With more than 200,000 people, Golmud is the second biggest city in Qinghai province. The city is worth visiting only if you are en route to Tibet. Golmud is in the middle of dry desert without anything, built up just to mine natural sources as salt, magnesium etc. The population is more than 90% Han Chinese who moved here to work.
The elevation of the city is approximately 2,890 meters. Altitude stress is not the major concern, but dryness is. In the city and surrounding areas, air is extremely dry and sunlight is very strong. Summer is the best season, and winter is excruciating. In summer, tourists flock into the city, packing the hotels, as they see Golmud as the last possible rest stop on the way to Lhasa.
The government tries to complicate trips for foreigners; there are just a few (of course most expensive) hotels where foreigners can stay. It isn't worth staying here longer than to manage permission and leave. Beware you don't arrive on a Friday afternoon because PSB is closed during weekend.
- See also: Qinghai–Tibet railway
Golmund station (Qinghai Huochezhan) is on Jiangyuan Road and has direct connections with the following major cities:
The following cities are connected to Golmud by direct bus links:
Dunhuang (11 hours), Lhasa (30-42 hours), Mangya (=Huadugou) (10 hours), Delingha (5 hours) - city is closed to foreigners, you can get there from Tianjun, Xining, Ruoqiang (sleeper bus, if you want to enjoy the view on the way, make sure you get a window upper bed).
Taxis are a cheap and convenient option.
- Yak beef
- Homemade Yogurt
There are a few cheap hotels located around the train and bus stations, but they tend to be noisy and grubby. Hotel business in the city is seasonal.
- Jindi binguan (金地宾馆), next to the train station, singles from ¥50, doubles from ¥120.
- Golmud Hotel (Center of town). Clean. Rooms from ¥300 (to few thousands). One of a very few hotels where you can stay in Golmud. Twin ¥40 off season.
Double Tree Hilton. Rooms from ¥1400 to ¥2800 in summer; ¥350 to ¥800 in winter.
NB: On the way north or south no tickets can be bought without an Aliens' Travel Permit (Lüxing zheng, 旅行证), which are issued by the PSB office for 50Y in a matter of minutes. The PSB Office is on the right side, in front of the gate to the main police building . (Closed on Saturday and Sunday.) make sure you bring a passport sized photo with you if you intend to make the 9am bus to Dunhuang. The PSB opens at 8:30am so its pretty tight, impossible if you have to go off to get a photo done. Going to Xining raises no problems.
|Routes through Golmud|
|Xining ← Qinghaihu Lake ←||N S||→ Lhasa|