. A dual-wattage voltage converter can switch from 50 watts (for non-heat producing appliances, like a clock) to 1,600 watts (for hair dryers or irons). It's not a good idea to use complex electronics on the 1,600 watt setting, though, as this will eventually burn out both the appliance and the converter. If you're planning to bring a large appliance that will use electricity for long periods, such as a television, you'll need a voltage transformer.


    Plug Adapters

    China has three types of plug. The most common type of plug is similar to an American two-pronged plug, but the Chinese plug has shorter prongs without the holes found in American plugs, so you'll still need to use an adapter because the American plugs will be too large for the sockets. Australian engineers brought the Australian three-pin plug to China; this "Type I" plug has three flat prongs, with the top two diagonally slanted toward each other. British "Type G" plugs, with three rectangular prongs, are also found, especially in the former British colony of Hong Kong.


    Extra Tips

    You might want the security of knowing you have everything you need before you leave, but it will be cheaper to buy plug adapters in China. Your hotel also might provide plug adapters. If you're bringing your laptop to China, you might not need to use a voltage converter because many laptops are designed to handle 220V electricity. Check your power pack, which should state the amount of voltage your laptop can handle. If you're staying in a mid-level or luxury hotel, your room already might have 110V converter plugs built in.


  • 8 Best Photography Sites in Lhasa, Tibet

    Many people complained that TripAdvisor or Lonely Planet have very limited information for Lhasa photography, what they have in the guide books are all about the Potala Square, Jokhang Temple, Barkhor Street and Yaowang Mountain viewing platform, are there any more locations for good photos?  Certainly Yes!  Professional photographers usually want to avoid the crowds and bright lights, which is quite different from normal visitors. As a tour guide who used to work for photography tours, I fully understand their needs and have listed some best photographing site for all picture loves, you will love them! 



    No. 1   Pabengang  (帕邦喀宫)

    Pabengang is a palace on the giant rocks, from where you can have panoramic views of Lhasa Old Town and Potala Palace. Pabenggang is one of the monasteries forgotten by visitors, but never lack of pilgrims. 

    Pabengang is rich in legends and myths, it was used to be the meditation and living place of the ancient Tibetan king and his princess.

    Tips: 

    1)You can go to Pabenggang after the debate at Sera Monastery

    2)It is about 900m walking away from the hill foot of Pabengang, and from the hill foot to the Pabengang is only 3km good paved road.    

    3)It is ok to visit by taxi, biking, public bus (No.16, No.20)

      


    pabenggang.jpg



    No. 2   Lalu Wetland  (拉鲁湿地)

    The Lalu wetland reserve is located just north of Lhasa. It is the largest and highest natural wetland in the world, covering 12.2 square kilometers, and is an important part of a unique landscape that also includes the sacred Potala Palace. Together the two exhibit an awe-inspiring combination of culture and nature.   It is a good location site for the sunset views of Potala Palace, the palace, the plantations and the water form an amazing picture. 

    Tip: You can rent bike in the city, the Lalu Wetland is only 1km distance from the city, and after the photo at Lalu Wetland, you can keep riding 6km to reach Pabengbang

     


    lalu-wet-land-2.jpg



    No. 3   Theater of Princess Wencheng  (文成公主剧场)

    The theater lies in the southern bank of Lhasa River, it is a good place to photograph the sunrise and sunset views of southeast side of Potala Palace, and most important is has the Lhasa River in front.  


    wenchang-princess-theater.jpg



    No. 4   Laoyufanju Restaurant  (老鱼饭局)

    Laoyufanju Restaurant is absolutely the best place in Lhasa to photograph the sunset and night views of Potala Place. It is located on the top floor of the Lhasa Pingcuo Youth Inn,  

    Tips: This restaurant is good view but food is common taste. 


    layu-restaurant.jpg



    No. 5   Yaowang Mountain Viewing Platform  (药王山观景台)

     

    yaowang-mountain-viewing-platform.jpg



    No. 6  Potala Square  (布达拉广场)


    potala-palace-square.jpg



    No. 7  Jokhang Temple  (大昭寺)

    Jokhang Temple is a good place to witness the Buddhist culture and atmosphere, there are pilgrims 24 hours, praying and circling around the Buddha statues is common scene here.  

     

    jokhang-temple.jpg



    No. 8  Barkhor Street  (八廓街)

    Barkhor Street is a shopping place, and also a good location to create Tibetan culture photos with the Tibetan shops, restaurants around, and the locals passing by, everything is really Tibetan, it could not be found elsewhere. 


    bakrhor-street.jpg

     



    Lhasa Sunrise Time

    Here below is a table of the sunrise and sunset times in Lhasa City, for more info, please kindly inquire: [email protected] for details.  



    sunrise-time-of-tibet-lasa.png


  • Money & Credit Card & Banking in Tibet

    Tibet uses the Chinese currency---RMB, or CNY. Detailed currency exchange guide please kindly check this link for reference: www.boc.cn/sourcedb/whpj/enindex.html



    ATM

    ATMs are available in Lhasa and Shigatse area. The Bank of China accepts Visa, MasterCard, Diners Club, American Express and Plus. The Agricultural Bank accepts Visa, Plus and Electron. Check before trying your card as many ATMs can only be used by domestic account holders. The maximum amount you can withdraw per transaction is RMB2000/per day. 


    bank-of-china.jpg



    Money Exchange & Credit Card

    Bank of China is the only place to change foreign currency and travelers cheques. The currencies of Australia, Canada, the US, the UK, Hong Kong, Japan, the euro zone and most of the rest of Western Europe are acceptable at the Lhasa Bank of China. Some 4 to 5-star hotels in Lhasa also have exchange services for guests.  The official rate please kindly check this link for reference:  www.boc.cn/sourcedb/whpj/enindex.html


    Outside of Lhasa, the only other locations to change money are in Shigatse, Zhangmu, Purang (cash only) and Ali, and at the airport on arrival. Other than that, credit card acceptance is rare. This will undoubtedly change in the future but, right now, it means that you need to use cash for most transactions.


