T164, as one of the early three railway links with Tibet, connects Shanghai with Lhasa. The railway line covers 8 provinces from east to west China and has 4373 km in total. It normally takes about 47. 47 hours to reach Lhasa from Shanghai. As the train travels amid mountainous range, conductors of each compartment of the train will use Chinese, Tibetan Language and English to introduce renowned scenic spots along the railway line as well as Tibetan customs and making of Tibetan dishes, etc.
First put into use on Oct,1st, 2006, Shanghai-Lhasa train distinguished itself from other trains in an unique way. The train equipped with cutting-edge technology was built to dash on the extreme plateau. The long train, consisting of 15 compartments, could accommodate 863 passengers and 2of the compartments were used as soft sleepers that could house 64 travellers and another 7 compartments were made for hard sleepers capable of accommodating 407 tourists. Still another 5 compartments were set aside for hard seat that contained 392 passengers, while the rest compartment was reserved for dinning car and crew of Shanghai-Lhasa railway.
( Shanghai to Lhasa Train Map)
( A group of tourists were taking a photo with Shanghai-Lhasa Train after the train arrived in Lhasa.)
Shanghai Lhasa train Schedule and Fare
T164 Shanghai to Lhasa
CNY 817.5 (USD 134)
CNY 1310.5 (USD 214)
T166(return) Lhasa to Shanghai
CNY 817.5 (USD 134)
¥1310.5 (USD 214)
Shanghai Lhasa Train day-by-day Timetable
Sation in Chinese
Most of the major attractions along the Shanghai-Lhasa railway route will be seen as the train enters Golmud, for the highlights of Qinghai-Tibet train exist in Xining-Lhasa railway section.
Altitude Change of Shanghai to Lhasa Train
(This graph gives you a rough idea of how altitude changes along Shanghai-Lhasa railway line.)
Shanghai International Airport to Railway Station
Shanghai, being the commercial and financial center of mainland China, enjoys an extensive and efficient public transportation system. Shanghai Pudong International Airport serves as the major hub and gateway for foreign tourists to access China. The mass subway system allows tourists to have an easy travel to virtually anywhere in Shanghai.
(Shanghai Pudong International Airport→Shanghai Railway Station)
Tips: To be able to board the Shanghai-Lhasa train, foreign tourists have to show your passport, Tibet Travel Permit, and train ticket to the train inspector. If tourists want to travel in Tibet, you need to find a licensed and trustworthy travel agency to apply for the Tibet Travel Permit.
Shanghai Railway Station
Address: Moling Road, Zhabei
District of Shanghai (上海市闸北区秣陵路)
Telephone: 021-63179090 95105123
Metro to Shanghai Railway Station:
Line 1, Line3, and Line4
Tips for Boarding the Train
--- fill the health history form
Before boarding the train, tourists are expected to fill out an health history form. If one has illness such as hypertension, stroke, chronic respiratory problem, and other cardiovascular disease, he or she shall no board the train for one’s health concern.
--- show your train ticket and Tibet Travel Permit
Tourists shall bring your train ticket, passport, and Tibet Travel Permit and show them to the train inspector. During the journey, you may be checked many times. So it is advisable to have a few copies of Tibet Travel Permit and passport.
--- check your luggage (for detailed regulations)
Tourists should put your luggage to the X-Ray scanner and things like gun, poison, explosive, and chemical substance, etc are strictly forbidden. Just follow the instruction of staff of railway station.
--- swap tickets If you don’t stay with your relatives or friends in the same cabin, you may swap your tickets with other passengers with the help of the conductor.Do remember your cabin and seat No.
Having a ride on Qinghai-Tibet train is relatively safe as each compartment is independent and its door will automatically be closed at night. One is forbidden to enter the compartment without ticket. Of course, nowhere is safer than the compartments of soft sleeper. The cabin of soft sleeper can accommodate 4 travellers and there is a door to shut, which is the perfect choice for a family. Besides, the surveillance cameras and 24-hours police patrol make it even safer on the train.
How to Book Train Ticket?
( A tourist is badly in need of a train ticket outside the train station.)
