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Xining to Lhasa Train

  • Last Updated: 2024-07-15
The unique scenery of Qinghai Tibet Railway.

The distance from Xining to Lhasa train is 1,972km/1,233 miles, which takes 21 hours. It's an ideal place to start your Tibet train tour, as you will ascend your altitude from Xining(2,261 meters) to Lhasa(3,650 meters) gradually therefore you will have enough time to acclimatize the elevation. Xining is the starting point of the Qinghai-Tibet Railway and the capital city of Qinghai Province.

The railway from Xining to Lhasa was finished until 2006 while the station was set in 1959. It now serves as the main station for trains to Lhasa, and all trains to Tibet pass through the city so it's actually the main train station for many trips to Tibet.

Xining to Lhasa train route

Xining to Lhasa Train Schedules

There are several trains departing from Xining to Lhasa originally. And the rest are all through trains. All trains running from Xining to Lhasa are pressurized, supplied with artificial oxygen, and sealed. The windows have ultraviolet filters to protect passengers from UV radiation.

For better scenery, you are recommended to take Z165 as it passes through the major scenic spots in the daytime.

Train No. Dep. - Arr. Duration Soft Sleeper Ticket Hard Sleeper Ticket


Chengdu to Lhasa

(Every other day)

11:41 - 07:41+1 20:00 CNY781 / USD120 CNY495 / USD76


Chongqing to Lhasa

(Every other day)

11:41 - 07:41+1 20:00 CNY781 / USD120 CNY495 / USD76


Xián to Lhasa

12:50 - 10:20+1 21:30 CNY781 / USD120 CNY495 / USD76


Beijing to Lhasa

15:24 - 11:21+1 19:57 CNY781 / USD120 CNY495 / USD76


Guangzhou to Lhasa

18:13 - 14:17+1 20:04 CNY781/ USD120 CNY495 / USD76


Shanghai to Lhasa

19:26 - 15:05+1 19:39 CNY781 / USD120 CNY495 / USD76


Xining to Lhasa

21:10 - 17:04+1 19:54 CNY781 / USD120 CNY495 / USD76


Xining to Lhasa

21:50 - 17:39+1 19:49 CNY781 / USD120 CNY495 / USD76

How to Get to Xining Railway Station?

There are three railway stations in Xining, among which only Xining Railway Station( 西宁站) provides passenger service. Xining Railway Station is located in the center of Xining City, Qinghai Province.

Address: No. 128 Huzhu Middle Road, Chengdong District, Xining City(西宁市城东区互助中路128号)

Xining is the starting point of the Qinghai-Tibet Railway and connects Lhasa, Golmud, Beijing, Shanghai, Xi'an, etc. Therefore, it has become a popular hub on the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau. Most trains to Lhasa stop at Xining Railway Station, and it takes about 21 hours from Xining to Lhasa.

From Xining Downtown, 5 miles(8 km) away.

By Bus: There are 10 special bus lines to the West Railway Station in Xining City, including No.1, No.2, No.3, No.4, No.5, No.26, No.41, No.58, No.83, and No.109. Also 7 bus lines pass through Xining Railway Station, including No. 17, No. 22, No. 33, No. 105, etc.

By Taxi: It takes about 24 minutes and 35 CNY.

From Xining Caojiabao International Airport, 19 miles(30 km) away.

By Bus: You can take the direct airport bus line 1 (Chengdong District). The fare is 21 yuan, and the journey takes about 50 minutes.

By Taxi: It usually takes about 35 minutes. If you go through the Beijing-Tibet Expressway G6, travel time can be shortened to about 25 minutes.

Facilities Onboard

Cabins on Tibet trains

The soft sleeper is recommended. There are two kinds of cabins onboard where you can sleep overnight during your train journey to Tibet. The first-class cabin is the soft sleeper cabin, with 4 beds in one compartment; And the second-class cabin is the hard sleeper with 6 beds in one compartment. The soft sleeper is recommended.

