Beijing Lhasa Train

  • by Nance
  • Last Updated: 2020-06-17

As the capital of China, Beijing is usually the first station for foreign tourists to enter China. If you choose to land in Beijing, you may stay 2 or 3 days here to visit the incredible historical sites such as the Forbidden City, the Summer Palace, the Great Wall, the Tiananmen Square, then take a train from Beijing West Railway Station to Lhasa.

As early as July 2006, Beijing Lhasa Railway (Z21) was launched to cater to travelers from northern China. It's also one of the three earliest railways after the Qinghai-Tibet railway was completed, and the other two main lines are from Chengdu to Lhasa, Xining to Lhasa. The trains from Beijing to Lhasa are 3,757 kilometers long with 10 stations, across eight provinces. The train from Beijing to Lhasa stops averages about 11 minutes per station. And it takes about three days or 41 hours on the whole train journey. It will give you an unforgettable experience in a lifetime.

From Xining, the start point of Qinghai-Tibet Railway, you’ll get to see some of the most spectacular views of this train route. You can enjoy the highlights of this train journey such as Qinghai Lake, Chaidamu Basin, Gobi Desert, snow-capped mountains, the Tanggula Mountains, vast grasslands and other beautiful scenery along with the railway. Here's the train route,

Beijing to Lhasa train

Train Schedule and Altitude Change

Altitude sickness is the major concern for first-time visitors to Tibet. It's symptomatic of the following conditions, namely: headaches, vomiting, trouble sleeping, tiredness, and dizziness. This sickness is caused by exposure to low levels of oxygen at high elevation. You will never experience the lack of oxygen for the train has pressurized cabins.

From Beijing to Xining, which usually takes 17 hours, there is a gradual altitude change (from 44 meters to 2,200 meters above sea level). So, passengers will not experience any symptoms of altitude sickness. After Xining, the train will keep running on Qinghai-Tibet Plateau, at an average altitude of above 4,000 meters. When the train moves from Xining to Nagchu, there is an abrupt altitude change from 2,200 meters to 4,500 meters, during which you will also reach the highest point of the rail line - the Tanggula Mountain Pass (5,072 meters). At Nagchu Station, the train will stop for 7 minutes. If you want, you can get out of the train to feel the weather of Tibet Plateau. Moreover, at Golmud Railway Station, the oxygen supply is immediately turned on to compensate for the lack of oxygen of the surroundings.  





Stop Time



8:00 pm

44 meters


10:33 pm

10:37 pm

291 km

4 minutes

80 meters


12:19 am

12:25 am

516 km

6 minutes

820 meters


7:05 am

7:16 am

1,263 km

11 minutes

1,225 meters


12:17 pm

12:32 pm

1,569 km

15 minutes

1,530 meters


3:01 pm

3:21 pm

1,785 km

20 minutes

1,785 meters


7:23 pm

7:25 pm

2,306 km

2 minutes

2,306 meters


10:10 pm

22:35 pm

2,615 km

25 minutes

2,780 meters


8:41 am


3,435 km

7 minutes

4,500 meters


12:40 pm


3,650 meters

Beijing Lhasa Train Ticket Price and Schedule

Train No. From/To  Dep. /Arr.  Duration Distance(km) Frequency Hard Sleeper Ticket Soft Sleeper Ticket
Z21 Beijing/Lhasa 20:00/12:45 40:45 3757 Daily CNY720/USD116 CNY1144/USD185
Z22 Lhasa/Beijing 16:30/08:28 39:58 3757 Daily CNY720/USD116 CNY1144/USD185

Nota Bene:

  • The abovementioned ticket prices are only net prices and the actual booking price may be higher because it includes a service fee.
  • It would be advisable to make an early reservation to ensure that you will get the train ticket for your preferred date.

Hard Sleeper or Soft Sleeper?

Normally, there are three categories of seat classes available in Qinghai-Tibet Train, including soft sleeper, hard sleeper, or hard seat. Beijing-Lhasa train travel is a long journey that takes up to three days. Due to its length as well as the changing altitude, soft sleepers are strongly suggested to ensure you comfortable overnights on the train. A soft sleeper is much more spacious, cozier, quieter, and safer, compared with a hard sleeper.

hard sleeper
soft sleeper

The Best Time for Train Travel

You can visit Tibet all-year-round by train. Yet, there are peak and low train travel seasons in Tibet. The onset of summer is the start of peak travel season in Tibet and this peak season coincides with the months of June, July, August, and September. During these months, getting a train ticket to Tibet from Beijing may be a bit difficult. Hence, if you want to travel during this period, you need to book a ticket in advance to ensure that you will get to travel by train. The low travel season, on the other hand, is from December to January. During this period, you can easily get tickets. 

