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Hard Seats on Tibet Trains - Cheapest Tibet Train Experience

14 December 2022 Last updated at 11:03

What is the Hard Seat

All Tibet Trains have three kinds of seats – Softer Sleeper, Hard Sleeper and Hard Seat. Hard Seat is the cheapest but not recommended for long distance travelers. There are four Hard Seat carriages in every train to Lhasa and every carriage is equipped with 98 cushioned seats. The seats are fixed in the two sides of the aisle, two seats in one side and three seats in the other side usually. The adjacent rows of seats are face to face with a small table between them. The seats are 40cm (16 inches) wide and almost vertical.

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Tibet Train Hard Seats
Hard Seats Carriage

Seating Plan of Hard Seats

Generally, the seats beside the window are more popular because the passengers can enjoy the scenery conveniently. What’s more, the tables between the two rows of seats are in rather short length and it unable to be used by the passenger with seats clear the aisle. Getting a seat beside the window means getting an opportunity to sleep at the desk. The numbers of seats by window includes 1, 98 and other numbers which ends with 0, 5, 4 and 9. Check the following chart as a reference.

Tibet Train Hard Seats
Hard Seat Plan

Note: You could ask the ticket seller to offer you a seat by the window if they are available. But you are unable to choose position if you book a ticket on line.

Facilities and Amenities in Hard Seat Carriage

The facilities in the Hard Seat carriage of Tibet trains are not as good as Hard Sleeper Carriage and Soft Sleeper Carriage. They are rather basic but much better than other Z-trains or K-trains in China.

Regular Facilities in the Carriage

There is a small table between two faced seats but it is too short that can be reached only by the passengers on the window-side seats. Under every seat, you can find an oxygen outlet which can be used through an oxygen pipe when you feel suffer from oxygen deprivation. Ask the train conductor for help if you need. No available power-socket, no dustbin, no vacuum flask and any other facilities which are equipped in the sleeper carriages.

Luggage Service in the Hard Seat Carriage

The Hard Seat Carriage is equipped with luggage racks above the windows. The luggage holder is 50cm (20 inches) wide. You can place your luggage and suitcase there. It is also available to put your large luggage under your seat. Valuable personal belongs should be put in your carry-on bag. Check Tibet Train Luggage Allowance >

Public Facilities


There are two squat toilets located in the two ends of every carriage. Only Soft Sleeper carriage has western-style toilet. No toilet paper is provided and you need to take your own supply. There is also a simple water basin in the toilet but only cool water available. You can find two buttons on the wall of the toilet, green one for flushing the toilet, red one for asking for help when emergency occurs. If you travel alone and need to go to the toilet, you’d better not leave your belongings on your seat.

Washing Area

At one end of every carriage, there is a washing area equipped with mirrors and taps. Only cool water is provided as well and you need take your own toilet requisites. Because the washing area in the Hard Seat Carriage is shared by 98 passengers usually, it is always busy and crowded there. You’d better the busy time in the morning from 7:00-9:00am or evening from 6:00-9:00pm.

Drinking Water

There is a hot water dispenser on one end of the carriage, from which you can receive free hot drinking water. The water from the washing area is undrinkable.

Smoking Area

The connection of two carriages is the only place where you can smoke. After the train arrives in Golmud and the oxygen supply begins to work, the passengers are forbidden to smoke.

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Oxygen Outlet in Hard Seats
Oxygen Outlet under the Seats
Toilet in Hard Seat Carriages of Tibet Trains
Squat Toilet in Hard Seat Carriage
Hard Seats on Tibet Trains
Available Hot Water Dispenser
Hard Seats on Tibet Trains
Passengers on Hard Seats

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 Hard Seat Price Duration
Beijing - Lhasa About ¥360.00 About 40h
Chengdu - Lhasa About ¥302.50 About 36h
Shanghai - Lhasa About ¥402.50 About 47h
Xian - Lhasa About ¥293.50 About 31h
Xining - Lhasa About ¥224.00 About 21h
Lanzhou - Lhasa About ¥240.00 About 23h
Chongqing - Lhasa About ¥335.00 About 35h
Guangzhou - Lhasa About ¥447.00 About 53h

Important Notice: Since there are more Hard Seats than Hard Sleepers and Soft Sleepers on each train to Tibet, you are suggested to book the tickets earlier. The tickets can be booked 30 in advance on line and 28 days in advance at the railway station.)

Comparison between Hard Seat, Hard Sleeper and Soft Sleeper

Generally speaking, the Hard Sleeper is much better than Hard Seat, and the Soft Sleeper are the best Choice. Because it offers much larger space, more facilities, more clean environment.

Hard Seat Hard Sleeper Soft Sleeper
Amount of Seats/Sleepers 5 in a row 6 in a compartment 4 in a compartment
Size of Size/Sleeper Width: 0.5m Width: 0.7m/Length: 1.9m Width: 0.5m/Length: 1.8m
Toilet Squat-style Squat-style Western Style
TV No No Yes
Power Supply No Yes Yes
Vacuum Flask No Yes Yes
Door No No No

Check more information for Hard Sleepers and Soft Sleepers

Useful Tips on Sleeper and Seat on Tibet Trains

1. Hard Seat is Not Recommend.

♦ There are 98 passengers in one carriage and it will be always crowded.

♦ The seat is almost vertical and unable to adjust, which means that you can only sit. Without a good rest, passengers are easier to get a high altitude sickness.

♦ The lights in the Hard Sleeper Carriages won’t be turned off for the whole nights. There might be some people walking around or playing games.

2. If you persist on Hard Seat, take something helpful for you, like a U-shaped Pillow, earplugs, eye-patch, wet paper napkin etc.

3. Tibet Travel Permit is required when getting on the train.

How to Plan A Tibet Tour

Tibet is a place with majestic landscapes and splendid culture. There might be hundreds of ways to travel Tibet, especially its most appealing destinations - Lhasa, Everest, Namtso, Kailash, etc. We suggest you start your tour from the capital Lhasa. You can take 3~4 days to acclimatize high altitudes and explore the highlights of Lhasa city. Then you can spend 1~2 days to visit Lhasa's surroundings, such as Namtso, Yamdrok Lake, Ganden Monastery, etc. Beside Lhasa and its surrounding regions, you shall not miss the 3rd pole of the earth, Mt Everest, which is no longer a privilege site for just mountaineers and spending 3~4 more days to explore it. Later, you can head back to Lhasa or continue your journey to the west to reach Ngari and kora around the holy Mount Kailash and Manasarovar. It totally depends on your schedules and preferences.

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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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