    Lhasa Central Branch of Bank of China is the only place to officially change RMB back into foreign currency. You will need your original exchange receipts. It is not possible change RMB into dollars at Lhasa Gongkar airport.


    Moneychangers at Zhangmu (by the Nepal border) will change RMB into Nepali rupees and vice versa. RMB can also easily be reconverted in Hong Kong and many Southeast Asian countries.


    money-in-tibet.jpg



    Budgeting

    Living cost of Tibet is much cheaper than western countries, might be slightly higher than some Asian countries such as India or Vietnam. So, the cost is relative depending on your standard. The common meal cost in Tibet is around USD7/per person per meal. 


    layu-restaurant.jpg


  • Travel to Tibet with kids

    Many parents concern about this question before planning a Tibet tour, traveling to Tibet with kids is something you should pay special attension, as experienced Tibet travel agent, we have the most correct answer for you as follow.  


    What is age limit for kids to travel to Tibet

    Age is not a very strong factor to the high altitude sickness, there are many little kids going to Tibet with their parents, and mostly the altitude sickness happen on adults according to our year’s experience, so people even said high altitude has less effect on kids.. But better go and ask your doctor for sure, having body examination before coming to Tibet.   We do not suggest any baby less than 2 years old or any pregnant female to travel Tibet.


    travel-to-tibet-with-kids-2.jpg



    And here below are some solutions to prevent from altitude sickness: 

    • Do not get a cold or fever before going to Tibet, these may cause altitude sickness.

    • Do not take train directly to Tibet from low altitude cities like Beijing, Shanghai, Chengdu, etc.  Instead you can take flight to Xining first, which is the start point of the Qinghai –Tibet railway, the altitude of Xining is around 2300 meters, having 2-3 days tour in Xining is good for acclimatization, then you can continue with another train from Xining to Lhasa by arriving next day.

    • If you fly straight in to Lhasa you should medicate with Diamox, after arriving Lhasa, having more water and enough rest, oxygen is available in Lhasa, and the medical facility in Lhasa is good enough for altitude sickness. Most of the tour will stay 3 nights in Lhasa before going to higher places, so you can get used to the altitude with the 3 night’s stay.  

    • Make sure your children and you yourself know about the symptoms, and keep checking with your children about these as a child may not be able to recognize the symptoms of high altitude illness, so parents and other adults must carefully watch for any signs of high-altitude illness in children. If they get symptoms, stop going higher.

    • Drink more water, have some fruits on the first 2 days, and having a happy & relaxing mood is good to avoid altitude sickness. 


      travel-to-tibet-with-kids-3.jpg


  • Family Invitation Letter for Q2 Visa holders

    There are various visa types for travel to Tibet, for foreign visitors of China orginal but holding a China Q2 visa, we need your China family invitor to provide an invitation letter to prove you are their family members.  See sample below: 


    Visa Type: Q2  

    Purpose of visit: China Family Visit for visitors of Chinese origin. 

    Required documents:   

    >> Passport copy

    >> Visa copy 

    >> A document from your Chinese family member, it must be in Chinese and with invitor's Chinese ID card copies.



    Family-Invitation-Letter.png

  • Do not mention Tibet travel when applying China visa

    Why not mentioning Tibet travel when applying China visa

    It is because Chinese embassy requires Tibet Travel Permit when you are applying China visa, but the case here in Tibet is the government will not issue Tibet travel permit unless you provide passport + visa copies, so it is a contradictory policy, and very stupid actually.  That is why travel agents suggest you not to mention your Tibet tour to the embassy, you can just tell the embassy that you are visiting China mainland.  Visitor do not follow this advice will 100% be rejected. 



    What documents to show the embassy

    You might (or might not) need an invitation letter from travel agent to prove that you have already book a China tour with a local Chinese agent, once the embassy sees this invitation letter, they will let you go and issue the visa in a few days.  So your travel agent can make an invitation letter for you, in the invitation letter your Tibet tour will be replaced by a China tour, so that you can use it to show the embassy and pass the application.  

     


    Invitation Letter from our agent

    For making the invitation letter, the travel agent needs your China arrival date + arrival city name, China departure date + departure city name, once we have these info, a invitation letter will be worked out.  


    Tips

    The embassy will NOT need to check your China domestic flight/train booking as they know those domestic flights or trains are usually arranged by local travel agents, while international flights are usually arranged by travelers. So embassy will see your international flight booking only.  


    There is no direct flight from abroad to Tibet, so you probably will fly like this route: Home-China-Tibet-China-Home, which means you will book the international flights for Home-China & China-Home, these 2 section tickets are what the embassy wants to see, just show the embassy with these international flight booking paper, and bring the invitation letter issued by us , then you can get the visa.  


