Beijing to Lhasa Train
Beijing, the capital of China, is a city full of rich culture and long history, many travelers regard it as the first stop on their visit to China. Beijing Capital Airport is the No. 1 airport for international travelers to China, it has the largest number of international routes, especially from North America and Europe. It is also the main hub to travel domestically and has direct lines to all major cities in China. Therefore Beijing is one of the popular start cities for those travelers who plan to travel to Tibet through mainland China. From Beijing, travelers can choose to take the train or the flight to Lhasa. The train from Beijing to Lhasa takes about 41 hours while the flight from Beijing to Lhasa takes 5 hours, sometimes 7 hours with a stopover in Chengdu.
1. Beijing to Lhasa train Basic information
Currently, there is one train departing daily from Beijing (Beijing West railway station) to Lhasa Z21 (20:00 - 12:26, +2 days) and also one daily train return to Beijing from Lhasa Z21 (15:50 - 08:28, +2 days).
Beijing to Lhasa Train time table
|Train No.||From/To||Departure Time/Arrival Time||Travel Time|
|Z21||Beijing to Lhasa||20:00 - 12:45, + 2 days||40 hours 45 minutes|
|S/N||Station Name||Arrival Time||Departure Time||Duration of Stay|
|01||Beijing West Railway Station 北京西||----||20:00||----|
|02||Shi Jia Zhuang Bei 石家庄北||22:33||22:37||4 minutes|
|03||Tai Yuan 太原||00:19||00:25||6 minutes|
|04||Zhong Wei 中卫||07:05||07:16||11 minutes|
|05||Lan Zhou 兰州||12:17||12:32||15 minutes|
|06||Xi Ning 西宁||15:01||15:21||20 minutes|
|07||De ling Ha 德令哈||19:23||19:25||2 minutes|
|08||Ge Er Mu 格尔木||22:10||22:35||25 minutes|
|09||Na Qu 那曲||08:37||08:43||6 minutes|
Lhasa to Beijing Train time table
|Train No.||From/To||Departure Time/Arrival Time||Travel Time|
|Z22||Lhasa to Beijing||15:50 - 08:28, + 2 days||40 hours 38 minutes|
|S/N||Station Name||Arrival Time||Departure Time||Duration of Stay|
|02||Na Qu 那曲||19:33||19:39||6 minutes|
|03||Ge Er Mu 格尔木||06:16||06:41||25 minutes|
|04||De ling Ha 德令哈||09:08||09:10||2 minutes|
|05||Xi Ning 西宁||13:20||13:40||20 minutes|
|06||Lan Zhou 兰州||16:15||16:30||15 minutes|
|07||Zhong Wei 中卫||21:27||21:35||8 minutes|
|08||Tai Yuan 太原||03:51||04:00||9 minutes|
|09||Shi Jia Zhuang Bei 石家庄北||05:45||05:56||11 minutes|
|10||Beijing West Railway Station 北京西||08:28||----||----|
How to get to Beijing train station and Lhasa station? There are 5 train stations in Beijing, please go to Beijing West Railway Station to board on the train to Lhasa.
Beijing West Railway Station 北京西站
Address: No.118, East Road, Lianhuachi, Fengtai District, Beijing北京市丰台区莲花池东路118号
Lhasa Train Station拉萨站
Address: Tongzhan Road, Liuyu New District, Dulong District, Lhasa 拉萨市堆龙德庆区柳梧新区通站路
2. Beijing to Lhasa Train Facilities
Basically the train ride from Beijing to Lhasa can be split into two parts, the first part train ride is the one between Beijing and Xining, which takes roughly 20 hours and the train will be the regular A/C train. Once upon arrival at Xining, passengers will be required to change to a special equipped train which only runs on the Qinghai-Tibet plateau, this train ride takes about 21 hours to cover 1,956 km (1,215 mi) to get to Lhasa.
The trains from Xining to Lhasa are specially built for high altitude travel. Each passenger carriages are equipped with an oxygen supply system to maintain the air pressure at a suitable level. Each seat is equipped with an oxygen mask that can be used by individual passengers as necessary. The windows of the train are glazed with a UV coating to protect against the powerful high altitude rays. The staff on the trains to Tibet can speak some simple English.
There are power plugs for chargers in the hard/soft sleeper cabins and also the corridors of each carriage, but there is no Wi-Fi on the train. The phone communication signals are good most of the time along the way, you can make the phone call or send text messages with your own international roaming or local Chinese sim card.
