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Chongqing to Lhasa Train Travel

Last updated by MCAA at 2008/3/25; Destinations:

Chongqing

Worth spending a day or so – rather than travel straight through to board the Yangtze boat, as I've done in the past.  It's apparently gearing itself up for more tourism and there's enough here for at least a day and overnight.

Peter was to send details of the Old Tank Loft, a famous art gallery, but I haven't received them, and my email to him bounced, but it's certainly worth checking out.  Contemporary Chinese art sounds like the next big thing.

Ciqikou is good, a bit more 'authentic' than West Street in Yangshuo or Lijiang, and the theatre at the Hanging House/Hanging Village (the new shopping development, traditional style, up the cliff face by the river), is worth considering, depending on what's on but there seem to be some very good shows indeed, not necessarily all ethnic, just good shows.

Red Cliff Village and Stilwell Museum OK for history buffs and people who care about that kind of thing, but not all that interesting otherwise. Eling Park can while away a couple of hours – the long painting is great and the main attraction is enjoying a glimpse into local life

The Museum is good on history of the Yangtze and the 3 Gorges exhibition, the other stuff there's OK.

The restaurants here were all good, and I liked the food, which was NOT boring but really really nice. (the Caixiangyuan for Sichuan delicacies, and Hot Pot (Yun Yuan) especially good (hosted by Helen Fu).? Both are franchise operations, but excellent places for folk like me.

Train T222/223 Chongqing-Lhasa

A great ride, and I'd recommend it to anybody. It was not difficult or dangerous for me travelling alone. The train is excellent – although unlike, eg the Beijing Xi'an train, the washbasins are along the corridor rather than in a closeable room, which makes full washing en route difficult.

A medical form has to be signed, but only once the train is under way (how odd – would they throw you off).The oxygen was turned on in the corridors during the Golmud-Tanggulan section, but available on demand in the cabins There were very few westerners, but the train was packed.

The information provided over the loudspeakers, including an English version, was excellent.

Great scenery, and the dining car was chaotic – great fun, noisy and a reasonable choice of Chinese food.? They had an exercise book with dishes handwritten in

English and Chinese as well as the printed Chinese menu.

Lhasa

I was a bit disappointed, but due to my expectations. The mixture of old and new, with a lot of restored and rebuilt, was surprising. Obviously the Potala and Jokhang are the peak attractions, but NEVER DO POTALA ON DAY 1.Also, the Potala is physically challenging, and both of them are full of dark smoky corridors and narrow stairs.

Other attractions – the drive out into the country was great, although the Hindu village in Linzhou County has nothing special to recommend it.? A visit can be arranged to an Orphanage on request (not visited). The Museum's OK, and the Tibetan School of Medicine and Astrology is fabulous for the introduction to Tibetan medicine and explanation of the Thangkas.

CWTS Holy Land Adventure, the Mad Yak Restaurant and Show is OK, not great. The Dhood Gu hotel is bad – the water goes off overnight, the plumbing is appalling and takes many visits just for a temporary fix, and there's no lift which is a challenge at this altitude. The lights are so dim you need a torch to read, and their soup gave me the trots. Noisy too (the hotel, I mean). The Shangbala is said to be good.

The Lhasa Snow and Mandala Restaurants were fine – cheerful, and the usual range of western, Nepal, Chinese and Tibetan. Here I discovered Tibetan dry red wine, delicious, made from grape juice, pear juice and sugar and a mere 4% alcohol.

 

 

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