    Last but not least----If you are doing Kathmandu-Tibet route, you will NOT need any China visa to be applied at home, instead you need a so called Tibet Group Visa, which is also called TGV, which allows you to travel from Kathmandu to Tibet and mainland China. For more info of this Tibet group visa, you can check our article:  www.travelchinatibet.com/tibet-permit-visa/tibet-group-visa.html



    See a sample of invitation letter for China visa application



    Invitation-Letter.png



  • Free Days in Tibet & Tibet Permit without Tour

    Many travelers are not very clear of the local regulations in Tibet, here TCT will tell you more about the facts and regulations of Tibet travel.


    1) Can i just buy Tibet permit from you and then travel Tibet on our own? 

    Government's regulation----Tibet permit can only be issued for those visitors who have already booked the tour with local agents. Only Chinese and HK citizens can travel Tibet without Tibet permit, but they still need other permits if going to Everest or certain places outside of Lhasa. You can NOT just buy Tibet permit from the Tibet agent without tour booking, otherwise the agent will be seriously punished or might be bankrupted. Tibet is very different from China other places of the world. 


    2) Do i still need to pay for a guide during my free days in Tibet? 

    Government's regulation----Even during free days in Tibet, a guide is also need to be arranged. Even though visitors do not wish the guide to show up or accompany them in their free days, but the agents still have to arrange a guide in case of anything unexpected---For example: some groups might have spy or terrorist inside, some visitors always try to visit some monasteries without guide, some try to talk to the monks for sensitive topics, or hang a anti-government flag on a mountain top or important sqaure, or try to escape from the group and stay with the monks to learn Buddhism, etc. All these behaviors are NOT allowed in Tibet. 


    Some agents ignore this regulation as they think most of travelers will just walk around for shopping only and will not be doing anything against government's rules, but if anything really happened, it will be really big trouble to the agent. The government will also question the guide, if the agent did not arrange guide in free days, then no guide dares to stand out to carry on the responsibility, because the guide might lose his/her license forever. But if the agent did pay to arrange the guide in free days, it will be less responsibility to the agent. That is why a guide needs to be arrange even during free days.  


    Free Day Guide Fee

    The free day guide fee is as follow, please kindly check and decide if you really need free days. 

    If you do not need the guide's accompany in free days, the guide fee is USD46/per day

    If you need the guide's accompany in free days, the guide fee is USD62/per day. 


    Case Study

    There is a case in this June that----One Indian traveler got lost on the scheduled airport drop-off day, the policemen found him one day later and got to know that Indian traveler went up to a mountain top for meditation, and he said the god told him to stay and meditate.  Even this case is not the agent's fault, but the agent was still seriously punished by government.  So please do remember----NEVER try to visit any monastery/temple/park without guide's accompany, the consequence could be serious.


    3) Can i get to airport/train station on my own without guide?

    Same reason as stated above, it is not allowed to take taxi or airport bus on your own to airport/train station, it has to be accompanied by the guide. For our Tibet group tours, there will a 3 free airport/train station transfers at different timming, but if you want to get to airport/train station at different timing, you will need to pay for a private guided transfer at price around RMB400=USD63/per time to airport, and RMB300=USD47/per time to train station. 


    tibet-travel-regulations.jpg


  • Tibet Map Full

    Tibet Map Full

  • Map of Lhasa

    Map of Lhasa.png

  • Tibet Traffic Map

    Tibet Map.png

  • Tibet Regional Map 2

    tourist-map-tibet-big (2).jpg

  • Map of Tibet

    map-of-tibet.jpg

  • Tibet Reigonal Map

    main_map2.jpg

  • How to Board Tibet Train & China Train

    Generally speaking, China domestic trains start to check in 15-30 minutes before departure. Train stations are large and busy especially in big cities like Beijing, Shanghai, Chengdu, Xian, etc; it takes a while to get the tickets from the counter and find your train. Therefore, it is advisable to arrive at the rail station at least 60 minutes before departure, and during spring festival or other Chinese national holidays, you’d better to arrive 2 hours earlier. 

     

    Here are some basic steps for train boarding.


    Important Tips:

    • Usually the travel agent will book the ticket for you online, and send you the booking code. You need to get to the train station at least 1.5 hours early and line up at the ticket counter to get the train tickets by showing the original passport + booking code.  Please do remember this. 

    • If you are boarding a train to Tibet, the travel agent will send you the Tibet Travel Permit beforehand, which you need to print out TWICE for boarding the train. 

    • The train offers some food and drinks, but you may also prepare some drinks, fruits, snacks, etc for the long train ride. 



    Step 1 Security Check

    Which you will be requested to show your ticket and passport when entering the rail station. There are security checks (including X-ray luggage checks) at the entrance of each railway station, where your baggage will be checked. 


    Security Check



    Step 2 Find the right waiting room

    After the security check, you should check from the electronic screen and find out the right waiting room to go. In some big cities, departure information is in both Chinese and English, while some other cities may only show Chinese, but do not worry, you could always get the help from the train station staffs or other passengers, or simply find your train by yourselves according to train info shown on your ticket.  Note: One waiting room usually will be used by a few trains rather than just one. 

