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Xining to Shigatse Train: the scenic sky train connecting Xining with the gateway city of Mt.Everest

January,09 2019 BY Master Kungga Dundruk 0 COMMENTS

Most travelers are keen on the classic Tibet train journey from Xining to Lhasa. However, there is a new train route to get to Tibet, especially the central Tibet, from Xining to Shigatse directly. From Xining, the start point of the Qinghai-Tibet railway, the train runs southwest to cross the vast land of the northern Tibet plateau, passes through Lhasa, the capital of Tibet, and reaches to Shigatse, the second largest city at the foot of Mount Everest.

Xining - Shigatse Train Schedule & Tickets Online Booking (2019 & 2020)

Xining to Shigatse Train Map
Train NumberDepartureArrivalDurationDistanceFrequencyTicket Price
Z6811(Xining-Shigatse) 20:30 20:58 24:28 Hours 2,220km daily ¥553
Hard sleeper
¥876
Soft sleeper
Z6812(Shigatse-Xining) 14:40 14:25 23:45 Hours daily ¥553
Hard sleeper
¥876
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, as traveling in Tibet is so popular that the actual ticket demand far exceeds the supply, in-bound and out-bound tourists have to pay more than the net price to buy tickets. The actual price is subject to the market fluctuation. In some cases, the actual price could be double than the net price. Despite the uncertainty and difficulty in purchasing train tickets, Tibet Vista would manage to book tickets at a reasonable price ( usually 20 percent lower than the market price) and promise to offer free service for it. If tourists only want to buy train tickets via Tibet Vista without intending to travel to Tibet, Tibet Vista will have to charge a small amount of service fee.

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Most Classic Xining Shigatse Tour by Train (3 sample itineraries)

Latest Xining Shigatse Train Timetable (Z6811&Z6812)

Recently, there is only one pair of trains running between Xining and Shigatse, namely, train Z6811 from Xining to Shigatse and train Z6812 from Shigatse to Xining. It takes about 24-25 hours to finish this 2220-kilometer-long Xining Shigatse train journey. There are totally 11 railway stations on the route. At some big stations, such as Golmud Railway Station and Lhasa Railway Station, the train could stop for around 20 minutes, while at other small stations, it just stops for a few minutes. The following are the detailed timetables of Xining Shigatse Train.

No.Z6811 Xining to Shigatse Train Timetable

Station Altitutde Arrival Departure Stop Time Days Distance
Xining 2,200 m -- 20:30 -- Day 1 --
Delingha 2,980 m 00:32 00:38 6 min Day 2 521 km
Golmud 2,780 m 03:28 03:53 25 min Day 2 830 km
Amdo 4,800 m 12:01 12:05 4 min Day 2 1,524 km
Nagchu 4,500 m 13:39 13:45 6 min Day 2 1,650 km
Damxung 4,200 m 15:39 15:47 8 min Day 2 1,800 km
Lhasa 3,650 m 17:45 18:10 25 min Day 2 1,972 km
Quxu 3,650 m 18:47 18:49 2 min Day 2 2,028 km
Nyemo 3,701 m 19:21 19:23 2 min Day 2 2,075 km
Rinbung 3,950 m 19:54 19:56 2 min Day 2 2,123 km
Shigatse 3,836 m 20:58 -- -- Day 2 2,220 km

No.Z6812 Shigatse to Xining Train Timetable

Station Altitutde Arrival Departure Stop Time Days Distance
Shigatse 3,836 m -- 14:40 2 min Day 1 --
Rinbung 3,950 m 15:43 15:45 2 min Day 1 97 km
Nyemo 3,701 m 16:15 16:17 2 min Day 1 145 km
Quxu 3,650 m 16:46 16:48 2 min Day 1 192 km
Lhasa 3,650 m 17:31 18:00 29 min Day 1 248 km
Damxung 4,200 m 19:46 19:50 4 min Day 1 420 km
Nagchu 4,500 m 21:28 21:34 6 min Day 1 570 km
Amdo 4,800 m 22:56 23:00 4 min Day 1 696 km
Golmud 2,780 m 07:10 07:35 25 min Day 2 1,390 km
Delingha 2,980 m 10:02 10:08 6 min Day 2 1,699 km
Xining 2,200 m 14:25 -- -- Day 2 2,220 km

Why Take Xining-Shigatse Train

For those who take the Everest Base Camp as their final destination, the Xining Lhasa Shigatse train can make the whole EBC trip more efficient with less traveling time. The distance between Lhasa and Shigatse is about 267.8 km, which takes about 5 hours by car, while it takes no more than 3 hours by train. And you can enjoy the beautiful landscapes of the Lhasa River Valley with endless mountain hills, the Tibetan barley fields and local villages outside the window.

