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Qinghai Tibet Train Travels-Highest train to Lhasa Tibet
Home » Qinghai Tibet Train Travels-Highest train to Lhasa Tibet

The Qinghai-Tibet Railway Travel Essentials

There is no doubt that Qinghai Tibet railway travel is a big highlight for travelers around the world. Since Qinghai-Tibet railway completion, the railway has become an increasingly popular Tibet travel option that offers stunning views of the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau. Those looking for in depth cultural and overland adventurous travel experiences in Tibet will love taking the train; it provides opportunities to witness the hundreds of miles of high land landscape and to meet people from all over Tibet and China!

However with the outbreak of Novel Coronoavirus (COVID19) spreading around the world, it is not a good idea to try the crowded train travel to or from Tibet recently.

Qinghai to Tibet train travel Map, Xi'ning to Lhasa Railway Travel Maps

Although train travel to Tibet is probably cheaper and it gives you much more enjoyment of wonderful landscapes on Qinghai-Tibet plateau, there are still many essentials to know before you go-Otherwise it is a big mistake.

Facts on Qinghai-Tibet Railway 

→ Qinghai-Tibet Railway is highest railway in the world and it is at least 200 meters higher than the Peruvian railway in the Andes, which was previously the world's most elevated track. There are about 960 kilometers tracks located 4,000 meters above sea level. 

→The railway is the world's longest on plateau. It is 1,956 kilometers between Xining (Qinghai Province) and Lhasa, Capital of Tibet Autonomous Region (TAR). 

→Altogether there are 45 stations along the railway.

→Tanggula Railway Station, 5,068 m, is the highest railway station in the world.

→There are bout 550 kilometers of the tracks running on frozen earth and this is the longest in any of the world's plateau railways.

→Fenghuoshan Tunnel, 4,905 m, is the world's most elevated tunnel on frozen earth.

→Kunlun Mountain Tunnel, running 1,686 meters, is the world's longest plateau tunnel built on frozen earth.

→Construction of the Golmud-Lhasa section of the landmark railway commenced on June 29, 2001 and test runs were on July 1, 2006.

→Speed limit: Max speed 100 km/h in the frozen earth areas and 120 km/h on non-frozen earth.


Qinghai-Tibet Railway Travel Timetable & Cost (in & out)

Timetable and Availability for the Qinghai-Tibet railway

The first train to Tibet was inaugurated on 1 July, 2006, after that, new timetable of Tibet train was launched on 18 July, 2007 and 1st April, 2009. The Tibet train timetable below is updated to the one on April 1st, 2009.

→Lhasa-Xining: 24 hours 18 minutes; Distance: 1,972km

→Lhasa-Lanzhou: 27 hours 06 minutes; Distance: 2,188 km

→Lhasa-Xi’an: 35 hours 52 minutes; Distance: 2,864km

Lhasa-Beijing Train: 47 hours 04 minutes; Distance: 4,064km

Lhasa-Shanghai Train: 49 hours 15 minutes; Distance: 4,373km

Lhasa-Chengdu Train: 44 hours 42 minutes; Distance: 3,360km

→Lhasa-Chongqing: 46 hours 04 minutes; Distance: 3,654km

→Lhasa-Guangzhou: 56 hours 08 minutes; Distance: 4,980km

→Read more on Latest Tibet train travel Schedule.


Tibet Train Travel Tickets Category

There are three categories for the train tickets: soft seat (cheapest), hard sleeper (hard berth-economy basis) and soft sleeper (soft berth-comfortable)

Soft seat, known as "Ying Zuo" which means hard seat in Chinese, actually it is not hard seat but fixed with foam-rubber cushion. The seat is soft however; some tourists told our agency it is equivalent to first & second class on a European train. However it is not suggest to take these soft seats because all trains to Lhasa from main cities in China takes more than 24 hours and there is no space to lye down to have a good sleep. Considering the discomfort which may add altitude issues, it is better to take hard sleeper or soft sleeper.