     

    Find the right waiting room



    Step 3 Passing the ticket gate and get into the platform

    In most cases, check-in starts 30 minutes before the train's departure. But sometimes G, C & D trains may start check in 15-20 minutes. When your train starts the check-in process, you should stand in a queue and go through the ticket barrier. At the barrier you need to show your ticket and passport. 

     

    Passing the ticket gate and get into the platform



    Step 4 Board a train compartment correctly

    There is specific compartment and seat number on you train ticket. You are required to board a train from the certain compartment and take the certain seat according to your ticket.

    >>How to Read A Train Ticket in China

      

    Board a train compartment correctly


    China Tibet Train Boarding


  • Drinking water or hot water supply on Tibet train

    There is boiled water supply in each Tibet train. The water will not be ready for drinking until the temperature is up to 100℃, but as it is hard to boil the water on high altitude place, so the Tibet train has created new water supply facility, which water will be fully boiled at 70℃, these measures guarantee passengers  to have clean drinking water.  And the Shanghai to Lhasa train has water purifying system, so water is drinkable even not full boiled. 


    hot-water-supply-on-tibet-train.jpg


    The water tank is usually located between 2 cars, serving hot water 24 hours in a day. You will need to bring your own container for getting the water, but please be careful of the hot water as the train is moving. You may also contact the train attendants for hot water supply, they can bring it to you at 08:00-18:00 in a day.  Tip: Hot water is also available at Sink Area on Tibet train for cleaning or washing something, but the hot water at sink area is usually undrinkable.


    There is unlimited access to boiling water from a tap in the hall on all Tibet trains so instant noodles, instant oatmeal, tea and anything else that just requires hot water are good things to pack with you (you can also buy instant noodles on board).


    hotwater-supply-on-tibet-train.jpg






  • Wrong Concept of Tibet Train Travel

    Many people still think taking the train to Tibet is the best way for acclimatization, but according to our professional experience, we would say a BIG NO to this.  Let us share some of our experience with you to avoid you making some mistakes! 


    Available train or flights to Tibet

    Currently visitors can take either train or flight for these cities: 

    • Flight from---Beijing, Shanghai, Chengdu, Chongqing, Xian, Xining, Kunming, Shangri-la, Guangzhou

    • Train from---Beijing, Shanghai, Chengdu, Chongqing, Guangzhou, Xian, Xining



    Advantages by taking Tibet train

    1)Nice Scenery along the way---- The railway with 45 stations to the Roof of the World offers marvelous and majestic views as passing three mountain ranges and many rivers & lakes. Some famous sights including the Kunlun and Tanggula mountain ranges, Qinghai Lake, Kekexili and Tuotuo River, Grassland, etc. And also some rare wild animals can be seen along way. From desert scenes to frozen tundra to snow caps, plenty of yaks, sheep, cows. The closer to Tibet, the more prayer flags and stupas.

    2)Cheaper to buy the train ticket---- The train to Tibet is very limited soft sleepers and can be very hard to buy in peak season (July to August),  for example the Beijing to Lhasa train only has around 40 soft sleepers a day, so during peak season, travel agencies will have to buy from ticket scalpers by paying high booking fee, this make the train ticket expensive and still a risk of failing to get the train tickets some times.  While the train ticket out of Lhasa is much easier and cheaper to buy. 



    Disadvantages by taking Tibet train

    • Long train ride---- which might be boring to some visitors.

    • Can be dangerous to certain people---- The reason is that during the train ride from Beijing or other Chinese mainland cities, visitors will experience with highest altitude contrast of 200m to 5,072m, in this case, many visitors might not feel physically comfortable and will throw up or get headache, etc.  We have witness or heard many passengers got serious high altitude sickness on the train and  the limited medical care facility on the train is not enough to treat these visitors, it can be extremely dangerous to certain people!!!   


    Let us show you a form below so that you can better understand the elevations along the Qinghai-Tibet railway. -------You can find that the ride from mainland China to Xining will already take around 1/2 or 2/5 of the total train ride , but the elevation before Xining  is less than 1524m (5000ft), this is totally no use for acclimatization, the really acclimatization will be from Xining (2295m), but the ride from Xining to Lhasa is only 24hrs or so, so that means you need to experience the harsh elevation during 24hrs. The key of getting acclimatization is to ascend slowly, but the Xining to Lhasa section in 24hrs is certainly not a slow part, on contrast it is too fast ascending. That is no doubt many visitors got sick or life-danger by doing this.  

     

    Altitude Guide for Qinghai-Tibet Railway



    Tibet-Train-Schedule.png



    Our Suggestions: 

    • Fly directly from above cities to Lhasa and then take train out of Lhasa.

    • Take either flight or train to Xining (2295m) ---start point of Qinghai/Tibet railway, stay 1-3 nights there to acclimatize, than take train from Xining to Lhasa (3490m).  And Xining is the capital of Qinghai Province, it has the famous tourist resources like Qinghai Lake, Ta'er Monasery, etc, it is good to have a 3 days tour there. 




  • Classes of seats and sleepers on Tibet Train

    Classes of seats and sleepers

    People might get confused on different classes of trains in China Tibet trains. In general, Tibet trains have two types of seats and two types of sleepers.


