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Beijing to Lhasa Train

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Beijing to Lhasa train Z21 departs from Beijing West Railway Station daily at 19:53 and arrives at Lhasa Railway Station on time at 11:36 am on the third day. The Beijing to Lhasa train journey covers 3,757 kilometers long and crosses over 8 provinces, and it takes around 39 hours and 43 minutes. There are ten stations, and the stay time per station is 6, 8, 12, 20, and 25 minutes. You will start from Beijing, pass through Shijiazhuang, Taiyuan, Lanzhou, Xining, Golmud, Nagqu, and other cities, and finally arrive in Lhasa. On the way back, the Lhasa to Beijing train Z22 leaves at 15:50 and arrives at Beijing West Railway Station at 08:28 am on the third day.

Train scenery from Beijing to Lhasa

As one of the 3 initial railway routes of the Qinghai-Tibet Railway, the Beijing to Lhasa train was launched in July 2006. The other two lines moved from Chengdu to Lhasa and Xining to Lhasa. As the capital of China and one of the most popular entry cities, Beijing is considered the best starting point for traveling to Tibet. In addition, it is usually the first choice for foreign tourists to access China.

Passengers can enjoy the magnificent scenery changes from the eastern flatlands to the plateau by train from Beijing to Lhasa. From Xining, the starting point of the Qinghai-Tibet Railway. You can enjoy the highlights of this train journey, such as Qinghai Lake, Chaidamu Basin, Gobi Desert, snow-capped mountains, the Tanggula Mountains, and other beautiful scenery along with the railway.

Beijing to Lhasa train route map

The number of trains from Beijing to Lhasa is Z21. Take the train from Beijing West to Lhasa along the way through Shijiazhuang North, Taiyuan, Zhongwei, Lanzhou, Xining, Delingha, Golmud, Nagqu and finally arrive at the holy city of Lhasa, a total of 10 stations.


Beijing to Lhasa Train Schedules and Tickets

Beijing to Lhasa Train Z21 Timetable

Every day, the Train Z21 departs from Beijing West Railway Station at 19:53, passing by 8 midway stations, and arrives at Lhasa Railway Station on the third day at 11:36 (39hrs 43mins in total).

Railway Stations Arrival Time Departing Time Stop Duration Riding Time
Lhasa 11:36 - - 39hrs 43mins
Shijiazhuang North 07:44 07:50 6mins 35hrs 51mins
Taiyuan 21:33 21:58 25mins 25hrs 40mins
Zhongwei 19:13 19:19 6mins 23hrs 20mins
Lanzhou 14:59 15:24 25mins 19hrs 6mins
Xining 12:19 12:31 12mins 16hrs 26mins
Delingha 6:56 7:16 20mins 11hrs 3mins
Golmud 0:18 0:26 18mins 4hrs 25mins
Nagchu 22:30 22:36 6mins 2hrs 37mins
Beijing West - 19:53 - -

Beijing to Lhasa Train Ticket Fares

Train Number Departure Arrival Duration Distance Frequency Ticket Price
Z21(Beijing West to Lhasa) 19:53 11:36 39:43 Hours 3,757km daily ¥720/¥742/¥763
Hard sleeper
Soft sleeper

Lhasa to Beijing Train Z22 Timetable

Train Z22 serves for passengers who travel from Lhasa to Beijing. It leaves Lhasa Railway Station at 15:50 and arrives at Beijing West Railway Station at 08:28 on the third day (40hrs 38mins in total).

Railway Stations Arrival Time Departing Time Stop Duration Riding Time
Beijing West 08:28 - - 40hrs 38mins
Shijiazhuang 05:47 05:55 8mins 37hrs 57mins
Taiyuan 03:50 03:59 9mins 36hrs
Zhongwei 21:31 21:37 6mins 29hrs 41mins
Lanzhou 16:13 16:31 18mins 24hrs 23mins
Xining 13:10 13:45 35mins 21hrs 30mins
Delingha 08:46 08:52 6mins 16hrs 57mins
Golmud 06:09 06:34 25mins 14hrs 19mins
Nagchu 19:24 19:30 6mins 3hrs 34mins
Lhasa - 15:50 - -

Lhasa to Beijing Train Ticket Fares

Train Number Departure Arrival Duration Distance Frequency Ticket Price
Z22(Lhasa to Beijing West) 15:50 08:28 40:38 Hours daily ¥720
Hard sleeper
Soft sleeper

*Note:The actual arrival and departure time of train, please refer to the information on your ticket, or consult your travel consultant.

How to Book Beijing to Lhasa Train Tickets?

International travelers can’t enter in Tibet as backpackers and need the help of travel agency to apply for Tibet Travel Permit in advance. You do not need the permit to book the tickets but you do need it to collect the ticket and board the train.