--- with the help of a licensed travel agency ( highly recommended)
( To foreign tourists, it is highly recommended choosing a reliable and licensed travel agency to book your ticket to Tibet. Not only can the travel agency book your ticket but help foreign tourists apply for and successfully get Tibet Travel Permit together with provide a customized Tibet travel itinerary. In this respect, Tibet Vista, enjoying partnership with railway stations nationwide for years, is a viable option.)
--- The train ticket is mainly available on www.12306.cn
( However, the website has no English version and more importantly the online payment is limited to bank account in mainland China. During the peak season and even the off season of Tibet tourism, it is difficult for foreign tourists to book train tickets.)
--- Train Ticket Office
( Tourists can directly go to the train ticket office at the railway station to buy the ticket.)
Attention: Try to Avoid Spring Festival Travel Rush
( Tons of passengers are flocking to train ticket office in the hope of buying a train ticket to head home.)
Though winter is the off-season of Tibet travel, the work load of Shanghai-Lhasa train is never lessened. As the route of Shanghai-Lhasa train stretches across the mainland China and during the spring festival, a sizable number of migrant workers from the economically developed eastern China will take this train to head back to their hometown. Therefore, the spring festival rush makes it virtually impossible to book Shanghai-Lhasa ticket. Even the travel agency can do little about it because the number of tourists going to Tibet shrinks considerably in winter and the railway station won’t reserve many tickets for a travel agency.
Other Alternatives to Shanghai-Lhasa Train
Taking Qinghai-Tibet train is truly popular. It’s extremely difficult for individual travelers to buy train tickets themselves during peak season. If one failed finally, don’t be disappointed.There’s another option,taking train or plane from Shanghai to Xining (The genuine starting point of Qinghai-Tibet railway), then heading to Tibet from Xining . There are several daily trains bound for Lhasa from Xining, and the capacity is even greater than Shanghai-Lhasa train. It is much easier to get tickets.)
On the other hand, some travelers may feel uncomfortable spending 47 hours on the train. With the majority of scenic view appearing at the last section of railway line, i.e. from Golmud to Lhasa, so it’s a little bit waste of time to take the train all the way from Shanghai to Xining. If you have enough budget, we highly recommend you taking flight from Shanghai to Xining, and then moving to Tibet by train, in this way you can save time and energy.
How to Get Help on the Train?
Some of the staff on the train speak English and they are easy-approaching and hospitable to foreign tourists. If one runs into any trouble, you may ask the head of conductor for help.
---Swap Seat: If you find your seat is not with relatives or friends ( pretty common in high season), you may look for the head of conductor to change seat with other passengers if they agree.
---Altitude Sickness: On Day 3, most of the passengers may have symptoms of altitude sickness (such as headache, fatigue, difficult sleeping, lack of appetite, etc.) as the train reaches Qinghai-Tibet plateau. Now, you may switch on the oxygen outlet to inhale oxygen to ease the discomfort. If the symptom gets worse, you may find the conductor for help and the doctor on the train will come and give you timely treatment.
( An illustration of how to use oxygen outlet on Qinghai-Tibet train.)
Sleep and Eat
There are mainly three categories of accommodations available on Shanghai-Lhasa train, namely soft sleeper, hard sleeper, and hard seat. The Sound sleep matters a lot as to long travel. Given the extreme altitude for second half of the long ride, it is advisable to buy soft sleeper ticket because tourists can have more privacy and enjoy cozier sleeping environment.
( Three passengers are chatting in the aisle outside the hard sleeper. A typical hard sleeper is made up of 6 bunks in a cabin, with 3 bunks on each side. And the space of the top bunk is very cramped and fold-our chairs are readily available for tourists to sit and enjoy the spectacular window view.)
* Hard seat is not recommended as the long ride is a huge challenge to tourists’ stamina and a comfortable accommodation matters a great deal.
Before the departure from Shanghai railway station, do bring enough food. It could be snacks, fruit and instant noodles wrapped in bowls. Sharing snack with roommates is the easiest way to break the silence. The trolleys loaded with food are served in each compartment sporadically and tourists can buy from the staff of train. Besides, Tourists can get free boiled water from hot water dispenser near the sinks. Anther choice is to dine in dinning car.