    Hard seats:

    • Equivalent to second class seats on Western trains

    • Cheapest and smallest seats (on average 40cm wide), without armrests

    • Two rows of five seats (3+2) sit face to face with a small table in between

    • Seats are usually padded and reasonably comfortable

    • It is mostly crowded and noisy, and passengers standing everywhere. 


    hard-seat-on-tibet-train-1.jpg



    Soft seats: (NOT available in Tibet trains)

    • The soft seats are not available on Tibet trains, only on limited China trains.

    • Equivalent to first class seats on Western trains

    • Second cheapest and slightly bigger seats (on average 45cm wide), sometimes with armrests

    • Seats are softer and more comfortable, sometimes with adjustable backs

    • Two rows of four seats (2+2) sit face to face with a small table in between

    • It is mostly quiet and clean, people with standing / other ticket are not allowed


    Hard sleepers:

    • The hard sleeper compartment does NOT have door, it is less privacy.

    • Each compartment has totally 6 beds, each side is equipped with 3 beds of upper, middle and lower.

    • The beds are padded and basic bedding is supplied

    • There is a small table between the two lower beds, sometimes also a power socket (power socket is also available in aisle).

    • Luggage is stored under the beds or on the top of the aisle, you can close the door to keep it more privacy.

    • There might be foldable seats and tables in the aisle, if you are taking Tibet train, there is oxygen outlet in the aisle. 


    Tibet Train Hard Sleep



    Soft sleepers:

    • Each compartment is closed and has totally 4 beds, each side is equipped with 2 beds of upper, and lower.

    • The beds are softer and wider, quality bedding is supplied

    • There is a small table between the two lower beds, a power socket and television/radio are equipped.

    • Each bunk has a reading lamp

    • Luggage is stored under the beds or over the door, you can close the door to keep it more privacy.

    • There are foldable seats and tables in the aisle, if you are taking Tibet train, there is oxygen outlet in the aisle. 

     

    Tibet Train Soft Sleeper



    Differences of soft sleeper and hard sleeper

    Visitors might get miss-led by the word—HARD, actually hard sleepers on Tibet train is still soft, it is the 2nd class sleeper, comfortless is after only the soft sleeper. Here we would like to tell you more about the differences of these 2 types of sleepers on Qinghai Tibet Trains. 


    • Soft sleeper compartment has 4 sleepers, which are called Lower sleeper and Upper Sleeper. While hard Sleeper compartment has 6 sleepers inside, which are called Lower sleeper, Middle sleeper, Upper sleeper.  

    • Soft sleeper compartment is slightly bigger space than hard sleeper compartment.

    • Soft sleepers are slightly wider and softer than Hard sleepers. As many foreign visitors are strong, so soft sleeper might be more comfortable.

    • Each soft sleeper has a TV screen, while the hard sleeper does not have.

    • Soft sleeper berth has a door which could be locked and keep away the noise outside and give you more privacy. While hard sleepers usually do not have door, will be a bit noise and less privacy. * But since the door in soft sleeper could be locked, so it might be a bit strange to some passengers especially female passenger sharing the compartment with other unknown males; While hard sleeper compartment is in an open area, give you less strange feelings. 


    Tibet Train Soft Sleeper

    Tibet Train Hard Sleeper

  • Socket & Plugs & Adaptor for Tibet Train Travel

    Power is available on all Tibet trains. Each soft sleeper compartment has an outlet under the table of the compartment, which is quite convenient. While each hard sleeper car is only equipped with 2-3 outlets. As the limited outlets and hot demand onboard, so you may have to wait in line for your turn, and the electricity supply will be cut after 22:00pm. 


    The outlet is with 220Voltage, each socket has 2 outlet , one is 2 holes and the other is 3 holes, the most frequently used is the 2 holes outlet.  While the 3 holes out is less people use.  


    The train only allows passengers to plug in the outlet directly with their electronic devices, it is forbidden to connect the train socket with passenger's personal socket; 


    The voltage on the Tibet train might not be stable all the time, which might hurt your electronic products, so if possible, please bring your own mobile electricity supplier instead.  And the signal reception on the train is not stable too, receiving phone call and have internet access could be difficult. 

      

     

    Electric socket on Tibet train



    Electronics vs. Electrical Devices

    Before packing, understand the difference between electronics (computer, digital camera charger, DVD player) and electrical devices (hair dryer, electric shaver). Your electronics will likely work with the use of an adapter. To make sure, check the AC power adapter (that big black box that goes between your computer, for example, and the plug in the wall). On the back you'll see some information. Look for "Input". If it says ~100V-240V, you're fine to travel with it all over the world. All you'll need is a wall plug adapter (more about those below). If you're still not sure, you should check online with the manufacturer.  


    Note: 

    Your electrical devices are a different story. Your hair dryer, curling iron or electric shaver will require a converter if you're coming from a country that uses 110V (North America, Japan). A converter is a very large implement that converts the input from 220V to 110V for your device. If you don't use a converter, at best, you'll ruin your device. At worst, you'll see fireworks coming out of the wall socket.  If you're bringing your laptop to China, you might not need to use a voltage converter because many laptops are designed to handle 220V electricity. Check your power pack, which should state the amount of voltage your laptop can handle. If you're staying in a mid-level or luxury hotel, your room already might have 110V converter plugs built in.

    You may also leave anything that requires a converter at home. Some larger, fancier hotels offer a 110V plug in the bathroom but it usually comes with the warning "for electric shavers only" Nearly all hotels provide hair dryers these days and if you absolutely need other things, like hair curlers, then look for a travel set that doesn't require a converter.




