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How to get to Tibet by train, All Trains to Tibet

Over 10 million tourists have hopped on Tibet trains on the Qinghai-Tibet Railway to visit the Holy Land, Tibet, since the railway went into operation on July 1, 2006. More and more tourists choose to travel to Tibet by train. Forty-two percent of tourists traveling to Tibet in 2010 chose to use the railway, while in 2006, only 26 percent chose to do so. Most tourists are attracted by the scenic wonders along the 1,956 km railway on the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau. Some tourists choose to take the Tibet train because of its status as the world's "highest" railway, with the railway's Tanggula Pass located at an elevation of 5,027 meters above sea level.

Currently, there are several direct trains to Tibet from Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Chengdu, Chongqing and Xining. Many trains to Tibet beginning from other cities will pass by Xining, Xian, Lanzhou or Golmud. Therefore, it is quite convenient to take a train to Lhasa from other inland cities of China. Not surprisingly, Qinghai-Tibet Railway is so attractive for both domestic and foreign tourists to Tibet.

Get to Tibet by train from Beijing

A tailor-made air-conditioning train from Beijing to Lhasa run by China Railways takes about 44 hours to cover 3753 kilometers between Beijing and Lhasa, of which 1110 km are over Qinghai-Tibet railway. It departs from the Beijing West Railway Station at 20:09 and arrives at Lhasa Railway Station at 16:00 on the third day. The train to Tibet from Beijing presently costs around RMB1300 for a first-class sleeper berth, around RMB800 for a second-class sleeper berth and half that for a soft seat.

Get to Tibet by train from Shanghai

The air-conditioned train to Tibet from Shanghai departs every day at 19:52 from Shanghai Train Station, and arrives at Lhasa Railway Station at 19:15 on the third day after about 47.5 hours, covering a distance of 4373 kilometers between Shanghai and Lhasa, of which 1110 km are over Qinghai-Tibet railway. The Shanghai to Lhasa train costs around RMB1300 for a first-class sleeper berth, about RMB850 for a second-class sleeper berth and half that for a soft seat.

Get to Tibet by train from Chengdu

The train to Tibet from Chengdu departs every other day at 20:59 from Chengdu Train Station, and arrives at Lhasa Railway Station at 16:50 on the third day after nearly 44 hours, covering a distance of 3348 kilometers, including 1110 km over the Qinghai-Tibet railway. The Chengdu to Lhasa train costs around RMB1100 for a first-class sleeper berth, about RMB700 for a second-class sleeper berth and half that for a soft seat.

Get to Tibet by train from Guangzhou

The train to Tibet from Guangzhou departs every other day at 12:19 from Guangzhou Train Station, and arrives at Lhasa Railway Station at 18:30 on the third day after over 54 hours, covering a distance of 4980 kilometers, with 1110 km over the Qinghai-Tibet railway. The Guangzhou to Lhasa train costs around RMB1500 for a first-class sleeper berth, about RMB900 for a second-class sleeper berth and half that for a soft seat.

Get to Tibet by train from Xining

There are several trains from Xining to Lhasa. But most of them start from other cities of China and stop at Xining Train Station generally for 20 minutes. Only two trains, K9801 and K9811, start from Xining to Lhasa. The train K9801 from Xining to Lhasa departs every other day at 15:02 from Xining Train Station, and arrives at Lhasa Railway Station at 14:55 on the second day after over 24 hours covering a distance of 1960 kilometers, while the K9811 starts every other day from Xining at 22:00 and reaches Lhasa at 21:40 on the second day. The operational speed is also 120 km/h, 100 km/h over sections laid on permafrost. It costs around RMB800 for a first-class sleeper berth, about RMB500 for a second-class sleeper berth and half that for a soft seat.

Get to Tibet by train from Xian

At present, there is no train originating from Xian to Lhasa, but there are several trains that make stops in Xian, such as the trains from Shanghai, Guangzhou, Chongqing to Lhasa. Therefore, it is less easy to get a train ticket to Lhasa in Xian. Besides, the ticket quota allocation for Xian would be extremely small. You would be able to get a ticket from Shanghai to Lhasa, but might not be able to get one from Xian to Lhasa. It costs around RMB 1006 for a first-class sleeper berth ticket and RMB 650 for a second-class sleeper berth.

Get to Tibet by train from Golmud

Although there is no train to Lhasa originating Golmud, but many trains to Lhasa making a stopover in Golmud for it is a city that lies along the Qinghai-Tibet Railway extending from Xining to Lhasa for 1956 km. The Golmud-Lhasa railway section is 1,142 km. It will take approximately 12 hours from Golmud to Lhasa by train and cost around RMB143.

Get to Tibet by train from Lanzhou

At present, there are six trains to Tibet from Lanzhou. Only one of them originates from Lanzhou to Lhasa. The other five respectively start from Beijing, Shanghai, Chengdu, Chongqing and Shanghai to Lhasa, with a stopover in Lanzhou. The train K917 leaves Lanzhou at 12:13 and arrives at Lhasa at 14:55 on the second day. It costs around RMB550.

Get to Tibet by train from Chongqing

The train from Chongqing to Tibet departs every other day at 17:06 from Chongqing Train Station, and arrives at Lhasa Railway Station at 16:50 on the third day, covering a distance of 3654 kilometers, including 1110 km over the Qinghai-Tibet railway. The Chongqing to Lhasa train costs around RMB1200 for a first-class sleeper berth, about RMB750 for a second-class sleeper berth and half that for a soft seat.

Of course, you also can take a train to Tibet from other cities of China, but it might be difficult to get a ticket than from the above cities.

Master Catherine Jigme

About the Author - Master Catherine Jigme

With exceptional passion and outstanding leadership, Mrs. Catherine has dedicated herself to Tibet inbound tourism and China tour for 15 years. As one of the handful females who see great potential of Chinese inbound tourism, Catherine has made great contribution to promoting Tibet tourism and enhancing the employment of Tibetans and prosperity of local Tibetan community.

Over the years, she travelled overseas with Tibet Tourism Bureau many times to promote Tibet tourism. Currently, Catherine works as the marketing director of Tibet Vista, an opinion leader behind the whole team of Tibet Vista.

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