(But, frankly speaking, you would miss out turquoise Yamdrok Lake, majestic Korola Glacier, spectacular Pelkor Monastery and Gyantse Kumbum on the train to Shigatse. However, there is an awesome compensation, that is, driving back to Lhasa with a visit to these stunning attractions. Wanna work out the detailed itinerary? Please feel free to contact our travel guru and we’ll give out the practical travel plan and reasonable tour budget for you within 24 hours! )

Xining-Shigatse TrainEnjoying the alpine scenery along Xining-Shigatse Railway

After Xining-Shigatse train journey, Head West or Head East?

Once you arrive in Shigatse, you can travel southwards to Everest Base Camp and Rongbuk Monastery, and then drive back to Lhasa with visiting to Gyantse. For those who don’t want to return to Lhasa but mainland China, taking the train from Shigatse back to Xining is faster and more convenient without transferring to Lhasa.

For those who just want to visit the west parts of Tibet, like Mt.Everest, Mt.Kailash, etc., it is a cheaper option to travel by train from mainland China to central Tibet directly.

For those who are short in time but still want to experience the popular overland tour via the Sino-Nepal friendship highway from Tibet to Nepal, taking a Xining to Shigatse Train first and then enjoying the most essential parts of this overland journey from Shigatse to Kathmandu via Everest Base Camp is the best choice. The ordinary overland journey from Lhasa to Kathmandu with a day trip to Everest Base Camp takes 7 days. If you taking the Xining to Shigatse train, you just need 5 days to complete the journey to Nepal.

So the Xining Shigatse train is not only a benefit for the locals connecting to the outside world, but also a better choice for visitors to travel the center regions of Tibet.

Facilities on Xining ShigatseTrain - Life on Tibet Train

Like all the trains to Tibet, the Xining Shigatse Train is also equipped with the special Oxygen Supply System, which will be opened during the section between Golmud and Shigatse. In this case, you don’t need to worry about the altitude sickness onboard. Different with getting to Shigatse from Xining by air, when you travel by train, you can better acclimatize to the high altitude with the help of oxygen supply system onboard. And you have much more time to get used to the altitude change during the 2-day train journey. Furthermore, if you feel uncomfortable onboard, you can get professional help from the well-trained staff on board. So it is quite safe to take the train to Shigatse from Xining.

Soft sleeper berths on Xining Shigatse trainSoft sleeper cabin in Xining to Shigatse train

On each train, there is one dining car offering three meals a day and several snacks and drinks. There are two kinds of sleeping berths on board, one is the soft sleeper berth and the other is the hard sleeper berth. In each soft sleeper cabin, there are four soft sleeper berths, while there are six hard sleeper berths in a hard sleeper cabin. Since the door can be closed in each soft sleeper cabin, there is more privacy for passengers. But the cheaper price of hard sleeper cabin makes it more popular among tourists. For the same train route from Xining to Shigatse, the hard sleeper train ticket is just 553 RMB, while the soft sleeper t rain ticket is 876 RMB. The other facilities onboard include the toilets, washing basins, electronic outlets and so on.

Top Attractions along Xining Shigatse Railway

Since taking a train to Tibet is the best way to explore the Qinghai-Tibet plateau in depth, what you will actually see during the train journey is something you may want to know before you go. Here are the top attractions along Xining Shigatse railway that you cannot miss when you take the lifetime train journey to Tibet.

Qinghai Lake

The first important attraction you could see on the Tibet train from Xining to Shigatse is the Qinghai Lake, which is 150 km west to Xining city. Covering 4500 square km, Qinghai Lake is the largest salty lake in China. From the train window, you can see the lake is just like a boundless ocean. People living around Qinghai Lake are mainly Tibetan pastoralists. In some counties passing by, you can see the local pastors and farmers with traditional ethnic costumes.

Qinghai LakeQinghai Lake

Great Mountain Ranges on the Third Pole

Qinghai Tibet Plateau, also known as the Third Pole on the Earth, is the world’s highest plateau. The train running from Xining to Shigatse via the world’s highest railway, Qinghai-Tibet railway will pass through some of the most famous mountain ranges in Asia, such as the Kunlun Mountian, the Tanggula Mountian, and Nyenchen Tanglha Mountians. You could appreciate the endless mountain ranges with snow-capped peaks, pass through the world’s highest Tanggula Tunnel, and spend a long time for the journey through the wasteland that only the mountains ranges are with you.

