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1,165km (722 miles) N of Lhasa, 781km (484 miles) W of Xining, 524km (325 miles) S of Dunhuang. Altitude: 3,000m (9,840 ft.)

Unless you're heading to Lhasa from the southern Silk Route, there is no reason to visit Golmud, isolated out in the wild and gloomy landscape of the Tsaidam Basin. Golmud used to be the only option for the overland journey to Lhasa, but these days you have the preferable option of passing straight through the town on the new Qinghai-Tibet rail line.