The Golmud-Lhasa section of the Qinghai-Tibet Railway will be put into trial operation on July 1 and both domestic and foreign tourists can travel to Tibet by train. On Apr. 20, a travel agency in Beijing has taken the lead to launch routes of visiting Tibet by train. A ten-day tour package is estimated to cost 3,980 yuan (US$500) and over 80 tourists have registered for the tour by now.
It was reported that related departments have basically reserved all seats on the train for the debut trip on July 1 and tickets for travel agencies will be sold after July 2. Individual tourists will have little chance to get tickets for the trip on the Qinghai-Tibet Railway several days before the railway officially begins operation.
It was learned that the special trains to Lhasa are superior to ordinary trains in facility. The carriages are totally enclosed and furnished with hard sleepers and soft sleepers and also free oxygen supply systems for tourists. When the train slowly goes toward the plateau, such facilities can help tourists adapt their physical conditions to the plateau environment and also enable the elderly to travel to Tibet by train.
The Golmud-Lhasa section includes nine sight-seeing stops including those located in Mt. Yuzhu, Tuotuo River and Tanggula. These stops are all equipped with a sight-seeing platform 500 meters in length and 1.25 meters in height, tourists can overlook scenes and take Pictures on the platforms.
An insider from the travel agency revealed that only 1,000 tourists will be admitted to the Potala Palace each day. However, during the high tourist season, 5,000 tourists travel to Tibet by air or by coach. Once the Qinghai-Tibet Railway is open to traffic, Tibet will welcome 10,000 tourists daily, of whom only one tenth can enter the Potala Palace. It is learned that the local government may promulgate a new measure soon to alleviate the pressure from large tourist volumes.
A single trip from Beijing to Tibet extends over 4000 kilometers and takes 48 hours by train.