Great Mountain Ranges on the Third PoleGreat Mountain Ranges on the Third Pole

Kekexili Nature Reserve

While entering the northwestern part of Tibetan Plateau, you will see the Kekexili nature reserve (also known as Hoh Xil). It is a large isolated region where no human living. However, it is home to many wild animals, especially the famous Tibetan antelope. Some other species you could see in Kekekexili area include wild yak, wild Tibetan donkeys and so on. You can see these wild animals from the train window. It could be fun to wait for what the next animal you could see along the way.

Kekexili Nature ReserveKekexili Nature Reserve

Northern Tibetan Grassland

After passing through the Tanggula Tunnel, the train enters Nagqu Prefecture, the northern part of Tibet. The scenery outside the window changes from the no man’s land to the vast grassland with doted yaks and the tents of nomads. You could also see the Qinghai-Tibet highway parallel to the railway.

Northern Tibetan GrasslandNorthern Tibetan Grassland

Tsonag Lake

Located 4594 meters above the sea level, Tsonag Lake is one of the highest freshwater lakes in the world. In the sun, the Tsonag Lake is like a mirror reflecting the surrounding beauty of the blue sky and surrounding snowy mountains. The lake is only a few meters away from the railway. You can just enjoy the stunning beauty of this sparkling lake from your seat onboard.

Tsonag LakeTsonag Lake

Lhasa River Railway Bridge

Getting close to Lhasa city, the train will run across the Lhasa River Railway Bridge, a landmark of the Qinghai-Tibet railway. With the total length of 929 m, the white bridge is just like a long and big Hada crossing the Lhasa River, showing the highest respect and best wishes to travelers from all over the world.

Lhasa River Railway BridgeLhasa River Railway Bridge

Lhasa River Valley

From Lhasa to Shigatse, the train runs through the valley of Lhasa River via Qushui county and Nimu county. Outside the window, you can see the rushing Lhasa River and Yarlung Zangbo River. Different from the vast grassland and the no-man area in the early part of the journey, what you see during the section from Lhasa to Shigatse is the life of local farmers in the green barley fields at the side of the railway.

Lhasa River ValleyLhasa River Valley

How to Extend Train Trip to Everest and Kathmandu - Xining Shigatse EBC Kathmandu train tour

Shigatse, the second largest city in Tibet, is not only a tourist site itself but also an important stop for the popular trip to Mount Everest Base Camp and Kathmandu in Nepal.

Once you arrive in Shigatse, you can stay for one or two days to have a good rest after a long train journey and visit the famous Tashilhunpo Monastery in the city. The Everest Base Camp is 243 km away from downtown Shigatse. You can get to Everest Base Camp by car, or drive to Tingri first, and then follow the trekking trail from Old Tingri to EBC. It is highly recommended to stay one night at Everest Base Camp, so that you can appreciate the charming sunset and sunrise from the top of the world. After your Everest Base Camp tour, you can either go back to Shigatse or keep going to the Gyirong Port to enter Nepal for your next journey.

Everest Base Camp tourPaying a visit to Everest Base Camp after Xining-Shigatse train journey

If you plan to go further to Kathmandu, the capital city of Nepal, you can travel overland along the Sino-Nepal friendship highway from Shigatse to Kathmandu via Gyirong Port. Generally, it takes about 2 days to finish this route. You can get a Visa-on-arrival at the border for your Nepal tour.

No matter where you will go next, it is important to notice that, you need to join in a local group tour, or have your private trip with the local guide and the driver from a local travel agency. As the leading member of Tibet tourism, we can help you arrange your trip in Tibet, as well as book the Tibet train ticket or flight ticket according to your need. Please feel free to contact us if you need any help to arrange your Tibet tour.

What Travel Documents Do I Need for Xining Shigatse Train Travel?

When you plan to take a train from Xining to Shigatse, you need to apply for Tibet Travel Permit 20 days in advance, so that you can get your train ticket and board the train to Tibet. Your passport with valid Chinese Visa is also required for travel to Tibet from Xining.

And for your trip in Shigatse, which is 268 km away from Lhasa city, our Tibetan guides and other staff will help you get the Aliens’ travel permit, which is required for visiting the remote areas beyond Lhasa, including the famous Everest Base Camp. For a further trip to Mount Kailash, you need to apply for extra permits - Military Permit, Foreign Affairs Permit and Frontier Pass.

To apply for your Tibet travel permit, as well as other required travel documents for your Tibet tour from Xining by train, you need to book an arranged tour with a reliable local travel agency that will offer you the full tour service during your days in Tibet. According to your exact travel itinerary, you may need to obtain kinds of different permits, and our professional travel consultants will help you figure them out. Just send the application online, a quick reply will be sent to you within 24 hours.

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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