Though there are trains bound for Lhasa from Beijing, Shanghai, and Chengdu, the genuine Qinghai-Tibet train starts from Xining, Qinghai province with 1960 km in total. It takes approximately one day (or 23:30 hour ride) from Xining to Lhasa. Each year there are around one quarter of tourists who may take train to Lhasa from Xining. The benefits of train route are as follows:
Quickest Railway access to Lhasa
Xining is the initial train station of Qinghai-Tibet train closest to Lhasa. The entire train ride only takes one day and tourists get on the train and the next day they will be on Qinghai-Tibet plateau, enjoying the breathtaking scenery through the window of the train.
High Transportation Capacity
There are over 3 trains bound for Lhasa from Xining each day, bringing more than a thousand tourists to Lhasa on a daily basis. Its transportation capacity is three times than that of Beijing-Lhasa or Shanghai-Lhasa train. The peak season of Qinghai-Tibet train comes in summer. At that time, the train ticket could be hard to buy. Yet, if tourists can start their journey from Xining instead of Beijing or Shanghai to Lhasa, it can be much easier to buy Qinghai-Tibet train tickets.
Basically, there are 8 trains bound for Lhasa. Yet, there are only 2 trains that start directly from Xining to Lhasa, i.e. K9801 and K9811. Besides, the K9811 is a seasonal train that usually runs at night.
For better scenery, We recommends tourists taking K9811 and T265 because tourists can board the train and sleep on the train. The next day as tourists open their eye, the train is exactly crossing Golmud, and touristis can enjoy Qarhan Salt Lake, the largest salt lake in China and endless grotesquely-shaped salt flowers and unusual salt lake surroundings. In addition, as the initial station of T265 is Quangzhou, the train itself should be comparatively less crowded.
To get train tickets much easier, We suggest tourists taking trains like K9801, K9811 and T917. Yet. There is no guarantee in summer when Tibet tourism reaches it peak season.
Xining to Lhasa Railway, measuring 1960 km, starts from Xining(2295m) to Lhasa (3560m). This railway with the highest altitude around the world reaches its highest altitude at Tanggula Pass and the entire railway line is built over 4500m. It is known that high altitude may trigger physical discomfort such as headache, dizziness and other altitude sickness symptoms. Yet, this specially-built train is equipped with oxygen supply system that will automatic release oxygen into the carriage to minimize altitude sickness.
Xining Railway Station help
Xining train station is a hub of great importance connecting Qinghai-Tibet train, sending more than half of passengers who use Qinghai-Tibet railway. Its was relocated to Xining West Tran Station in march, 2011.
Bus Ride to Train Station from Xining Downtown – 40 minutes to 1.5 hours
The bus ride normally takes an hour or so to reach Xining West Train Station. Since the train station is far away from the downtown of Xining, formal hotels can hardly be found around the train station. For accommodation , it is advisable to stay in hotels in downtown of Xining and take bus to the train station. Most importantly, foreign tourists have to have Tibet Entry Permit to travel to Tibet. If one takes a taxi, it cost no more than 20 RMB from downtown to Xining West Train Station.
Airport to Train Station by Taxi – 16 Km
If a tourist arrives in Xining airport and wants to go to Xining airport, he/she may take 3rd special bus lines to Xining train station directly. It takes about an hour and 20 mins. Of course, if you prefer a taxi, it may cost 80 RMB via the express way but it takes around 40 minutes.
– Xining West Railway Station provides luggage storage service for passengers, it costs 5-10 CNY for each piece, according to the size of yor luggage.
– Foreign tourists who take train to Tibet from Xining, must have Tibet Travel Permit, and are required to print two copies of Tibet travel permit and give one to rail station when checking in.
– All visitors must go through the X-ray baggage scanning and security. See Tibet Train Luggage Allowed and Forbidden
– Xining West railway station is far away from downtown, there is no hotels, cafes and other rest areas nearby.