Home Beijing - Lhasa Trains

Beijing - Lhasa Trains

Beijing–Lhasa trains connect the cities of Beijing and Lhasa, passing through eight provinces. The rail route is 3,735 kilometers (2,321 miles) in length with a journey time of about 40 hours.

There is no high-speed railway from Beijing to Lhasa, specifically the Xining–Lhasa part. Due to the influence of permafrost, the top speed on this part of the railway has been lowered to 100kph (62mph) from 120kph (75mph).

Only one pair of trains runs directly between Beijing and Lhasa per day. The terminals of the Beijing–Lhasa railway route are Beijing West Railway Station and Lhasa Railway Station.

Beijing to Lhasa Train (Z21) Schedule

Station

Arrival

Departure

Stop (mins.)

Day

Beijing Xi (West)

--

20:00

--

Day 1

Shijiazhuang Bei (North)

22:34

22:38

4m

Day 1

Taiyuan

00:20

00:26

6m

Day 2

Zhongwei

07:01

07:16

15m

Day 2

Lanzhou

12:14

12:31

17m

Day 2

Xining

14:57

15:20

23m

Day 2

Delingha

19:29

19:31

2m

Day 2

Golmud

22:10

22:35

25m

Day 2

Nagqu

08:33

08:39

6m

Day 3

Lhasa

12:30

--

--

Day 3

Lhasa to Beijing Train (Z22) Schedule

Station

Arrival

Departure

Stop (mins.)

Day

Lhasa

--

15:50

--

Day 1

Nagqu

19:24

19:32

8m

Day 1

Golmud

06:16

06:41

25m

Day 2

Delingha

09:08

09:10

2m

Day 2

Xining

13:25

13:45

20m

Day 2

Lanzhou

16:14

16:29

15m

Day 2

Zhongwei

21:26

21:32

6m

Day 2

Taiyuan

04:14

04:20

6m

Day 3

Shijiazhuang Bei (North)

05:45

05:55

10m

Day 3

Beijing Xi (West)

08:28

--

--

Day 3

Beijing - Lhasa Train Ticket Prices

Hard Seat

Hard Sleeper

Soft Sleeper

US$56 (364 CNY)

US$123 (799 CNY)

US$195 (1,266 CNY)

The schedules and prices are just for reference. Click here for up-to-date Beijing–Lhasa train schedules and prices.

Seat Classes on Beijing - Lhasa Trains

Hard Seat

Each Hard Seat car has 118 seats comprised of three-seat benches and two-seat benches. Each row has a three-seat bench and a two-seat bench on either side of the aisle. Every set of two rows is arranged face-to-face. Half the seats face the opposite direction to the way the train is going. The seats are “hard” (not well-padded) and the seatback is not adjustable.

Passengers holding standing tickets stand in the Hard Seat cars.

Hard Sleeper

Hard Sleeper cars have several compartments, each with six bunks (two triple bunk rows with a small table and gap between), and an aisle on one side. Hard sleeper compartments have an open-plan design. There is no door or curtain for privacy. The prices for the lower/middle/upper bunks are not the same — they increase lightly in price with height: lower>middle>upper.

A hard sleeper bunk is 60 cm (2’) in width and 180 cm (6’) in length. The bunk’s heights are 90 cm (3’), 65 cm (2’2”), and 65 cm for the lower, middle, and upper bunks respectively. Passengers on middle and upper bunks can’t sit up straight. During the daytime, passengers will often sit on the lower bunks, using them as public seats.

Soft Sleeper

Soft Sleeper cars consist of private compartments with four bunks — two upper bunks and two lower bunks with a larger table and gap between. There are eight compartments in each soft sleeper car. Each compartment has a door that can be locked from the inside to provide a private and quiet environment.

The vertical space for both soft sleeper bunks is spacious enough for passengers to sit up. Each bunk is 75 cm (2’6”) in width and 190 cm (6’4”) in length. The distance between the two lower bunks is about 50 cm. The lower bunk is 90 cm (3’) and the upper bunk is 80 cm (2’8”) in height. The lower bunk is slightly more expensive than the upper bunk.

How to Take Your Train in Beijing/Lhasa

Beijing West Station and Lhasa Railway Station are the terminal stations for the Beijing–Lhasa railway route. Here we cover how to get to and use these two stations.