Book train ticket with us (highly recommended)

The booking of Beijing to Lhasa Train ticket is quite busy throughout the year, because Beijing - Lhasa Rail Line is a crucial passage that connects China central government with Tibet. On the one hand, a large number of tourists from all walks of life are travelling between these two places all year around and part of the tickets are also reserved for governmental affairs. On the other hand, the remaining tickets are booked by various travel agencies for organizing train tour to Tibet. That is why it is very difficult for individual tourists to book ticket on their own both on-line and off-line.

To individual tourists, the best solution is to contact a reliable travel agency and book the Beijing-Lhasa train ticket through their hands at least one month in advance. Tibet Vista can provide such timely tickets booking service, and also offer “Train Ticket + Tibet Tour” packages. Send a detailed booking inquiry to Travel Tibet China

Book at 12306.cn or buy ticket at train station

Neither method is convenient for international travelers. The 12306.cn has no English version and the online payment is limited to a bank account in mainland China. The staff at the train station can’t speak English. For popular routes such as Beijing to Lhasa train, during the peak season and even the off season of Tibet tourism, it is difficult for foreign tourists to book train tickets because they get sold out very quickly.

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, inbound and outbound tourists have to pay more than the net price to buy tickets. The actual price is subject to market fluctuation. In some cases, the actual price could be double than the net price. Despite the uncertainty and difficulty in purchasing train tickets, Travel Tibet China would manage to book tickets at a reasonable price ( usually 20 percent lower than the market price) and promise to offer free service. If tourists only want to buy train tickets via Travel Tibet China without intending to travel to Tibet, Travel Tibet China will have to charge a small amount of service fee.

Alternative for the Shortage of Beijing-Lhasa Train Tickets during High Season (July---August)

The peak travel season of Qinghai-Tibet Railway normally comes during summer holiday ( July—August). By then, the demand for soft sleeper tickets will far exceed the actual supply, approximately over 1000% as it can offer. Sadly, Beijing railway station can only meet 10% of tourists’ needs.

To secure your travel, we suggest a viable alternative plan:

Instead of taking non-stop train from Beijing to Lhasa, you can fly from Beijing to Xining (or Lanzhou) and then get train ticket from Xining (or Lanzhou) to Lhasa. And this alternative plan would cost extra 250 US Dollars, per person.

Fly from Beijing to Xining (or Lanzhou) and Transfer To Lhasa by Train

Alternative Beijing-Lhasa Travel Route Makes Sense in Three Aspects:

a.It can shorten tourists’ time on the train, because it only takes 21 hours from Xining to Lhasa. Tourists can save 20hours of long and tiring train journey, roughly half way of Beijing-Lhasa train route. And then you continue to head to Lhasa from Xining Railway Station, the essence and beginning of the Qinghai-Tibet Railway.

b.It can secure your train journey. There are many trains departing from Xining to Lhasa. As a result, it can ensure that visitors will be able to get on board successfully and can minimize the risk of failing to buy ticket from Beijing.

c.The trains bound to Lhasa from Xining normally start from late afternoon. It enables visitors to have longer time to enjoy the scenery from Golmud to Lhasa. Otherwise, if one departs from Beijing, he or she only has several hours to enjoy the scenery, because the time train arrives in Golmud is at night, at around 22:15.

Tips: If the original plan of buying non-stop train from Beijing is insisted, Travel Tibet China cannot ensure 100% of buying the ticket because of the shortage of Beijing-Lhasa train tickets from Beijing railway station. As a result, you may face changing date or degrading to hard sleeping berth, even fail to travel to Tibet. Therefore, the above alternative plan is highly recommended and workable during high season. We feel very sorry for the extra 250 US dollars. Hopefully, you can accept our suggestion and choose a more secured way of travel.

Of course, you can choose to stay in Xining for a couple of days and travel in Xining. Xining is a well-known attraction in Tibetan region. Xining has many attractions: such as Kumbum Monastery, the birthplace of the founder of Buddhism-Lama Tsongkhapa (one of the six prestigious monasteries in Tibet) and Qinghai Lake, the largest inland lake. If you are interested in staying in Xining, you can consult our travel consultants.

Why Beijing to Lhasa Train is recommended?

1. Beijing is the most popular International arrival city in China. Once arriving in Beijing, without any middle transfer, you can directly take a train to Lhasa from Beijing West Railway Station.

2. Beijing operates a daily train Z21 to Lhasa. As the starting city, it is easier to obtain a train ticket.

3. It is perfect to travel to Beijing with Tibet because both two destinations are full of things to do.

Which Seat Class to should I take, Soft Sleeper, Hard Sleeper or Hard Seat?

According to our local experience, we strongly suggest travelers choose the Soft Sleeper instead of the Hard Sleeper and Hard Seat to ensure a more comfortable and safer trip because passengers will have to stay a night on the train.

