Category: Qinghai Tibet Train Travel

The Profile of Qinghai-Tibet railway Travel

Extending 1956 km across the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau, the rail journey officially starts from Xining, capital of Qinghai province, and ends in Lhasa, capital of Tibet. All the time-cost along the railway takes up only 20 hours and 55 minutes exactly. And there are trains plying the same route every day. It is possible to make stops along the journey, but this is not a hop-on/hop-off affair at passengers’ free will. Passengers have to decide your route in advance and buy tickets for each leg.
The journey is a marvelous tour comprising elevated highlights of Qinghai and northern Tibet: the boundless Qiangtang Prairie, the desolate area, golden Gobi Desert and Kekexili Nature Reserve boasting its rich abundance of wild-life.
There are plenty impressive territories as the train zigzags through spearmint-blue Qinghai Lake, trundles alongside the sparkling white Qarhan Salt Bridge, and skirt the edges of the legendary Namtso Lake. But, definitely, the best scene is seeing the Tanggula Mountains dressed in snow.
At an altitude of  5068 m above sea level, Tanggula is home to the world’s highest railway station. Passing the Tanggula Glacier, you really get a sense of the altitude at which you’re moving. It is a scene beyond your wildest dream. As the train climbing up, the oxygen levels drop by a drastic 60% at this point. So do make a good use of your Oxygen Supply System.

Popular Qinghai Tibet Railway Travel Routes


Beijing is the most popular International arrival city in China.There is direct train line that runs from Beijing to Lhasa. Train tickets are easy to obtain in Beijing. The railway stretches from the lower northern China to the high plateau of Tibet and crossing 8 provinces and more than 30 cities. Along the route you can see two types of totally different landscape-plateau and plain. It is such a journey that gives passengers sceneries  in sharp contrast. The route’s distance is about 3757 km. Duration is about 40 hours.

Beijing Lhasa Beijing Train Schedule 2020-2021 Updated on March 15-2020

Here let local Tibet tourism insider update you with the latest schedule/timetable for Beijing Lhasa Beijing Train travel. Check the latest schedule and tickets release and also more questions and answers on Qinghai Tibet Railway journey. No matter you want to book soft sleeper or hard sleeper for Beijing train to Lhasa (Via Xi'ning, Qinghai Province) or vice versa, you can get our instant support for Qinghai Tibet train ticketing and also travel permits solution in 2020, 2021 season.
Train No.From / ToDep. / Arr.DurationDistance (km)Distance (mi)FrequencyHard SleeperSoft SleeperHard Seat
Z21Beijing/Lhasa20:00/12:4540hrs 45mins37572334DailyCNY720CNY1144CNY360
Z22Lhasa/Beijing15:50/08:2840hrs 38mins37572334DailyCNY720CNY1144CNY360
StopStation NameAltitudeArrivalDepartureStop TimeDaysDistance KilometersDistance Miles
1West Beijing44 m--20:00:00--Day 1--km--mi
2Shijiazhuang80 m22:33:0022:37:004 minDay 1291km180mi
3Taiyuan820 m00:19:0000:25:006 minDay 2516km320mi
4Zhongwei1,225 m07:05:0007:16:0011 minDay 21263km784mi
5Lanzhou1,530 m 12:17:0012:32:0015 minDay 21569km974mi
6Xining2,200 m15:01:0015:21:0020 minDay 21785km1109mi
7Delingha2,980 m19:23:0019:25:002 minDay 22306km1432mi
8Golmud2,780 m22:10:0022:35:0025 minDay 22615km1624mi
9Nagchu4,500 m08:37:0008:43:006 minDay 33435km2134mi
10Lhasa3,650 m12:45:0012:45:00--Day 33757km2334mi
StopStation NameAltitudeArrivalDepartureStop TimeDaysDistance KilometersDistance Miles
1Lhasa3,650 m--15:50:00--Day 1--km
2Nagchu4,500 m19:33:0019:39:006 minDay 1322km200mi
3Golmud2,780 m06:16:0006:41:0025 minDay 21142km709mi
4Delingha2,980 m09:08:0009:10:002 minDay 21451km901mi
5Xining2,200 m13:20:0013:40:0020 minDay 21972km1225mi
6Lanzhou1,520 m16:15:0016:30:0015 minDay 22188km1359mi
7Zhongwei1,225 m 21:27:0021:35:008 minDay 22494km1549mi
8Taiyuan820 m03:51:0004:00:006 minDay 33241km2013mi
9Shijiazhuang80 m 05:45:0005:56:0011 minDay 33466km2153mi
10West Beijing44 m08:28:0008:28:00--Day 33757km2334mi