Getting to Beijing West Railway Station

Beijing West Railway Station(不北京西站) is at 118 East Lianhuachi Road, Fengtai District, Beijing. It is one of Beijing’s main train stations serving both high-speed and regular trains. It is about 8 kilometers (5 miles) from the Forbidden City and 36 kilometers (22 miles) from Beijing Capital International Airport.

You can take subway lines 7 and 9 to get to Beijing West Railway Station. You will get off on the basement level (-1F), then you should take the escalators to floor 2 (2F) where the waiting rooms are.

If you take a taxi (show the driver the Chinese), you will get off at the north or south square of the station. Enter the building and then take the escalators to the waiting room.

Buses 3, 9, 21, 40, and 50 go to Beijing West Station.

Using Beijing West Station

Beijing West Railway Station has two access squares: North Square (in front, most popular) and South Square (behind, less-used). They are connected by underground passages of up to 500 meters.

The second floor (F2) has waiting rooms, stores, restaurants, a left-luggage office, a luggage porter service, a medical center, and a ticket office selling group tickets and tickets to Hong Kong. The entrances of South Square and North Square are both equipped with escalators.

The first floor (F1) has the entrances (with security/ticket checks) and exits, a train ticket office, a luggage consignment office, a luggage claim office, a joint Entry-Exit Inspection Hall, and platforms.

Basement 1 (-1F) has subway transfer halls, taxi stands, exits to squares

Basement 2 (-2F) has a subway ticket office, exits to squares, subway lines, taxi stands, bus station exit, and luggage claim

Getting to Lhasa Railway Station

Lhasa Railway Station (拉萨站)is in Liuwu New Area in southwest Lhasa, at an altitude of 3,641 meters (11,945 feet). It is 8 kilometers (5 miles) southwest of downtown Lhasa and the Potala Palace. It’s the terminal of the Qinghai-Tibet Railway and the biggest train station in Tibet.

By taxi (show the Chinese), it takes 15–20 minutes from Lhasa city center to Lhasa Railway Station. You can take the Liuwu Long-Distance Bus Station bus, or bus 1, 13, 14, or 30 to the station.

Using Lhasa Railway Station

There are three floors in Lhasa Railway Station: two above ground and one underground.

The first floor: On the west side of the first floor are ordinary waiting halls and the ticket hall. There are three waiting rooms in the southeast corner: one soft seat waiting hall and two VIP waiting halls.

The second floor: On the south of this floor are ordinary waiting halls and a soft seat waiting hall. There is a big shopping area on the northeast side.

The underground floor is for arrival passengers.

In front of the station, there is a big square. Liuwu Long-Distance Bus Station is on the west side of the square. The City Bus Station is on the east side of the square.

Beijing - Lhasa by Train or Plane or Both?

The flight duration is only 4½ hours, or 6½ hours if you have a stopover in Xining, Xi'an, or Chengdu. The train journey is about 40 hours. For travelers who are on a tight schedule, a flight would be the better option, though more expensive. Usually, Lhasa airfares don’t include any discounts.

By train, you can enjoy the beautiful scenery along the Tibet Railway, which you wouldn’t experience by plane. Train travel will probably not help you get used to the high altitude though, as supplemental oxygen is provided in the carriages. Try to rest well on the train to reduce the risk of suffering from altitude sickness when arriving in Lhasa.

Another option is a flight to Xining from Beijing (about 4 hours) followed by the Xining–Lhasa leg on the Qinghai-Tibet Railway (over 21 hours).See more on that below…

Tips for Beijing - Lhasa Train Travel

The peak season for travel to Tibet is from May to October, and train tickets are always in great demand during this time. Lhasa tickets are hoarded by government agencies and scalpers and resold at high profits. It is hard to get a direct Beijing–Lhasa train ticket in the peak season.

If you really want to take a train to Tibet, transferring at Xining Railway Station is a good option because there are five trains to/from Xining to Lhasa each day.

Kindly note that foreigners who want to visit Tibet need to obtain a Tibet Entry Permit in advance. These permits are issued by the Tibet Tourism Bureau (TTB)to approved China travel agencies (like us). Also, foreign travelers in Tibet must be accompanied by an approved travel agency guide. Contact us for Tibet permits, train tickets, and any other China travel needs.

International passengers need to show the original permits before boarding their flights. For trains, international passengers need to show a copy of the permits to board Tibet trains.

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