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How to Board and Get off Tibet Train: when to show your Tibet permit, how to collect train ticket...

One of the most popular ways to get to Tibet is taking a Tibet train along the Qinghai-Tibet railway. During the one to two days train journey from mainland China to Lhasa city, you will experience the amazing landscape on the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau. To start your lifetime Tibet train tour, how to board the train is an important thing to know before you go. Here is the useful guide about how to board and get off the train to Tibet. Just following the simple steps below, you can easily start your train journey to your dreamy destination.

Simple Steps to Board the Train to Tibet

Step 1: Prepare You Travel Document

Tibet Travel Permit
Tibet Travel Permit is an important travel document for international travelers entering Tibet, which means no matter you enter Tibet by flight or by train, you need to show this Tibet permit so that you can board the plane or Tibet train. When you board the Tibet train, you will need to show your copied or original Tibet permit to the security staff when you go through the security check. If you take the train to Tibet from Chongqing, Xian and Lanzhou, you need to get the original one before you go. For entering Tibet from other cities by train, you can just show the copy of the travel permit at the railway station.

 Tibet Travel Permit Tibet Travel Permit

You can only apply for the travel permit through a Tibet local travel agency, like us, which will offer the full Tibet tour service for you. If you book your Tibet tour with us, we will help you get Tibet Travel Permit for free from Tibet Tourism Bureau and later send it to your hotel or residence in mainland China. 

Remember to bring your passport with you. Since you need to book the train ticket with your passport number, please double check the number of your passport is the same as the one you used to book the ticket, or you can’t collect your Tibet train ticket.

Step 2: Collect Your Train Ticket

There are two ways to collect your Tibet train ticket. In the first case, our local staff will send the train tickets to your hotels or address in mainland China; in the second case, you need to collect your train ticket at the railway station by yourself. You have to go to the ticket window and show the train booking confirmation No., your passport and Tibet travel permit to get your ticket.

 Collect Train Ticket Collecting your train ticket at the railway station by yourself

Since the Chinese railway stations are always crowded, especially in those big cities like Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou, Chengdu, etc. it is suggested to arrive at the station at least two hours in advance. You may need to spend a lot of time finding the right ticket window and queuing in lines to collect your ticket. Please leave enough time and be patient.

Step 3: Go through the Security Check

Once you get your Tibet train ticket at the railway station, you need to pass through a security check at the entrance. You passport, train ticket and Tibet travel permit are required to be checked. The luggage and passenger security check at the train station is just like the one at the airport.

 Go through the Security Check Pass through the security check at the entrance

Step 4: Find Right Waiting Room

After passing the security check, you will enter the waiting hall. Generally, there are many waiting rooms at each station. You need to find the right waiting room for your train to Tibet. Generally, the information, such as the train number, waiting room numbers, and departure time, is shown on the LED screen at the railway station in Chinese. If you cannot read Chinese, you can find the train number first, and then you can see the number of the waiting room at the same line.

 Find Right Waiting Room Checking the train number to find right waiting room

Step 5: Line up for Checking in

Sometimes one waiting room is for several platforms. So you need to check which gate and platform are right for you. You need to take your train ticket to get to the right platform and check-in 15 minutes before departure.

 Find Right Platform Find right gate and platform

Step 6: Board the Train and Find Your Seat

Once you board the train, you need to find the right cabin. The car number is shown on your train ticket. Next, after getting to the right car, you can see the cabin number and bunk number displayed on the wall. In the soft sleeper cabin, there are 4 sleeping bunks in each compartment and the door can be closed for the private compartment. Usually, there are only two soft sleeper cars on each train to Tibet. If you prefer the soft sleeper cars, it's better to book a Tibet train ticket in advance, I mean, at least 1 month earlier. 

We have the detailed information about what the soft sleeper cars look like on trains to Tibet here.

 Find Your Sleeper Cabin See the cabin number and bunk number displayed on the wall to find your cabin

Usually, there are around 10 hard sleeper cars onboard. In each hard sleeper car, there are 11 compartments and each one has 6 bunks. There is no door for each compartment in hard sleeper cars, and you can check the detailed introduction about hard sleeper cars on trains to Tibet here. And the number of bunks is also displayed on the wall. If you cannot find your bunk, ask the onboard staff for help. 

How to Get off the Train and Exit

After enjoying a lifetime journey through the world highest Qinghai Tibet railway, you will arrive in Lhasa, the holy city on the Tibet plateau. Upon arrival, you need to pick up your luggage and get off the train yourself. Our travel guide will meet you outside Lhasa railway station. Please get out of the train station immediately to find the guide instead of waiting at the platform inside the station. Please wait for your driver and tour guide in the marked area to pick you up to your hotels. Do not hang out on the square.

 Lhasa Train station Upon your arrival, please wait for your tour guide in the marked area

Other Tips for the Journey aboard the Tibet Train

Now, you know how to board and get off the train to Tibet. There are still some things you need to know about the life aboard the train.

1. There is one dining car in each Tibet train, where you can have three meals a day and buy some snacks and drinks onboard. The food provided in the dining car is only Chinese cuisine. If you are not used to Chinese food, you can bring some packaged snacks and instant noodles with you. There is 24-hour boiled water supplied for free.

2. If you want much privacy on the Tibet train, you can book the soft sleeper bunk, for there are only 4 people in one compartment and the door can be closed for a private room. But the price of the soft sleeper cabin is much expensive than a hard sleeper. And since there are only about 64 soft bunks on each Tibet train, it is quite hard to book one soft sleeper ticket in peak season. So it is suggested to make your reservation as soon as possible. 

3. There are both Western-Style toilets and Chinese-style toilets at the end of each train car. There is no private bathroom in the soft sleeper cabin. You cannot take a shower during your Tibet train journey.

4. As driving through the Qinghai-Tibet railway, the highest railway in the world at an average altitude of 4500 metres above the sea level, you may worry about getting the high altitude sickness onboard. In fact, the trains to Tibet are specially-designed for the journey on the plateau. There are two oxygen supply systems equipped aboard. It is easy to find a private oxygen supplies on the wall of the carriage. After passing through Golmud station, the other oxygen supply system starts to work to spread oxygen into the train cars.

Please note: smoking is forbidden on trains to Tibet when the oxygen supply system are working during the section from Golmud to Lhasa.

Master Kungga Dundruk

About the Author - Master Kungga Dundruk

Kungga Dundruk, often respectfully referred to as “Manager Kunga”, is the most revered and legendary Tibetan guide in our team.

Currently working as a customer service manager in Lhasa, Kunga 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.

As a legendary Tibetan guide with 22 years of guide experience, Kunga was awarded the Gold Medalist of China’s Best Tour Guide in 2019, marking the pinnacle of his career. Today, Kunga loves sharing his wealth of Tibetan knowledge through travel articles and stands ready to offer prompt support whenever our guests need help in Lhasa.

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