Everything You Need to Know about the Train to Lhasa

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

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

  • 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

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

  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.

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 please contract us, our specialists will reply you within 24 hours.

Ms. Ho*** from: When to get my Tibet permit
January 15, 2020 05:11

Hello, we are considering to travel in Tibet in summer. We are a family of 5, two adults and three kids, age 13(then), 10, 8. We are interested in the 10 days Mt. EBC & Namtso Lake Group tour. We are US citizens with valid 10-year Chinese multiple entry visa, which we have applied when we went to Beijing in 2019. We are currently living in South Korea.  


1. Are kids suitable (or even allowed) for this tour?  

2. If kids can join, are there any discount deals for kids?

Answered by Helen
January 15, 2020 07:54

Dear Ms. Ho***,

    Greetings from Helen at Budget Tibet Tour and welcome you to join our 10 days Mt. Everest & Namtso Lake group tour. For your questions: 1. Your kids are suitable for this tour. Travelling in Tibet is as safe for kids as it is for their parents. While the high Tibetan plateau may be the highest place on the planet, very often, the kids that visit this region are more adaptable and have fewer problems than their parents. We also have arranged wonderful Tibet tours for many families with kids such as a tour to EBC for a family with a 3-year-old son, a 9-year-old girl and a 11-year-old boy, they did have fun in Tibet and there is no problem for them. Or you can take some medicine under the guidance of doctor to prevent high altitude before enter Tibet. 2. If kids travel with you, we'll offer some discount for them, please check your email and find more detailed information. Thanks & Regards

Email to Helen about any question or tell us your own questions via the form on the right side

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