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Dining Car on Tibet Trains

Last Update: February 5, 2024

Food is very significant for all the people, especially when you are traveling outside. Traveling to Tibet by train is one of the popular options for tourists. Dining is always one of the top concerns for most visitors, so to know what to eat and drink during the Tibet train trip is important for travelers. The following is a detailed guide for dining onboard the trains to Tibet.

Dining Car on Tibet Trains

All the trains to Tibet are equipped with a dining car, which is normally in the middle of the train and next to the soft-berth sleeper. 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.

Enjoy fascinating landscapes through the wide windowsEnjoy fascinating landscapes through the wide windows

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.

What Kind of Food is Offered in the Dining Car?

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.

The dining car offers passengers 3 meals a dayThe dining car offers passengers 3 meals a day

The breakfast is mainly traditional Chinese breakfast such as baozi (Chinese steamed buns), boiled eggs, soy milk, pickles, porridge, etc. For lunch and dinner, you will be served with rice and some Chinese dishes like Kung Pao Chicken, Scrambled Egg with Tomato, etc. Noodle is also available. All the dishes are freshly cooked, since the ingredients are purchased from some large cities, as well as the replenishment points when the train stops. The dishes served on the train will probably vary from season to season. Different trains often have different menus, depending on their departure locations.

The dining car on Tibet trains is roomier than some other trains. It is equipped with a bar area and dining area, that skillfully divides the recreational domain and dining domain. Here you can find a small bar in the dining car, offering you tea, coffee, and some beers. You can drink there, or bring it back to your compartment.

How Much Does It Cost to Eat in Dining Car?

The price of meals provided on the train is usually about twice that of normal restaurants outside. A breakfast on Tibet trains will cost 15 RMB or 20 RMB. The meat dishes will cost from 30 RMB to 100 RMB, while vegetables will be around 30 RMB per dish. So, how much you will cost on dining on Tibet trains will depend on what you order to eat for each meal.

Food Trolley on Tibet Trains

At every mealtime, many people will eat at the same time in the dining car. As the seats are limited, you may need to wait a long time. You have another option for eating, which is to buy a boxed meal from the food trolley. Boxed meal is usually produced by the relevant restaurants near the train station in the city. After packaging, it is transported to the train. It is available during mealtime. Each boxed meal has three dishes and rice, which usually costs 25 to 30 RMB per box. It’s cheaper than eating in the dining car.

You can buy some foods and drinks from the food trolleyYou can buy some foods and drinks from the food trolley

Besides, the food trolley that comes around regularly also sells snacks, fruits, and drinks at other times. The snacks include instant noodles, biscuits, peanuts, drinks, etc. The fruits are generally in season and sold in boxes, rich in variety, such as apples, pears, peaches, etc. Eating fruit not only gives you vitamins but also replenishes water your body needs. It takes long hours to get to Tibet by train, so it is important to drink more water and eat plenty of fruits on the way, to avoid the discomfort caused by lack of water.

Food Vendors at Tibet Train Railway Station

Passengers can get off the train and take a walk or buy some snacks from the vendors on the train platform, when the train makes stops in major stations, such as Xian Railway Station, Xining Railway Station, etc.

The vendors usually sell some local food and many kinds of Chinese snacks, such as peanuts, spicy strips, chicken feet, as well as fruit juice, bottled water, and various fruits, etc. The prices are usually a little more expensive than that sold outside, but a little cheaper than those of the food trolley on the train.

It should be noted that sometimes the trains only stop for several minutes at some train stations, you need to finish your shopping as soon as possible and get back on board. To save your time, you’d better use mobile payment or prepare some change. It’s also a good idea to find out how much time you will have at the train station before trying to buy anything outside of the train.

Bring Your Own Food for Dining Onboard

There are hundreds of passengers on a train, and the dining car can only accommodate about 40 people at a time. It can't take care of all the passengers on the train. If you are not used to eating Chinese food, you can bring your own food before departure. The food you like and get used to, may making your train travel more comfortable.

Most of the food can be brought on the trainMost of the food can be brought on the train

Generally speaking, most of the food can be brought on the train, whether it is cooked food, fruit, snacks, or drinks. But because Tibet train is the public space shared by many passengers together, it is recommended to avoid bringing some food with pungent smell, such as durian and other fruits.

It is not advisable to bring food that needs to be cooked, as there are no facilities on the train for cooking. It is also recommended not to bring some foods that are easily corroded. The temperature and environment on the train are not conducive to the preservation of food. If you can't eat it right away, don't bring it to the train. In addition, alcohol-containing drinks cannot be taken on the train because they are flammable.

These foods are the ideal option that passengers can bring to the train: barreled instant noodles, canned snacks, beef jerky, chocolate, bread and other foods that can satisfy hunger. Peanuts and dried fruit are also common snacks for trains. On the train, you can use boiled drinking water. You can also choose to carry enough mineral water bottles or juices with you.

There will be an interesting phenomenon on the Qinghai-Tibet Train. Snacks packed in plastic bags, such as bread, will start to swell up because of the rising altitude. This is because the air pressure changes after the altitude rises, so the plastic bag will expand.

You can eat your own food in your sleeper cabin or right on your seat. And there is a small table between the berths for your convenience. Hot water is also available on the train. If you need to brew the cup noodles, you can use the hot water for free. When you need to brew coffee, milk tea, and other drinks, you need to bring your own cup.


Tourists don't have to worry too much about eating and drinking on the Tibetan trains. Whether you bring your own food on the train, buy a boxed meal on the food trolley, or go to the dining car to eat, you can always solve the problem of eating. Although the choice of food on the Qinghai-Tibet Train is not as rich as that in the city, you can still get a completely different dining experience. With the train heading to Tibet, you can bask in the warm sunshine, enjoy the stunning landscape of the Plateau and see the wild animals grazing on the grasslands. You will have a feast for both your eyes and mouth. For more questions about the Tibet train food and dining, you can just feel free to contact us.

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