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Qinghai Tibet Railway

The Qinghai – Tibet Railway runs a length of 1,956 kilometers and connects the capital city of Qinghai Province, Xining, with the capital city of Tibet, Lhasa. The world’s highest railway was also the first railway ever in all of Tibet.

960 kilometers of the Qinghai – Tibet Railway is situated at 4,000 meters above sea level, which required designers and engineers to solve numerous difficulties in its construction. There were three major challenges to building this high-altitude railway: the fragile ecosystem that it traveled through, the low oxygen at that altitude, and the state of the permafrost that would support the railway. Many foreign experts had thought that these difficulties would be impossible to overcome, but the Qinghai – Tibet Railway stands now as a miracle of modern engineering.

Since the inception of its operation, the Qinghai-Tibet Railway has become one of the busiest railways in Asia. Millions of travelers flock to the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau to experience this engineering marvel as it travels through the spectacular scenery of southwestern China. Travel Tibet China has collected abundant information about the construction of the highest railway in the world, including how the engineers overcame the challenges of its construction and the impact of the railway on society and the environment. We also have information on how travelers can take the train to Lhasa, how to book train tickets to Tibet, what travelers will experience along the railroad, etc.

Why did China build Railway to Tibet ?

"It is impossible to build a railway to Lhasa across the Kunlun Mountain Range", It was wrote by the modern railway travel expert Mr. Paul in his book "Travel around China". In such a complex geological conditions , It was extremely difficult to build roads and rail tracks on the snowland. But the Chinese government determined to construct Tibet Railway since the great Chinese leader Mao Zedong sent a team to the Tibetan plateau to investigate the feasibility of constructing the railway in 1955. Since then, China was facing numerous difficulties and consuming half a century , and finally to build the fantastic railway to Lhasa. Read More: the Documentary of Building Qinghai-Tibet Railway

China Made the Engineering Miracle in the World

Both economic and geographic difficulties were encountered in the construction of this most elevated railroad. As is well known, such a feat of engineering must require huge investment, which was a big challenge for China at the time. But, the biggest challenges lay in the harsh geographic conditions on the high plateau. The fragile ecosystem on the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau, and also the lack of oxygen at the high-altitude, and the permafrost were major problems which made the construction of Qinghai-Tibet Railway specifically eventful.

Why did China build Railway to Tibet?

Qinghai Tibet Railway - 2018 Tibet train schedule & Tibet train tickets cost

Scenery along the Qinghai-Tibet Railway

The world-renowned Qinghai-Tibet railway refers to the railway line that starts from Xining to Lhasa. Not only is the railway itself considered as

Taking Train from inland China to Tibet

Currently, there are 7 major railway lines that run from inland China to Tibet, namely Beijing-Lhasa, Shanghai-Lhasa, Guangzhou-Lhasa, Chengdu-Lha

Several Facts about Qinghai-Tibet Railway

China has rewritten the world's history of railway construction with its completion of the world's highest railway,

Recommend Tibet Train Travel & Tour
What an exciting experience it would be to take a Tibet Train Tour! In the past traveling to Tibet is a remote dream. The poor accessibility and appalling high altitude made many people hesitate to step on this mysterious and enchanting land. It is now possible to go to Tibet by train via the Qinghai-Tibet railway. As a professional Tibet tour operator, we are reliable if you would like to experience the Tibet train tour for yourself. Please understand the fact that it is sometimes more difficult to purchase train tickets for trains going to Tibet than for trains leaving Tibet. So we strongly advise going to Tibet by plane, and experiencing the Qinghai-Tibet railway on the return trip, which has the identical experience. The outgoing train tickets from Tibet are more guaranteed. The Tibet Train Tour we provide will give you a great enjoyment and a unique experience on the roof of the world.
Tibet Train Facilities & FAQs
We guess you are now very excited, because you are about to start a new journey, take the world's highest altitude train to Tibet which known as the roof of the world. Before you start this journey, it is better to understand some of the Frequently Asked Questions of Tibet train travel and some knowledge of this special railway and prepare something necessary in advance.

Tibet Train Ticket Booking/Reservation

Welcome to Tibet Odyssey Tours. We offer China Tibet train tickets booking service and China tibet tour service. Please tell us your travel plan an

How About Meals on Tibet Train

Each Tibet train is equipped with a dining cart and restaurant. You can always buy a snack as well inside the train or at stops. There are 3 meals

What's On

How can foreign tourists book train tickets themselves

There are four ways to book a train ticket:
Mainland Chinese with a citizen ID card can register in the official website of the Ministry of Railways ( to buy a ticket online. So if you have a Chinese friend from mainland China, you can ask your friend to book it for you.
Foreigners can purchase train tickets on Ticket-booking websites such as Ctrip, Fliggy and Qunar. The tickets can be hard to get during the peak season for travel to Tibet, so you are suggested to book ahead of time.
Foreigners can also buy a ticket directly from the train station with a valid passport. But since the train ticket is available 30 days or less ahead, it can be hard for you to get one during the peak season.
Foreigners can also book the train ticket through a travel agency. Our agency provides train ticket booking service. Please contact us if you need help.

Can I book the same compartment for me and my companions

Normally you cannot choose a compartment when booking a train ticket, especially in the peak season. When we book the tickets for you, we will try our best to meet your preferences, but please be aware it is not guaranteed.

