BootsnAll Travel Network

The Train to Tibet

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View from the dining car

There was a definite excitement in the air as we all waited to board the train to Tibet in the Beijing West Railway Station. Not only were we all lucky enough to land a ticket on the new train to Lhasa, but we had hours of breathtaking scenery to look forward to. The train would take about 47 hours, leaving Beijing at 9:30pm on Sunday and arriving in Lhasa at 8:00pm on Tuesday.

The train route from Beijing to Lhasa is 2,525 miles. There are 675 tunnels and bridges. The highest point on the route is 16,640ft above sea level. It cost $4.2 billion dollars to complete. It’s partly built on permafrost so liquid nitrogen is piped through the tracks to keep them from buckling during a thaw. The Chinese goverment has wanted to build this train line for over 50 years. Because of the elevation, permafrost, mountains, wildlife, etc. it was declared impossible to construct several times, but the Chinese finally proved it was possible when the line opened in 2006. It’s also a very controversial train line because of the Tibetan “issue” but since I’m writing this in China and the man in the internet shop took down my passport number before I signed on the computer this isn’t the best place to get into THAT issue:-)

I was alone on this leg of the journey and I was expecting a somewhat lonely time, but I made a friend as soon as I boarded the train, Hina from London. Hina would be just one of many interesting, hardcore travelers I would meet. There was the French guy who had been traveling non-stop for the last eighteen months, the English man who had quit his job 3 years ago and had been traveling ever since, slowly making his way to Sri Lanka to marry his Australian fiance, the Spanish girl who had just driven overland from London to Mongolia via Russia, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, and Kyrgystan for charity, the recently retired American who was going the long way around to visit his son in Paris (he took a cargo ship from Los Angeles to Japan, a boat from Japan to China, and then the train to Lhasa)… and the list goes on. The ride was anything but lonely and the landscape was incredible. I hope you enjoy the photos!

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One of my favorite shots as we were approaching Tibet

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The dining car, where I spent the majority of the journey hanging out

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View from the train

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An incredible lake we passed along the way

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Only in China is it necessary to post a sign restricting spitting

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My Nepali friend woke me up on the last morning so I could see these snow capped mountains as the sun rose.

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My Spanish friend, Ingrid, and a Tibetan monk in the dining car

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A couple of hours outside of Lhasa

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-596 responses to “The Train to Tibet”

  1. matt says:

    i hate you. why? im totally jealous. TOTALLY. TOTALLY. i can’t wait for the stories when u get to bangers next week.

  2. Scott says:

    How do you describe yourself in 10 words or less, as you did with your fellow travelers?

    I think the signs are actually saying no zapping tennis balls with lasers that come from your finger tips or your eyes.

    P.S. — Free Tibet!

  3. Greg says:

    You have got to be kidding me….such colors….wow. Why did I see this? Now Im thinking of changing my plan. Again.

  4. Simon says:

    Beautiful Amanda! absolutely stunning! I agree with Greg WOW those colors!!!!! 🙂

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