Train to Tibet is preferred by many tourists, but the information about the train facilities, boarding instructions may not be so familiar to everyone. It is important to know life on board Tibet train to make your train journey more enjoyable as it is quite a long train journey to Tibet.
Sleeper and Seats on Tibet Trains
There are three types of coaches on the Tibet train : soft sleepers, hard sleepers and hard seats.
Soft sleeper is the first-class choice on Tibet trains, coming with individual TVs and doors that can be closed and locked. It is the option most people prefer.
Each soft sleeper cabin on Tibet trains has four berths over two levels. A large window is available, taking up almost half of the outer hull of the train with a small table below it, which sites between the two lower bunks. The soft sleeper cabins also contain an LED television, a full length mirror, a coat rack, and storage space for luggage above the door.
Tibet train soft sleeper
The doors in the cabins can also be locked from the inside, to allow more privacy during your train journey. While it is comfortable, and kept well-cleaned, the cabins are a little small, 6.5 feet wide and 10 feet long, and there is not much room when four adults are in the cabins.
The oxygen outlet in soft sleeper cabin is normally located in the corner of the berth, above your head, next to or below the reading light. Generally, the “head” of the bed is the end closest to the window, with the TV in the wall at the foot of the beds by the door.
Outside the cabin, you have a nice open corridor with huge windows that are perfect for relaxing to watch the world pass by. The windows have foldable seats under them, so you can sit and watch the view as you cross the vast Tibetan plateau.
Hard sleeper carriages (economic class) are made up of doorless six-berth compartments with bunks in three tiers, and sheets, pillows and blankets are provided. There is a small price difference between berths, with the lowest bunk the most expensive and the top-most bunk the cheapest.
Tibet train hard sleeper
Compared to hard seats, hard-sleepers are more comfortable, but the privacy and space not as good as soft sleepers. And don’t let the name mislead you, the hard sleeper bed is not hard at all. The "hard" is a bit of a misnomer, as the bed is indeed quite soft and comfortable. There is a soft mattress, pillow and comforter provided.
Normally, a Tibet train usually has 8 hard sleeper carriages. Each carriage contains 11 compartments. There are 6 berths with 3 on each side in each compartment (2 lower-berth, 2 middle-berth, and 2 upper-berth). Each bed is approximately 60 centimeters (24 inches) wide and 180 centimeters (71 inches) long, which are enough to bear around 300 kilograms (660 pounds).
Hard seats are not recommended to tourists as you need to sit along all the way and not able to lie down to rest, which is not good for the acclimatization.
Dining Car on Tibet Trains
There is one dining car in each train to Tibet, offering three meals a day and some snack and drinks. You can also buy a meal box from a trolley, which constantly be pushing through the train. The dinning car is normally at No.9 Carriage, to be sure where it is, you can ask the conductor.
The dining car on the Qinghai-Tibet train is decorated in the typical Tibetan-style, and colored in red, yellow and white. There are tables and seats available for you to enjoy the food. It is a nice experience to enjoy fascinating landscapes through the wide windows while having meals in the dining car.
Tibet train dining car
The dining car on Tibet trains offers breakfast, lunch, and dinner at mealtime, and can usually accommodate up 40 to 50 passengers at the same time. Since the seats in the dining carriage are limited, you’d better make a reservation in advance to avoid waiting too long, especially during lunch and dinner time.
The dining car offers passengers 3 meals a day. Breakfast is served from 7:30 am to 8:30 am, lunch is served from 11:30 am to 2:00 pm and dinner is served from around 5:30 pm to 7:30 pm. The menu offers limited Chinese and Tibetan dishes, mainly including rice, vegetables, meats, and soups.
If you do not want to din at dinning car, just simply to wait for the food troolley, the conductor will sell meals, snacks, drinks and fruits at meals time in each carriage.
Oxygen Supplement on Tibet Trains
Tibet trains are all equipped with the oxygen supply systems to provide better train experience. There are 2 kinds of oxygen supply systems on Tibet trains, which can keep the required oxygen level in the train when the train passes through the high altitude area.
Oxygen outlet is provided for individual passengers to ensure your safety onboard Tibet Trains.
