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Beijing to Lhasa Train Travel Guide, Tickets Booking Online

Launched as early as in July, 2006, Beijing-Lhasa train (Z21) has served as one of the three initial railway routes of Qinghai-Tibet Railway, with other two major railway lines moving from Chengdu to Lhasa and Xining to Lhasa. Beijing-Lhasa train stretches as far as 3757km and crosses over 8 provinces and it takes around 40 hours and 53mins from Beijing to Lhasa and its return train is Z22(Lhasa-Beijing).

Beijing - Lhasa Train Schedule & Tickets Online Booking (2019 & 2020)

Beijing to Lhasa Train Map
Train NumberDepartureArrivalDurationDistanceFrequencyTicket Price
Z21(Beijing-Lhasa) 20:00 12:45 40:45 Hours 3,757km daily ¥720
Hard sleeper
Soft sleeper
Z22(Lhasa-Beijing) 15:50 08:28 40:38 Hours daily ¥720
Hard sleeper
Soft sleeper

*Note:Due to the development of railway system and an increase of train speed, the duration was shortened by the end of 2017. For the actual arrival and departure time of train, please refer to the information on your ticket, or consult your travel consultant.

About ticket price:
The ticket prices above are the net price. In reality, since the demand for Tibet train ticket far exceeds the supply, to successfully book the train ticket for you, an additional service fee is involved. However, we will manage to secure the ticket and ensure you a seamless Tibet train journey.

Tibet Train Tickets Online Booking:

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Most Classic Beijing Tibet Tour by Train (3 sample itineraries)

Beijing is the best place to begin Qinghai-Tibet train journey

Beijing is considered as the best place to begin Tibet Journey because Beijing enjoys easy transportation and China’s classical historical attractions. Known as the capital and one of the most vibrant cosmopolitans of China, Beijing is often the first option for foreign travellers to access China. Beijing Capital International Airport, being the second busiest airport in the world, has an annual throughput of over 90 million passengers in 2015 and it can literally receive travellers from any part of the globe and vice versa.

Beijing West Railway Sation
( the departure hall of Beijing West Train Station)

Foreign tourists may choose to land in Beijing and tour some must-see attractions such as  Forbidden City, Summer Palace,Great Wall, Tiananmen Square, etc en route to Tibet by Qinghai-Tibet railway. Besides, some of tourists can continue their journey to Nepal via Tibet.  In fact, Beijing-Tibet-Nepal is one of the most pupular tourism routes for travelers to travel in Asia. 

Best Way to Book Beijing-Lhasa Train Ticket

The booking of Beijing-Lhasa Train ticket is quite busy throughout the year, because Beijing – Lhasa Rail line is a crucial passage that connects China central government with Tibet. On the one hand, a large number of tourists from all walks of life are travelling between these two places all year around and part of the tickets are also reserved for governmental affairs. On the other hand, the remaining tickets are booked by various travel agencies for organizing train tour to Tibet. That is why it is very difficult for individual tourists to book ticket on their own both on-line and off-line. 

About ticket price:
The ticket prices above are the net price. In reality, since the demand for Tibet train ticket far exceeds the supply, to successfully book the train ticket for you, an additional service fee is involved. However, we will manage to secure the ticket and ensure you a seamless Tibet train journey.

To individual tourists, the best solution is to contact a reliable travel agency and book the Beijing-Lhasa train ticket through their hands at least one month in advance. Tibet Vista can provide such timely tickets booking service, and also offer “Train Ticket + Tibet Tour” packages. 


Other Viable Option to Lhasa during Travel Rush Seasons (flight+ train) 

As the hottest train route from the capital of China to Lhasa, the demand for Beijing-Lhasa train ticket is huge, especially during special travel rush seasons in China, such as 10 days before or after traditional Chinese Spring festival as well as summer and winter break for nationwide students. In this case, many may fail to book the tickets. A highly recommended solution is to fly from Beijing to Xining and later take Xining-Lhasa train to Tibet. One reason is that compared with Beijing-Lhasa train ticket, Xining-Lhasa train ticket is easier to book. Meanwhile, the highlight and beginning of Qinghai-Tibet Railway lies in the route of Xining-Lhasa train. 

How to Read Beijing to Lhasa Ticket and What Are Needed for Booking?

beijing lhasa train ticket sample

(Information Guide on a Beijing to Lhasa Train ticket ) 

If someone wants to travel to Tibet by railway from Beijing, it is also important to know how to get the permit to enter into Tibet. You do not need the permit to book the tickets but you do need it to board the train. Is still not possible to enter in Tibet as backpackers, so travelers need the help of travel agency to apply for Tibet Travel Permit in advance. Tibet Travel Permit as well as your ticket need to be checked when you check in. Photo copy of the permit is acceptable in Beijing west railway station, while original one is required inXi'an. Normally, travel agencies get your permit some days before you board the train for Lhasa and deliver it to your hotel. 

