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Attractions Along Tibet Railway

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 Sightseeing of Train Journey (Xining-Lhasa)

 Starting Xining Station, the first bunch of attractions you will see within Qinghai Province successively are Qinghai Lake, Cha'erhan Salt Lake and the Tuotuo River .  

 After that, you will arrive at Tanggula Station:
In Tibetan language, Tanggula carries the meaning of the mountain on the plateau. Acknowledged as the place where eagles are hard to reach, it is the watershed of Yangtze River and Nu River. Oxygen content is only 60% of that at the sea level. The mountain is over 150 kilometers (93 miles) wide coming about 5,000 - 6,000 meters (16,404 - 19,685 feet) at the elevation. The main peak Geladandong is the source of Tuotuo River. Totaling up to 5,072 meters (3.2 miles) of the railway pass above sea leave, it is the highest point of the railroad in the world.

Tanggula Station is the one that offers the best view. The tourists can feast on the spectacular snow scenery and photo the peculiar view of the roof of the world here. 

 As the train goes ahead, you will enter Tibetan Autonomous Region from the Qiangtang Grassland:
Qiangtang means 'northern highland' in Tibetan language. It roughly refers to the north Tibetan plateau. Located among Kunlun Mountain, Tanggula Mountain and Gangdise Mountain, its land area covers 2/3 of the whole Tibet. The total area is about 700,000 square kilometers (270,270 square miles) averaging about 4,500 meters (14,764 miles) above sea level. Cold, windy and snowy for 8 or 9 months in a year and frozen land can be seen everywhere. 

The topography of Qiangtang Grassland turns lower from west to east. It is an even and vast land in mid west. Lakes spread all over and rivers crisscross in the hills and basins. The eastern region is the valley area about 3500 - 4500 meters (11,483 - 14,764 feet) above sea level. The agreeable climate makes it the only crop production area in north Tibet and the home for few forest resources and bushes.

About 30,000 square kilometers (11,583 square miles) in Qiangtang district are taken up by lakes. The terrain slopes gently, and the high-cold steppe develops pretty well, thus it becomes quite an important highland pasture breeding livestock like sheep, goat, yak, dzo, scalper etc. There are abundant wild mammals and birds in the reserve, of which there conserve the unique kiang, Tibetan gazelle, bharal, snow leopard, golden eagle, Tibet snow chicken and the like. 

Qiangtang is not only a heaven for wildlife but also a fertile land with rich cultural deposit. Our ancestors created brilliant nomadic culture in this highland. The immemorial rock paintings laid the mysterious veil for the vast pasture. The legend of the king Gesaer infused heroic spirit into the bold grassland, moreover, the ubiquitous cairns, sutra streamers and stupa lend more life to the nice plains.    

 The next attraction you will meet is the Cuona Lake:
It is indispensable to visit lake when traveling Tibet. The plateau collects over 1,500 lakes whatever its sizes, of which those the coverage exceeds 1,000 square kilometers (386 square miles) are inclusive of Namtso, Selin Lake and Zhaxinanmu Lake. There are 47 lakes that exceed 100 square kilometers (39 square miles) in area. When it comes to the sheep year of the Tibetan calendar, innumerable devotional followers go to the Namtso Lake and Yamdrok Yumtso Lake for pilgrimage in spite of the long journey and hard terrain, for they are believed to be holy lakes. Though Cuona Lake is not large and considered to be not that holy, it is the highest fresh water lake and the only visible lake when taking the train in Tibet. The serenity, sanctity and sedateness of the mirror-like lake, the inverted images on the lake surface seems like to wash you mind, purify your soul. 