How to Book Beijing Lhasa Train Tickets?

You can book a train ticket at the railway station. To book a ticket, you need to bring with you your original passport as well as a photocopy of your Tibet Travel Permit. You can also contact Great Tibet Tour and we will be very much willing to book you a ticket on your preferred travel date. At the West Railway Station of Beijing, you should proceed to counter 16 at the north square's east ticket hall. There, you will find an English-speaking employee. Make sure that you get the right one when you book a ticket.

You can also book a ticket on which is the official ticket-booking website. This ticket-booking website is operated by China Railway Engineering Corporation. Through this website, you can accurately and immediately book a train ticket to Tibet. Before you can book, however, you need to register and log in. After you have booked a ticket, you can then check the confirmation page and then pay up. You can pay via Chinese Banks, Alipay, or UnionPay. However, you need to know how to read Chinese before you can book a ticket on this website because the website used Chinese characters.

You can also call 95105105 for reservation. You can call this number from 7:00 am to 11:00 pm. However, customer service speaks in Chinese likewise.

Lastly, you can also book a ticket by contacting us, at Greattibettour. As a touring service of your choice, we can book for you your train ticket as well as facilitate your travel to Tibet. If you book your train ticket with us, we will send the train ticket to your address in Beijing. In some cases, we will personally hand over your train ticket at the railway station before you board the train. You can also proceed directly to the railway station to collect your ticket by simply showing your booking number, Tibet Travel Permit, and passport.

Tips: You should go to the train station earlier, at least 2 hours before the departure of the train so that you can have enough time for collecting your ticket.

How to Get to Beijing West Railway Station?

Beijing is the most important air, rail, and road transportation hub in China, being the capital city of the country. Among the railway stations in Beijing, only the Beijing West Railway Station offers train travel to Lhasa. Beijing West Railway Station is located at Lianhuachi East Road(West 3rd Ring Road), 36km away from Beijing Capital International Airport. Beijing is a cosmopolitan with highly developed transportation, so you can get to the Beijing West Railway Station via subway, taxi, or shuttle bus.

Via Subway

The subway route is the fastest way to access the Beijing West Railway Station. This route allows you to escape the usual traffic jams on the major thoroughfares. It will cost 30 RMB from the airport and it usually takes around one hour and twenty minutes to travel from the airport. Its route includes taking the Airport Line, then, transferring to Metro Line 2, afterward, transferring to Metro Line 4 Daxing Line, and lastly, via the Metro Line 7. From downtown to Beijing West Railway Station, you can take a taxi, or travel via Metro Line 7 or Line 9.

The panorama of Beijing subway.

By Airport Shuttle Bus

Just outside the airport, you simply need to go to the bus terminal and look for the Shuttle Bus No. 7. This shuttle bus leaves every half an hour. It takes only 2 hours of bus ride from the airport to the Beijing West Railway Station. This bus ride costs around 30 RMB.

By Taxi

Outside the terminal buildings of the airport, you will find a taxi terminal. You can ride one of the taxis at this terminal. By taxi, you can reach the Beijing West Railway Station within an hour. Taxi ride, however, costs much more. It usually costs around 120 RMB. Moreover, nighttime fares are usually more expensive than daytime fares.

Facilities on Tibet Train

Food & Drink

The dining carriage is in the middle position of the train, offering breakfast, lunch and dinner and some snacks. Only formal Chinese food is available, like rice, vegetables, and soups. You can also buy a boxed meal or some snacks or soft drinks from the Food Trolley, which will be passed to your carriage at mealtime. Hot water is provided all the time, so you can have instant food. What’s more, you can buy some snacks or fruit before your check-in to spend your leisure time.

Air Conditioning & Oxygen Supply 

The temperature is comfortable, and the air is fresh on the train due to the air-conditioning system. The windows of Tibet train are airtight to protect you from extreme temperature change outside. What’s more, there are two kinds of oxygen supply systems equipped on the train to reduce the altitude sickness of tourists.

Luggage Storage

If you are in a soft sleeper carriage, you can put your suitcase on the luggage closet, which is 16 inches (40cm) high and 20 inches (50cm) wide above the door. If you are in a hard sleeper carriage, you can put your suitcase above the luggage rack by the aisle.