Oxygen supply

Altitude sickness is always an important and considerable issue for travelers who are planning train tours to Tibet. As a matter of fact, there are two kinds of oxygen supply systems that can relatively reduce the effect of high altitude on the train. So there is no need to worry too much about suffering from altitude sickness on board.

Life on the train

There is one dining car offering food and drinks on each train to Tibet. At the end of each coach, there are toilets and washing basins. The train from Xining to Lhasa offers spoiled water for 21 hours so you can bring some instant noodles, coffee, and tea with you.

The Advantages of Taking Xining to Lhasa Train

1. The shortest way to Lhasa by train within 21 hours

Xining is the ideal choice for travelers who want to travel to Tibet by train but are not willing to stay too long on the train. The train to Lhasa takes around 20~21 hours across the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau with a distance of 1,972km. It is the shortest train journey to Tibet that only takes one night on the train.

2. More helpful to acclimate altitude changes

It is ideal for travelers to get to Xining (2,261 meters) first, stay there for at least 1 day and then take a train to Lhasa. Compared with departing from Beijing (44 meters), Shanghai (16 meters), Chengdu (485 meters) and other cities, the altitude changes are the smallest so it's easier for people to acclimate.

3. More chances to get a train ticket to Lhasa from Xining

The demand for train tickets from Xining to Lhasa is the largest among all the other trains going to Tibet. And it is much easier to get a ticket meeting your required departure time from Xining than from any other city in China. There are about 6 Tibet trains from other cities with larger transportation capacities heading to Lhasa passing from Xining each day.

4. No need to transit to the Tibet train

Oxygen outlet Usually you need to transit to the oxygen-supplied train in Xining except if you're taking a train originally from Xining. As most trains from mainland cities can’t adapt to that high altitude and harsh plateau environment, you have to change trains. When the train arrives in Xining from your original starting city, passengers need to move to the oxygen-supplied train, you have to unload your luggage and move them into the new train.

5. Numerous tourist attractions in Xining

As the east gate of the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau, there are many top attractions in Xining. In the southwest part of the city is the Kumbum Monastery - one of the six Great Monasteries of the Gelugpa Sect of Tibetan Buddhism. And a 600-year-old Dongguan Mosque, one of the top 4 mosques in Northwest China, just in the Xining city zone. And it’s big enough to hold over 300 Muslims in prayer.

Top Highlights along Xining-Lhasa Train

Qinghai Lake

Qinghai Lake in July Qinghai Lake, which means "blue sea", is the largest inland lake as well as the largest saltwater lake in China. It covers an area of 4,456 square kilometers, with a circumference of more than 360 kilometers around the lake. In different seasons, the scenery of Qinghai Lake varies greatly. In summer and autumn, the vast undulating grassland looks like a thick green blanket. In the cold winter, the surrounding mountains and grasslands are covered with a thick layer of snow. In November, Qinghai Lake starts to freeze. It's a huge treasure mirror given by nature to the Tibetan Plateau, shining brightly in the sunlight.

Hoh Xil

Hoh Xil, a national nature reserve, is located in the hinterland of the Tibetan Plateau and retains the original ecological environment and unique natural landscape. There are the Kunlun Mountains to the north and Tanggula Mountains to the south, with an average elevation of more than 4,500 meters. Along with the railway, you can see many wild animals, not only the yaks, wild donkeys and horses but also the Tibetan antelopes if you are lucky. The natural landscape of Hoh Xil is unique, with rivers crisscrossing and lakes dotted around. There are also "Salt Flowers" blooming by the salt lake and hot springs steaming under the glaciers.

Tanggula Mountains

Tanggula Mountain Pass Tanggula Mountains are the natural boundary between Qinghai and Tibet. In Tibetan, it means "mountain on the plateau". The Tanggula Mountains are a mountain range in the middle of the Tibetan plateau that runs from east to west, with an altitude of 6,839 meters. It is the birthplace of Nu River, Lancang River and Yangtze River. Tanggula Mountain Pass at an altitude of 5,231m is not only the highest point of the Qinghai-Tibet Railway but also the highest point of the world's highway. 