Comparison between Soft Sleeper and Hard Sleeper

  Soft Sleeper Hard Sleeper
Amount of Sleepers 4 6
Size of Sleeper Width:700mm/Length:1900mm Width:500mm/Length:1800mm
TV Yes No
Power Supply Yes No
Vacuum Flask Yes Yes
Door Yes No

Notice: Since there are usually about 64 Soft Sleepers on each train to Tibet, so you’d better confirm your trip and book the train tickets as early as possible. Currently passenger can book the train ticket 30 days in advance.

Facilities on Beijing to Lhasa Train – Life on the Train

Air Conditioning and Oxygen Supply There is an air-conditioning system on the train to create an comfortable temperatue and ensure a clean and fresh air. There are also two kinds of oxygen supply systems equipped with on the train. One is a ‘dispersion-mode’ oxygen supply system, which spreading oxygen in the train’s cars through the air-con system. The other system is directly used by passengers through independent port.
Food and Drink There is a dining carriage in the middle position of the train which offers breakfast, lunch and dinner and some snacks. Only some Chinese food and cuisines are provide: rice, vegetables, meals and soups. You can also buy the packed food from the Food Trolley. Hot water is provided all the time. The water received from the washing area is not drinkable.
Luggage Storage If you are taking a Soft Sleeper, you can put your luggage or suitcases on the luggage closet above the door in each Soft Sleeper Carriage. It is about 16 inches (40cm) high and 20 inches (50cm) wide. If you are taking a Hard Sleeper, just place your luggage and suitcases on the luggage racks above the window by the side of aisle.
Toilet and Washing The toilets in Soft Sleeper Carriages are one western-style toilet and another squat toilet. While in the carriages of Hard Sleepers and Hard Seats, there are only squat toilets available. Bring toilet papers on your own. There is a simple washbasin at each side of the carriages. Only cold water is provided, undrinkable.
Compartment In the Soft Sleeper Compartment, there are a small table, a heat-retaining vacuum flask, and a trash can. Under the table is a plug to get power supply. There is also a small TV fixed on the door near the aisle. Close to the window, there is an outlet of oxygen. While in the Hard Sleeper Compartment, there are some other friendly facilities – a small table, a thermos, a dustbin.

Altitude Change of Beijing to Lhasa Train

The slight altitude change from Beijing (44 meters above sea level) to Xining (2,275m) in the first 17 hours of the trip does not cause discomfort for passengers.

After around 7 hours from Xining, the altitude increases to 2829 meters when arriving at Goldmud at 22:10. It is from Goldmud Railway Station that the altitude increases sharply and the oxygen supply is turned on.

From Golmud, the altitude ascends more than 1,000 meters in less than 100 kilometers, causing altitude sickness for some passengers. When arriving at the world’s highest railway pass, the Tanggula Pass (5,072m) around 6 o’clock in the morning, most tourists will suffer from altitude sickness. Then, the altitude drops slowly as you travel south through Nagqu and finally reaches 3,650 meters in Lhasa.


Oxygen Supply and Altitude Sickness on the Beijing to Lhasa train

Sometimes called “mountain sickness”, altitude sickness is a group of symptoms that can strike if you walk or climb to a higher altitude too quickly. Characterized by symptoms such as headache, dizziness, fatigue, nausea, altitude sickness is the biggest concern for traveling to Tibet.

Air-conditioning alone is not sufficient to make a cozy environment on the train to Tibet. The oxygen supply is the key element to ensure passengers' comfort and safety. There are two oxygen-supply systems on each train. One is used for increasing the oxygen level in the train, by temperature and air pressure controlling systems, when the train enters into the plateau zone. The other is directly used by passengers through an independent port. There are oxygen supply tubes and masks in each cabin for emergencies. Private oxygen masks are provided to every passenger, whatever ticket they have. In sleeping berth cars, you can find outlets on the wall beside the windows, while in seat cars, you can find outlets under your seat.


About Beijing to Lhasa Train FAQs:

Q1. How to Get Help on the Train?

Some of the staff on the train speak English and they are easy-approaching and hospitable to foreign tourists. If one runs into any trouble, you may ask the head of conductor for help. Most of the passengers may have symptoms of altitude sickness (such as headache, fatigue, difficult sleeping, lack of appetite, etc.) as the train reaches Qinghai-Tibet plateau. Now, you may switch on the oxygen outlet to inhale oxygen to ease the discomfort. If the symptom gets worse, you may find the conductor for help and the doctor on the train will come and give you timely treatment.

Q2. How can we minimize the effect of altitude sickness?

The effect of altitude sickness on passengers varies. Yet, to minimize or ease the impact of altitude sickness, one may prepare some altitude sickness tablets before boarding the train and take some when the train climbs to plateau. There is no need to worry too much the altitude sickness, the train is built with oxygen supply system which is easy to use.

Q3. Is smoking allowed in the cabin?

Smoking is strictly forbidden in the train as the train is tightly sealed and pressurized and oxygen is pumped into the carriage when the train ascends to extreme altitude.It would be devastating if the train caught fire.

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