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Soft Sleepers on Tibet Trains - Coziest Tibet Train Experience

26 February 2019 Last updated at 09:59

What is the Soft Sleeper?

The Soft Sleeper is a common kind of berth in most regular trains in China, including K, T, Z, L and some overnight D trains (a kind of high speed bullet trains). As its name applying, the Soft Sleeper is a settled single berth with soft beddings equipped in some carriages on the train. Usually there are only 2 carriages which have compartments of Soft Sleepers, accommodating passengers up to 64. Each compartment is a single cabin with a private door facing the aisle, and has 4 Soft Sleepers inside, two upper berths and two lower berths, which are about 30 inches (75cm) wide and 75 inches (190cm) long. The Soft Sleepers are fixed on shelf-like beds which are made of steel, and can bear a weigh around 300kg (661.4ponds).

Tibet Train Soft Sleepers
Soft Sleepers Carriage on the Train Z322 (Chengdu - Lhasa)

Upper Berth or Lower Berth?

There are 2 lower berths and 2 upper berths in each cabin. Usually, the lower berths are more convenient for passengers to get in and off from beds. Because the lower berths are closer to the window, so passengers can have a better view of the outside scenery than from the upper berth. But other passengers in the compartment may sit on your berth in the daytime. While the upper berth has a more private space as well as a cheaper price.

My Sleeper is upper or lower?

The Soft Sleepers in each carriage are numbered from 1 to 36. The even numbers are the upper bunks while the odd numbers are the lower bunks. If you travel with friends, remember to tell the conductor that you wish to stay in the same compartment.

Soft Sleepers on Tibet Trains
Lower Soft Sleeper on the Train Z322 (Chengdu - Lhasa)

Facilities and Amenities in Soft Sleeper Carriage

Regular Facilities in the compartment

If you book a Soft Sleeper, you will not only enjoy a quieter, comfortable and private train riding space, but also have more facilities to use. Besides the wider and spacious berth with quality quit, pillow and sheet, there are also a small table with a tray on it, a heat-retaining vacuum flask, and a trash can. Under the table, you will also find a plug to get power supply for your laptop and phone (220V – you may need a Chinese power plug adapter). There is also a small TV fixed on the door near the aisle. Only some local TV programs are played. (Sometimes the TV is not available for watching in some trains). Close to the window, there is an outlet of oxygen. In the night time, reading lights are available. Passengers can also have disposable slippers in the Soft Sleeper Carriage. The aisle outside the compartment also provides some foldable seats which have great views of other side of the railway.

Luggage Service in the Soft Sleeper Carriage

There is a large and wide luggage closet above the door in each Soft Sleeper Carriage. It is about 16 inches (40cm) high and 20 inches (50cm) wide. You can place some smaller luggage and suitcases here. As for larger and heavier luggage, you can put them under the lower berth. Check Tibet Train Luggage Allowance >

Public Facilities


Each Soft Sleepers Carriage has two toilets, one on the left end and another on the right end. Both western toilets and squat toilet are equipped on the train. Do remember to bring toilet papers on your own.

Washing Area

At the end of the carriage near to the toilets, there is a washing area. Both hot water and cool water are supplied. Toiletries are not provided on the train. There is also a big mirror there.

Drinking Water

There is a drinking water dispenser on the left and right ends of the carriage. Both hot water and cool water can be received. Don’t drink the water from the Washing Area.

Smoking Area

It is not allowed to smoke in the compartment and aisle area, even in the toilet. If you want to smoke, you can go to the end of your carriage where there is a smoking area.

Soft Sleepers on Tibet Trains
TV Screen and Closth Hanger
Soft Sleepers on Tibet Trains
Outlets of Oxygen and Air-Condition
Soft Sleepers on Tibet Trains
Toliet in Soft Sleeper Carriage
Soft Sleepers on Tibet Trains
Luggage Closet

Prices of Soft Sleepers for Top Tibet Train Routes

Currently, there are Soft Sleeper tickets selling for the trains to Lhasa from Beijing, Chengdu, Shanghai, Xian, Xining, Lanzhou, Chongqing and Guangzhou. The prices are more expensive than the Hard Sleepers but reasonable. Travelers have to stay for two nights if taking a train to Lhasa from Beijing, Chengdu, Shanghai, Guangzhou and Chongqing. The prices of Lower Soft Sleepers are more expensive than the prices of Upper Sleepers are not the same, but not very much.

Travelers who take a train from Chengdu, Chongqing, Shanghai or Guangzhou to Lhasa have to change to a Plateau Train at Xining Railway Station. Please check following table for details:

Route/Train Num. Soft Sleeper Price Depart/Arrive Time Duration
Beijing - Lhasa (Z21) About ¥1,144.00 20:00~12:10 40hrs 10mins
Chengdu - Lhasa (Z322) About ¥1,062.00 14:48~09:55 43hrs 7mins
Shanghai - Lhasa (Z164) About ¥1,262.50 20:10~19:20 47hrs 10mins
Xian - Lhasa (Z265) About ¥969.50 11:24~19:20 31hrs 20mins
Xining - Lhasa (Z6801) About ¥781.00 14:01~11:10 21hrs 9mins
Lanzhou - Lhasa (Z917) About ¥823.00 11:16~11:10 23hrs 54mins
Chongqing - Lhasa (Z223) About ¥1,079.00 15:42~09:55 42hrs 13mins
Guangzhou - Lhasa (Z264) About ¥1,468.00 11:45~17:05 53hrs 20mins

(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.)

Comparison between Soft Sleeper and Hard Sleeper

Generally speaking, the Soft Sleeper Compartments are more luxury than the Hard Sleeper Compartments, and provide larger space, more facilities. Check following form to get a brief comparison.

Soft Sleeper Hard 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

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 the Tibet Train ride is once-in-a-lifetime experience. And passengers will have to stay two nights on the train if he/she takes a train from Beijing, Chengdu, Shanghai, etc.

Our Top Tibet Tours with Qinghai-Tibet Train Experience

>> 10 Days Beijing Xian Lhasa Memory Tour by Train

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Useful Tips on Soft Sleepers on Tibet Trains

1. Since there are four sleepers in each compartment, so passengers have to share the space with others who may be of the opposite sex. If you feel uncomfortable with this, you can ask the conductor to arrange an all-female or all-male compartment when you buy the ticket at the train station. (you cannot choose the sleeper when booking online or through telephone) If you are traveling with friends or families, you can also ask the conductor to arrange your sleepers in the same compartment.

2. If you are traveling to Lhasa from Beijing, Shanghai, Chengdu, you are strongly suggested to take the Soft Sleepers because you need to spend two nights on the train.

3. To travel to Tibet by train, you need to hold a Tibet Entry Permit.

Recommended Tibet Train Tour Packages

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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