By Alexa Boyce
As of July first, 2006, Tibet and Beijing are directly connected by train. The train begins its 4,060 km trip at the Beijing West station at 9:30 p.m. and finishes the 47 1/2 hour trip in Lhasa, the capital of Tibet at 8:58 p.m. on Monday. Chinese President Hu Jintao attended a launching ceremony in Golmud for the landmark Qinghai-Tibet Railway. This is the first time that Tibet will be linked with the rest of China by rail.
China has big plans for Tibet. The central government has already poured some $5 billion into everything from highways and power plants to sports stadiums in the region, and it expects to invest an additional $10 billion by 2007. The Chinese plan on dusting off this out of the way province and including it with the industrialization of the rest of China.
Tibet is a wonderful place to travel, if a little backwoods. With an average elevation of 4,900 meters, it is often referred to as 'The Roof of the World'. It's English name is derived from the Turkic word Toban meaning ‘The Heights'. It is here that you can visit (or climb!) the infamous Mount Chomolangma, or Mount Everest in English, and many other breathtaking peaks dotted with charming villages and Buddhist monasteries.
Lhasa is Tibet's traditional capital and the capital of Tibet Autonomous Region. Other cities in Historic Tibet include, in the Tibetan Autonomous Region (TAR), Shigatse (Gzhis-ka-rtse), Gyantse (Rgyal-rtse), Chamdo (Chab-mdo), Nagchu, Nyingchi (Nying-khri), Nedong (Sne-gdong), Barkam ('Bar-khams), Sakya (Sa-skya), Gartse (Dkar-mdzes), Pelbar (Dpal-'bar), and Tingri (Ding-ri); in Sichuan, Dartsendo (Dar-btsen-mdo); in Qinghai, Kyegundo (Skye-rgu-mdo) or Yushu (Yul-shul), Machen (Rma-chen), Lhatse (Lhar-tse), and Golmud (Na-gor-mo).
By Alexa Boyce