( Dozens of tourists are having dinner in the dinning car. Tourists can order some traditional Chinese home-made dishes. However, not all the dishes may have Chinese name and the waiter or waitress may no speak English.)
Where to recharge your mobile phones and electronic devices?
The powerplugfor chargers are located in the corridors OR under your table inthe cabin with the 4 soft sleepers (in between the 2 lower bunks).
Can touristshave shower in the train?Unfortunately, there is no shower room in the train.Dobring some wet wipesin stores anda smalltowel, and small but equally important thing:toilet/tissue paper.
Is it possible to swap ticket with other people to stay with friends or family inthe same cabin?Yes. It is acceptable.You may ask conductor to swaptickets with other passengers to stay with your family or friends.
Is smoking allowed in the cabin?Smoking is strictly forbidden in the trainas thetrain is tightly sealed and pressurized and oxygen is pumped into the carriagewhen the train ascends to extreme altitude. It would be devastating if thetrain caught fire.
Is it necessary to carry Tibet Travel Permit all the time?
Make sure you have your passport, Tibet Travel Permit andticket with youas you could be checked many times during the longjourney.
It is advisable to havemany copies of Tibet Travel Permit.
How can we minimize the effect of altitude sickness? The effect of altitude sickness onpassengers varies. Yet, to minimize or ease the impact of altitude sickness,one mayprepare somealtitude sickness tabletsbefore boarding the train and take some whenthe train climbs to plateau. There is no need to worry too much thealtitude sickness, the train is built withoxygen suppley system. It is easy to use.
(Tourists can manually switch on the oxygen outlet to have oxygen if one getsheadache or feels any discomfort because of extreme altitude.)
If you have more questions about yourtravel on Shanghai-Tibet train, or decide to have a specific travel itinerary,please feel free to to send us an inquiry. We are ready to help you out.
As mentioned above, tourists may buy some instant noodles, snack before boarding the train. You may also buy bread, cooked food and beverage on the trolley pulled by train staff at mealtimes. Another choice is to dine in the dinning car where traditional Chinese food is served. More details: the dinning car on Qinghai-Tibet train
No. There are no shower facilities in the train and it would be dangerous if tourists caught cold at high altitude. While hot water is available, one can find boiled water dispenser near the sink. More details: facilities on Qinghai-Tibet train
You can open the oxygen outlet to inhale oxygen and the symptom may fade away gradually. If the discomfort persists, the doctor on the train will come and give you instant treatment. An good way to take precaution is to buy some altitude sickness medicines and take it before the train ventures into plateau with extreme altitude. Besides, the oxygen the oxygen will be automatically released into the compartment as train reaches certain area on Qinghai-Tibet region.
More details: 5 suggestions on how to ease altitude sicknessAdvice given by doctors on how to avoid altitude sickness
Theoretically, you can. Usually, before the train makes a brief stopover at different stations, the amount of time of staying will be announced on the screen. Then, you may walk off the train, stretch your arms and legs or buy some snacks. But do set aside enough time for you board the train before the train restarts.
heoretically, the lower bunk is better than the upper bunk as the lower bunk is more spacious and normally passengers stay at lower bunk, chatting and eating food. Yes, it is possible to pinpoint the bunk you want to have as long as it is not in peak season of Tibet travel.
The ticket price of soft sleeper is much higher than that of hard sleeper as it enjoys much privacy and comfort. A typical soft sleeper consists of 4 bunks while a hard sleeper has 6 bunks and there is no door to close for hard sleeper. If you have a hard sleeper ticket and want to upgrade it to soft sleeper, it is possible and you may ask the conductor for help
Yes, it Does. It is helpful to allow you have a better acclimatization. Yet, the Qinghai-Tibet train is pressurized like an airplane. If one wants to better adapt to alpine environment, you need to be exposed to the natural environment for example you may get off the train and stretch your arms and legs during the short stops at stations. Move slowly than you do on the plain.
Basically, the stuff forbidden on the plane also apply to the train. Things like poison, explosive, knives, pets, etc. Most importantly, smoking is strictly forbidden in the train since the Qinghhai-Tibet train is tightly sealed and pressured like an airplane, with oxygen released into the compartment. Therefore,the smoking could be potential deadly.
More details: What should and should not be carried on Qinghai-Tibet train.