• by Apple
  • Last Updated: 2019-11-05

Train to Tibet is listed as one of the "The world's top 25 iconic rail adventures". Riding a train to Lhasa has become a rather good choice of traveling to Tibet with the completion of the world's highest railway - the Qinghai-Tibet Railway, which is also the only railway to Lhasa from the mainland China at present. Along the way, you will see breathtaking scenery, such as the blue sky and white clouds, Desert landscape, Snow-capped mountains, Snowing on the desert landscape, the Green pasture of farmlands, Goats and yaks grazing the grassland, Sacred lakes of Tibet, Source of Yangtze River, Hohxil Natural Reserve, etc. Of course, enjoying the high-quality services on the best train in China is also a wonderful experience of traveling to Tibet by train.

The Qinghai-Tibet Railway, as the only railway that links Lhasa railway station to the existing rail network of mainland China, is always busy throughout the year. On one hand, the scenery along the railway deserves time. On the other hand, the Qinghai-Tibet Railway itself is a man-made world wonder. The Tibet Railway creates many worlds’ firsts: the world’s highest railway, the world's highest railway station, the world’s longest track on frozen earth, etc.

Qinghai-Tibet Railway starts from Xining.

Far view of Qinghai-Tibet Railway.

Trains to Tibet from Cities of China Mainland

It is relatively cheap and convenient to take a train to Lhasa from other inland cities of China. At present, there are direct trains to Tibet from Xining, Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Chengdu, Chongqing, Xi’an, and Lanzhou. Many trains to Tibet beginning from other cities will pass by Xining, Xian, Lanzhou or Golmud. Therefore, not surprisingly, Qinghai-Tibet Railway is so attractive for both domestic and foreign tourists. The popularity of Tibet train tour results in huge demand for train tickets among tourists. It is very hard for individual travelers to obtain a Tibet train ticket in the peak tourism season. GreatTibetTour.com can help you book Tibet train tickets easier. Still, it is quite difficult to guarantee the first-class soft sleeper berth ticket from Beijing, Shanghai, and Chengdu, as the three places are popular gateway cities for many foreigners to China.

At the beginning, only three trains ran: Beijing–Lhasa (every day), Chengdu/Chongqing–Lhasa (every other day), and Lanzhou/Xining–Lhasa. Shanghai/Guangzhou–Lhasa service was added in October 2006. From July 2010 the Shanghai–Lhasa service became daily, and a daily service between Xining and Lhasa was added. 

Tibet Train: Views along the Way

The map of Qinghai-Tibet Railway.

The spots distribution map of Qinghai-Tibet Railway.

While the Tibet region is called the roof of the world, the Qinghai- Tibet railway system is called the sky road itself. The beauty of nature alongside the rail track is heavenly and breathtaking. Along with the Qinghai Tibet railway, the line enters the Tibet section. All trains across the Tibetan plateau during daylight, guaranteeing you great views. From Golmud the train climbs through the desert into the jagged caramel-colored mountains of Nanshankou(Southern Pass), passing what feels like a stone’s throw from the impressive glaciers beside Yuzhu Feng(Jade Pearl Peak, 6178m). Continuing journey to the south, you will observe the beauty of slow-flowing, 800km broad- Tongtian River, then experience the beauty of the underlying chain of Tanggula Mountains. Running deeper into the Tanggula Mountains, the train stops at Tanggula station. The Tanggula Mountain is divided into eastern and western parts; the western part allows you to experience cold and desert vista, and the eastern part has a beautiful view of shrubs and grassland.

Departing from Tangula mountain stop, the train begins to enter Tibet Autonomous Region. When passing by the 4776m Kunlun Pass, where you can see the prayer flags, and Cona Lake, 9.5hrs from Golmud near Amdo, claimed to be the highest freshwater lake in the world at 4608m. The train crosses into Tibet over the 5072m Tangula Pass, the line’s high point. Keep your eyes peeled throughout the journey for Tibetan antelope, fox and wild asses, plus the occasional nomad. You will experience the beauty of the Nagqu district of the northern part of Tibet, and then you move to Northern Grassland. You can’t stop yourself to experience the natural scenery here which has a painting of blue sky, white clouds, colorful rainbow, and cattle like cows, sheep, and the green grass.

