Why Taking a Train to Tibet So Popular?
Every day, the diligent Tibet trains unload about 2000 tourists to the holy city Lhasa from different cities around China. What makes so many travelers flock into Tibet by train?
The first also the biggest reason is to experience the world engineering wonder which has created 9 extraordinary world records (the highest railway – 5072m, highest railway station - 5072m, the longest plateau railway -1976kkm, longest rail bridge – 11.7km, longest plateau tunnel in permafrost – 1686m …) and check out how the engineers overcame the biggest three technical challenges during the construction Qinghai Tibet Railway - widespread frozen earth, high altitude sickness and eco-environment protection. The second reason is to enjoy the breathtaking plateau landscape along the railway – huge salt lakes Qinghai and Qarhan, vast and mysterious Hoh Xil Depopulated Zone, the Elf of Qinghai Tibet Plateau – Tibetan Antelope, Dominating Tanggula Mountains, Blue Diamond - Tsonag Lake, plains dotted with yaks and herder’s tents… The third reason is the much lower cost, compared with air transfer, especially during peak seasons.
Current Situation - Difficulty in Booking Train Tickets
So far, there are 7 gateway cities which run daily or weekly trains to Lhasa, including Beijing, Shanghai, Chengdu, Guangzhou, Chongqing, Lanzhou and Xining. Travelers can also board the train at the midway stations, such as Nanjing, Xian, Taiyuan, etc. Even though there are 7 train routes to Tibet, the train tickets still sell out very quickly, especially during summer and holidays. The Soft Sleeper is very hard to book because each train has only 76 sleepers of its kind. But it is strongly recommended to take a Soft Sleeper because you may have to stay two nights on the train if you depart from Beijing, Shanghai, Chengdu, etc. So you’d better book the train ticket as early as possible. According to the policy at present, one can book the ticket up to 30 days in advance.
Travelers Have to Change Tibet Trains at Xining during April to August
Qinghai Tibet Railway Corporation has lately carried out a policy that a passenger who takes a train from Chengdu, Chongqing, Shanghai or Guangzhou to Lhasa will have to change to a Plateau Train with Oxygen System at Xining Railway Station. The policy has been put into practice since April 19, 2017, and will continue to the end of Summer School Vacation in China (around late August). (Note: If you are taking the train Z21 (Beijing to Lhasa), Z917 (Lanzhou to Lhasa), Z918 (Lhasa to Lanzhou), you don’t have to change trains at Xining Railway Station.) more>>
Tibet Travel Permit and Tibet Train Travel
According to China National Railway Administration’s regulation, foreigner travelers need a Tibet Travel Permit to take a train to/off Tibet. The permit is firstly required for booking train tickets at railway station or branch offices, then needed for checking in at railway station. The photocopy of the Permit is also available if you board the train from Beijing, Chengdu, Shanghai, Xining and Guangzhou. Xian, Lanzhou and Chongqing require the original permit. The Permit can't be applied by foreign travelers individually, and needs about 15~20 days to be obtained from Tibet Tourism Bureau. more>>
Currently there are 7 major train routes connecting Lhasa with gateway cities in China, including Beijing, Shanghai, Chengdu, Guangzhou, Chongqing, Lanzhou and Xining. Travelers can also board the train at the midway stations, such as Nanjing, Xian, Taiyuan, etc. Among the 7 gateway cities, Beijing, Chengdu, Shanghai are most popular because they are not only important international transfer hubs but also full of famous attractions. Xining is also recommended strongly because it is the nearest city to Lhasa by train, and you can stay there for one or two days to acclimatize the high altitude before arrival at Lhasa.
Beijing is the most popular International arrival city in China. Once arriving at Beijing, you can directly take a train to Lhasa from Beijing. As the starting city, it is easier to obtain a train ticket. The railway distance between Beijing and Lhasa is as far as 3757km, stretching from the lower northern China to the high plateau of Tibet and crossing 8 provinces and more than 30 cities, which make the Beijing Lhasa Train as a traversing journey to experience China’ diverse landscape and culture. Learn more details about Beijing Lhasa Train.
Distance: 2,334 miles (3,757 km)
Duration: about 40 hours
Beijing to Lhasa: Z21
Lhasa to Beijing: Z22
Train Type: Z-series (specially designed for plateau)
|Route||Length||Dep. ~ Arr.||Duration||Schedule||Soft Sleeper||Attractions on Route|
|Beijing - Lhasa (Z21)||3753km||20:00/12:10||40h30'||Daily||About ¥1,144||Qinghai Lake, Tsonag Lake, Changtang Grassland...|
|Chengdu - Lhasa (Z322/323)||3360km||14:48~09:55||43h7'||Every other day||About ¥1,062||Qinghai Lake, Qarhan Salt Lake, Tibetan Antelope, Tsonga Lake...|
|Shanghai - Lhasa (Z164/165)||4373km||20:10~19:20||47h34'||Daily||About ¥1,262||Kunlun Mountain, Tuotuohe River, Hohxil, Tanggula Mountain, Tsonag Lake...|
|Guangzhou - Lhasa (Z264/265)||4980km||11:45~17:05||53h45'||Daily||About ¥1,468||Tuotuo River, Tangula Mountains, Changtang Grassland...|
|Chongqing - Lhasa (Z223)||3641km||15:42~09:55||42h13'||Every other day||About ¥1,079||Qinghai Lake, Qarhan Salt Lake, Tibetan Antelope, Tsonga Lake...|
|Lanzhou - Lhasa (Z917)||2188km||11:16~11:10||24h4'||Every other day||About ¥823||Qinghai Lake, Tsonag Lake, Changtang Grassland...|
|Xining - Lhasa (Z6801)||1960km||14:01~11:10||21h55'||Every other day||About ¥781||Qinghai Lake, Tsonag Lake, Yangpachen Geotherm...|
A Tibet Train journey is usually long up to more than 40 hours, going through the highest-altitude railway in the world on the harsh and remote Qinghai Tibet Plateau area, which makes well-equipped facilities very necessary. So what kinds of facilities and amenities are equipped on a Tibet Train?
When we are planning a ONCE IN A LIFETIME TRIP like Qinghai Tibet Railway Journey, we have to be fully prepared - learning the background knowledge, finding out the best highlights, choosing the most suitable train route, knowing how to booking ticket, etc. Following are some most important guide and tips that you should learn about Tibet train travel. If you have any question about Tibet train, feel free to contact us for help.
A papery ticket is needed to take a train to Tibet. There are three kinds of tickets - Soft Sleeper, Hard Sleeper and Hard Seat.
There are some important guidelines to know before taking train to Tibet, such as necessary permit, train choosing, etc, check following details:
The information about Tibet train, such as schedule, train stations, new railways, always changes quickly. Following are the latest news:
Check out our most popular train tour packages departing from most popular gateway cities to Tibet - Beijing, Xian, Chengdu, Xining, Shanghai, etc. All packages are customizable according to your requirements. If you have more time, you can extend your trip from Lhasa to other popular destinations, such as Shigatse, Mount Everest, Nyingchi, Ngari, etc. Check more Tibet Train Tours>
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Shanghai / Lhasa
Beijing / Xian / Lhasa
Xian / Lhasa
Terracotta Warriors, Ancient City Wall, Qinghai Tibet Railway, Potala Palace/ Details
Chengdu / Lhasa
Beijing / Xining / Lhasa
Chengdu / Xining / Lhasa
Panda Base, Wenshu Temple, Potala Palace, Sera Monastery/ Details