The soft sleeper carriage usually comes with one western-style toilet and a squat-style toilet. The hard sleeper carriage has two squat-styled toilets. There are also washbasins on the train with hot & cold water available. As a tourist, you need to bring your own towel, tissue paper, and other toiletries.

Dustbin, Power Plug Outlets & Shower Room

At one end of the carriage, you will see a dustbin. There is also a hot water dispenser and free boiled water is available all the time. Along the corridors, you will find power plug outlets. There are also outlets in your soft sleeper cabin under the table. Unfortunately, however, there is no shower room inside the train.

FAQs About Beijing-Lhasa Train Travel

1. How Do I Board a Beijing-Lhasa Train?

Although you might have already booked your ticket and have your ticket with you, you still have to follow some procedures when boarding the train.

  • First, you should fill out the Health History Form. The Health History Form requires you to declare your medical history including illnesses like stroke, hypertension, chronic respiratory problem, and any other cardiovascular disease. You can never board the train if you have any of the abovementioned illnesses.
  • Then, you need to pass through the security check. You should line up for the security check before you can enter the waiting hall. You need to present your passport, train ticket, and Tibet Travel Permit to the staff and put your luggage, including backpacks and carry-on bags on the security scanner conveyor belt.
  • Afterward, you need to find the waiting room. You'll be guided by the LED screen that shows the train number, terminal, and the departing time as well as the waiting room.
  • Finally, you will board the train. Check-ins usually start from 15 to 30 minutes prior to the departure. The barriers usually close five minutes before the train departure. Lastly, you should find your berth based on your ticket.

2. Should I Carry My Tibet Travel Permit All the Time?

Yes, you need to carry with your Tibet Travel Permit most of the time because this permit is usually checked a lot of times during your train travel. You should also have several copies of this permit. Aside from the Tibet Travel Permit, you should also carry with your passport.

3. Can I Transfer from One Train to Another Using the Same Ticket?

No, you can never use your ticket if you transfer from one train to another along the Beijing-Lhasa Route. If you want, for example, to stay longer in Xining or any other stops, you need to buy a different ticket for the succeeding sections. You should not worry, however, about taking breaks for in some stations, the train usually makes longer stops for sightseeing and the needed break.

4. Is there any high-speed train from Beijing to Lhasa?

No high-speed train is available from Beijing to Lhasa currently. The only direct train Z21 is an ordinary train. However, you can take a high-speed train from Beijing to Xining then take a train to Lhasa.

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Typically Asked Questions from Our Clients



Hallo, we are two and want to take the train from Beijing to Lhasa at the 1th of August and fly out at the 5th of August. How do we get the Tibet Tourism Permit and how do we book the train. Thank your for your answer. Best regards, Heike



We can help you book the train tickets and handle all the Tibet permit after you book a tour with us.



Hallo, we are two and want to take the train from Beijing to Lhasa at the 1th of August and fly out at the 5th of August. How do we get the Tibet Tourism Permit and how do we book the train. Thank your for your answer. Best regards, Heike



We can help you book the train tickets and handle all the Tibet permit after you book a tour with us. 5 Days Lhasa & Yamdrotso Lake Tour is highly recommended. We have a fixed tour with departure date on Aug.1st.



We are planning to visit Beijing couple of days and intend to take a train to Lhasa . Few days at Lhasa and back to Singapore. Any advise how we should do it. In December 2018.



In your inquiry, you mentioned that you would like to visit Beijing and Tibet in December 2018.  

Before I could suggest a suitable tour package, please help me with the following information.


1. What's your nationality?

2. How many people will do this tour?

3. How many days are you planning to stay in Beijing and Tibet separately?

4. What kind of accommodation would you like to get? The comfortable (4-star), or the economy class (3-star) hotel?


It will be so much appreciated to have all the answers.



Hallo We would love to take the train form Beijing to Lhasa. The date: Departure Beijing 23. July 2018 with the train. Then we need to fly back on the 26th July 2018. I travel with my dad how is 76 years old. We would like to have a soft-sleeper with just 4 people. Would do send us an offer? Thanks a lot and a wonderful day. Monika



In your inquiry, you mentioned that you and your father would like to take a train from Beijing to Lhasa on 23rd. July., then fly back on 26th.


I don’t quite understand. The train arrives at Lhasa on 25th. and you will leave the next day? Only one night in Lhasa?

Please advise!


Besides, even if you will spend only one night in Lhasa, we have to arrange a private tour for you. Because according to the regulations, foreigners are not allowed to travel to Tibet alone. We must apply for the Tibet Permit, and arrange a private tour guide, a private vehicle. Hope to have your understanding!