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Everything You Need to Know about the Train to Lhasa

Time: 20-09-2019 This Article is Composed by BudgetTibetTour

Taking a train to Lhasa is one of the most popular ways to visit Tibet. On travelers’ trail tour, they can experience all the best sites, which includes Jinyintan Prairie, Qinghai Lake, Qarhan Salt Lake, Kunlun Mountains, just to name a few. If you are thinking about taking a train to Lhasa, then don’t hesitate, just go! Wondering how to plan a perfect Tibet train tour? This guide will take you step by step to plan a perfect one.

Train to Lhasa
Train to Lhasa

Part 1. Quick View of Qinghai Tibet Railway
Part 2. Qinghai Tibet Railway’s Top 9 Remarkable World Records
Part 3. Trains to Tibet from Chinese Cities
Part 4. Tibet Train Document 2019
Part 5. Tibet Trains Schedule and Ticket
Part 6. Scenes along the Tibet Railway
Part 7. Lhasa Railway Station

Part 1. Quick View of Qinghai Tibet Railway

  • Open Date: July 1st, 2006
  • Starting Point: Xining, Qinghai
  • Terminal Point: Lhasa, Tibet
  • Total Line Length: 1,215 miles (1,956 kilometers)
  • Highest Elevation: 5072 m (about 16,640 ft.), Tanggula Mountain Pass
  • Main Stations: Xining Railway Station, Golmud Railway Station, Lhasa Railway Station
  • Numbers of Stations: 85
  • Train Tickets: Soft Sleeper, Hard Sleeper, and Hard Seat. Tickets price is different with respectively carriage choice, among those the soft sleeper is the best and most recommended class.
  • Operating Organization: The Ministry of Railways - the Qinghai-Tibet Railway Company in the People’s Republic of China
  • Top Speed:
    Xining-Golmud: 87 mi/h (140 km/h)
    Golumd-Lhasa: 62 mi/h (100 km/h) in permafrost area and 75 mi/h (120 km/h) in non-permafrost area
    Lhasa-Shigatse: 75 mi/h
  • Characteristics: World’s highest railway; The world's longest railroad built atop a plateau.

Part 2. Qinghai Tibet Railway’s Top 9 Remarkable World Records

Qinghai-Tibet Railway is an engineering marvel, which holds the record for the world’s highest train route, reaching altitudes over 5000m. Apart from this, it holds other remarkable world records as below.

Qinghai-Tibet Railway
Qinghai-Tibet Railway

  • Situated at an altitude of 5072 m above sea level, Qinghai Tibet Railway is the Highest railway in the world.
  • With the total length of 1956 kilometers, Qinghai Tibet Railway is the Longest plateau railway in the world.
  • Covering 550 km permanent permafrost area, Qinghai Tibet Railway is the Longest plateau railway crossing frozen earth in the world.
  • Located at an altitude of 5068 m above sea level, Tanggula Railway Station is the HIGHEST railway station in the world.
  • Situated at an altitude of 4905 m above sea level, Fenghuoshan Tunnel is the HIGHEST tunnel built on permafrost.
  • With a length of 1686m in total, Kunlun Mountain Tunnel is the LONGEST plateau tunnel built on permafrost.
  • Situated at an altitude of elevation of 4704 m, Amdo Work Site is the HIGHEST railway construction base.
  • With a length of 11.7 kilometers, Qingshui River Bridge is the LONGEST railway bridge.
  • With a speed of 100 km/h on permafrost section, up to 120 km/h on other parts, it is the Fastest plateau railway in the world.

Part 3. Trains to Lhasa from Chinese Cities

Currently, travelers can board direct trains to Lhasa from seven Chinese cities, namely Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Chengdu, Chongqing, Xining, and Lanzhou. Besides, passengers can also choose to onboard/off in Amdo, Baoji, Bengbu, Changsha, Damxung, Delhi, Golmud, Nagqu, Nanjing, Shijiazhuang, Taiyuan, Wuchang, Wuxi, Xi'an, and Zhengzhou. Whichever city you board, all trains pass through the Qinghai-Tibet Railway, from Xining to Lhasa.

