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Qinghai–Tibet Railway, or Qingzang Railway is the world's highest rail line which opened to regular trial service on July 1, 2006. A train ride to Tibet is not only a transport, but journey filled with different feelings within the hours. Desert landscape, snow-capped mountains, pastures and scared lakes along the route making it second to none in the world.

Recommended trains

Xining to Lhasa

The Qinghai–Tibet railway connects Xining, Qinghai Province, to Lhasa, Tibet Autonomous Region, connecting Tibet with the rest of China.

It rank world's highest and longest plateau railroad, and considered as an Engineering Miracle. The line includes the Tanggula Pass, which, at 5,072 m (16,640 feet) above sea level, is the world's highest point on a railway. Tanggula railway station at 5,068 m (16,627 feet) is the world's highest railway station. The 1,338 m (4,390 ft) Fenghuoshan tunnel is the highest rail tunnel in the world at 4,905 m (16,093 ft) above sea level.

There are now 7 pair of trains operating between Lhasa and Xining/Lanzhou, Chengdu/Chongqing, Guangzhou, Shanghai, Beijing. All trains meet up at Xining and from there they enter Tibet via Qinghai-Tibet Railway.

See below the timetable for trains to Lhasa starting from or stopping at Xining.

Z323 12:14
Xining (from Chengdu or Xining)
09:55 +1
Lhasa
21h41m Soft Sleeper          $128
Hard Sleeper        $81
Hard Seat                 $35
Z917 14:05
Xining( from Lanzhou)
12:00 +1
Lhasa
21h55m Soft Sleeper          $128
Hard Sleeper        $81
Hard Seat                 $35
Z21 15:20
Xining (from Beijing)
12:30 +1
Lhasa
21h10m Soft Sleeper          $128
Hard Sleeper        $81
Hard Seat                 $35
Z9815 17:00
Xining (terminus)
13:40 +1
Lhasa
20h40m Soft Sleeper          $128
Hard Sleeper        $81
Hard Seat                 $35
Z265 19:51
Xining (from Guangzhou)
17:30 +1
Lhasa
21h39m Soft Sleeper          $128
Hard Sleeper        $81
Hard Seat                 $35
Z6811 20:15
Xining (terminus)
18:18 +1
Lhasa
22h03m Soft Sleeper          $128
Hard Sleeper        $81
Hard Seat                 $35
Z165 21:35
Xining (from Shanghai)
19:44 +1
Lhasa
22h09m Soft Sleeper          $128
Hard Sleeper        $81
Hard Seat                 $35

Lanzhou to Lhasa

Lanzhou is the nearest station to Xining. Trains from Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Chengdu/Chongqing pass by Lanzhou as well. And Z917 terminate at Lanzhou.

Z917 11:16
Lanzhou
12:00 +1
Lhasa
24h44m Soft Sleeper          $135
Hard Sleeper        $86
Hard Seat           $37
Number Station Arr. Dep. Stay
1 Lanzhou 兰州 - 11:16 0min
2 Xining 西宁 13:45 14:05 20min
3 Delingha 德令哈 18:07 18:13 6min
4 Golmud 格尔木 20:58 21:23 25min
5 Anduo 安多 05:33 05:37 4min
6 Naqu 那曲 06:56 07:02 6min
7 Dangxiong 当雄 08:38 08:42 4min
8 Lhasa 拉萨 12:00 12:00 0min

Train from Chengdu/Chongqing to Lhasa

Train from Chengdu/Chongqing every other day. It comparatively easier to book tickets from these two cities than Beijing, Xian and Shanghai. Chengdu and Chongqing is well connected by high-speed train and travel journey is only one hour.

Z322 14:48
Chengdu
09:55 +2
Lhasa
43h07m Soft Sleeper          $174
Hard Sleeper        $110
Soft Seat                   $96
Hard Seat                 $51
Z223 15:40
ChongQing North
09:55 +2
Lhasa
42h15m Soft Sleeper          $17
Hard Sleeper        $112
Hard Seat                 $52
Number Station Arr. Dep. Stay
1 Chengdu 成都 - 14:48 0min
2 Guangyuan 广元 19:34 19:44 10min
3 Baoji 宝鸡 03:05 03:30 25min
4 Lanzhou 兰州 08:58 09:13 15min
5 Xining 西宁 11:54 12:14 20min
6 Delingha 德令哈 16:39 16:41 2min
7 Golmud 格尔木 19:29 19:54 25min
8 Naqu 那曲 05:52 05:58 6min
9 Lhasa 拉萨 09:55 09:55 0min
Number Station Arr. Dep. Stay
1 Chongqing North 重庆北 15:40 15:40 0min
2 Nanchong North南充北 17:21 17:25 4min
3 Guangyuan 广元 19:20 19:44 24min
4 Baoji 宝鸡 03:05 03:30 25min
5 Lanzhou 兰州 08:58 09:13 15min
6 Xining 西宁 11:54 12:14 20min
7 Delingha 德令哈 16:39 16:41 2min
8 Golmud 格尔木 19:29 19:54 25min
9 Naqu 那曲 05:52 05:58 6min
10 Lhasa 拉萨 09:55 09:55 0min

Beijing to Lhasa

Beijing-Lhasa train operates daily, but it is very hard to book tickets due to a high demand. It is usually sold out in few minutes after its opening for booking.

