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Train from Lhasa to Xining: The Best Alternative for the Qinghai-Tibet Railway Experience

The Qinghai-Tibet Railway is an engineering wonder that winds through the magnificent, high-altitude scenery of the Tibetan Plateau. Tourists love to marvel at the views of vast grasslands, alpine lakes, and beautiful mountains, but its popularity can make getting tickets from Xining to Lhasa challenging.

Fortunately, there’s another excellent option: taking a return train from Lhasa to Xining. These trains offer the same breathtaking scenery along the Qinghai-Tibet Railway.

Why choose a train from Lhasa to Xining? How can you book a ticket for this journey? Here, we'll delve into the details of the Lhasa to Xining train, presenting it as the ideal choice for experiencing the wonders of Tibet by rail.

1. Lhasa to Xining Train Schedule and Price in 2024

Every day, there are around seven trains from Lhasa to Xining. Most of them are bound for other cities in China and stop at Xining Train Station generally for 20 minutes. Only Train Z8982 and Train Z8992 are the direct train from Lhasa to Xining.

The Lhasa to Xining train operates throughout the day, departing as early as 9:00 in the morning and running until nearly 7:00 in the evening. You have the flexibility to choose any train departure from Lhasa to suit your schedule.

On every Lhasa to Xining train, you'll find three ticket classes: soft sleeper, hard sleeper, and hard seat. Since the journey covers a distance of 1,956 km and lasts over 21 hours, it's best to choose a sleeper berth.

The prices for tickets on the Lhasa to Xining train start at 495 RMB for a hard sleeper and 781 RMB for a soft sleeper.

Updated Lhasa to Xining Train Schedule in 2024

Train Number Departure Arrival Duration
Z918 (Lhasa to Xi’An) 09:25 06:25 21h
Z166 (Lhasa to Shanghai) 11:50 09:15 21h25m
Z266 (Lhasa to Guangzhou) 12:40 10:20 21h40m
Z22 (Lhasa to Beijing) 15:50 13:10 21h20m
Z8992 (Lhasa to Xining) 17:50 14:49 20h59m
Z224 (Lhasa to Chongqing) 19:00 16:30 21h30m

Please Notice:
1. The timetable provided above is for reference purposes only. For the most up-to-date train schedule, please don't hesitate to contact us.
2. You need to book the train ticket and board the train with your passport.
3. No Tibet Permit is required for trains leaving Tibet.
4. For better scenery, we recommend taking Z918, Z166, or Z266 because the earlier departure provides more time for passengers to appreciate the stunning scenery along the Lhasa-Golmud section, the essential scenery of the Qinghai-Tibet Railway.

Lhasa to Xining Train TicketInformation Guide on Lhasa to Xining Train Ticket

2. Reasons to Choose the Train from Lhasa to Xining over Other Outboud Trains

The true essence of the Qinghai-Tibet Railway experience lies in the journey between Lhasa and Xining, offering unparalleled views along the way. It is the shortest Tibet train journey within 22 hours.

Therefore, if you're departing from Lhasa by train, opting for the Lhasa to Xining route is the ideal choice. Since all trains heading to inland China pass through Xining, securing tickets for this route is convenient.

Moreover, Xining itself boats attractions worth exploring, particularly from May to October. During this period, you can enjoy the beauty of Qinghai Lake, the largest inland lake in China, or explore some historical landmarks, like Kumbum Monastery, the birthplace of the founder of Buddhism, Lama Tsongkhapa.

Qinghai LakeQinghai Lake is worth a visit while staying in Xining.

If your next stop after visiting Tibet is the mainland of China, taking a train from Lhasa to Xining ensures a smooth transition. After spending a few days exploring this northwest city, you can easily transfer to other cities.

Please Notice:
We can also arrange a China Tibet tour for you, with extensions to the popular destinations in the mainland of China. Please feel free to discuss your travel plan with us.

3. Opt for the Train from Lhasa to Xining if You Can’t get a Train Ticket to Tibet in the Peak Season

During the peak season for Tibet tourism (June to early October), booking a train ticket to Tibet can be challenging due to limited availability. If you find yourself unable to secure a ticket during this busy period, opting for the train from Lhasa to Xining is a practical alternative.

The stunning scenery and diverse landscapes along the Qinghai-Tibet Railway remain consistent regardless of the direction of travel. Therefore, taking the train to Xining after your Tibet tour offers the same memorable experience as the reverse journey.

Lhasa to Xining Train ViewThe Lhasa-Xining train will also pass by the Tanggula Pass in the daytime.