Hard Sleeper: There are six bunks in a hard sleeper cabin, an upper, middle and a lower one on each side. There is not a door for a hard cabin and there is not television. The power sockets are along the aisle outside the cabin and there are quite limited. Hard sleeper car is a little far from the dinning car. If you are on a tight budget, there is no reason why you shouldn’t take hard sleeper, as many western backpackers do. Cushion used in soft sleeper is softer than the “hard” sleeper, but hard sleeper bunks are reasonably well padded and the “hard” is comfortable enough for a good sleep, and bedding is supplied. Just one thing, as there is not a door for a hard sleeper cabin, it is a little noisy at night as someone are playing cards or chatting with others.

Soft Sleeper: There are four bunks in a soft sleeper cabin with two upper and two bottom bunks. And there is a door for every soft sleeper cabin. Travelers may have chance to watch LCD television programs. There is a table fixed beside the window. There is tablecloth and a vacuum flask of hot water for making tea or drinking chocolate or cuppa soups. There are power sockets for laptops and mobiles under the table.China voltage is 220V and there is 2 or 3 pins socket.

Tickets price for Qinghai-Tibet railway Travel




Hard Seat

Hard sleeper

(Bottom Berth)

Soft Sleeper

(Bottom Berth)







2,188 km

242 CNY

552 CNY

854 CNY



296 CNY

693 CNY

1008 CNY



331 CNY

712 CNY

1104 CNY



355 CNY

754 CNY

1168 CNY



389 CNY

763 CNY

1186 CNY



406 CNY

845 CNY

1314 CNY



451 CNY

923 CNY

1434 CNY

Tibet Train travel tips

 01. The ticket price for inbound trains to Lhasa is the same. However in peak tour season, there is always expensive booking service charge ranging from US$50 to 100 per ticket.
 02. Before extending to Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou or Chongqing, Xi’an is a highlight stop-over. Many tourists get off the train to relax and some even just check out of train in Xi'an and have couple of days exursions for the BIG-Culture tour destination of China-Xi'an.

Public Facilities on Train-Tibet Train Travel (seaters, eating, washing, etc)

There is one dining car in each train to Tibet, offering three meals (Breakfast+Lunch+Dinner) a day and some snack and drinks. You can also buy a box meal from a trolley, which constantly be pushing through the train. 

We collected some photos of the facilities on the Tibet train. Take a quick look at the facilities of soft sleeper, hard sleeper, soft seat, kitchen cabin, toilet and washing room, luggage room, windows, and few Tibet highlight train travel pictures.

Tibet Train Travel-High Altitude Sickness

At over 3,000 meters (10,000 feet) 75% of people will have mild symptoms. The occurrence of AMS is dependent upon the elevation, the rate of ascent, and individual susceptibility. Many people will experience mild AMS during the acclimatization process. The symptoms usually start 12 to 24 hours after arrival at altitude and begin to decrease in severity around the third day.Long time train travel to Lhasa is not a must but a BIG mistake for altitude wise and this is especially true if foreign traveler's travel is in busy summer (June to August) and busy China National Day Holiday week. There are 3 main reasons: a) Altitude before train arriving in Xi'ning is low and this is no use for altitude acclimatization but may get tourists too exhausted; b) train ticketing is busy and risky in high season, no reliable agency can assure you the soft or hard sleeper bunks, watch out the traps which claim they guarante the tickets for you; c) There are more trains from Xi'ning to Lhasa and the 24 hours train is just fine for altitude and sightseeing and this saves you one more day to see other highlight tourists attractions in Tibet. (read more Against High Altitude Sickness)

Qinghai Tibet Railway Travel Highlight Attractions

There are 45 stations between Lhasa and Golmud Qinghai province. Every station has unique scenery viewing platform. Travelers can have opportunity to enjoy the stunningly views along the way. There are nine viewing points including: Yambajan, Damshung,Nagqu,Amdo,Yuzhu Peak Station, Chumaer River, Tuotuo river, Buqiangge, Tanggula Mountain. During the daytime, visitors can enjoy the fantastic views around these areas and take photos on the platforms.

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