After Nagqu, train heads toward another moorland marsh. You will experience the beautiful scattered herdsmen huts, surrounded by greenery and grazing cattle. From here, you enter Dangxiong, a town in the east of Namtso Lake. It gives you a feel of the lush place, the same as Lhasa.

Your train journey will reach the last mountain chain, Nyainqentanglha Mountains, running along the railway. At the west direction, you will experience the charm of 7000meters high, four peaks on the Dangxiong grasslands. Then you reach YangpachenTown,  where you can see beautiful gorges,  and then you approach Duilongdeqing County. You will see trees, and most of them are Tibet Willow.

After enjoying all the beautiful sceneries, you will experience the beauty of Lhasa Rivers, and finally, you reach your destination-Lhasa.

You will see amazing plateau scenery along Qinghai-Tibet railway.

On the train, you still can see crystal-alike lakes.

What about Oxygen and Health?

The trains on the Qinghai- Tibet railway are built to have an oxygen supply for all the passengers. Each train contains two oxygen provision systems. The first system ensures the oxygen provision in the entire train through temperature and air pressure control. The other system helps people individually by providing them with oxygen through individual ports. Moreover, there are oxygen masks in each cabin in case of an emergency. Adding to this, to ensure the passengers’ safety, each train has a doctor on board along with necessary medical equipment and medicines. These arrangements are necessary because of the high-altitude region with a lack of oxygen.

At the time of ticket purchasing, one must acquire a passenger health registration card which includes notices about the high-altitude region, and the dangers related to oxygen. Each individual must sign an agreement to acquire this health registration card.

FAQs about Tibet Train

All the frequently asked questions about Tibet train. 

Q: Is Tibet Train Punctual?
A: The departure of Tibet train is usually very punctual. The arrival of Tibet train is not as punctual. Give it 100mins or so of delay.
Q: Do Train Attendants on Tibet Train Speak English?
A: No attendant on Tibet train speaks fluent English, though some of them speak some simple English. If you encounter some trouble in communication, please seek the help of other passengers. Young people in China more or less speak a little English. Or to call your travel consultant of Great Tibet Tour, who would be happy to help you at all time.
Q: Is There Private Bathroom In Tibet Train?
A: There is no private bathroom available on Tibet Train, but public bathrooms with sink area at one side of the carriage. You will be sharing the bathroom with the rest passengers in the carriage. Also, train attendants will constantly clean it. Note that there's no toilet paper available in the bathroom.
Q: Can I Take Shower on Tibet Train?
A: There is no shower available in Tibet train.
Q: Is There Internet Access on Tibet Train?
A: There is no internet access on Tibet Train.
Q: Is Mobile Phone Accessible on Tibet Train?
A: There's a weak signal for mobile phone most of the time.
Q: Are There Electric Outlets on Tibet Train?
A: There's no electric outlet on Tibet Train for a passenger to use.
Q: Is There Any Entertainment Facilities on Tibet Train?
A: Almost no other entertainment except Railway TV in soft sleeper berth car. Views along the way is your main entertainment.
Q: Is There Hot Water Supply on Tibet Train?
A: Each car of Tibet train is equipped with a 24 hours hot water supply, which you can get boiled hot water. You can get the hot water in the sink area.

Is It Safe for Foreigners in Tibet Train?

It is quite safe for foreigners on the train to Tibet, and most foreign travelers choose the soft sleeper coaches with doors. At night, the doors can be closed and locked. Every night before the lights out, the train attendants will check your train tickets. Those without corresponding tickets will be asked to leave and return to their original seats before closing the soft sleeper coach. Hard-Sleeper Berth Compartments has no doors of their own. No matter which kind of train tickets you choose, please be careful of your valuables.

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Asked Questions from our Clients

EFIM***

2017-07-26

WHAT IS THE COST FOR A SLEEPER AND 2ND CLASS COACH TO Lhasa from Beijing IN AUGUST-OCTOBER?

penny

Dear Efim Gartstein, there are the hard sleepers and soft sleepers available for the train from Beijing to Lhasa. The cost is about US$205/person and US$300/person seperately.

Could you kindly let me know more information as below so that I can provide you the proposal accordingly?

1. Which month you plan to visit Tibet?

2. How many days you can stay in Tibet?

3. How many people in your group or you'll travel alone?

4. What kind of accommodation you would like to stay in, the Luxurious (5-star), the comfortable (4-star)/economy class (3-star) hotel or the budget guest house?