This option not only ensures you enjoy the scenic route but also simplifies the ticket booking process for your outbound journey, making it easier to fit into your travel plans.

4. Easily Book Your Lhasa to Xining Train Ticket with Tibet Vista

Since booking a train ticket to Tibet requires both a Tibet Travel Permit and your passport, arranging your outbound train ticket from Tibet with just your passport is much more convenient.

As a reputable local travel agency, we provide comprehensive Tibet train ticket booking services exclusively for our customers who have booked a Tibet tour with us.

Additionally, we offer a complimentary shuttle service to Lhasa railway station to enhance the convenience of your journey. For further details, please don't hesitate to reach out to us.

5. More Facts about the Train from Lhasa to Xining

The Lhasa to Xining train is the same as the train from Xining to Lhasa. Here are some facts and tips about the facilities and life onboard.

Take a soft sleeper for a more comfortable journey

Two kinds of sleeper berths are available on the train from Lhasa to Xining: hard sleeper and soft sleeper.

A typical hard sleeper consists of 6 bunks (60cm*180cm), and there is no door for the compartments. The space is a little cramped within each cabin and t, and there is little privacy. You might find that the passengers moving in the aisle interrupt your sleep. Yet, you can meet and make friends with different people, and the ticket is much cheaper than in a soft sleeper cabin.

Soft Sleeper vs Hard SleeperSoft sleeper is more spacious than the hard one.

Compared with hard sleepers, soft sleepers are highly recommended for several reasons. First, the long ride demands quality accommodation on the train. Cozy, quiet, private, and smooth, the sleeper promises tourists a relatively comfortable ride. In soft sleepers, there are only four bunks (75cm*190cm), and the room is much more spacious than in hard sleepers. In addition, the soft sleeper has a door that can be shut. Thus, the personal property of tourists and a sound sleep can be better guaranteed at night.

Due to the high demand for the tickets, please get in touch with us at least three months in advance to secure soft sleeper tickets for you.

There is a dining car available onboard

The dining carriage on the Tibet train is equipped with a bar, tables, chairs, and large glass windows. It is usually located in the middle of the train and offers various Chinese food and drinks such as noodles, dishes, and soups. It costs about 20 CNY/meal and accepts cash, WeChat, and Alipay payments. Even though the menu is in Chinese and the waiters don’t understand English, you can use a translation App or look at the dishes on the tables ordered by others to get food you like.

Tibet Train Dinning CarDozens of tourists are having dinner in the dinning car. Tourists can order some traditional Chinese home-made dishes.

Three meals are served in the dining carriage, and drinks and snacks are available throughout the day. A food cart also passes through each train car, selling drinks, snacks, and pre-packaged meals.

Both western-style and squat-style toilets onboard

The soft sleeper carriage has one western-style toilet and one squat-style toilet, while the hard sleeper carriage only has two squat-style toilets. Toilets are located at the end of each carriage, adjacent to the washbasin, dustbin, and hot water dispenser.

Western Style Toilet on Tibet trainSoft sleeper carriage has one Western style toilet and one Chinese style toilet.

The red sign on the toilet door means the toilet is occupied, while the green sign means vacant. Avoid using toilets when the train is coming to the station because they will be locked by the train attendant. It is important to bring enough tissue or toilet paper because it can be used quickly, and one won’t find any replacement if it runs out. Of course, don’t forget to push the “Flush” button every time after using the toilet.

24-Hour Boiling Water is Available onboard

Hot water dispensers supply free boiled water 24 hours a day. It is a good idea to bring your own water flash and get water when the light on the dispenser turns green. You can also use the boiling water to make instant noodles, which can be bought on the train or at the station before boarding.

No showers are Available onboard

Unfortunately, shower facilities are not available on the train. Bring some wet wipes, a small towel, and tissue to be able to freshen up during the journey.


Traveling from Xining to Lhasa offers an alternative way to experience the same fantastic scenery along the Qinghai-Tibet Railway when you can’t get a train ticket to Tibet during the peak season. It shares the same route, the same train carriages, and the same stunning landscapes along the Qinghai-Tibet Railway.

To make your travel hassle-free, we keep the train schedule updated and provide free Tibet train ticket booking services. Simply share your travel plans with us, and let us assist you in arranging your Tibet train tour.

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 to guiding and serving international tourists traveling in Tibet. As a legendary Tibetan travel guru with 20-year pro guide experience. Currently, he is working in Tibet Vista as the Tour Operating Director. Whenever our clients run into trouble, he is your first call and will offer prompt support.

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