There are three classes of train tickets onboard of all trains within China, not exceptional for trains to Tibet, namely soft sleeper train ticket, hard sleeper train ticket and seat train ticket. Generally, the trains to Tibet have 15 cars except the locomotive. Among them, 8 are hard-sleeper cars with each holding 60 passengers, 2 are soft-sleeper cars with each holding 32 passengers, 4 are seat cars with each holding 98 passengers, and the last one is the dining car for passengers to have meals. The most expensive ticket is the soft sleeper ticket, and then hard sleeper, while cheapest is the seat ticket.
Many tourists have misunderstanding about "hard" sleeper, they image it's like a "hard" bunk without any mattress upon. But, like soft sleeper, hard sleeper also has every necessary beddings that soft sleeper has. The only two advantages of a soft sleeper cabin over a hard sleeper cabin are, firstly, soft sleeper cabin is more spacious as it only holds 4 passengers while hard sleeper cabin holds 6 passengers, and secondly, soft sleeper has a slide door which protects your privacy better while hard sleeper cabin has no door. What follows is some detailed description about what soft sleeper cabin, hard sleeper cabin and seat cabin like.
Soft Sleeper Cabin: Soft sleepers are more spacious, only 4 bunks in each carriage, two upper & two lower. All necessary bedding is provided. Inside the carriage, there is a table and beneath it a thermos bottle of hot water is provided too. The carriage has a slide-door which can lock conveniently and so your privacy and luggage is well protected. The Lhasa express train is even equipped with individual flat-screen TV and power sockets for laptops & mobiles. It is a very comfortable option if your budget allows.
|Tibet train soft sleeper cabin||Tibet train soft sleeper cabin|
Hard Sleeper Cabin: Though the name of "Hard" Sleeper may sound uncomfortable, but if fact, hard sleeper bunks of Lhasa express trains are reasonably comfortably padded, and bedding is also supplied. Hard sleeper consists of open-plan carriages with a broad aisle on one side of the car, bays of 6 bunks (upper, middle & lower) on the other side. It is a good choice if you are on a tight budget.
|Tibet train hard sleeper cabin||Tibet train hard sleeper cabin|
Seat Cabin: Seat cabin is the crowded place on the train because it is the cheapest class of ticket of all, many students and labor workers would choose the seat tickets; however we do not suggest you take this ticket unless your budget is really very tight. For trains from Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Chengdu and Chongqing, it all takes more than 40 hours. It will be very tough for you to sit there still for 2 nights without a good sleeping. Insufficient sleep will cause trouble for you to acclimatize the high altitude while you arrive in Lhasa.
|Tibet train seat cabin||Tibet train seat cabin|
Washrooms: There is no single private bathroom on board, but one open and public sink area at each side of each car (one is washroom, the other is toilet). That is to say, dozens of passengers on each car will share them. Most of time, the washrooms and toilets are tidy and clean because the attendant will clean them frequently, so there will be no much problem to share them at the same time. Note that there is no toilet paper provided, please bring by yourself.
|Tibet train washing area||Tibet train toilet|