BEIJING - Ticket to Tibet, sir? That'll be $1,000 a day. But at least you'll be able to have a good sing on the way.
China is planning to offer luxury trains to the roof of the world when it opens a long anticipated and highly controversial railway to Tibet in July, a state newspaper said on Thursday.
The five-star trains, aimed mainly at foreigners, will have showers, on board folk dance shows and that staple of the Chinese holiday experience -- karaoke, the Beijing Times reported.
So luxurious will the train be that it is only going to carry around 100 passengers, as it sweeps through the snowy mountains of mainly Buddhist Tibet at such high elevations the carriages are going to be pressurized like aircraft, the newspaper said.
The trip from Beijing to Lhasa is expected to take at least 48 hours.
China hopes the railway will help develop one of the country's poorest and most remote regions, but Tibetan rights activists fear it will lead to a flood of Chinese immigrants and some are calling for a tourist boycott of the line.
China has also promised it will be the world's first environmentally friendly railway, passing as it does through fragile ecosystems that are home to endangered species.
While the deluxe trains will cost passengers many times more than an ordinary ticket, they are at least cheaper than the super luxury trips being offered in conjunction with the Tibet government.
They will cost $12,000 a seat, organizers said last week, though that wil include a personalized tour of the Dalai Lama's traditional home, the Potala Palace.