Heading towards Lanzhou and xining , scene: plain countryside,
As the train heads northeast, passing guangyuan province, till the
Altitude starts to ascend when the train reaches Lanzhou. Ranges from 1520 m above sea level to 2275 m above sea level, here arrives Xining.
High mountains and lakes start to emerge.
Golmud is the place where the train climbs steeper, passing through the massive Kunlun Mountain, arrives Qinghai province.
Pass Tanggula Mountains, arrives Tibet, train here descends down onto the Changtang Prairie. Animals here are everywhere to see including domestic yaks and sheep, and nomadic herders. At the end of the journey, the famous Tibetan attraction Lake Namtso comes into sight, with its stunning, paramount beauty. The route’s distance is about 3360 km. Duration is about 36 hours.


Route from Shanghai to Lhasa traverses eight provinces across China.

The first part of the train journey may be plain, with just the normal kind of Chinese countryside. But after the train runs to  Xining, the beginning of Qinghai-Tibet Railway,the most breathtaking sceneries on the planet will overturn all of your imagination. You will appreciate the biggest domestic lake-Qinghai Lake, the boundless Gobi Desert, lofty Yuzhu Peak, massive grassland, mystic Kekexili Natural reserve etc, Along the way until Lhasa. The route’s distance is about 4373 km. Duration is about 47 hours.


The train passes through Changsha(capital city of Hunan), Wuchang, Zhengzhou, Xian, Lanzhou, Xining, Nagchu.

As one of the best choices for travelers from inbound or outbound to go to Tibet, taking a Tibet train has merits in providing the best scenery outside the window and reducing the risk of altitude sickness. Especially on the route from Xining, the start point of Qinghai Tibet Railway, to Lhasa.

As the train traverses the plateau, you can have access to appreciate the best sights from Qinghai Lake to Gobi Desert, from Yuzhu Peak to Tuotuo River, and the Kekexili Nature reserve to Nagqu Grassland and finally to the brilliant Namtso Lake. There is so much natural scene to see on the journey and never be fed up with the changeable scene along the way. The route’s distance is about 2864 km. Duration is about 32 hours.


Xining is the closest Chinese mainland city to Tibet. Xining, also known as the start of Qinghai Tibet Railway, many travelers choose to arrive at it for a short visit and acclimation, then board on a train to Tibet. Boarding on a train at Xining station has two major advantages: It costs less time (only about 21hours) and less money (soft sleeper around CNY 780) compared with other train routes. The route’s distance is 1972 km. Duration is about 21 hours.