    The Accepting Wall Sockets in China

    Now to the actual wall sockets. See the photo at the above. This is what most wall sockets look like these days in China. The socket takes a two-prong plug. The prongs must be the same size ("Type A"), although many modern devices with Type A plugs have one wider prong. This type won't fit into a Chinese wall socket and will require an adapter. This socket will also take a "Type C" or "Type F" plug that is standard in Germany. (If you're coming from Europe, all your devices will work - China uses the same voltage.)

    The bottom socket in the photo takes "Type I" plugs common in Australia and New Zealand. (All your devices will work if you're coming from Australia/NZ as well as you use the same voltage as China.)

     

    The Accepting Wall Sockets in China



    Adapters to Bring or Buy

    You can buy adapters before you leave at travel-supply stores and electronic stores. Airports also sell universal adapters, especially in the international departure gate area. But if you don't get one before you go, you'll be able to pick them up easily in China with cheaper price. Your hotel might also supply you one for free during your stay.

     

    passengers can recharge their phones with the power socket in their compartment or the two in the aisle. Hard sleeper coaches have two sockets at the end of the aisle. There is no socket in hard seat carriages, but one is available in the conductor’s cubicle. Passengers are able to recharge their mobile phones, laptops, tablet PCs, and electric razors. However, high-power electrical appliances, such as induction cookers and electric cookers, may not be used.


    Adapters to Bring or Buy.png







  • Qinghai Tibet Railway Station List

    This is a list of stations on the Qinghai–Tibet railway (also called Qingzang railway) . The Qinghai–Tibet railway was inaugurated on 1 July 2006.


    The Qinghai–Tibet railway starts at Xining West Railway Station and ends at Lhasa Railway Station, total length 1,956 km (1,215 mi).


    The 0-km milestone is located just a few hundred meters west to Xining West Railway Station.


    Stops of Tibet Railway.png





  • What to see along Qinghai Tibet Railway

    About Qinghai Tibet Railway

    Qinghai-Tibet railway is totally 1,956 kilometers (1216 miles) long, consisting of 2 phases: the first phase 814 km (506 miles) from Xinning - the capital of Qinghai Province to Golmud opened in 1984; the second phase 1142 km (710 miles) from Golmud to Lhasa


    Taking a train to the roof of the world--Tibet, has become a dream to visitors from both home and abroad. no matter from Xining to Lhasa or reverse, this is always a lifetime journey you could not miss.  >>6 Days Discover Tibet Train Tour from Xining


    Tibet Train



    Right Way to Take Qinghai Tibet Railway

    There are also available trains from Beijing, Shanghai, Chengdu, Chongqing, Guangzhou to Lhasa, BUT all these trains are about 40 or more hours long ride, and the views before these trains reaching Xining is actually not very rewarding, so the BEST option is to take the Qinghai-Tibet train from Xining to Lhasa, fly to Xining (capital of Qinghai Province) and spend 2-3 days in Xining for sightseeing and acclimatization, Xining is around 2261m high, stay 2-3 days there before taking the train climbing to higher Tanggula Pass (over 5000m) does help you to reduce reaction of the high altitude. And what is more, the most stunning highland views of this train journey is exactly from Xining other than any other cities. 


    If you want to better acclimatize the high altitude and limited time, do not waste your time for other not necessory train ride section before Xining, taking train from Xining to Lhasa directly.   >>Wrong Concept of Tibet Train Travel

     




    What to see along the Qinghai Tibet Railway


    1)Qinghai Lake: 

    Qinghai Lake, covering an area of 4500 square kilometers, is the largest salt water lake in China. The lake is 3205m(10,515 feet) above sea level and 150km from Xining of Qinghai Province. Qinghai Lake has become a popular attraction for lake cycling and bird watching, besides, it attracts visitor with its stunning highland views and the cultural mix of Tibetan, Mongolian, and Muslim monrities. 


    Qinghai Lake in Xining



    2) Ta'er Monastery:  

    Ta'er Monastery , located 25km away from Xining, is a treasure trove of Lamaism. The monastery is known for its impressive murals, barbola embroidery and yak-butter sculptures called Suyouhua. This large complex spreads out over about 14.4 hectares/ 35.5 acres, and consists of numerous structures, some built in a Tibetan architectural style and others built in a Han Chinese architectural style. It is a must-see site in Xining and attracts a lot of visitors every year. 


    Ta'er Monastery in Xining



    3) Kunlun Mountains: 

    Kunlun Mountains are one of the longest mountain chains in Asia, extending more than 3,000 km. In the broadest sense, it forms the northern edge of the Tibetan Plateau south of the Tarim Basin and the Gansu Corridor and continues east south of the Wei River to end at the North China Plain.  

     

    Kunlun Mountains



    4) Tanggula Mountains: 

    Which a mountain range in the central part of the Tibetan Plateau of China. The Tanggula’ s elevations of the main ridge average more than 5,000m, it is the source of the Ulan Moron and Dangqu Rivers, the geographic headwaters of the Yangtze. The range thus functions as a dividing range between the basin of the Yangtze River in the north and the endorheic basins of north-eastern Tibet in the south.

