Qinghai - Tibet Railway train schedule and tips


Train to Tibet

It is a great choice to travel to Tibet by train, since the route along Qinghai Tibet Railway offers travelers a remarkable memories filled with splendid scenery.

Renowned as the world's highest railway, Qinghai Tibet Railway is a landmark achievement in Chinese construction and engineering. The highest point on the line is 5,072 m. (16,640 ft.) above sea level. The railway covers 960 km. (597 mi.) at an altitude of more than 4,000 m. (13,123 ft.) and over 550 km. (341 mi.) within the "frozen earth" area.

All the trains on this route are specially designed with oxygen pressure to ensure passengers safe and comfortable.

The Qinghai Tibet Railway Route Map:

Tibet Train Map

Where Can I Take a Train to Tibet?

The railway link begins in Xining, the capital city of Qinghai Province and goes to Lhasa, the capital city of Tibet Autonomous Region. Xining, Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou have trains to Lhasa every day, while the trains from Lanzhou, Chongqing and Chengdu depart in every other day. Other major cities in China such as Nanjing and Xi'an also have trains to Lhasa, but they are not served as the starting city. So we strongly recommend our clients to pick these seven cities as their starting points when they travel to Tibet.

For more details about the train schedule, you can check  the 2013 Tibet Train Schedule.

How to Read a Train Ticket?

Tibet Train Ticket Sample

What documents are needed to board a train to Tibet?

If you want to travel to Tibet by train,  the only things you need are the copies of your passport and Tibet Travel Permit. You can send the copies to us, and we are pleased to book the ticket for you.

Other Things You Need to Know:

A new route between Golmud and Lhasa are under construction. Upon its completion, the maximum train speed is designed to reach 100 kilometers (62 mi.) per hour in the frozen earth areas and 120 kilometers (74 mi.) per hour on non-frozen earth.

Tibet Train Travel FAQ

  1. 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 inch.).  

    You can also pay for a baggage ticket for the bags in excess of the official limits.

  2. Trains to Tibet are specially equipped for highland traveling. Each car is equipped with an oxygen-supply system to maintain the air pressure at a suitable level. Each seat is equipped with an oxygen mask which can be used by individual passengers if needed.

    All railway cars are equipped with double-layer glass which is covered with anti-ultraviolet radiation film.

    The staff on the trains to Tibet can all speak some English. Simple communication is ok.

  3. No. The train is pressurized, and oxygen is available in the cabins if needed. Therefore it is like traveling at a lower altitude. You will only begin to feel the affect of altitude after you arrive in Lhasa. So we advice all clients to stay in Lhasa city for 2 to 3 days.

    More information about the high altitude sickness.

  4. No. There is no shower facilities on the train.

    We suggest you wash before boarding on the train. We advise you bring wet wipes, tooth brush and bottled water. Hot water are offered on the train, and at the end of every car there are a few sinks for you to wash your face.

  5. We will express mail or deliver the train tickets to your hotel.  If you board the train in Chengdu, you can also stop by our office.

  6. Most of the beautiful landscapes along the route are in the North Tibet from Thangla Mountains to Lhasa. In the north plateau of Tibet, you will see the beautiful Tibetan plateau with the nomads groups, Kekexili Ntature Reserve, etc. Every train in / out of Lhasa will travel through this area.

    There are also 9 scenery view stations along the route for you to capture the landscape and take photos.

  7. Yes. Next to the soft sleeper car. They sell 3 meals a day for passengers. 

    Beyond meal time, you are required at least to buy a beer or a cup of tea to seat there. Food on the train is more than twice the cost in common cities. Also the quality is not equal to the price.

  8. 20 days. We advise travelers to purchase their tickets as soon as reservations open.

    Please note foreigners require a "Tibet Travel Permit" to board the train.

  9. Yes. There are electric outlets in the corridors of each car.

    You need to buy adapters to match the sockets and plugs in China before boarding the train. Find more information about the plugs in China.

  10. Lhasa Train Station is located 15 km. (9 mi.) south of Lhasa. Usually it only takes around 20 minutes to get to the Potala Palace and Jokhang Temple in downtown area. 

  11. There are three types of seats on the trains to Tibet:

    • Soft Sleeper: The most deluxe seat on the train with 4 berths in each cabin equipped with its own TV. Soft sleeper is about $65 USD per ticket.
    • Hard Sleeper: There are 6 berths in each cabin where you will have your own bed.
    • Hard Seat: We advise this class of service as it is just a metal seat and not comfortable.

    There are no private baths on the train. There is a shared toilet. You can find them at the end of each carriage.

  12. Currently 20% of the total ticket fee will be lost if you cancel your train ticket.

  13. We advise you to arrive at the train station 2 hours before your departure time. It usually will take some time waiting to fill out a health record form berfore boarding the train to Tibet.

  14. During peak seasons, tickets to Tibet are difficult to acquire. It is not always possible to be purchased directly from the train station and often require paying a commission to a booking agent.

    This fee is included in the ticket with no profit added.

  15. Yes. There are 2 main oxygen supplying systems on the train to Tibet.

    • The whole cabin is equipped with a ‘dispersion-mode’ oxygen supply system, which spreading oxygen in the cars through the air-con system.
    • Private Oxygen masks are provided to every passenger on the train. You can find oxygen supply tude and mask on each cabin for emergency.


yoke fein kwan's picture

I am interested your tibet travel train in n fly out,can I have more info on that plan to go either in April or sept.

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