There are no shower facilities on the train. We suggest you wash before boarding on the train. We advise you to bring wet wipes, toothbrushes, and bottled water. Hot drinking water is available on the train, you could bring some instant coffee or tea to drink. At the end of each carriage, there is a toilet, the western-style toilet is available for soft sleeper carriage, while only squat style toilet for hard sleeper carriages, please keep in mind to bring your own toilet paper, it is not so popular to have toilet paper in the bathroom in China. Next to the toilet there are also washing facilities where you can wash your face and brush your teeth.
The dining car is next to the soft sleeper carriages. 3 meals a day are available on the train. For your reference, the price of the Chinese-style box meal is from 25 to 40 RMB /Per box. The price of a traditional Chinese dish is from 25 to 80 RMB / per dish. Cash, WeChat payment and Alipay are accepted. We also suggest you bring some instant noodles, snacks, and fruits for this long ride.
The luggage limitation on Chinese trains is 20 kg. (44 lb.) for adults, 10 kg. (22 lb.) for children, and the maximum dimension of any item should not exceed 160 cm. (63 inches.). You can also pay for a baggage ticket for the bags in excess of the official limits.
|Power Plugs||Oxygen Supply||Wi-Fi||Shower Room||Dining Room|
3. Beijing-Lhasa train Tickets options, Ticket cost, and booking options
Generally, on each train from Beijing to Lhasa there are 36 soft sleepers (1st class sleeper), 66 hard sleepers (2nd class sleeper) and 118 seats. Considering so many hours on the train, we normally suggest to our clients to choose sleepers for a more comfortable train journey.
Berths (Tickets) options: There are 4 berths (190 cm X 70 cm of every single bed) in each soft sleeper cabin (1st class sleeper), while there are 6 berths (180 cm X 50 cm of every single bed) in each hard sleeper cabin (2nd class sleeper). Generally speaking, there is no big difference on the bed between soft and hard sleepers but however soft sleeper cabins provide bigger space as there are only 4 beds, also passengers have more privacy in the soft sleeper cabin than hard sleepers as each soft sleeper cabin has a sliding door. But however, there are limited soft sleepers on the train, the soft sleepers are always in high demand especially in high peak season.
Tickets Cost: The soft sleeper ticket is the most expensive one, it costs about 1.6 times more than the hard sleeper. The lower berth of the soft sleeper costs slightly more than the upper one. The price of a hard sleeper from low to high is upper berth, middle berth, and lower berth, but just a little bit different. Below is the ticket cost for the train from Beijing to Lhasa based on different sleepers/seats.
|Sleeper options||Upper Bed||Middle bed||Lower bed|
|Soft-sleeper||1,144 CNY||---||1,186 CNY|
|Hard-sleeper||720 CNY||742 CNY||763 CNY|
In China, train tickets are only available to purchase about one month in advance. You can purchase them at the ticket window of any Chinese railway station or book it online with your valid ID card or passport. But please keep in mind that when foreign passport holders buy the train tickets to Tibet at the ticket window, the Tibet permit is also required to show.
The sleeper tickets of the train from Beijing to Lhasa are always in high demand from the month of April to Oct., especially in the peak season June to September, it will be very unlikely to purchase sleeper tickets on your own. The tickets are generally controlled by the big travel agencies, ticket dealers and government. WindhorseTour has a way to get the tickets through some ticket dealers under these circumstances but the booking needs to be confirmed at least 1.5 months in advance, and there is a cost 300-500 CNY added up per ticket. This added cost is the commission that the ticket dealer charges, we don’t add any profit on top of it and we only help to book train tickets for those clients who have booked the tour with us.
4. Tips for boarding Beijing to Lhasa train
Tibet Permits Copy
Foreign travelers must apply for Tibet permits when visiting Tibet, the travel agency you booked the tour would help you arrange all necessary Tibet permits before your tour starts. Based on current policy at Beijing train station, to board the train from Beijing to Lhasa, you need to show your train ticket, passport and the photocopy of your Tibet Permits in color. WindhorseTour always emails a copy of the Tibet permit to our clients about 5-7 days in advance so that they can have it printed before leaving, and we suggest having 3 copies of the Tibet permit just in case.
We normally suggest our clients be at Beijing West Railway station at least 1 hour in advance so that there is enough time to go through the security checks.
