West Tibet/Xinjiang Highway


I was in the outskirts of Tibet in the summer and fall of 2002 and this is the way I look at it:



Dear Janne, dear Steve,

Don't know if you remember us. We're the German/Dutch couple that asked you
some questions about going to Lhasa via the southern route. That was at the
beginning of August. We arrived in Lhasa and like to give you some details
that might be of use for other travelers.

8/8 Kashgar-Yarkand Bus 3 hrs. 18 yuan p.p.
8/8 Yarkand-Karghilik Bus 2 hrs. 6+3 Yuan (luggage) p.p.
10/8 Karghilik-Aba Taxi 10 min. 10 yuan
10/8 Aba-outside Aba Horse 10 min. 3 yuan
We waited from 5.30 am till 2.00 pm for a lift and decided that we
have more chance if we would go just outside of Aba. In Aba all the
truckdrivers refused to take us. We got a ride offered by jeep for US$
If you ask us it's useless to be in Aba early in the morning. First
left in the afternoon.
10/8 Outside Aba-Kukwa Car 1 hr. 30 yuan p.p.
11/8 Kukwa-Pusha Bus 20 min. 5 yuan p.p.
Till Pusha the road was good (paved). Just after Pusha it's getting
11/8 Pusha-Kudi Jeep 4 hrs. 100 yuan p.p.
12/8 Kudi-Rutok Truck 5 days 400 yuan p.p.
We crossed the Kudi checkpoint by telling the officers a little lie. We
said we got permission by telephone from PSB in Ali to travel along the
southern route. They wanted us to call again. We said we didn't speak
Chinese and lost the telephone number. They called someone for us that
on telling we couldn't go on. We said we could. After a while the man
agreed. Surprisingly the officers let us pass.
The Rutok checkpoint we crossed by truck hidden under blankets.
The ride with the truck was slow. It broke down twice. First time we
to wait for 21 hrs. before spare parts arrived. Second time we waited
for 30
hrs. and then decided to get in another truck
17/8 Rutok-Ali Truck 5 hrs. 50 yuan p.p.
The stories about PSB in Ali seem to be exaggerated. We had to look for
days before we found them after asking everybody that looked official.
bought a permit and paid the fine (50+300 yuan) but we doubt if that
really necessary.
21/8 Ali-Darchen Truck 17 hrs. 200 yuan p.p.
In Ali we tried to get a ride with China Post. No Success. After two
we got our first ride offered. Checkpoint in Moincer only checked our
25/8 Darchen-Saga Truck 3 days 250 yuan p.p.
We were in the back of the truck. Terrible, but we didn't see any
at all.
28/8 Saga-Lhatse Bus 14 hrs. 100 yuan p.p.
Checkpoint in Saga only passport control.
29/8 Lhatse-Shigatse Bus 4 hrs. 30 yuan p.p.
30/8 Shigatse-Lhasa Bus 6 hrs. 38 yuan p.p.

Sometimes it's really hard to get a ride. Very few traffic and truck drivers
seem to be afraid of taking foreigners. The ones that are willing to take
you sometimes ask ridiculous prices.
Taking food and water is a good idea. Every now you pass some small villages
where you can buy basic supplies but in case the truck breaks down and you
have to wait it's good to have something to eat and drink.
Be prepared for the altitude. We spent one night in Sumzhi (5200 m.) and,
though acclimatized, didn't feel very well. Warm clothes is also a good
idea. Sleeping in the truck can be quite cold.

Don't hesitate to contact us if you have any questions.

Alida & Arjan



Hope you are ok. I am in Lhasa right now, but via Hotan, Urumuqi,
Langzhou, Xining, Golmud... Tried Ali, met some people who had been trying
for 2 days including a chinese student who spoke good english... tried
everything but in the end they gave up... I tried one full day, saw only
one truck and didnt want to take me.. The whole story is much longer but
boring.... Still, that dutch guy i met with you on the street together
with his girlfriend made it through (met him here) but his stories were
not very nice at all... sometimes had to wait two/three days, and met a
japanese and a korean guy who had been waiting for 7-8 days at some
stage...I will prop. do it another time but then from the Ali direction
which should be easier...