Why Xining Lhasa Train is Recommended?

1. It costs less time (only about 21hours) and money (soft sleeper around CNY 780) for a Xining Lhasa train journey compared with Beijing Lhasa train, Shanghai Lhasa train, Chengdu Lhasa train and other routes.

2. Spending one or two days in Xining to visit the beautiful Qinghai Lake is a wonderful experience as well as a very helpful way to acclimatize the plateau altitudes.

3. Passengers have a more flexible choice between different train timetables because there are usually 5 trains to Lhasa from Xining each day.

The length of Xining Lhasa Railway (Qinghai Tibet Railway) is 1972km (1225 miles). It takes only about 21 hours to take a train to Lhasa from Xining. Currently Xining Railway Station has 5 trains to Lhasa, including one exclusive train Z917 which only runs from Xining to Lhasa, and 4 trains from other cities, such as Beijing, Shanghai, Chengdu, etc.

Xining Lhasa Train
Travelers Were Boarding the Train to Lhasa at Xining Railway Station

Xining Lhasa Train Schedules and Fares

14 February 2020 Last updated at 12:17

Xining to Lhasa Train Timetable

As all the trains to Tibet will join together at Xining, travelers always have a flexible choice of train schedules. Currently, there are 5 trains which depart from Xining or run passing by Xining to Lhasa. Z21 from Beijing, Z164 from Shanghai and Z264 from Guangzhou collect passengers at Xing Railway Station every day in a stop time of around 15 minutes. The rest 2 available trains may from Chengdu (Z322), Chongqing (Z223), Lanzhou (Z917) and Xining (Z6801) which all only depart at every other day. Check following table for details:

Xining Railway Station – Lhasa Railway Station; Distance: 1960km

Train NumberDepartureArrivalDurationRiding Time
Z6801(Xining-Lhasa) 14:01 11:20 21hrs 19mins every other day
Z917(Lanzhou-Lhasa) 14:01 11:20 21hrs 19mins every other day
Z21(Beijing-Lhasa) 15:21 12:26 21hrs 5mins daily
Z165(Shanghai-Lhasa) 21:27 19:30 21hrs 15mins daily
Z323(Chengdu-Lhasa) 12:26 09:55 21hrs 29mins every other day
Z223(Chongqing-Lhasa) 12:27 9:55 21hrs 28mins every other day
Z265(Guangzhou-Lhasa) 19:31 16:19 21hrs 48mins every other day

Lhasa to Xining

There are also 5 trains running from Lhasa to Xining or pass by Xining with 3 fixed lines which operate every day – Z22 to Beijing, Z165 to Shanghai and Z265 to Guangzhou. The rest are two of others trains to Chengdu, Chongqing, Lanzhou, Xining.

Lhasa Railway Station – Xining Railway Station; Distance: 1972km; Duration: around 21 hours

Train NumberDepartureArrivalDurationRiding Time
Z6802(Lhasa-Xining) 08:50 06:43 21hrs 43mins every other day
Z918(Lhasa-Lanzhou) 09:00 06:43 21hrs 43mins every other day
Z22(Lhasa-Beijing) 16:30 13:25 21hrs 55mins daily
Z166(Lhasa-Shanghai) 11:30 08:55 21hrs 25mins daily
Z324(Lhasa-Chengdu) 18:35 15:15 20hrs 40mins every other day
Z224(Lhasa-Chongqing) 18:35 15:15 20hrs 40mins every other day
Z266(Lhasa-Guangzhou) 12:55 10:20 21hrs 25mins every other day

Xining Lhasa Train Ticket Fares

There are three types of train tickets on all Xining Lhasa trains – Soft Sleeper, Hard Sleeper and Hard Seat. The fares differ a lot. Soft Sleeper, the most luxurious type of train tickets, is the most expensive, and costs around CNY 781. The Hard Sleeper, the second-class ticket, is cheaper, and costs around CNY 495. The Hard Sleeper, less chosen by foreign travelers, is much cheaper, and costs only about CNY 224. To enjoy a quieter and more comfortable train journey, we strongly suggest you choose a Soft Sleeper. Check following table for details about Xining Lhasa Train Fares:

Soft Sleeper (CNY) Hard Sleeper (CNY) Hard Seats (CNY)
Upper Berth Lower Berth Upper Berth Middle Berth Lower Berth 224
781 808 495 507 521

Important Notice: Above train schedules and fares are only for reference, please contact us to catch up on the latest information. But we usually will keep them updated.

Xining to Lhasa or Lhasa to Xining?

Take a train to Lhasa from Xining or from Lhasa to Xining are both great. What matters most is to get a train ticket as it is usually not easy to book train tickets especially a soft sleeper during traveling peak seasons (usually from May to October). But we recommend Xining to Lhasa train ride more if you are able to obtain the tickets because you can spend one or two days to acclimatize the high altitudes of Qinghai Tibet Plateau firstly so that you won’t suffer from high altitude sickness on the train and during you trip in Tibet. At the same time, you will have chance to take the Train Z164 from Shanghai and Z264 from Guangzhou at Xining. These two trains allow more daytime to enjoy the beautiful landscape along the Golmud Lhasa section which is the most beautiful section among all. How to Choose the Most Scenic Tibet Train>

While if you choose to take the train route from Lhasa to Xining, you will have a bigger chance to obtain a ticket.

