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Tibet Train Travel – Reviews, Suggestions and Tips

The Qinghai Tibet Railway is the route that links Lhasa to the existing network of railroad tracks in China. There are currently train services from Beijing, Xining, Lanzhou, Chongqing, Chengdu, Guangzhou and Shanghai running on the Qinghai-Tibet Railway line to Lhasa.

Travel Between

Distance

Duration

Schedule

Beijing - Lhasa

3753km

43 hrs 40 mins

Daily

Chengdu - Lhasa

3360 km

43 hrs 50 mins

Every other day

Chongqing - Lhasa

3641km

44 hrs 17 mins

Every other day

Lanzhou - Lhasa

2188 km

23 hrs 30 mins

Every other day

Xining - Lhasa

1960km

23 hrs 30 mins

Every other day

Guangzhou - Lhasa

3753km

43 hrs 40 mins

Every other day

Shanghai - Lhasa

4373km

48 hrs 39 mins

Every other day

See the Tibet Railway Map below: Tibet Railway Map

Frequently asked questions about travel to tibet by rail

Is it difficult to book the train tickets to Tibet? Can I buy the Tibet train ticket on my own?

The popularity of train travel to Tibet has resulted in the huge demand for train tickets among visitors. It's very difficult for individual travelers to get a ticket on their own. Reliable travel agencies cannot even guarantee successful booking of the tickets. It is very difficult to secure train tickets to Lhasa; a lot of people end up flying.

Considering that it seems to be easier to get train tickets out of Lhasa, many travel agencies recommend you flying to Lhasa and taking the train out. The ticket purchase services are only available when you book a Tibet tour through them.

Which train should I choose?

Train tickets to Lhasa begin to sell 10 days in advance. Every passenger can only purchase at most two berth tickets or three seat tickets once. Due to the long train journey, the long journey, it is recommended to book a soft sleeper for all Tibet train travel.

If possible, choose a train, e.g. T27, which covers the Golmud-Lhasa section of the railway during daylight hours, for the scenery on that way is stunning. Click here to see the Schedules and Fares for Tibet Train Travel

Is it true that taking the train up to the Tibetan Plateau will reduce the symptoms of acute altitude sickness?

Many visitors advise, instead of flying to Lhasa, better going by train so as to reduce the impact of altitude sickness. However, this is not exactly true because the train is pressurized, with oxygen pumped in; therefore the train is like that travelling at low altitudes, and you will only feel the affect of altitude when you arrive in Lhasa. Upon your arrival in Lhasa, over the loudspeaker system there is an announcement in English "Please walk slowly due to the altitude".

Here is the experience from Perry Tan who traveld to Tibet by rail in 2007: "Even though our train journey had helped us to acclimatize with the high altitude, when we arrived at Lhasa, many passengers were breathless when they forgot to walk at slower pace. Some could not manage without oxygen from canisters. My wife and I had prepared ourselves with 4 canisters of oxygen bought in Xining. (Oxygen canisters are easily available in Tibet, e.g. can be purchased from hotels.) 2 canisters of oxygen per person would be sufficient because one gets acclimatized to high altitude after a few days."

What is it like travelling on the train to Tibet?

Trains to Tibet are specially equipped for highland traveling. Each car is equipped with an oxygen-supply system to maintain the air pressure at a suitable level. Each seat will be equipped with an oxygen mask which can be used by individual passengers if needed.

All railway cars are equipped with double-layer glass which is covered with anti-ultraviolet radiation film.

Unlike staff on trains on other routes, whose English is very limited, staff on trains running on the Qinghai-Tibet railway can all speak some English. Simple communication is ok.

Other information you need to know about Tibet train travel

* All travelers are required to complete a heath report on the train to Tibet.

* There are nine scenery-view platforms along the way:
There are 45 stations along the 1972 km long Qinghai-Tibet railway from Xining to Lhasa and every station has unique scenery. To provide travelers better opportunity to enjoy the stunningly beautiful scenery on that way, scenery-viewing platforms have been set up at nine stations, which includes: Yuzhu Peak Station, Chumaer River,Tuotuo River, Buqiangge, Tanggula Mountain, Lake Namtso, Nagqu, Damshung, Yambajan. The train will stay for around 15 minutes in each station.

Recommended Tibet Train Tour:

6 days Tibet Discovery Train Tour from Xining

7 days Tibet Train Tour from Chengdu 

8 days Tibet Train Tour from Beijing to Lhasa

8 days Tibet  Train Tour from Shanghai to Lhasa

 

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