       

    Tanggula Mountains



    5) Namtso Lake: 

    Namtso is ‘Heavenly Lake’ to Tibetans, it is often described as being next to heaven because of its lofty altitude, stunning beauty, pure blue water, and spiritual associations. It is the highest saltwater lake in the world. Snow-capped mountains and open grassland, dotted with yak herds and local nomads, surround the crystal clear water of Lake Nam, making it one of the most beautiful places in Tibet.

       

    Namtso Lake



    6) Qiangtang Grassland: 

    Which means "northern highland", refers to the north Tibetan plateau. Located in among kunlung mountains, Tanggula mountains and Ganddis mountains,Qiangtang Grassland covers 2/3 of the entire Tibet.It's total area is over 600000 square kilometers averaging about 4000 meters above sealevel. Cold, Windy and snowy for 8 or 9 months in a year and frozen land can be seen everywhere. An old folk song sings like this: "The mysterious Qiangtang, it is so wild and desolate when you are here the first time; it becomes your lovely hometown when you get to know more."

       

    Qiangtang Grassland



    7) Tuotuohe River: 

    Tuotuohe River is the source of Yangtze River. Glaciers melt into many streamlets which form a wide river. You will find that watercourse is very wide but water is small and shallow. In summer and autumn, Tuotuohe looks like many bright slices bars laying on the grassland. While in winter, the whole water gets frozen.

        

    Tuotuohe River



    8) Yangpachen geotherm: 

    Enjoy the amazing geothermal view on route where is 90km to Lhasa. Hot springs gush to the air of meters height. In the morning, large steam forms above the water. Having a bath is good for health and helps you get rid of strain.


    Yangpachen geotherm





  • Oxygen Supply System in Tibet Train

    Tibet Trains are all equipped with oxygen generation systems. The system has compression resistance design. It has overcomes the problems of large temperature difference between day and night in plateau region and also the low pressure caused by insufficient air pressure. Oxygen is supplied in the way of dispersion and distribution to meet the different demands for passengers.


    Oxygen Outlet on Tibet Train



    Tibet Train offers two sets of Oxygen supply system. One is used for increasing the oxygen content in the train when the train to Lhasa is driven into the plateau zone. The other is directly used by passengers through independent port. There are oxygen supply tube and mask on each cabin for emergency. When Tibet Train heads its way up to Qinghai-Tibet Plateau Zone, Oxygen begins to emit to the whole cabin by temperature and air pressure controlling system, it mostly release the difficulty of traveling on such ahigh altitude, like headache, out of breath inside Oxygen filled cabins. The altitude, temperature , driving speed are shown on each cabin as well. Private Oxygen masks are provided to every passengers whatever tickets you have. In sleeping berth car, you can find Oxygen Supply tube and mask on each cabin for emergency. The air pressure inside train is automatically controlled to make you feel as traveling in low altitude zone. More than these conveniences, the glass window of Tibet Train is designed to anti ultraviolet rays. In a conclusion, Tibet Train is such a train full of caring, known as the best Train exploring on the roof of the word.


    Oxygen Control System on Tibet Train


    Oxygen Outlet on Tibet Train


    The oxygen supply in Qinghai-Tibet train is fairly easy to use. All you need to do is ask train staffs to get you the oxygen tube and use it via oxygen outlet. If you still feel uncomfortable or shortness of breath,  you can ask the help from the train staffs for timely treatment from the clinic on the train




  • Medical Service & First Aid on Tibet Train

    Suffering from different level altitude sickness is quite common on the Tibet train, so it is essential to have medical care on the Tibet trains.  The oxygen system produce oxygen and supply to everywhere on the train; And the pipe type oxygen supply is also available for each passenger. 


    Even Tibet train is equipped with above oxygen supply facilities to reduce passenger’s reaction to high altitude sickness, some very limited passengers might also get sick due to various reasons, so temporary medical service is provided onboard so that passengers can get timely and effective first aid. Passengers can ask the attendant or press the emergency call button for help at every corner of the train, the experienced attendant will come immediately to help connecting the oxygen tube to the oxygen outlet in the right way.


    Clinic on Tibet Train.



    All passengers will be required to fill in a health declararation form onbard to ensure a safety trip. In this way, the prevention and the medical service on the train provide passengers for a safety journey.


    Please note that it is wise to check with your doctor at home to confirm if you are suitable to take a Tibet tour, it is essential for highland travel.


    Health Declaration Form on Tibet Train.png


    Oxygen Supply on Tibet Train

      





China Travel Faqs

  • Do we need electric converter or adaptor ?

    Electricity in China is 220 Volts, alternating at 50 cycles per second. This is twice the standard voltage than in North America and some Latin American countries which run on 110V 60Hz.


    The standard wall plug in most households in China has a grounding pin and two power conducing pins in a V-shape. If your device's electrical plug has a different shape than the one above, you may need an electrical adapter.


    An adapter does not change the voltage of the device, the converter does that. When buying an Electric Adapter for China pay attention that you are getting the one with the V-shape that will fit the Chinese socket. Most of the Universal sets will include it but double check, sometimes the sets are only US to Europe or US to UK adapters.


    Some sets also include the converter, some only the adapters, so make sure you buy what you need.


  • Can I buy sim card in China ?

    In China, GSM networks operated by China Mobile is the best so far, while CDMA network run by China Unicom is the second option, so if you have a dual band or tri band mobile phone or use COSMOTE card, then you can use your mobile phone in China, though any calls you make will be considered long-distance. A cheaper option is to buy GSM or CDMA SIM card. Our guides will help you to choose the right one you may need. 


