To provide travelers a better opportunity to enjoy the stunningly beautiful scenery in Qinghai and Tibet, nine scenery viewing platforms were set up along the way south of Golmud. These are the Yuzhu Peak Station, Chumaer River, Tuotuo river, Buqiangge, Tanggula Mountain, Lake Namtso, Nagqu, Damshung, and Yambajan.
The platforms are about 500 meters (546 yards) long. On the platforms, visitors can enjoy the views of Qinghai and Tibet around them and take photographs.
There are actually 45 other stations along the 1,960 km (1,217 mile) long Qinghai-Tibet railway from Xining to Lhasa, and every station has unique scenery. But these nine were constructed in the best scenic places.
The Yuzhu Peak Station is the first station along your train journey to Tibet. It is south of Golmud in Qinghai Province. At this point, the train is in the Kunlun Mountains that are part of the largest mountain system in China. The Kunlun peaks are always snow capped.
If the train stops at the Yuzhu Peak Station and the lighting and weather conditions are right, you might see Yuzhu Mountain. Yuzhu Peak is one of the highest peaks of the Kunlun Mountains.
Elevation: 4,159 meters (13,645)
The second viewing platform that the train might stop at is the Chumaer River Station. It is at a high elevation and is 1,056 kilometers (656 miles) from Xining.
This stop is interesting because it is a migration route for animals. You can see the river and also a long bridge that is built on pillars to allow antelopes and other animals to pass underneath.
Flocks of antelope trek from the eastern part of the Kunlun Mountains via this area and head further west to Kekexili to give birth to their offspring in June, July and August.
Elevation: 4,495 meters (14,747 feet)
The Tuotuo river is the source of China's longest and most important river, the Yangtze River. If the train stops at the platform, travelers can see the glittering wide river.
You might see strangely shaped ice bars and ice bridges.
To see this area up close and on the ground, you could take our Tuotuo River tour. We can customize it as you wish.
Elevation: 4,547 meters (14,918 feet)
This area features vast prairies and snow-capped mountains.
Elevation: 4,823 meters (15,823 feet)
This is known as the highest station in the world. Tanggula Pass is the highest point of the journey. You can see snow even in the summer. The altitude is 5,068 meters (16,627 feet). It is so high you might feel the need for oxygen.
You might see Geladandong Peak, the highest peak of the Tangula Mountain chain, rising high against the blue sky.
Lake Conag is a large lake of 400 square kilometers. There is a train viewing platform here as well. You might see it reflecting the blue sky and the fluffy white clouds.
Elevation: 4,594 meters (15,072)
The Changthang Grasslands is a high desert and grassland area in Nagqu. It is over 4,000 meters high. This region is surrounded by the Kunlun, Tanggula, Kangdese and Nyainqentanglha mountains. It is considered the most beautiful high desert in the world. There are sheer crags, verdant prairies, and pristine turquoise lakes in these highlands that extend 1,600 kilometers (1,000 miles) from West Tibet to Eastern Ladakh.
You might see the nomads' camps and their herds of yaks in late spring, summer and fall at the Nagqu viewing platform.
Elevation of this station: 4,513 meters (14,806 feet).
There are Eight Pagodas you can see that is an attraction for the local Tibetans. Tibetans gather there for festivals or other reasons.
If the train stops at the platform, you might be able to get some good photographs of these pagodas and any Tibetans encamped there. The area around the station has grazing sheep and yaks during warmer weather.
Elevation of this station: 4,293 meters (14,084 feet).
The last viewing station on the route before Lhasa is at the Yambajan Hot Springs. The steam rises over the turquoise waters.
Yambajan covers more than 7,000 square meters, and features unique geology that allows for the existence of various types of hot springs. The entire area is a high-elevation cold plateau, and hosts boiling springs, common hot springs, and geysers. Yambajan itself is inside a basin next to the snow-capped Nyainqentanglha (Nianqing Tangula) Mountains.
Best time for scenery: Summer and early fall is when there is better scenery. The native people are out and about and camping alongside the train tracks with their yak herds.
An alternative is to take the train north from Lhasa. Decide on what parts of the route you'd want to see during the daylight hours, and take the appropriate train.
The train goes all the way to or from Beijing or Hong Kong, and we can help arrange a long distance trip across China.
Visas and tourist access: Sometimes tourism closes in Tibet, and there are special visa requirements for foreigners. How to get Tibet travel permits>>
We suggest you take the soft bed cabins or the hard beds, but don't get a "hard seat" ticket for this trip. Let us help you prepare and enjoy a Tibet tour. You can easily book this train online with this Lhasa train schedule link.
1) Visitors who are sick, have a high fever, lung problems, or cardiovascular diseases should avoid touring Tibet. We advise that women in late pregnancy and kids under three years old should also not travel unless they are already well acclimated.
2) Avoiding smoking and drinking while you acclimate in the train.
See more on avoiding altitude sickness.
We could design a tour in Lhasa and the rest of Tibet fitted to your interests and requirements. Tell us how to design the tour. We can arrange the tickets and accommodations. We can also provide a tour guide and driver.
Getting around Tibet outside of Lhasa is more convenient with a driver, especially if you want to go to places far from Lhasa such as Mount Everest.
China Highlights is one of the largest tour operators in China, and we have a good reputation. If you are interested in booking train tickets or have any question about the Qinghai to Tibet train journey or traveling in Tibet, please feel free to send us an inquiry. We offer a 7 day Qinghai to Lhasa train trip and tour>>
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