Self-driving Tour to Tibet - 4 Highways to Tibet
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Self-driving Tour to Tibet - 4 Highways to Tibet

Update: Mar. 1st, 2013

non-asphalted section of Xinjiang-Tibet Highwa

The period between May and October is the best season to make a self-driving tour to Tibet. There are 4 highways leading to Tibet from different regions in China currently, including the Qinghai-Tibet Highway, Yunnan Tibet Highway (it will merge with the southern route of Sichuan-Tibet Highway after it stretches into Tibet), Sichuan-Tibet Highway and Xinjiang-Tibet Highway.

Self-driving Tour to Tibet – Xinjiang-Tibet Highway

Xinjiang-Tibet Highway is the highest and most challenging highway among the 4 highways to Tibet. It starts from Karghalik in Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region and ends at Lhatze in Tibet after climbing over several high mountain passes, among which the highest mountain pass – Jieshan Mountain Pass enjoys an altitude of 5433 meters. Tourists making a self-driving tour to Tibet along Xinjiang-Tibet Highway could also get to Purang Port along this highway. Leading to Lhatze across large scale sparsely populated area, Xinjiang-Tibet Highway is regarded as the most risky highway to Tibet for its limited road condition, awful climate and poor accommodation condition. But this highway play important role in the cultural and material exchange between Ngari and other regions. Tourists driving along Xinjiang-Tibet Highway could pay a visit to the holy Lake Manasarovar, Mt. Kailash and the Ruin of Guge Kingdom.

Self-driving Tour to Tibet – Qinghai-Tibet Highway

Qinghai-Tibet Highway enjoys the best road condition among the 4 highways to Tibet. It is one of the highest highways above the sea level with an average altitude of 4500 meters. Qinghai-Tibet Highway starts from Xining in Qinghai Province and ends at Lhasa after climbing over four high mountains (among which the highest mountain pass enjoys an altitude of 5150 meters) and crossing three rivers. Tourists planning a self-driving tour to Tibet along this highway could realize the trip all year around since the road condition is little influenced by the weather condition. Tourists planning to make a self-driving tour to Tibet along Qinghai-Tibet Highway might have the chance to witness the running wild animals on the magnificent Qiangtang Prairie.

Self-driving Tour to Tibet – Northern Route of Sichuan-Tibet Highway

Northern Route of Sichuan-Tibet Highway is a challenging route which only ranks after the Xinjiang-Tibet Highway. It enters into Tibet at Qamdo via Gantze and Dege in Sichuan Province. The highest point along this highway is the Quer Mountain with an elevation of 4916 meters. Most of the sections on this highway are sandy road and it is frequently blocked by the landslide or debris flow in the rainy season. Tourists planning to make a self-driving tour to Tibet along Northern Route of Sichuan-Tibet Highway are strongly suggested to adopt a 4WD with high chassis.

Self-driving Tour to Tibet – Yunnan-Tibet Highway

Yunnan-Tibet Highway provides tourists planning a self-driving tour to Tibet the chance the chance to enjoy the breathtaking natural landscape of Yunnan Province. It enjoys the lowest average altitude among the 4 highways to Tibet and highest point along this highway only has an elevation of 4300 meters. It should be noted that not all the sections along this highway were asphalted and some of the sections also have high demand in the vehicle type, especially in the rainy season.

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