One is an independent system, which can be directly used by passengers through individual oxygen outlet when they feel a lack of oxygen. In hard seat carriage, you can easily find them beneath the seats. In the train corridor, oxygen supply outlets are on the train wall. In the sleeper berth cabin, they are near the beds and can be used while lying on the bed. These oxygen outlets are easily be found, as they have dark red covers that have “OXYGEN OUTLET” written on them.
The other main system is the 'dispersion-mode' oxygen supply system, spreading oxygen made by the oxygen generator to the carriage through the air-con system. Oxygen is pumped in when the train reaches the higher altitudes, to keep the oxygen content of the air about 23%.
The oxygen supply system does not convey oxygen for the whole train trip to Tibet. When the train passes the station at Golmud, at 2,809 meters above sea level, the oxygen supply system will be switched on, delivering fresh and refreshing oxygen into the carriage. when the oxygen supply systems are working, smoking is forbidden in all the carriages.
If a passenger shows some symptoms of high altitude sickness, he or she should use the private oxygen supply in Tibet train. Altitude sickness occurs when one cannot get enough oxygen from the air.
Luggage Space on Tibet Trains
In soft sleepers cabin, there is space in each cabin for your luggage, though you should not leave valuable items in the cabins when you go out. While the cabins can be locked and there is little crime on the trains, it is likely to err on the side of caution. The main luggage storage is above the door, where a large recess can hold several hold-all style bags at the foot of the upper berths. Luggage can also be stored under the lower berths, which have a foot of space for flatter luggage.
In hard sleepers’ cabin, there are two places you can put your luggage in the hard sleeper cabins. one is the luggage rack above the window on the side of the aisle, which is about 53centimeters (21 inches) wide and has enough space to keep a large suitcase. Another place is under the lower berths, which is about 30 centimeters (12 inches) high and 60 centimeters (24 inches) wide.
Tibet train hard seat
The hard seat carriage is furnished with luggage racks above the windows. The luggage holder is about 50 cm wide, which is just enough to keep one suitcase or a backpack. You can also put luggage under your seat. It is suggested to put your valuable personal belongs in your carry-on bag. Each adult passenger can bring luggage which weighs less than 20kg.
Besides, valuable personal belongings such as phones, passport, wallets, etc, should be kept on your person all the time.
More Public Facilities on Tibet Trains
Toilets and Washing Areas
The washing area can normally be found at the end of each carriage. For soft sleepers cabin, on one side of the carriage is a western-style toilet, complete with toilet seat and lid, and on the other side is a Chinese squat-type toilet. Each toilet cubicle has its own hand-wash basin with running water. A red sign on the door means it is occupied and a green sign means it is available. Toilet paper is not supplied, so you have to bring toilet tissue on your own. If you travel alone and need to go to the toilet, you’d better not leave your belongings on the seat.
There is a washing area between two hard sleeper carriages on Tibet train.
Outside the toilets, at each end of the car, are the washing facilities for train passengers. Each washing area contains three sinks, with racks, and sometimes soap for washing your hands. These are used daily by all the passengers to wash in the mornings, and it is best to get up early, to be first to the sinks.
In the hard sleeper and hard seats carriages, there are only squat toilets that are open for both genders.
All Tibet trains are now 24-hours air conditioned. The air-conditioning in the Tibet train can keep the temperature in the train at a comfortable level so that passengers can enjoy the breathtaking scenery along the world's highest railway in a cozy environment.
There are drinking water dispensers on each end of each carriage, where you can get hot water for free. Recommended to bring your own cup and bottles to get the water. Don’t drink the water from the washing area, it is non-potable and not suitable for drinking. You can also buy bottled water from the food trolleys.
Tibet train drinking water dispensers
There are power charge outlet in each carriage, it is Chinese standard style, remember to bring your adapter.
Wi-Fi is not available on Tibet trains, so it is recommended you to by Chinese sim card and purchase date in advance if you want to get access to internet. 4 G is not available most of the time and signal might be cut-off when trains passing through tunnels
Train to Tibet is a very popular way among tourists, with knowing the train facilities, you can make good preparation for Tibet train journey and choose suitable train ticket. However, as the demand for the train tickets is normally quite high especially from April to October, it is better to ask a travel agency like us to book the train tickets in advance to ensure the availabilities.