Trains to Lhasa, Tibet leave from Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Xining, Xian, and Lanzhou daily, and every other day from Chengdu & Chongqing. The new Lanzhou-Chongqing railroad had it’s first run on 29 Sep 2017, marking the Lanzhou-Chongqing line’s official opening. This affects two Tibet trains in 2018: Chongqing-Lhasa & Chengdu-Lhasa, which no longer had to detour via Baoji, saving abt 7hrs of train ride.
SLEEPERS ON TIBET TRAIN
Hard-sleeper carriages are made up of doorless six-berth compartments with bunks in three tiers, with sheets, pillows and blankets provided. There is a small price difference between berths, with the lowest bunk the most expensive and the top-most bunk the cheapest. But this isn’t available for choosing, the railway ticket system issue the tickets randomly and automatically. Four-bed soft-sleeper berths come with individual TVs and doors that close and lock.
TIBET TRAIN TICKET BOOKING
Tibet trains start to sell only abt 30-day prior. Most travellers ask the same travel agency handling their TTB permits to secure Tibet train tickets. An extra premium (USD 30~150 depends on availability of city & month) is often charged because agencies sometimes also must buy through scalpers. Sleeper tickets to Lhasa sold out quickly. Getting a ticket for a train out of Lhasa is easier than getting a ticket into Lhasa, thus lower of the premium.
|2018||Train No.||Departure/Arrival Time||Duration
|Train: Chengdu → Lhasa||Z322||21:37 / 09:55||36:18, arrival on 3rd day||$ 155||$ 100|
|Train: Lhasa → Chengdu||Z324||18:20 / 07:00||36:40, arrival on 3rd day|
|Train: Beijing → Lhasa||Z21||20:00 / 12:10||40:10, arrival on 3rd day||$ 180||$ 110|
|Train: Lhasa → Beijing||Z22||16:10 / 08:28||40:18, arrival on 3rd day|
|Train: Shanghai → Lhasa||Z164||20:10 / 19:17||47:07, arrival on 3rd day||$ 195||$ 125|
|Train: Lhasa → Shanghai||Z166||11:15 / 11:51||48:36, arrival on 3rd day|
|Train: Chongqing → Lhasa||Z223||22:25 / 09:55||35:30, arrival on 3rd day||$ 155||$ 100|
|Train: Lhasa → Chongqing||Z224||18:20 / 06:23||36:03, arrival on 3rd day|
|Train: Guangzhou → Lhasa||Z264||11:45 / 17:05||53:20, arrival on 3rd day||$ 225||$ 135|
|Train: Lhasa → Guangzhou||Z266||13:00 / 20:00||55:00, arrival on 3rd day|
|2018||Train No.||Departure/Arrival Time||Duration
|Train: Xining → Lhasa||eg. Z223||eg. 12:27 / 09:55||21:28, arrival on 2nd Day||$ 120||$ 80|
|Train: Lhasa → Xining||eg. Z918||eg. 08:50 / 06:43||21:53, arrival on 2nd Day|
|Train: Xian → Lhasa||eg. Z265||eg. 09:45 / 17:05||31:20, arrival on 2nd Day||$ 150||$ 95|
|Train: Lhasa → Xian||eg. Z166||eg. 11:15 / 20:34||33:19, arrival on 2nd Day|
|Train: Lanzhou → Lhasa||eg. Z223||eg. 09:27 / 09:55||24:28, arrival on 2nd Day||$ 130||$ 80|
|Train: Lhasa → Lanzhou||eg. Z166||eg. 11:15 / 12:11||24:56, arrival on 2nd Day|
Tibet trains from/to Chengdu & Chongqing runs only every other day. Pay extra attention of it’s availability below on each month from Oct 2017 to 2018.
i.e. train from Chengdu to Lhasa on Jan 2018 only available on ODD-NUMBER DAYS, 01 Jan 2018, 03 Jan 2018,…
|EVEN & ODD DATE FOR TIBET TRAIN||TRAIN TO LHASA||TRAIN FROM LHASA|
|Chengdu → Lhasa||Chongqing → Lhasa||Lhasa → Chengdu||Lhasa → Chongqing|
Train carriages are much better than the average Chinese train and are a bit like the express trains that link Beijing with Shanghai. All passengers have access to piped-in oxygen through a special socket beside each seat or berth and all carriages are nonsmoking after Golmud. There are power sockets by the window seats, though be aware that laptops and MP3 players often stop working at points during the trip, due to the altitude. Each train has a small but decent dining car.
VIEWS ALONG TIBET TRAIN
All current trains cross Tibetan Plateau during daylight, guaranteeing great views. From Golmud the train climbs through desert into the jagged caramel-coloured mountains of Nanshankou (Southern Pass), passing what feels like a stone’s throw from the impressive glaciers besides Yuzhu Feng (Jade Pearl Peak, 6178m). Other highlights include the tunnel through the 4776m Kunlun Pass, where you can see the prayer flags at the top of the pass, and Tsonak Lake (4608m), 9.5hrs from Golmud near Amdo, claimed to be the highest freshwater lake in the world. Keep your eyes peeled throughout the journey for antelope, foxes and wild asses, plus the occasional nomad. The train crosses into Tibet over the 5072m Tangu-la Pass, the line’s highest point.
THE WORLD’S HIGHEST TRAIN RIDE
There’s no doubt the Qinghai-Tibet train line is an engineering marvel. Topping out at 5072m, it is the world’s highest railway. The statistics speak for themselves: 86% if the line is above 4000m, and half the track lies on permafrost, requiring a cooling system of pipes driven into the ground to keep it frozen year-round to avoid a rail-buckling summer thaw. Constructions of the line involved building 160km of bridges and elevated track, seven tunnels (including the world’s highest) and 24 hyperbaric chambers, the latter to treat altitude-sick workers.