Embark on an extraordinary 7-day odyssey along the Friendship Highway, a spellbinding overland expedition from the heart of Tibet, Lhasa, to the enchanting Nepal Border. This journey promises an immersive cultural experience, awe-inspiring landscapes, and spiritual exploration, creating unforgettable memories.
Arriving in Lhasa via Mainland China: A Gateway to the Roof of the World
Before you set foot on the Friendship Highway, your journey commences with an arrival in Lhasa. Conveniently connected to major Chinese cities such as Beijing, Shanghai, Chengdu, and Xining, travellers can choose between flights and trains to reach the mystical Tibetan capital.
Major cities in mainland China, including Beijing, Shanghai, Chengdu, and Xining, offer direct flights to Lhasa Gonggar Airport. These flights provide a swift and comfortable option for those looking to minimize travel time. As you approach the Lhasa Valley, the stunning aerial views are a prelude to the grandeur that awaits.
For those seeking a scenic and adventurous route, the train journey to Lhasa is an experience. Trains from mainland China to Lhasa, particularly from Xining, offer breathtaking views of the Tibetan Plateau. However, securing train tickets requires careful planning.
Train tickets typically go on sale around 15 days in advance and are in high demand, often selling out rapidly. To ensure a hassle-free journey, booking tickets as early as possible is advisable. To provide a seamless experience, consider booking through the tour operator, as they can make arrangements through their ticket agent.
The trains departing from Xining to Lhasa are numerous, offering flexibility in travel plans. It’s important to note that securing specific trains or keeping a group together may not be guaranteed due to high demand. However, requests for seat/bed changes are common in China, allowing adjustments during the journey.
In the case of Beijing, Shanghai, and Chengdu, there is typically one daily train and every other day from Chengdu. Tour operators like NepalHiking.com will arrange the best route to connect trains if direct tickets are unavailable. This might involve stopping at Xining before continuing the journey to Lhasa.
Tibet Travel Permit
Tibet Permits are a prerequisite for obtaining train tickets and can be processed 1-2 days before the train departure. The tour operator will guide travellers through this essential step, keeping them informed.
It’s crucial to note that train tickets are non-refundable from the operator’s side. In cancellations, travellers must visit the train station ticket office with their original passport for any changes or refunds.
Train Classes: Soft Sleeper vs. Hard Sleeper
Understanding the difference between soft sleeper (1st Class) and hard sleeper (2nd Class) accommodations can enhance your train journey experience:
- Soft Sleeper (1st Class): A compartment with four berths and a door providing greater privacy. The carriage is equipped with Western-style toilets for added comfort.
- Hard Sleeper (2nd Class): A compartment with six berths, lacking a door for privacy, and featuring squat toilets in the carriage.
Choosing between these classes allows travellers to tailor their journey to their preferences and comfort.
As you embark on this extraordinary adventure from Lhasa to the Nepal Border, the diverse modes of transportation enrich the overall experience, making it a once-in-a-lifetime expedition through the roof of the world.