Xining -Lhasa Xining Train Schedule 2020-2021.xlsx

Train No.From / ToDep. / Arr.DurationDistance (km)FrequencyHard sleeperSoft Sleeper
Z322Chengdu to Lhasa12:27/09:551970-01-01 21:28:001972 kmEvery Other DayCNY495CNY781
Z223Chongqing to Lhasa12:27/09:551970-01-01 21:28:001972 kmEvery Other DayCNY495CNY781
Z6801Xining to Lhasa14:01/11:141970-01-01 21:13:001972 kmEvery Other DayCNY495CNY781
Z917Lanzhou to Lhasa14:01/11:141970-01-01 21:13:001972 kmEvery Other DayCNY495CNY781
Z21Beijing to Lhasa15:21/12:201970-01-01 20:59:001972 kmDailyCNY495CNY781
Z265Guangzhou to Lhasa19:31/16:191970-01-01 20:48:001972 kmDailyCNY495CNY781
Z6811Xining to Lhasa20:30/17:251970-01-01 20:55:001972 kmDaily (seasonal)CNY495CNY781
Z165Shanghai to Lhasa21:27/18:251970-01-01 20:58:001972 kmDailyCNY495CNY781
Xining to Lhasa Train - No.Z6801
StationAltitutdeArrivalDepartureStop TimeDaysDistance kmDistance miles
Xining2,200 m--14:01:00--Day 1----
Delingha2,980 m18:03:0018:09:006 minDay 1521324
Golmud2,780 m20:53:0021:18:0025 minDay 1830516
Amdo4,800 m05:54:0005:58:004 minDay 21524947
Nagchu4,500 m07:24:0007:30:006 minDay 216501025
Damxung4,200 m09:06:0009:10:004 minDay 218001118
Lhasa3,650 m1970-01-01 11:20:00----Day 219721225
Xining to Lhasa Train - No.Z6811
StationAltitutdeArrivalDepartureStop TimeDaysDistance kmDistance miles
Xining2,200 m--20:30:00--Day 1----
Delingha2,980 m1970-01-01 00:32:0000:38:006 minDay 2521324
Golmud2,780 m1970-01-01 03:28:0003:53:0025 minDay 2830516
Amdo4,800 m1970-01-01 12:01:0012:05:004 minDay 21524947
Nagchu4,500 m1970-01-01 13:39:0013:45:006 minDay 216501025
Damxung4,200 m1970-01-01 15:39:00 15:47:008 minDay 218001118
Lhasa3,650 m1970-01-01 17:45:0018:10:0025 minDay 219721225
Lhasa to Xining Train - No.Z6802
StationAltitutdeArrivalDepartureStop TimeDaysDistance kmDistance miles
Lhasa3,650 m--09:00:00--Day 1----
Damxung4,200 m10:54:0010:58:004 minDay 1172107
Nagchu4,500 m12:28:0012:34:006 minDay 1322200
Amdo4,800 m14:01:0014:05:004 minDay 1448278
Golmud2,780 m23:23:0023:48:0025 minDay 11142710
Delingha2,980 m02:15:0002:23:006 minDay 21451902
Xining2,200 m06:43:00----Day 219721225
Lhasa to Xining Train - No.Z681200:00:0000:00:00
StationAltitutdeArrivalDepartureStop TimeDaysDistanceDistance miles
Lhasa3,650 m17:31:0018:00:0029 minDay 1----
Damxung4,200 m19:46:00 19:50:004 minDay 1420261
Nagchu4,500 m21:28:0021:34:006 minDay 1570354
Amdo4,800 m22:56:0023:00:004 minDay 1696432
Golmud2,780 m07:10:0007:35:0025 minDay 21390864
Delingha2,980 m10:02:0010:08:006 minDay 216991056
Xining2,200 m14:25:00----Day 222201379
Xining -Lhasa Xining Train Schedule 2020-2021.xlsx


If you want to take a train to Lhasa, Chongqing is also a good choice. Every other day, there will be a train running from Chongqing to Lhasa. Chongqing has a developed transportation system. It is home to an airport managing flights to/from over 40 major cities in China, including Beijing, Shanghai, Xian, Guilin, Hong Kong, Guangzhou, etc. It also has international flights to/from Singapore, Seoul, Bangkok, Phuket Island, etc. What distinguishes Chongqing from other route cities is the exclusive Yangtze River scenery. The route’s distance is about 3050 km. Duration is about 42.5 hours.


