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 which only runs from Xining to Lhasa, and 4 trains from other cities, such as Beijing, Shanghai, Chengdu, etc.

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

Xining Lhasa Train Schedules and Fares

14 December 2022 Last updated at 10:09

Referential Currency: RMB=1USD
  • Train No.
  • Departure / Train Staiton
  • Duration
  • Seat Type / USD Price / Availability

Note: Train information is subject to final confirmation due to the delay of data occasionally.

Choose one of our Top Beijing Tibet Train Tours below or click to check All Xining Tibet Tours>

☞ 6 Days Discover Tibet Train Tour from Xining

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☞ 11 Days Beijing Xining Tibet Traversing Tour

Xining to Lhasa or Lhasa to Xining?

Take a train from Xining to Lhasa 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 acclimatizing to the high altitudes of Qinghai Tibet Plateau so that you won’t suffer from high altitude sickness on the train or during your trip in Tibet. At the same time, you will have 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>

But if you choose to take the train route from Lhasa to Xining, you will have a bigger chance to get 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 get there in the early daytime, you will have a chance to see the Tibetan. If you arrive at night, the sparkling stars will be an unforgettable scene.


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.

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 temperature 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 a stop at Xining, which means you can choose to take any one of the trains from Beijing, Shanghai, Chengdu, Chongqing, Guangzhou and Lanzhou to Tibet. Plus, Xining also operates one exclusive train 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 Xining Railway Station provides 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 time so that you will have enough time to collect ticket, check in and find your train.

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 Xining. There are about 10 direct 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.

(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.

☞ 7 Days Lifetime Tibet Train Tour from Chengdu

☞ 7 Days Tibet Tour from Xian by Qinghai Tibet Railway