Can the travel agency designate a shift of the train

At present, there is only one shift of the train from Chengdu, Chongqing, Shanghai, Beijing, and Guangzhou to Lhasa. There are more shifts from Lanzhou, Xi'an, Xi’ning to Lhasa, in which you can pick a preferred one. Please check with the agency in advance if you have a special requirement for the train shift. We will try our best to meet your preferences, but please be aware it is not guaranteed.

Can I ask for an upper or lower berth when booking my train ticket with the travel agency

The agency normally books the train ticket for you through the website of the Ministry of Railways, which does not enable designation of the berth. You can only designate the type of the sleepers (a hard sleeper or a soft one).

How far in advance should I book a train ticket

According to the current policy, the train ticket can be booked 30 days in advance. In case the tickets are sold out, you are recommended to book it 30 days in advance whether you purchase it yourself or through our agency.

If I book a train ticket through the agency, will the ticket be guaranteed

All our customers who book their train tickets through our agency, their tickets are guaranteed.

Is there a discount for children’s train tickets

Children who are below 1.2 meters can take the train for free with adults. Children whose height is between 1.2 meters to 1.5 meters need to buy train tickets at a half of the price of the adults’ ones for the hard seats. Children with a child ticket will be charged the full price of the soft sleeper when using the sleeper alone.

After the train ticket is successfully booked, how can I get the ticket

If you purchase the tickets on the website of 12306 or other ticket-booking websites, you can pick up their tickets by the order number and valid passport from the train station.
If you book your tickets through our agency, our staff will deliver the ticket to the city where you are going to take the train .

What is the difference between a soft sleeper and a hard sleeper

There are 2 upper berths and 2 lower berths in a soft sleeper compartment for 4 passengers. A hard sleeper compartment is of 2 upper berths, 2 middle berths and 2 lower berths for 6 passengers. The soft sleeper compartment is of more space than the hard sleeper apartment.
The soft sleeper compartment has a door that can be closed, while there is no door in the hard sleeper.
The bed in the soft sleeper is more comfortable and wider than the bed of the hard sleeper compartment.
The soft sleeper compartment is equipped with better lights, slippers, hangers, etc., which are nor provided in the hard sleeper compartment .

Is the train equipped with oxygen supply

The Qinghai-Tibet train will provide oxygen supplement from Golmud to Lhasa. The train is completely enclosed and smoking is not allowed.
Trains running along the Qinghai-Tibet line are equipped with independent oxygen generators that produce oxygen-enriched air to supply oxygen to passengers in two ways: one is to supply oxygen to the interior compartment through air conditioning to meet the needs of passengers to provide oxygen supplement on the plateau; the other way is to through the oxygen supply pipelines which are evenly distributed around the seats in case the emergency happens when some passenger feels uncomfortable while riding on the train. The oxygen concentration from the pipelines is generally of 40-50%, which can immediately relief an acute altitude-sickness.
Generally speaking, since there are fewer passengers in the sleeper compartments, the oxygen concentration is higher than the hard-seat compartments which are shared by more passengers. It is recommended to choose the sleeper if it is your first time to go to Tibet.
In addition to the oxygen supply equipment, there are also doctors and nurses. If you feel unwell, the conductor will call a doctor to come .

It is still possible to have an altitude sickness by train to Tibet

The altitude sickness is caused by the pressure difference between the exterior and the interior body, which causes the unease of the head, stomach, and intestines of a person. Therefore, if the train only supplement oxygen without increasing the air pressure when it is at an altitude of 5,000 meters from Golmud, most tourists will have headaches and upset stomachs. Especially when the train crosses over the Tanggula Mountain, there will be obvious symptoms. In addition, the train ride is long and the conditions on the train are limited, so it is easy for people to feel tired during the ride. So please stay alert to the altitude sickness while you are on the train.

What to see along the Qinghai-Tibet Railway? Is it possible to see the Qinghai Lake

The Qinghai-Tibet train passes by Qinghai Lake and Hoh Xil. But you can only see them when it is during the day.

What are the choices for meals on the train

There are packed meal boxes selling on the train when it is time for meals. The conductor will push the trolley to sell them at a price of 15-30 yuan. Normally there are 2 dishes with a serving of rice;
You can bring a pack of instant noodles or buy instant noodles on the train. The boiled water on the train is available 24 hours.
You can also bring your own food and snacks, or you can buy bread, biscuits, drinks, etc. on the train.
There is a dinning compartment on the train, so you can also order food in the dining compartment.

Are things sold on the train expensive

The things sold on the train are more expensive. For example, a bottled water normally sells for 2 yuan will be about 5 yuan a bottle. Passengers are advised to bring some bottled water and snacks to the train.

Is there any baggage limit on the train

There is generally no limit to the baggage on the train, except for the prohibited items (such as the flammable and the explosive, guns, etc.). There are no clear restrictions on the weight nor the size of the luggage on the train either.

Can I take a shower on the train

There is no place for you to take a shower on the train. Only the sink and the toilet are available on the train.

Is there WIFI or internet on the train

WIFI is not available on the train, but you can use your own data of your mobile phone.

Will the signal of my phone be good while I am on the train

Most of the time the signal of mobile phones is good on the train. When crossing over a mountain or through a tunnel, the signal will be intermittent.

Can I charge my phone on the train

There are sockets on the train for passengers to charge phones in the aisle. You can find them under the small table, on both sides of the washstand. In case some sockets may not work, you are suggested to bring your power bank as well.