See more details :  Tibet Train Ticket Booking Notice

Hard Sleeper VS Soft Sleeper 

Normally, there are two categories of accommodation available in Qinghai-Tibet Train, namely hard sleeper (second class ticket), soft sleeper(first class ticket). 

Hard Sleeper Berth
( A Chinese tourist is smiling in the hard sleeper. In the aisle is a man playing with his camera on a fold-out chair.)
Soft Sleeper Berth

(A glimpse of cozy soft sleeper in the carriage of Qinghai-TIbet Train)

A typical hard sleeper consists of 6 bunks and there is no door for such compartment. Besides, the cramped space within each cabin leads to little privacy and the passengers moving in the aisle may interrupt one’s sleep. Yet, travellers can meet and make friends with different people and the ticket is much cheaper than soft sleeper.

Compared with hard sleeper, soft sleeper is highly recommended for a number of reasons. Firstly, long ride demands quality accommodation in the train. Cozy, quiet and private, soft sleeper promises tourists a relatively comfortable ride. In soft sleeper, there are only 4 bunks and the room is much spacious than hard sleeper. In addition, the soft sleeper has a door that can be shut down. Thus, the personal property of tourists and a sound sleep can be better guaranteed at night.  

How to Get to Beijing West Railway Station 

Though there are 5 railway stations in Beijing, Beijing-Lhasa Train starts from Beijing West Railway Station. Tourists can choose an route to the railway station to that suits you best. 


Beijing West Railway Station
( The Entrance of Beijing West Railway Station)

Beijing to Lhasa Train by the platform

(Subway to Beijing West Railway Station)

Like many other cosmopolitans around the world, Beijing has one of the most sophisticated subway systems that allow travellers to get to any major scenic spots with ease. 

Beijing Subway System
( The intricate and advanced subway system offers travellers an easy access to Beijing West Railway Station from all directions.)
If you are planing your trip to Lhasa from Beijing by train or have any questions about the travelling to Tibet by train, please feel free to contact us for consultation. We are ready to help you out. 
Fast Tranfer route to Beijing West Railway Station from airport

airport to train station

(Beijing Capital International Airport→Beijing West Railway Station)

Tips: To successfully board the Beijing-Lhasa train, foreign tourists must take and show personal passport, Tibet Travel Permit and train ticket to the train inspector. If one wants to sit with his/her friends, he/she may find train personnel to change tickets. If it is necessary, one has to follow the special boarding passage to board the train under the instruction of staff of railway station. 

Life on the Beijing-Lhasa Train 

What sort of window view do we expect to see ?

Just like the road trip by car, one could enjoy the scenery on both side of the road. The stunning scenery along the Beijing-Lhasa railway line will never let you down. As the train passes Xining and enters Golmud region, the breathtaking view appears one after another. Be sure to capture the memorable experience with your camera.  Major attractions are Qarhan Salt Lake, Yuzhu Peak, Kekexili Nature Reserve, Tuotuo He River, Tangula pass, Tsonag Lake, Qiangtang prairie, Namtso, etc. 

Sightseeing on board
( On the Beijing-Lhasa train , a foreign tourist is gazing out of the window.)

Having a ride on Qinghai-Tibet train like Beijing-Lhasa route is definitely the experience of a lifetime. Besides, the long distance and pressurized train tailor-made for acclimatization of extreme altitude make the ride different from other train journey. Following tips are suggested for tourists to better enjoy the life on Beijing-Lhasa train. See more: detailed introduction of scenery of Qinghai-Tibet railway.

What to eat in the train?
restuarant car
( Three tourists are waiting for dishes in the dining car.)

You may bring some instant noodles, snacks and fruits to eat or simply as a way to pass the time as the long ride begins. Chinese food is readily available in dinning car. Yet, the menu may not be in English and the waiter or waitress may not speak English. So, bringing an English-Chinese phrase book could be a big help in some cases. Next small but important thing is to have enough tissue or toilet paper. Because it is used fast and one won’t find any replacement if it runs out.

Alternative for the Shortage of Beijing-Lhasa Train Tickets during High Season (July---August)

The peak travel season of Qinghai-Tibet Railway normally comes during summer holiday ( July—August). By then, the demand for soft sleeper tickets will far exceed the actual supply, approximately over 1000% as it can offer. Sadly, Beijing railway station can only meet 10% of tourists’ needs.