Trains to Lhasa from Chinese Cities
Trains to Lhasa from Chinese Cities

Part 4. Tibet Train Document 2019

Before taking a train, you need to prepare some needed documents includes train tickets, original passport, and Tibet Travel Permit. Without either of the three documents, you might be forbidden to board the train to Lhasa.

Tibet Train Tickets
Tibet Train Tickets

  1. Tibet Train Ticket. Travelers can book the train ticket online 1~30 days in advance or buy the tickets at the train station 0~28 days in advance. The Tibet train tickets are limited, so you’d better book your ticket as soon as possible.
  2. The passport is a must to board the train.
  3. Tibet Travel Permit is also necessary. Without it, international travelers are forbidden to board the train. If you depart from Chengdu and Beijing, the photocopy of Travel Tibet Permit is available. And if you board on Chongqing North Railway Station, Xian Railway Station, and Lanzhou Railway Station, you have to bring the original one with you.

Part 5. Tibet Trains Schedule and Ticket

Travelers can purchase Tibet train ticket at any railway station in mainland China, online, or via phone. During the peak travel seasons like the summer holiday, the tickets are more likely to sell out, for that reason, it’s best to book earlier. Moreover, in the peak season (summer holiday), these tickets cannot be changed or refunded online. If passengers want to change or refund ticket during summer months, they have to handle it in person at railway stations.

Note: All non-Chinese travelers need to present their valid ID certificates like a passport with a Tibet Travel Permit to get the ticket.

See detailed Schedule and Ticket from/to Lhasa >

Part 6. Scenes along the Tibet Railway

The scenery along the Tibet Railway is majestic and breathtaking. Through the big window of Tibet train, great expanses of the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau roll into view: vast grassland dotted with yaks and prayer flags fluttering from temples. This is definitely the “Paradise on Earth”. In addition to this, there are also some famous sights along the way, such as the vast and clear Qinghai Lake, marvelous Kunlun Mountains and Tanggula mountain ranges, uninhabited Hoh Xil Nature Reserve, the origin of Yangtze River, etc. All of these beautiful sceneries will reward tourists with lifelong unforgettable memories.

See more: Tibet Train Scenery Guide >

Part 7. Lhasa Railway Station

As the terminal station of Tibet Railway, Lhasa Railway Station is located at the south bank of the Lhasa River in Liuwu Village, Doilungdeqen County of Lhasa, which is 5 miles (8 kilometers) away from Potala Palace. Situated at an altitude of 11,811 feet (3,600 meters) above sea level, it is one of the world’s highest railway stations. Currently, it operates trains to/from Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Chengdu, Chongqing, Lanzhou, and Shigatse.

How to get to Lhasa Railway Station?

Travelers can get to Lhasa Railway Station by using three transportation modes: Bus, taxi, and carpooling. Among the three modes, taxi is the most popular way, as it offers great speed and convenience. However, it also cost the most. Normally, it takes about CNY25 to reach the station from the urban area by metered taxi. But most drivers are reluctant to use the meter and they usually charge CNY30-50 for a single ride. If you share a taxi with others, it costs CNY15-20 per person.

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Travelers' Questions Might Help

The questions raised by our past customers can help you get a more clear picture about tours to Tibet, read them or tell us your own questions via the form on the right side, our specialists will reply you within 24 hours.

user portrait Mr. Ju*** from: 4 Days Lhasa Holy Landmarks Express

Hi, I plan to arrive in Lhasa on the 9th of March in 2020 by train and would like to do a 4 day tour. Unfortunately there are no tours scheduled between January and April, will there be tours added or are there not any planned?

Kind regards

Julian Franz

Answered by Helen

Hello Mr. Ju***,

    Thanks very much for your inquiry. We currently have no group tour in February and March, if you would like to travel Tibet in these months, we are able to arrange a private tour for you. While there are several confirmed departure date for the group tour in January and April, if your time is flexible, you may consider joining a group tour in April. I will send detailed itinerary to your email, please check it. Warm regards.

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