Xian Lhasa Trains
Breathtaking Landscape along Qinghai Tibet Railway

Major Stops along the Railway to Get Food Supply and Stretch Legs

Since there is only about 1960km’s railway distance between Xining and Lhasa, there are not many middle stations along the train ride, usually only 2 – Golmud and Nagchu. You can use the train stop time to get out the train to get some fresh air, food supply or stretch your legs if you want.


The train usually stops for 25 minutes in Golmud Railway Station. If you take train from Beijing to Lhasa, it will be around 10pm when the train gets to Golmud. If you set out from Lhasa, you will get to Golmud in the early morning around 7am when is good time to see the Tibetan antelopes.


Ngachu is a vast prefecture in Tibet with an average altitude of 4500 meters. It is the most important Livestock region in Tibet. The fresh air here will impress you strongly. The train Z164 from Shanghai to Lhasa will stop 18 minutes here

>> 6 Days Discover Tibet Train Tour from Xining

Xining Lhasa Train
Beautiful Nagchu Grassland

Which Seat Class to should I take, Soft Sleeper, Hard Sleeper or Hard Seat?

According to our local experience, we strongly suggest travelers choose the Soft Sleeper instead of the Hard Sleeper and Hard Seat to ensure a more comfortable and safer trip because passengers will have to stay a night on the train.

Comparison between Soft Sleeper and Hard Sleeper

Soft SleeperHard Sleeper
Amount of Sleepers 4 6
Size of Sleeper Width:700mm/Length:1900mm Width:500mm/Length:1800mm
TV Yes No
Power Supply Yes No
Vacuum Flask Yes Yes
Door Yes No

Learn more about Soft Sleeper and Hard Sleeper >

(Important Notice: Since there are usually about 64 Soft Sleepers on each train to Tibet, so you’d better confirm your trip and book the train tickets as early as possible. Currently passenger can book the train ticket 30 days in advance.)

Facilities on Xining Lhasa Train – Life on the Train

Air Conditioning and Oxygen Supply There is an air-conditioning system on the train to create an comfortable temperatue and ensure a clean and fresh air. There are also two kinds of oxygen supply systems equipped with on the train. One is a ‘dispersion-mode’ oxygen supply system, which spreading oxygen in the train’s cars through the air-con system. The other system is directly used by passengers through independent port.
Food and Drink There is a dining carriage in the middle position of the train which offers breakfast, lunch and dinner and some snacks. Only some Chinese food and cuisines are provide: rice, vegetables, meals and soups. You can also buy the packed food from the Food Trolley. Hot water is provided all the time. The water received from the washing area is not drinkable.
Luggage Storage If you are taking a Soft Sleeper, you can put your luggage or suitcases on the luggage closet above the door in each Soft Sleeper Carriage. It is about 16 inches (40cm) high and 20 inches (50cm) wide. If you are taking a Hard Sleeper, just place your luggage and suitcases on the luggage racks above the window by the side of aisle.
Toilet and Washing The toilets in Soft Sleeper Carriages are one western-style toilet and another squat toilet. While in the carriages of Hard Sleepers and Hard Seats, there are only squat toilets available. Bring toilet papers on your own. There is a simple washbasin at each side of the carriages. Only cold water is provided, undrinkable.
Compartment In the Soft Sleeper Compartment, there are a small table, a heat-retaining vacuum flask, and a trash can. Under the table is a plug to get power supply. There is also a small TV fixed on the door near the aisle. Close to the window, there is an outlet of oxygen. While in the Hard Sleeper Compartment, there are some other friendly facilities – a small table, a thermos, a dustbin.

Tibet Travel Permit and Train Travel

To take a train to Lhasa from Xining, you will have to hold a Tibet Travel Permit (Tibet Entry Permit) which is issued only by Tibet Tourism Bureau, and also can only be applied by travel agency behalf of travelers. When you check in at railway station, you have to show the permit. The Entry Permit is also required when you or your agent book train ticket at railway station or branch offices.

It needs about 15~20 days to apply for and get the Tibet Travel Permit. But there is no limitation on the months and dates except March. While the train ticket can only be booked about 30 days in advance, so you can first contact us to apply for the permit first, then move on to next step to book train tickets.

How to Apply for Tibet Travel Permit

1. Contact a us to work out and confirm an itinerary in Tibet;

2. Send us the scanned copies of your passport, and provide an available address in China(hotel or local agency) to receive your permit;

3. We apply for the Tibet Travel Permit from Tibet Tourism Bureau in Lhasa;

4. Once the permit is issued, we will send the original permit to you by post.

> Learn more detail about Tibet Travel Permit Application

Xian Lhasa Train and Tibet Travel Permit
A Sample of Tibet Travel Permit (Tibet Entry Permit)

How to Book Xining Lhasa Train Tickets

Currently all trains to Tibet will make stop at Xining, which means you can choose to take any one of the 6 trains from Beijing, Shanghai, Chengdu, Chongqing, Guangzhou and Lanzhou to Tibet. Plus, Xining also operates one exclusive train Z6801 to Lhasa.