Cona Lake

Cona Lake is the highest freshwater lake in the world, at an altitude of 4,800 meters above sea level.  It is the "holy lake" in the minds of the local Tibetans. Thousands of believers come to worship every Tibetan dragon year. It's one of the most famous scenic spots in Amdo and along the Qinghai-Tibet Railway. On the east side of the lake, the Qinghai-Tibet Railway passes by the tranquil and beautiful sacred lake, just 20 meters closer.

>> See more scenic spots along the Qinghai-Tibet railway

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Ask a Quick Question Below?
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Typically Asked Questions from Our Clients

Asked by Juan***

Dear Sir / Mme
We are lookig at traveling to Lhasa on train from Xinning as part of our jurney through China. We understand we need a Tibet permit. We believe we can apply online. The documents required for the permit are:

"You need to provide us with a photo of a valid passport and Chinese visa".

My wife who is British will be getting a China visa but I am Spanish, and have been told I do not need a visa as I am entitled to 15 days, then we will be visiting Hong Kong in order to re-entering China and renew my 15 days allowance so, our questions are:
If I am not applying for a China visa, how can I apply for the Tibet permit without China visa???
Do you organise the Tibet permit upon booking the train on your website?

Answered by Merry

Dear Juan****, 

We can help you book the soft sleeper train tickets from Xining to Lhasa if you book the Tibet tour with us. Normally, an individual cannot apply for the Tibet Travel Permit. Only a local legit travel agency(like us)can apply for it on behalf of you. That is to say, you have to book a Tibet tour with a travel local agency then the travel agency can apply for the Tibet Permit for you.


Asked by Jagd***

Inquiry about Xining-Lhasa train online booking on 25 May 2024

Answered by Merry

Dear Jagdev, 

As per your request, we can book a soft-sleeper train ticket from Xining to Lhasa on 25 May 2024 for you. You need a Tibet Permit to board the train. We can help you apply for your Tibet Permit if you book a Tibet tour with us.

Asked by Loth***

Inquiry about Xining-Lhasa train on 26 August

Answered by Merry

Dear Loth***, 

We can book the soft-sleeper train tickets from Xining to Lhasa on 26 August for you if you book the tour with us.

May I know how many days you prefer to travel to Tibet? I can recommend the itinerary for you accordingly.

If you have any further questions or doubts, please let me know without hesitation. It is my pleasure to work with you at any time.

Asked by Cind***

My husband and I are planning a trip to Tibet in Sept 2018. We would like to take the train from Xining to Tibet in order to take in the beautiful scenery on route. Do we need to but the train ticket from Canada or can we get the tickets when we get to Xining?

Answered by Beatrice
Thanks for sending us the inquiry about your Tibet Tour!
Firstly please kindly note: travel to Tibet as foreign travelers, Tibet Entry Permit(Tibet visa) is the most basic document required to be applied before you come, we have been recommended by Lonely Planet as one of the best reputed local travel agencies with over 10 years Tibet tour running experiences for both domestic and foreign travelers, so we could surely get all your necessary travel permits to Tibet after your tour booked with us, we need your passport and China visa copies to apply for them from Tibet Travel Bureau around 30 days(shortest 16 days) before tour starts and usually got them for you in 8 working days.
Yes, you could join our 7 Days Lhasa Mt. Everest Kathmandu Overland Group Tour for 30th Sep(the first day of arriving in Lhasa), please kindly check the itinerary,our best price of it and my answers to your other questions as follows:

Asked by Rich***

Hi, we would like to book from Xining to Lhasa about the April 13-14 /2018 and return April 18/19. must be for two in a soft sleeper. My agent in Lhasa will arrange the permits etc. The late train out is the best ? Thanks.

Answered by Nance

Yes, We can help you buy the train tickets. Train tickets are issued to sell on the internet only 30 days before departure, it's very hard to purchase the tickets. It's almost impossible for both you and us to get tickets on the internet. So we have to get the ticket from ticket scalper by paying them very high handing fee (we will charge this fee from clients. Usually USD 30~ 154 extra charges depends on season and different cities.) to guarantee the ticket for you.

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