Hi all, I am currently in the very beginning stages of planning a trip to China next year. After reading about the Lhasa Express, I have my heart set on travelling from Beijing to Lhasa. My question is this: would it be better to do a round-trip flight from New York (home) to Beijing, and also do a round-trip on the Lhasa Express? The positive of this may be cheaper airfare to/from New York. The negative side is that this may limit the time I can spend in Tibet. I was hoping to fly into Beijing, take the Express one-way to Lhasa, and then fly from Tibet on home to New York. But the one-way flights from Lhasa to New York seem astronomical.
Does anyone have any thoughts/suggestions? Has anyone taken the Lhasa Express and feel it's not quite worth it? Any thoughts at all would be so greatly appreciated! Thanks!!
Hi, cmville05, acturally, the Lhasa Express is worth it. Compared with previous period, the time you will spend on the train has been shortened a lot. Because the construction of the Lhasa Express was just finished last year. It bring much convinience for those who want pay a visit to Lhasa. Certainly, if your time is limited and you'd like save you time, you can take a flight from Beijing to Lhasa.
Another important matter I'd like to remind you is that before your trip to Lhasa, you' better fully prepare yourself in the aspect of fitness. Because the high altitude of Lhasa, you may find that it's hard for you to breath upon your arrival. So, you can stop smoking and drinking if you have that kind of habits. More information can be found in China Spring
Hey, thanks for that information. The website that you've attached, however, does not seem to be working. Is the site available in English? Thanks, again!
Also, part of the appeal of the Lhasa Express is to see the Chinese countryside rather than flying above it and missing out on the ground-level appeal. As for the being in shape -- I don't smoke, but how long ahead do you think I should refrain from drinking before leaving for Lhasa? Should I not have anything, even in moderation? Thanks!
I worked in Lhasa Last year and have some advice about your trip.
Suggest itinerary: New York - Beijing - Lhasa - Chengdu - New York
The airfare of Lhasa to Chengdu is cheaper than Lhasa to Beijing and there are many filghts between Chengdu and Lhasa. You also can take a chance to visit Chengdu.
The train to tibet already works last year, you can think about it. You can have a good view from the train. But it is difficult to get the train tickets , so you should book it in advance.
Most of the site have not Englsih-speaking tour guide, and you must get Tibet Enter Permit first.http://www.chinauniquetour.com/index.asp
For any other questions ,You can ask me via MSN
We are going to China in January (I know this is a bad time as it's very cold). We would like to be able to do this train trip. Will we be able to organise the travel permit and tickets when we get to Beijing? It would have been very expensive to book it in Perth before we left home. We don't even have our China visa yet as it was only good for 3 months so we had to leave home without it and need to be able to get it before we leave London at the beginning of December.
Thanks for any help.
I agree with Lydia i did the trip last year we went from Xiamen to Shanghai to Xian (Terra Cotta Warriors ) and arranged the train and travel permit in Xian. it is according to the locals (bob at bobs guesthouses Xian close to the train station), cheaper in Chengdu to get the permits.
round trip would be hard, the train is comfortable but 48 hours is a long time. 96 hours might seem like a very long time. We did 36 hours from Xan to Lhasa and flew to Beijing we found that to be just about right.
you might find it easier to get the train BACK from Lhasa less full and easier to get tickets.
Also consider that you will be at altitude.
was a great time for me and my uncle in Feb -March
i put up a webpage check it out http://www.cheapcharlieshotels.com/htm/China%20Train%20to%20Lhasa%20Tibet.htm
Oh I fogot essential that you get bottom bunks!
We also stoped in Chengdu for 1 hour on flight from Lhasa.
Train stations are the best place to buy airplane tickets in China, cheap and efficient!
Air Asia runs very cheap flights from Bangkok to Xiamen you might save yourself some money if you look at routing that way as opposed to flying into Beijing or Shanghai
all most all internal flights were $100 or less in China.
Thanks Chuck for that info. We didn't want to go both ways and thought that it would be good to go Beijing to Xian and then get on the train. Someone I emailed earlier said it was difficult to get tickets from Xian but we will be in the low season so do you think it will be ok?
Thanks for the warning of altitude. We have been in high altitudes before and that is one good reason not to do a tour as it gives you the freedom to have a day of rest and acclimatisation when you get there.
Yes, it is very much a catch 22 with the Travel permit and train ticket. I hadn't thought of that but we can fly as you say and then come back by plane but we would rather fly from Lhasa to Chengdu and then go by normal train to Shanghai.
The other thing I heard was that you had to be in a tour group to get a Travl permit - is this still the case?
We had little flexibility with our flights as we are doing this trip on frequent flyer points so we fly into Beijing and then have to fly out of it too which we didn't want. Al flights are booked as we have started our travel already (see blog)
Thanks for the tips about where to buy flights and the cost. Do you have any recommendations for cheap places (that have heating) in Beijing, Xian, Chengdu, Lhasa etc?
No need to be in a tour which was cool walking around. even in Beijing you could sence that they were not use to seeing westerns strooling around me and my unk went into some diferent places and really felt like we were the first .
I really loved Lhasa plan to spend a whole day at the palace On the left side (looking at the palace )in the rock they have a resturant with butter tea and all locals was a highlight of the trip for us we also had the noodles not for everyone but the experience was priceless it is not on the tours or listed anywhere.
xian take the city bus to the eternal warriors and you can hire a guide there at the park.
great wall at badaling we hired a taxi and it was just a smigen more than the bus but we could come and go as we liked. We could also pick what we wanted for lunch.
at the forbidden city i think if I did it again which I hope to do I would pay the $10 bucks for the audio tour
Check my websites cheap charlies hotels and ecosea.com which has cheap hotels everyplace but chendu
another website to check is ctrips don't remember if it was .com or .cn they have a bunch of 2 star hotels and above they were all doable but make sure that the room has a window. in china they get the ratings from the state so they are ligit.
they are not real big on heating there bring the woolies.
suggest that you find a imersion heater for water, noodles, coffee, tea ect. most of the rooms in china have a water pot that boils the water afterwards was no problem to drink.
low season no problem to get tickets. in xian do it on the first day again check my website out has the maps with me pointing where you need to go for the permits also Bob's guesthouse near the Xian train station he can help you as well, really nice chinesse guy. the office for the Lhasa permits not open alot better to call ahead.
On the train trip buy lots of stuff to nibble and drink for the train ride. i wish I would have brought more and I brought alot.
the train tickets for a soft seat need to be booked at least 2 weeks in advance,
don't let any travel agents in the chinese mainland trick you with permits into Tibet.. an agency tried to bully, scare and threaten me out of Lhasa, coming to my hotel at 11pm at night etc.. i stayed in Lhasa for 2 months, it was amazing.
What do you mean? Did you get into Lhasa without a permit bought in China?
Do you advise buying he soft seat tickets online before you get to China and get your Tibet permit?