Lanzhou is an important traffic junction in northwestern China and it serves as an entrance door to Qinghai and Tibet. Since Qinghai-Tibet Railway was in operating in 2006, Lanzhou activated one of the earliest trains to Lhasa. It operates in every other day. But every train runs to Tibet from other cities (except Xining), will basically make a stop at Lanzhou. The train passes by Xining, Golmud, reaches the grand Kunlun Mountain Range. Travelers have opportunities to see the heaven of wildlife-Hoh Xil Nature Reserve. the route’s distance is about 2188 km. Duration is about 24 hours.


When people planning a trip to Tibet, Xian will never be omitted. Geographically speaking, train ride from Xian to Lhasa is much shorter than some other long-distance train trip Passengers need to spend a night on the train, but not at the cost of missing the highlights of Qinghai Tibet Railway. Starting from the ancient capital city in central China, the train heads northwest to Lanzhou and Xining. Slowly crescent altitude shows the train is gradually entering the plateau area. Scenery along the route continuously causes marvels on the train, be they verdant grassland that sparks with vitality, sky-scraping mountains that aglow with pallid sky, or the secluded Kekexili natural reserve. The route’s distance is about 2864 km. Duration is about 31 hours.

Facilities on the Qinghai-Tibet Train

Dining Cars

All Tibet Trains have a dining car which offers breakfast, lunch and dinner and some snacks and beverages. The dining car, usually is in the middle of of the train. Currently only some Chinese food and cuisines are provide: rice, vegetables, meals and soups. They offer limited kinds of food on menu. You can also buy the packed food when the staffs on the train pushing a food trolley through your carriage at the meals time. By the way, the prices are literally twice of the normal prices in the cities. You can have either in the privacy of your cabin or seated at the restaurant carriage. The dining car will give you a more excellent view than it in your cabin.

Train Toilet

Toilets are located at the ends of every carriage on the train. All the toilets are small and gender-irrespective. One thing you need to know about the toilet is that only in the Soft Sleeper carriages provide western style toilet. Hard Sleeper and Hard Seats carriages only have squat toilets. More importantly, every toilets will be Closed when the train arrives at the stations. No TOILET PAPER in the bathroom so you have to bring your own.

Luggage Rack

No matter what kind of seats or sleepers you take, luggage problem is always important to mind. For Soft Sleeper passengers, places to put luggage or suitcases are on the luggage closet above the door in each Soft Sleeper Carriage. The closet is about 16 inches (40 cm) high and 20 inches (50 cm) wide. And for Hard Sleeper passengers, luggage racks are convenient enough to place your luggage and suitcases. They are above the window and next to the aisle. Spaces beneath the Soft Sleeper’s lowest beds are also good choices to place the luggage.

According to regulation of Ministry of Railways, each passenger is allowed to take carry-on baggage of not over 44 pounds (20 kg) for free (10 kg for each child). But the total length of each item cannot exceed 63 inches (160 cm).

Smoking Area

Do smoke at the designated area. The violators will face the highest fine at 2000 RMB.

Oxygen Supply System

In coping with High Altitude Stress, oxygen supply are provided during the journey. Generally there are two kinds of oxygen supply systems on the train. The first one is “dispersion mode”, which means to spreading oxygen from air-con system. The other one is “individual oxygen outlet” system. Every time high altitude stress strikes, passengers can connect to the individual oxygen outlet through a disposable pipe. Thus to mitigate no matter headache or out of breath.

Entertainment Facilities

Televisions are provided on the train, but only the top-class Soft Sleepers are equipped with personal TV. Hard Sleeper carriages are basically equipped with several public TVs suspending on the ceiling for all. Frankly speaking there is not that much activities to do on the train. However, taking some books with you, downloading some movies you like,  the smooth velocity and steadily climbing altitude are just designed for reading. Consider Qinghai-Tibet railway a bound-to heart tour, and let your inner space cleansed by tranquility.


Unfortunately, there is No Wi-Fi Available. If you want to connect to the internet, in advance you have to prepare a Chinese SIM card that supports domestic roaming.  Get the service from three telecom operators in China. They are China Telecom, China Unicom and China Mobile. By the way, The tunnels and high mountains along the route could block the phone signals sometimes.