Z21 20:00
Beijing West
12:30 +2
Lhasa
40h30m Soft Sleeper          $187
Hard Sleeper        $11
Hard Seat                 $55
Number Station Arr. Dep. Stay
1 Beijing West 北京西 - 20:00 0min
2 Shijiazhuang North石家庄北 22:33 22:37 4min
3 Taiyuan太原 00:19 00:25 6min
4 Zhongwe中卫 07:05 07:16 11min
5 Lanzhou 兰州 12:17 12:33 16min
6 Xining 西宁 15:00 15:20 20min
7 Delingha 德令哈 19:22 19:24 2min
8 Golmud 格尔木 22:15 22:40 25min
9 Naqu 那曲 08:04 08:10 6min
10 Lhasa 拉萨 12:30 12:30 0min

Shanghai to Lhasa

Shanghai-Lhasa train operates daily, but it is very hard to book tickets due to a high demand. It is usually sold out in few minutes after its opening for booking.

Z164 20:10
Shanghai
19:44 +2
Lhasa
47h34m Soft Sleeper          $207
Hard Sleeper        $13
Hard Seat                 $62
Number Station Arr. Dep. Stay
1 Shanghai 上海 - 20:10 0min
2 Suzhou 苏州 20:55 20:58 3min
3 Wuxi 无锡 21:20 21:23 3min
4 Nanjing  Nanjing  南京 22:56 23:05 9min
5 Bangbu  蚌埠 00:37 00:40 3min
6 Xuzhou  徐州 02:09 02:20 11min
7 Zhengzhou 郑州 05:07 05:14 7min
8 Xian 西安 11:14 11:24 10min
9 Lanzhou 兰州 18:17 18:32 15min
10 Xining 西宁 21:15 21:35 20min
11 Golmud 格尔木 04:19 04:44 25min
12 Naqu 那曲 14:34 14:52 18min
13 Lhasa 拉萨 19:44 19:44 0min

Guangzhou to Lhasa

Shanghai-Lhasa train operates daily, but it is very hard to book tickets due to a high demand. It is usually sold out in few minutes after its opening for booking.

Z264 11:45
Guangzhou
17:30 +2
Lhasa
53h45m Soft Sleeper          $240
Hard Sleeper        $14
Hard Seat                 $69
Number Station Arr. Dep. Stay
1 Guangzhou 广州 - 11:45 0min
3 Chenzhou 郴州 15:32 15:36 4min
4 Changsha 长沙 19:10 19:17 7min
5 Wuchang 武昌 22:38 22:58 20min
6 Zhengzhou 郑州 03:33 03:40 7min
7 Xian 西安 09:35 09:45 10min
8 Lanzhou 兰州 16:38 16:55 17min
9 Xining 西宁 19:31 19:51 20min
10 Golmud 格尔木 02:40 03:05 25min
11 Naqu 那曲 12:25 12:31 6min
12 Lhasa 拉萨 17:30 17:30 0min

What to see

Sightseeing in Xining

Xining has a history over 2,100 years and one of the important cities along the northern Silk Road. There are more than 37 nationalities living in the city giving Xining a mixture culture. Many sites has religious significance to Muslims and Buddhists, including the Dongguan Mosque and Ta'er Monastery. Due to its location and transport, Xining is less visited and has unspoiled natural beauty like Qinghai Lake.

Day 1: Arrival in Xining, Pick up and transfer to hotel, rest at hotel.
Day 2: Half day visit of the Dongguan Mosque and Ta'er Monastery, then board train to Lhasa.

Sightseeing in Tibet

Tibet is a dreaming place for many visitors to China. Its dominated Tibetan Buddhist culture, Art, Architecture and landscape is big draw for all.

Suggested routes:
D1 Arrival in Lhasa Pick up and transfer to hotel, rest at hotel.
D2 Lhasa sightseeing Bakhorstreet,Johkang Temple,Potala Palace
D3 Lhasa sightseeing SeraMonastery,Tibet Museum,Drepung Monastery
D4 Lhasa-Shigatse YamdrokLake,Karola glacier, Palkor monastery
D5 Shigatse-Lhasa Tshilumpo monastery , back to Lhasa
D 6 Depart from Tibet send off to airport/train station

Booking Tips

1. Train travel to Lhasa is very popular trip. Tickets booking from any of the cities are suggested at least 60 days prior to departure. It is comparatively easier to purchase ticket from Chengdu, Lhasa, Xining or Lanzhou.

2. Tibet Travel Permit (apart from China Visa) is required when you board trains to Lhasa. You can get permit from travel agency (for normal tourists) or from Tibet Travel Bureau (if you are journalists, officer or governors).

3. Truly independent travel is not allowed in Tibet. You need to book a guided tour.

4. Get physically prepared before the trip to Tibet. You may suffer from the altitude sickness. Tibet trains are equipped with Oxygen machine for each passenger and a doctor on each train that may help you to get used to it.