• by Mark
  • Last Updated: 2018-04-11

Xining, the start of the Qinghai-Tibet Railway, is the main starting point for many trips to Tibet. Sitting at the crossing of the Lanzhou-Qinghai and Qinghai-Tibet Railway lines,it is the most important station for all trains going to Tibet. The railway to Lhasa was finished until 2006 while the station was completed in 1959. It now serves as the main station for trains to Lhasa, and all trains to Tibet pass through the city.

Sitting at an altitude of 2,275 meters above sea level, Xining is the capital of Qinghai Province. It is now possible to take the train to the Tibetan Plateau from Xining. The distance from Xining to Lhasa is 1972km/1233 miles. It is the ideal place to start your Tibet tour, with the altitude of 2261 meters, which makes you acclimatize easily when you get to Tibet. You also can spend 1~2 days in Xining, touring the various sights such as Qinghai Lake, Ta er Lamasery, etc.

The Z6801 is the only train that runs between Xining and Lhasa. It departs from Xining at 14:01 from Xining Train Station everyday, and arrives in Lhasa at 11:10 on the next day.The train running from Xining is pressurized, supplied with aritificial oxygen, and sealed. The windows have ultraviolet filters to protect passengers from UV radiation. 

Besides Z6801, you also have other choices,

Train No. From / To Dep. / Arr. Duration Distance (km) Frequency Hard sleeper Ticket Soft Sleeper Ticket
Z323 Chengdu to Lhasa 12:27/09:55 21:28 1972 Every Other Day 495/77 781/120
Z223 Chongqing to Lhasa 12:27/09:55 21:28 1972 Every Other Day 495/77 781/120
Z6801 Xining to Lhasa 14:01/11:10 21:09 1972 Every Other Day 495/77 781/120
Z917 Lanzhou to Lhasa 14:01/11:10 21:09 1972 Every Other Day 495/77 781/120
Z21 Beijing to Lhasa 15:21/12:10 20:49 1972 Daily 495/77 781/120
Z265 Guangzhou to Lhasa 19:45/17:05 21:20 1972 Daily 495/77 781/120
Z6811 Xining to Lhasa 20:30/18:10 21:40 1972 Daily (seasonal) 495/77 781/120
Z165 Shanghai to Lhasa 21:32/19:17 21:45 1972 Daily 495/77 781/120


Cabins on Tibet Trains

There are two kinds of cabins on board 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.

Facilities on board

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 offers spoiled water 24 hours so you can bring some instant noodles, coffee and tea with you.

Oxygen Supply on board

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

The advantage of taking Tibet train from Xining

1. The Shortest way to Lhasa by train within 24 Hours

Xining is the ideal choice for travelers who want to travel to Tibet by train but not willing to stay too long on the train. The train to Lhasa takes around 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. and travelers can see most of the beautiful sceneries along the Qinghai-Tibet railway in the daytime.

2. More Helpful to Acclimiate Altitude Changes

It is ideal for travelers to get to Xining (2261 meters) first, stay there at least 1 day and then take a train to Lhasa. It is not helpful to accumulate the altitude changes from Beijing (44 metres), Shanghai (16 metres), Chengdu (485 metres) and other cities cos the altitude of those cities are too low for people to acclimiate.

3. More Chances to Get a Train Ticket to Lhasa from Xining

The demands for the 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 trains from other cities with larger transportation capacity heading to Lhasa passing from Xining each day. 

There are many other attractions for travelers  to visit in Xining except the amazing scenery that can be seen along the Qinghai-Tibet Railway. As the east gate of the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau, there are many top attractions to keep your eyes busy in Xining. In the southwest part of the city is the Ta’er 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 its big enough to hold over 300 Muslims in prayer.

4. Numerous Tourists Attractions around Xining and Qinghai-Tibet Railway

Outside the city lies the Qinghai Lake, with the famous Bird Island in the northwest of the lake. The island is small, but becomes the home to millions of migratory birds twice a year, making it an excellent place for bird-watching and seeing several rare species of non-native birds.

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Asked Questions from our Clients



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.



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.



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?



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:

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