What is the Difference between Soft Sleeper and Hard Sleeper?

● Soft Sleepers

The Soft Sleeper has the best condition on the train, with soft bedding equipped in every compartment. Usually there are only 2 carriages which have compartments of Soft Sleepers. And accommodation capacity could support 64 passengers at most. Each compartment is a single cabin with a private door by the aisle.Inside the cabin are 4 Soft Sleepers, two upper berths and two lower berths. The scale are about 30 inches (75 cm) wide and 75 inches (190 cm) long.

● Hard Sleepers

The Hard Sleeper is not what its name suggests. In fact, Hard Sleeper has no relation with the word Hard. Actually, there are soft bedding equipped with the Hard Sleepers. Hard Sleepers are easily mixed up with the conception “Hard Seats”, the latter means the third best ticket on the train. The Hard Sleeper is the Second-Best Sleeper on a train. The sleeper is about 24 inches (60 cm) wide and 71 inches (180 cm) long.

Why train trip to Tibet is so much preferred?

Every day, the bustling Tibet trains unload about 2000 visitors to the “city of sunset” Lhasa. Travelers come from different areas of China. What on earth attracts so many visitors flowing to Tibet choosing trains as their transportation?

  • One of the most predictable purposes travelers have is to experience the miracle project. The very project has created a series of world records high (the highest railway – 5072 m, highest railway station – 5072 m, the longest plateau railway -1976 km, longest rail bridge – 11.7 km, longest plateau tunnel in permafrost – 1686 m …). Visitors want to check out how the engineers broke through the most challenging technical problems during the construction process. Challenges are the extensive frozen earth, high altitude stress and eco-environment protection.
  • Visitors’ another purpose is to enjoy the magnificent plateau landscape along the railway including the vast salt lakes Qinghai and Qarhan, the broad and mysterious Hoh Xil Depopulated Zone, the characteristics of Qinghai Tibet Plateau – Tibetan Antelope, Dominating Tanggula Mountains, Blue Diamond – Tsonag Lake.
  • Train tickets are usually cheaper, and the train itself is brilliant too. It got complete Inside configurations: plugs for charging, nice car restaurant to hangout, free oxygen supply, free hot water supply, and reasonable-price meal.
  • The train trip was highly recommended because the train ascends slowly to somewhere high altitude so as to free people from high altitude stress problem.

Train Tickets are Quite Sought-After and It’s Hard to Book Already.

  • So far, there are 7 gateway cities which operate daily or weekly trains to Lhasa. They are Beijing, Shanghai, Chengdu, Guangzhou, Chongqing, Lanzhou and Xining. Travelers could choose to board the train in the middle of the route. The stations offering the service are located in Nanjing, Xian, Taiyuan, etc.
  • Even though 7 train routes are in operating, the train tickets still hard to come by, especially in the summer vacation. The soft berth cabin is extraordinarily hard to book because each train has only 76 sleepers of its kind, that can’t satisfy the numerous travelers. But soft berth cabin is definitely an optimal choice. Succeed in booking a soft berth cabin, a 2-night high-quality sleep is under promised. And in fact you have to stay two nights on the train no matter you depart from Beijing, Shanghai, or Chengdu.
  • As a consequence you’d better book the train tickets as early as possible. According to the policy at present, one can book the ticket up to 30 days in advance.

Tibet Local Guide tourism service team provides Qinghai Tibet Train ticketing instantly!

As a local larger online booking platform, Tibet local guide provides instant train ticketing. Travelers can choose any trains to and or from Lhasa. Once the tickets are available, just choose your schedule and train route, click to pay and secure instantly. Sometimes we also provide Qinghai Tibet train travel tickets when travelers can not search out any tickets on internet, with our strong cooperation relationship with Qinghai Tibet railway system, we can get the most tickets sorted out finally. Further more you can also book any other China domestic train tickets with us. Have a nice train journey with local Tibetan guide.