The Fairytale Traveler

Travel & Lifestyle Blog

Tibet Railway

Top 3 Train Routes of Qinghai – Tibet Railway

Qinghai-Tibet Railway is one of the loftiest railways ever to be constructed with much care and efficiency. The train not only has turned out to be one of the safest options to travel to Tibet but also a remarkable journey.


The sceneries that can be viewed on the journey are remarkable and mesmerizing. The food and the accommodations are too good to be questioned. The facilities like charging cables in the bogie itself, the oxygen maintenances, the facility of televisions and most importantly the elaborate dining cart is unique to this train.




Amid the multiple Tibetan train routes to Lhasa, the Xining-Lhasa train, Chengdu-Lhasa train, and Shanghai-Lhasa train are highly recommended for first-timers to Tibet. And there are good reasons.




Xining-Lhasa train


Xining is the historical capital city of China. The Xining to Lhasa train route is the shortest route in the Qinghai-Tibet railway. It is also the most important route as it is considered to be the starting point of the various important travels to Tibet.


The Xining to Lhasa train travels altitude ascension from 2275m to 4500m. The distance on the road from Lhasa to Xining is about 1972m. There is only one direct train available from Xining to Lhasa. The name of the train is Z6801 that leaves Xining in 14:05 at the afternoon and reaches Lhasa at every second day exactly in the morning at 12:00 AM. The cost of the train is pretty moderate and the soft sleeper coaches cost about 781 CNY whereas the hard sleeper coaches 495 CNY.


The total distance traveled by this train is about 1972 km. the Qinghai-Tibet railway starting from Xining to Lhasa is the best of the applications with the high Ultraviolet ray protection glasses and the pressures and oxygen is properly maintained throughout. Though the whole train has got the facilities to control oxygen and maintain pressure balance, it is worth it to book a soft sleeper class while you are traveling from Xining to Lhasa.


Though the cost of the soft sleeper classes is the highest, the facilities are quite high class. The beds are very wide and the facilities are quite good like television and the charging one.  Also, the dining is very elaborate and you may either eat in the dining cabin or buy the food sold in the food trolley.


However, it is entirely optional as for such a short trip, you can indulge in saving your money by adjusting in the hard sleeper coaches also. The hard sleeper coaches are also quite good, even though you will not be able to get the facilities like television and the cabin is much crowded than soft sleeper cabin.


The altitude change from Xining to Lhasa is not that much of a problem as it is in other stations. Moreover, the time span being less, the tourists feel less tired. The highlight of the Tibet train journey starts to unfold from Golmud to Lhasa part. Through the window, you can enjoy the Gobi desert, lofty snowy peaks and grazing yaks on boundless grassland, etc. Also, the ticket booking in the Xining Lhasa line is very much less compared to the other lines.


Street in Chengdu


Chengdu-Lhasa train 


China has always been considered to be one of the best gateways to Qinghai-Tibet Plateau. For people traveling to Tibet for the first time in their lives, Chengdu-Lhasa train is by far the most important one amid different train routes to Tibet.


There are many more important things to do in Chengdu than just to board the train for Lhasa.


It is also the third shortest distance, after Xining and Lanzhou to Lhasa train lines. The Chengdu Lhasa train is named by this unique code Z322. The train takes a total of 43 hours and usually leaves Chengdu at 14:48 and arrives at Lhasa at 9:55 AM in the morning on the third day. The frequency of the train is quite good. It is available at every alternate day. The total distance covered is about 3360m.


People usually choose Chengdu to board the train from because of the beauty of the place. The city is almost like a landscape drawn by a very efficient artist. Also, the Giant Panda Research Centre has its base in Chengdu. Therefore tourists can also take the advantage of such a visual site and see around the place a bit. The Giant Panda is not only the only TRP of booking the train from Chengdu. People even will find the fact that it is the starting point for star attractions in Sichuan province such as Mount Qingcheng,  Jiuzhaigou National Park and Mount Emei and Mount Siguniang, etc. Thus, boarding a train from Chengdu will facilitate you with these certain advantages.


The soft sleeper coaches will facilitate you with the cost of 1062 CNY whereas the hard sleeper coaches will cost you around 670 CNY. The soft sleeper coaches are slightly higher in cost than the Xining-Lhasa train. However, it is better to book the soft sleeper coaches as the train journey is time-consuming. Therefore it is better than the journey remains comfortable. Comfort is still ensured in the hard sleeper coaches, however, in the soft sleeper coaches, the comfort is at its utmost level.


The guard will acquaint you with the distance covered, the large windows will provide you some of the best views of nature and the elaborate dining cart will even allow you to enjoy your dinner in your own compartment. The booking of tickets, during the peak season, is tougher in Xining-Lhasa line than in Chengdu-Xining line. However, the booking might cost you more because from Chengdu, the demand for the tickets is always more and the demand always exceeds the supply. The Chengdu-Lhasa train also bears other facilities like a clean washroom and other such luxurious facilities.


Shanghai Evening


Shanghai-Lhasa Train


Shanghai to Lhasa train travels via the beautiful Chinese province of Xi’an. However not only Xi’an, it traverses across eight different provinces that even though increases the time of the journey, and presents you with the best of the tour experiences in the Qinghai-Tibet railway.


The total distance covered in this journey is about 4373km and the total time taken is around forty-eight hours. The trains have a great frequency and are available daily. They leave Shanghai at 20:10 in the evening and arrive at Lhasa at 19:20 in the evening on the third day.


The soft sleeper coaches cost around 1262.5 CNY whereas the hard sleeper coaches cost around 793.5 CNY respectively. The cost of both the coaches is slightly higher than the above two because of the immense time that the train requires to visit Lhasa, after crossing 8 provinces. Shanghai is one of the best metropolitan towns in the province of China. It is also the largest city in China. There are many things to visit in Shanghai like the restaurants, museums, the technology centers and lot more. The temple of Jade Buddha, Yuyuan Garden and Nanjing Road are some of the few tourist attractions in Shanghai.


As the train leaves the Shanghai province and crosses east to the west of China, you can practically witness the whole width of the country. Hence boarding train from Shanghai, even though it is time and cost effective is a very good idea. It will give you the chance to witness the whole of China.


In Shanghai to Lhasa railway, you can also book the hard sleeper coaches if you can compromise on the quality of extreme comfort. This is mainly because of the fact that the cost of the coaches is quite high. At each of the station, the staffs will announce, both in the soft sleeper and hard sleeper coaches, the utility of the stations, the backdrop and other such things. Moreover, in the train to Lhasa from Shanghai, the pressure and the oxygen are given the least bit of attention. This is because of the fact such a long journey demands the complete health safety of the tourists. Thus, traveling to Lhasa from Shanghai will definitely be a new experience that should be kept while planning your Tibet train journey.


Thus these are the few details that are provided regarding the topmost availed routes in the Qinghai-Tibet railway. The entire other processes are provided in many websites like Tibet Vista. You can also make a detailed survey to acquire other details regarding the train proceedings. 

Christa Thompson

Christa Thompson is the Founder and Chief Editor of The Fairytale Traveler. She started traveling the world in 2003 when she attended a summer abroad study at the University of Cambridge in England. Since then, her wanderlust has been fierce. Her three passions in life are her son, traveling, and being creative. The Fairytale Traveler brand gives Christa the opportunity to do all of these things and to live intentionally every day. "It's never too late to believe in what you love and to pursue your dreams." -Christa Thompson

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to top