You can book train ticket on your own at any railway station or branch office in China or contact a travel agency to book for you. Generally speaking, the travel agencies always have the bigger chances to obtain a Tibet train ticket especially during tourism peak season because they can book tickets both online and off line. They also always keep up with the latest situations. Both the passport and Tibet Travel Permit are needed to book train tickets at railway station, but only passport information is needed if you let a travel agency book train tickets online.

Some useful tips to increase the chance of successful ticket booking

1. If you fail to book the ticket of Xining to Lhasa train, you can try booking tickets of former stations (cities) to Lhasa, such as Lanzhou, Xian, etc. If you have managed to obtain a ticket from those cities, you can also board the train at Xining Railway Station.

2. When you find it hard to book a ticket for Xinig to Lhasa train, you can change a starting station, such as Lanzhou, Beijing, Chengdu, Chongqing, Guangzhou, Shanghai.

Xining Lhasa Train
Lower Soft Sleeper on Tibet Trains

How to Get to Xining Railway Station

There are three railway stations in Xining – Xining Railway Station (西宁站), Xining East Railway Station (西宁东站), Xining West Railway Station (西宁西站). But only the Xining Railway Station provide passenger transport service. The other two stations are for freight transport. Xining Railway Station is the starting station of Qinghai Tibet Railway. It is also the joint railway station for all trains to Tibet, including trains from Beijing, Chengdu, Shanghai, Lanzhou, Chongqing and Guangzhou.

Xining Railway Station is located at Huzhu Road, Chengdong District, Xining City (西宁市城东区互助路), about 2 miles (3 km) from central city area, 19 miles (30 km) from Caojiabao Airport, and 20 miles (32 km) from Ta'er Monastery. You can take a taxi to Xining Railway Station conveniently from any region in Xining. It is suggested to get to the railway station at least 1 hour before the train departure so that you will have enough time to collect ticket, check in and find your train. Currently there is no subway in Xining City.

Xining Lhasa Train
Xining Railway Station Outlook

How to Plan a Travel in Xining

Xining not only provides the shortest train road to Tibet, but also offers a great opportunity to enjoy a short-break trip. You can spend about 2 or more days in this exotic city in northwestern China to explore its beautiful nature and charming culture.

Classic Xining Two Days Tour

  • Day 1: drive about 155km (about 2.5hrs) to visit the best highlight of Qinghai Lake – Erlangjian Scenic Spot. After Qinghai Lake sightseeing, drive back to Xining for accommodation.
  • Day 2: In the morning, you can go to take a half day tour to Taer Monastery, the birthplace of the Tibetan Buddhism master – Tsongkhapa. Then drive back to city to catch a train to Tibet.

Xining – Qinghai Lake- Zhangye – Jiayuguan – Xining Circuit

Xining is also the gateway to northwestern China - Ancient Silk Road Region. If time allows, you are suggested to take following Silk Road Adventure from Xining

  • Day 1 drive about 155km (about 2.5hrs) to visit the best highlight of Qinghai Lake – Erlangjian Scenic Spot. After Qinghai Lake sightseeing, drive back to Xining for accommodation.
  • Day 2 Take a high speed train Zhangye in the morning, and visit the famous natural wonder – Zhangye Danxia Landform;
  • Day 3 Visit Giant Buddha Temple, and then take a high speed train to Jiayuguan City to visit the ancient project Jiayuguan Pass Fortress.
  • Day 4 Drive to Dunhuang. Visit Yulin Grottoes along the road.
  • Day 5 Visit the world famous Mogao Grottoes in the morning, and explore wonderful Crescent Lake and Sand Echoing Mountian in the afternoon.
  • Day 6 Take a flight back to Xining to catch your train to Tibet.

>> 10 Days Panda & Qinghai Tibet Railway Experience Tour

>> 11 Days Beijing Xining Tibet Traversing Tour

Xining Lhasa Train
Marvelous Qinghai Lake in Xining
Xining Lhasa Train
Incredible Zhangye Danxia Landform

B-Plan for Xining Lhasa Train

1. Take a flight to Tibet

Travelers can take a flight to Lhasa from Xing. There are usually two flights each day. It takes only about 2.5 hours to get to the holy city Lhasa. We suggest you take morning flight so that you can get to Lhasa in the afternoon, and have enough time to adjust yourself to the high altitude and air pressure.

Flight NumberDepartureArrivalDuration
3U8687 09:45am 12:10am 3hrs 25mins
3U8901 11:50am 14:25pm 2hrs 35mins

(The above flight info is just for reference only. You can contact us for the updated flight schedules, ticket availabilities, price and other info.)

2. Take Train to Tibet from other Cities

If you are not able to obtain a train ticket of Xining to Lhasa train, you can take a train from Chengdu, Beijing, Chongqing, Guangzhou and Shanghai.