5. Other suggestions for trains to Lhasa
As we know that 41 hours train ride could be so much for some travelers, it could be a tiring journey that brings some risks that you didn’t rest well and couldn’t be ready for the high altitude. In order to shorten the train journey but not missing the best part of it, then flying to Xining and taking the train from Xining to Lhasa would be the best choice. Xining is at the elevation of 2,275 meters (7,465ft), it is an ideal place to acclimatize the high altitude for 1-2 days before heading to Tibet. There are also more trains starting/passing from Xining to Lhasa, easier to get the train tickets. Now there are 5 trains departing /passing from Xining via the Xining Railway station for Lhasa, they all take around 21.5 hours. The train schedule is: Z6801 (14:56-11:39, +1 day); Z21 (15:30-13:03, +1 day); T23 (17:02-14:16, +1 day); Z265 (19:37-16:23, +1 day); Z165 (20:10-17:40, +1 day).
6. Landscape stops along the train journey from Xining to Lhasa
The Beijing to Lhasa train ride covers 3,757 kilometers with 10 stations, across eight provinces. It can basically be divided into two parts, the 2nd half part is the highlights of this train travel, it is the famous Qinghai Tibet Railway and covers 1956 kilometers. This Qinghai-Tibet Railway is the world's highest altitude, the longest line of plateau railway, you will find the most beautiful and unique plateau scenery on the train.
Along the Qinghai-Tibet railway, the scenery is infinite and gorgeous. Sunshine, blue sky, white clouds, snow mountains, streams, and blue lakes combine to form a magnificent scene. Yaks, Tibetan wild donkeys, cattle, sheep, Tibetan antelope, and Tibetan people live in tents or low houses can be seen everywhere.
Qinghai Lake is the largest Salt Lake which often serves as the symbolic midway point between Tibet and Mongolia in China. The most beautiful period about Qinghai Lake is in July and August, the rapeseed flowers around the lake are blooming in full bloom. Qinghai lake is also a cycling mecca. Every summer, the cyclists' fighting figure becomes another unique feature of the lake.
The Kunlun Mountains are 2,500 kilometers long, 5,500-6,000 meters above sea level, 130-200 kilometers wide. Kunlun mountain pass is 160 kilometers away from Ge Er Mu, it is the only way to Tibet from Qinghai and Gansu provinces. The Kunlun Mountains are the symbol of the Chinese nation and the cradle of Chinese myths and legends.
Kekexili Nature Reserve
Kekexili Nature Reserve is located in the western part of Yushu Tibetan autonomous prefecture of Qinghai province. It is a nature reserve with a well preserved original ecological environment in the world. It is also one of the nature reserves with the largest area, the highest elevation and the richest wildlife resources in China. Kekexili Nature Reserve is mainly to protect the Tibetan antelope, wild yak, Tibetan wild donkey, Tibetan original antelope and other rare wild animals, plants and habitat environments.
Tanggula Pass is the highest point you can capture when you travel to Tibet along the Qinghai Tibet Railway. The Geladandong Peak, the highest peak of the Tangula Mountain can be viewed rising high against the blue sky. For centuries Tanggula Mountain has been regarded as a dangerous place for mountaineers and a place closest to the heavens. The well-designed trains will pass through it even without the passengers noticing any change. The elevation of this station is 5,068 m. (16,627 ft.)
Tuotuo river is the source of China's longest river, the Yangtze River. The turbulent Yangtze originates from this broad, gentle highland river and surges all the way to the East Sea. On the Tuotuo river scenery viewing platform, travelers can see the glittering wide river. The elevation of this station is 4,547 meters. (14,918 ft.) After traveling about 203 km. (126 mi.) away from Tuotuo River Town, the train will arrive at the Tanggula Mountain Pass, the highest point along the railway with an elevation of 5,072 m. (16,640 ft.). The Tanggula Mountain Pass is also the natural boundary between Qinghai and Tibet.
Conag Lake is a holy lake respected by the locals. The alpine lake is 400 sq. km. (154 sq. mi.). The lake looks like a glittering blue pearl among the vast grassland that reflects the blue sky and the fluffy white clouds. The great variety of fish in the lake has drawn many animal species including dark-necked cranes, swans, wild duck and mandarin duck to inhabit the area. The elevation of this station is 4,594 meters.
Nyainqêntanglha Mountains are located in the Tibet autonomous region of China, it's 1,400 kilometers long, 80 kilometers wide on average, and 5,000-6,000 meters above sea level. The Nyainqêntanglha Mountains are also the largest glacier area in the southeast of the Qinghai-Tibet plateau.