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Beijing to Tibet Train Price: How Much does it Cost to Travel from Beijing to Lhasa by Train?

Last Update: May 6, 2020

Beijing is one of the most popular departure locations in China for tourists heading for the famous Tibet Autonomous Region. However, while this is one of the longest routes to Tibet, the train from Beijing is not necessarily the most expensive trip on the trains to Tibet. So if you are considering whether to take the train from Beijing to Tibet, this breakdown of the usual costs of a trip on the Beijing to Lhasa Train will help you to decide.

Ticket Price for Beijing to Lhasa Train

Prices for the trains to Lhasa from Beijing depend on a number of factors, from the type of ticket you buy to the season in which you will be traveling. Different classes of tickets have different pricing, and there are even differences in pricing depending on the level of your berth for the sleeper cabins.

Soft sleeper vs hard sleeper

There are two types of sleeper cabins on the Tibet trains. Soft Sleepers are the first-class cabins, while the Hard Sleepers are the second-class option. And the name is rather deceiving, since the Hard Sleeper berths are just as soft as the Soft Sleeper berths.

Tibet train hard sleeperTibet train hard sleeper

There are some important differences between the soft and hard sleeper cabins that account for the major differences in price. The soft sleeper cabins have only four berths in total, over two levels, while the hard sleepers have six berths over three levels. Soft sleepers also have a lockable door to the cabin, while the hard sleepers are open to the train corridor, with only a small curtain for a modicum of privacy.

The soft sleeper cabins do have more room to move about and to store luggage, and the berths are generally a little larger than in the hard sleepers. However, when it comes to comfort, the beds themselves are very similar, and provide the same comfortable night’s sleep.

Tibet train soft sleeperTibet train soft sleeper

The overall cost of the sleeper cabins varies, depending on which cabin and berth you are occupying. The lower berths are the most expensive, with the higher berths being the cheaper options. The rough price guide for the sleeper cabins on the train from Beijing to Lhasa during the low season is from around:

Hard Sleeper Berths ¥720.00 ¥742.00 ¥763.00
Soft Sleeper Berths ¥1,144.00 / ¥1,186.00

(Prices are subject to change)

Commission fee during the high season

There are also seasonal changes to the pricing of the tickets for the trains to Tibet, and you can expect the cost to increase as the peak season comes around. On average, the prices for the train tickets generally increase by around 400 to 800 yuan per ticket in the peak months. The amount of the increase depends on the type and position of the berth booked.

Cost of Dining on Board the Train

All of the trains from Beijing to Lhasa have a well-equipped and well-stocked dining car, where you can enjoy some delicious and delightful dishes. The range varies, and often includes plenty of Chinese cuisine dishes, as well as some Tibetan dishes too. And the huge wide windows that give you an amazing view of the plateau landscape are a welcome pleasure while dining.

Tibet Train Dining carDining car on Tibet train

Cost of meals

Generally, meals on the trains to Tibet are much more expensive than comparable meals in a restaurant or train station café. An average breakfast f eggs, pickles, bread, and milk can cost from around 25 yuan per person, and the average breakfast bill for two can easily reach 100 yuan. The main meal menu usually consists of around over 100 different dishes, with hot and cold meals, soups, rice dishes, and some Tibetan dishes too. Prices for a main dish range from around 18 yuan to as high as 30 yuan, and a decent dinner can cost upwards of 200 yuan for two people.

If you are dining in your cabin, the food cart comes around every mealtime, with box meals that you can buy, which are off the same menu as in the dining car. On average, the box meals cost from 20 to 40 yuan each, and you can choose from a variation of different dishes to a set meal for one.

Cost of snacks or drinks

Snacks are similarly expensive on the trains, and the items on the snack cart generally cost from 30-60 yuan. Meat snacks can cost around 40 yuan each, while vegetable snacks start at around 20 yuan each. The drinks are also highly priced, costing from 70-100 yuan, depending on the beverage of your choice.

One way to reduce the cost of your food on the train is to bring your own. You can buy and bring along snacks and packet foods, which can be eaten as and when you like. Packet or pot foods can be prepared using the available free boiling water, so you can always prepare your food without adding an extra cost.

Cost of Tibet Travel Permits

For anyone traveling to Tibet, there are certain permits and travel documents that you will need to enter and travel around the region. This ranges from your visa and passport to the variety of permits you will need for the trip to Tibet.

Tibet Travel Permit

The Tibet Travel Permit (TTP) is the main permit you will need for entering Tibet and traveling in the area of Lhasa. However, the permit can only be obtained once you have booked a pre-arranged tour with a registered Tibetan travel agency. We obtain the permit on your behalf using scanned copies of your passport and visa.

Tibet Travel Permit SampleA sample of Tibet Travel Permit we have obtained for our clients.

The permit is applied for with the Tibet Tourism Bureau in Lhasa, and the application for the permit actually costs nothing at all. The Tibet Tourism Bureau in Lhasa does not charge for the permit application, though some unscrupulous agencies will charge you a fee to process the permit. We do not charge you anything if you book your tour with us.

Chinese Visa

The cost of your Chinese Entry Visa depends on your nationality, and the prices vary. Visas for US nationals are the most expensive, at around 140 US dollars per person, while Israeli nationals have the lowest visa cost of around 42 US dollars. Most nationalities will pay around 51 US dollars per person for their Chinese Entry Visa.

The visa cost is not paid to the travel agency, but is paid direct to the Embassy of the People’s Republic of China in your home or resident country, where you will need to apply for the visa. Your application must include all of the basic requirements for the visa, or the application will be rejected with no refund.

Other Personal Costs

Aside from the obvious costs of the train ticket, your food, visas, and permits, and other items that you may or may not require for the trip, you should also consider the cost of the personal items that you will need for your train journey to Tibet.

Toiletries – such as soap, flannel, toothpaste, toothbrush, mouthwash, wipes, etc. – are essential items for travellers heading to Tibet for a vacation. Such personal items are advised to be brought with you before you embark on the train journey to Lhasa. Such items are sold on the train, but are much more expensive than you will find elsewhere. And the difference in price is such that these things can sometimes cost up to three times as much as in regular shops in the main Chinese cities.

You should also make sure that you bring enough batteries for your various gadgets, and even consider investing in some rechargeable batteries for those items that do not already have them, to save on the cost of buying batteries if yours run out.


The trains to Tibet are generally the cheapest option for travel to Lhasa, and from Beijing, this is especially true, as flights can be very costly. However, there are ways to reduce the overall cost of the long train journey to Tibet, which means you will have more to spend on things you want on the Roof of the World.

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