 Along the Tibet Railway you will be also amazed at the Nyenchen Tanggula Mountain Ranges:
Nyenchen Tanggula is a term meaning small Tanggula in Tibetan. Factually, the majesty and splendor of Nyenchen Tanggula is by no means less than Tanggula Mountain. The main peak of mountain ranges has the altitude of 7,117 meters (23,350 feet) snow-capped all year round. Shrouded in mist and cloud, struck by lightening and thunder, enveloped in mystery and obscurity is the scene humans are always impressed. It is like an armored warrior standing toweringly among the Snow Mountain, grassland and valley. The abundant alpine snow water nourishes the most fertile swamp wet grassland-Damxung Grassland. The lofty snow mountain, verdant grass, herds of sheep and cattle are woven into a nice pasture picture.    

 Then you will get to the Tunnel Group of Yangbajing:
The tunnel group of Yangbajing lies at Duilongqu valley. It belongs to the low mountainous area with erosive landform. The natural slope is about 40 degrees. This tunnel is at the fault zone between Yangbajing and Damxung, south of the tectonic zone of Nyenchen Tanggula Mountain. It is the causative fault of the 9-magnitude seismic zone. As its movement results in the fissuring development of the rock mass of the tunnel, the rock is comparatively fragmentized; most of the surrounding rock is shaped like V or IV. The surrounding rock mainly falls into three categories, cobble stone clay, grit and granite.    

As the longest tunnel of the Qinghai-Tibet Railway, the tunnel No. 1 has the total length of 3,345 meters, and the elevation ranges from 4216.86 meters (13, 835 feet) to 4264.82 meters (13,992 feet). The tunnel No. 2 runs about 1643 meters (1, 797 yards) long, coming from 4215.5 meters (13, 830 feet) to 4192.73 meters (13,756 feet) above sea level. 

 Till you see the Great Bridge over Lhasa River, you are only five kilometers away from the center of Lhasa City:
The Great Bridge over Lhasa River is about three kilometers away from Lhasa Station. In the north of the bridge, Nyenchen Tanggula Mountain ranges are steeper and craggy, along the mountain; the Drepung Monastery and Sera Monastery stand across the river. In the south approaches the Zao’er Peak. In the west of the bridge belongs to the Economic and Technological Development Zone of Duilong Deqing County and Lhasa city. In the east lies Lhasa city, Potala Palace complex. 

The design of such a bridge follows Tibetan cultural custom and introduces Hada, sutra streamer, and the images of the rolling snow mountain. The pure white blended in azure blue, Snow Mountain, grass, clear water complement and set each other off. The spotlight along the bridge sparkles and forms a colorful belt. The light from the main span sends out into the sky, turning dim gradually, and finally dissipate in the sky. 

The Great Bridge over Lhasa River can be seen from the golden peak of Potala Palace, the way to Gongga airport, the station square. It seems like the triumphal arch the Qing-Tibet Railway speeds towards Lhasa. It is another highlight in this magical land.

 Finally, you will arrive at Lhasa Railway Station: Lhasa Railway Station sits at New Liuwu district in Lhasa about two kilometers away from the city center. Facing Potala Palace across the river, it is undoubtedly the landmark of both Qinghai-Tibet Railway and Lhasa city. The station covers an area of 345 acres inclusive of the parking lot and station building; the station ground is about 60 acres.   Lhasa Railway Station sits in the south, with the floor space of about 5.9 acres. The station main building is about 340 meters (372 yards) in length, 60 meters (66 yards) in width and 23 meters (75 feet) in height. There built 4 platforms in the station with 550 meters (601 yards) in length. The track totals up to 10. The column-free canopy is about 500 meters (547 yards) in length and 14 meters (46 feet) in height. The maximum span is 67.4 meters (73.7 yards). The appearance of Lhasa Railway Station is decorated with Tibetan traditional color like red, white and yellow. The style looks simple, but full of grandeur. It is absolutely a piece of harmonious architecture works. Firstly, it nestles beside the mountain and near a river, reaching harmony with the natural surroundings. Secondly, the superior location coordinates with the local structural style. Last but not the least, the appearance and the ornament of the station is rich in Tibetan features, while, the inner structure and facilities are very modern, thus the accordance of tradition and modernization achieve in this level.

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