To secure your travel, we suggest a viable alternative plan:
Instead of taking non-stop train from Beijing to Lhasa, you can fly from Beijing to Xining (or Lanzhou) and then get train ticket from Xining (or Lanzhou) to Lhasa. And this alternative plan would cost extra 250 US Dollars, per person.

Fly from Beijing to Xining (or Lanzhou) and Transfer To Lhasa by Train 

 beijing xining lhasa travel route
2 hours flight plus a 21hours train journey will make this trip easier to organize.

Alternative Beijing-Lhasa Travel Route Makes Sense in Three Aspects:

a.It can shorten tourists’ time on the train, because it only takes 21 hours from Xining to Lhasa. Tourists can save 20hours of long and tiring train journey, roughly half way of Beijing-Lhasa train route. And then you continue to head to Lhasa from Xining Railway Station, the essence and beginning of the Qinghai-Tibet Railway.

b.It can secure your train journey. There are many trains departing from Xining to Lhasa. As a result, it can ensure that visitors will be able to get on board successfully and can minimize the risk of failing to buy ticket from Beijing.

c.The trains bound to Lhasa from Xining normally start from late afternoon. It enables visitors to have longer time to enjoy the scenery from Golmud to Lhasa. Otherwise, if one departs from Beijing, he or she only has several hours to enjoy the scenery, because the time train arrives in Golmud is at night, at around 22:15.

Tips: If the original plan of buying non-stop train from Beijing is insisted, Tibet Vista cannot ensure 100% of buying the ticket because of the shortage of Beijing-Lhasa train tickets from Beijing railway station. As a result, you may face changing date or degrading to hard sleeping berth, even fail to travel to Tibet. Therefore, the above alternative plan is highly recommended and workable during high season. We feel very sorry for the extra 250 US dollars. Hopefully, you can accept our suggestion and choose a more secured way of travel.

Of course, you can choose to stay in Xining for a couple of days and travel in Xining. Xining is a well-known attraction in Tibetan region. Xining has many attractions: such as Kumbum Monastery, the birthplace of the founder of Buddhism-Lama Tsongkhapa (one of the six prestigious monasteries in Tibet) and Qinghai Lake, the largest inland lake. If you are interested in staying in Xining, you can consult our travel consultants.

Do we have to be worried about the altitude sickness?

Oxygen Supply
    ( A foreign tourist is using oxygen outlet to replenish himself with fresh air in the aisle.) 

This is no need to be panic about altitude sickness. To better adapt to high altitude, Beijing-Lhasa train is tight sealed and pressurized like an airplane.Therefore, smoking is not allowed. In addition, the cabin and aisle of each cabin and compartment are equipped with oxygen supply outlet. As the train ascends to Tanggula Pass, the highest point of railway line, the oxygen is automatically pumped into the train and tourists can also manually use the oxygen outlet to minimize altitude sickness symptoms such as headache, dizziness, fatigue,nausea,etc. It is advisable to bring altitude sickness medicines to ease the discomfort. 

What sort of window view do we expect to see ?

Window View on the Train
(A tourist is lying comfortably in the soft sleeper,enjoying the snow-capped mountainous range out of the window.)

Just like the road trip by car, one could enjoy the scenery on both sideof the road. The stunning scenery along the Beijing-Lhasa railway line willnever let you down.As thetrain pass Xining and enter Golmud region, the breathtaking view appears oneafter another. Be sure to capture the memorable experience with your camera.  

Major attractions areQarhan Salt Lake,Yuzhu Peak, KekexiliNature Reserve, Tuotuo He River, Tangula pass, Tsonag Lake, Qiangtang prairie,Namtso, etc.   

stunning highland view near Golmod
( A glimpse ofstunning vista of Gobi Desert in Golmud in fall ) 
See more: detailed introduction of scenery of Qinghai-Tibet railway 

Master Kungga Dundruk

About the Author - Master Kungga Dundruk

The Lhasa-born prodigy used to study business overseas, and got his Bachelor of Business in Nepal and India before moving back to his homeland.With pure passion for life and unlimited love for Tibet, Kunga started his guide career as early as 1997.

Responsible, considerate and humorous, he devoted his entire life guiding and serving international tourists travelling in Tibet.As a legendary Tibetan travel guru with 20-year pro guide experience , he once had an exclusive interview with the US media. Currently he is working in Tibet Vista as the Tour Operating Director. Whenever our clients run into troubles, he is your first call and will offer prompt support.

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