    The following is how to dial international call from China: 

    00+country code + region code + phone number

    The country code for USA and Canada is 1, 44 for UK, 61 for Australia, 43 for Austria, 41 for Switzerland, 852 for Hong Kong, 39 for Italy, 31 for Holland, 64 for New Zealand, etc. For the other countries, please check the instruction book in the hotel room.


  • Can I pay by credit card ?

    Credit card payment via PayPal is acceptable, but the credit card fee is high, so it is expensive especially when the amount is huge. 


    If you are paying us a huge sum of money more than USD1500, we suggest you to pay via Western Union or regular bank transfer.  But if the amount is less than USD1500, you can pay via credit card via PayPal.


    The Western Union is fast and low transfer fee, we can get the payment in a few minutes. The regular bank transfer is also low transfer fee but takes 3-10 working days for us to get the money. 


  • Is it better for me to book the flights/trains?

    It is better for us to arrange the train or flight tickets for you, because the domestic flights in China frequently be cancelled or change timing, the updates will be sent to you via email, but Gmail is not able to use in China, or you do not always have access to emails while traveling, so you might miss these updates. While if we book for you, we will get the emails and cellphone message from the airline companies, and will inform you immediately and help you to negotiate with airline companies for alternative solutions. We do have a few groups missed the flights which they booked on their own. 

  • Do you arrange international flights ?

    We are booking the international flights from the same booking platform as you,  you will pay more if booking international flights with us as there is credit card fee or transfer fee involved. So we suggest you to book the international flights on your own, and we can do the China domestic flights/trains for you as we can get good price. 

  • What is double-entry visa for China ?

    Tibet is considered as part of China and a domestic stop, BUT Hong Kong is considered as an international stop:


    Single Entry Visa for: 

    1) China-Tibet-China route

    2) HK-China route

    3) HK-China-Tibet-China route

    4) HK-China-Tibet-Nepal route

    5) Nepal-China route


    Double Entry Visa for: 

    1) China-Tibet-Nepal-China route

    2) HK-China-Tibet-Nepal-China route

    3) HK-China-HK-China route


    Tibet Group Visa for:

    1) Nepal-Tibet-China route


  • How do I get China Visa ?

    There are 2 ways to get visa in your country: 


    1) Apply by yourself at the Chinese embassy in our near your city, we may send you the invitation letter to assist your application. 


    2) Pay a local agent in your city to deal with the visa application for you. 


    Note: HK and Macau is consider to be an international stop, while Tibet is considered to be domestic stop. 

    Single entry visa is required for HK-China-Tibet-China route

    Double entry visa is required for HK-China-HK-China route. 


  • Tourist traps you should be aware of

    China is generally a safe country to visit as Chinese are friendly and the government cares about foreign visitor's safety and security very much. But there are still some typical tourist traps and important travel advices that you should be aware of.  Click here for more.

  • What are the public holidays in China ?

    The 3 major Chinese national “Golden Weeks” to avoid are: 


    Chinese New Year (Lunar New Year)

    This is the worst time to travel. The exact dates each year varies since it’s based on the Lunar Calendar, but it’s usually around late January to mid-Feb. Technically about 2 weeks but many Chinese will just get the first week off. Chinese New Year is the most important of the traditional holidays, kind of the equivalent of Christmas in the West. A huge chunk of the population — from white collar to migrant worker — takes off work to travel back to their hometowns to spend time with their families. Most businesses shut down completely, so your options for eating and shopping also become severely limited in smaller towns. Of course, if you don’t mind the crowds, it can be lots of fun (festivals, street activity, etc).  But if you hate crowds and the incessant noise of firecrackers going off at all hours, I’d suggest earplugs and/or a lot of beer. 


    National Day (1st to 5th Oct) 

    A 5 days-long holiday that celebrates founding of People’s Republic. In particular, avoid Beijing sites (Forbidden City, which is next to the parades at Tiananmen Square, as well as the nearby Great Wall of China).


    Labor Day (1st to 3th May) 

    Until 2007, this was a week-long holiday but has since been scaled back to a long 3-day weekend.  So not as crazy as before but still definitely want to avoid being in transit during this time.

  • Weather & Climate for China Travel

    Please kindly check this link for more: www.timeanddate.com/weather/china

  • Best time to visit China ?

    China Travel Season Division:

    High season: April to May & Sept to Oct. 

    Shoulder season: June to Aug & November

    Low season: December to March


    Avoid National Holidays: 

    1) National Holiday (1st to 5th May,  1st to 5th Oct) 

    2) Spring Festival (Jan of Chinese Lunar Calendar) 


    The following is a reference table for tourists to prepare clothing on their trips.

    • Spring: 10-22 centigrade, Western suits, jackets, sports coats, woolen jackets, long sleeve shirts and travel shoes.

    • Summer: 22 centigrade and above, T-shirts, short sleeve shirts, skirts, sandals, caps, rain wear.

    • Autumn: 10-22 centigrade, Western suits, jackets, sports coats, light woolen sweaters, rain wear and travel shoes.

    • Winter: 10 centigrade or lower, overcoat, cotton clothes, lined coats. In very cold areas a cap, gloves and cotton-padded shoes are required.