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Why Travel to Tibet by Train? 9 Reasons to Take a Tibet Train to Lhasa

Last Update: November 24, 2023

Traveling to Tibet has always been a dream experience for many people, and most travelers believe that taking the Qinghai-Tibet train to Tibet is the perfect way to make it happen. So, what makes the Qinghai-Tibet train journey so special and captivating? If you're wondering whether to take the train to enter Tibet, here we provide you with the most detailed answers on why you should choose to travel to Tibet by train.

Reason 1 : The Ticket Prices of Tibet Trains are Relatively Affordable.

Compared to other modes of transportation, Tibet train tickets are usually relatively low in price, which can save you a significant amount on transportation costs. This is a significant advantage for travelers with limited budgets.

For example, a soft sleeper ticket for Beijing to Lhasa train is only 1144 yuan, and a hard sleeper ticket is 720 yuan, while the price of a direct flight on the same route can go up to 3000-4000 yuan. Even for the longest route from Guangzhou to Lhasa, the price of a soft sleeper train ticket is only 1490 yuan. Compared to flying, taking the train can save you a considerable amount of money.

Soft sleeper of Tibet trainsSoft sleeper of Tibet trains offers a comfortable experience.

The train ticket prices do not vary significantly in different seasons, while flight ticket prices often offer discounts in the off-season but can significantly increase during peak seasons. This means that choosing to travel to Tibet by train can provide you with more stable transportation costs and save you the time and effort of searching for discounted plane tickets, allowing you more time to plan the details of your Tibet trip.

However, it's worth noting that during peak seasons, especially in the summer months (July and August) and around the Chinese National Day holiday (October), the demand for train tickets to Tibet increases significantly, while the supply is limited. Therefore, if you plan to visit Tibet during these periods, be sure to book your train tickets well in advance to ensure a smooth journey.

Reason 2 : Appreciate Stunning Scenery Along Qinghai-Tibet Railway

The Tibet train runs following the world-famous Qinghai-Tibet Railway, and traverses mountain ranges, rivers, grasslands, and passes by glacier and lakes. The scenery along the railway is as majestic and breathtaking as a painting. There are a large number of sights along the line of the Qinghai Tibet Train.

1) Qinghai Lake (3,200 m)

Qinghai Lake, the largest saltwater lake in China, is a paradise for a huge variety of local and migrant birds. The train passes by the north shore of Qinghai Lake, and you can see a large area of clear water and reflections of distant snowcapped mountains. Every summer, Qinghai Lake is surrounded by Cole flowers in full bloom. The blue sky and golden yellow rapeseed fields constitute a beautiful landscape painting. The Qinghai-Tibet train will run for about half an hour along the north side of Qinghai Lake, and there is plenty of time for viewing.

Qinghai LakeQinghai Lake seen from the window of Tibet train

2) Yuzhu Peak (4,159 m)

Yuzhu Peak, 4,159 meters above sea level, stands about 170 kilometers southwest of Golmud, which is the main peak of the Kunlun Mountains. Around it, there are 15 snow-capped mountains above 5,000 meters above sea level, standing from east to west. From a distance, it looks like a jade dragon taking off. The perpetual glaciers and snow on the top of the mountain have created a beautiful landscape of "Kunlun June Snow".

3) Hoh Xil (4,500 m)

Hoh Xil is the largest nature reserve in China, located in the west of Yushu Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture in Qinghai Province, with a total area of 4.5 million hectares. It is home to many species of rare and endangered species, such as the Tibetan Antelope, the wild yak, and the wild donkey, etc. If lucky, passengers may see them.

Hoh Xil nature reserveHoh Xil Nature Reserve

4) Tuotuo River (4,547 m)

The Tuotuo River is one of the sources of the Yangtze River. After the melting of the icebergs, it’s formed the Jinsha River after passing through the Tuotuo River. Then passing through Sichuan, Yunnan and other places, it finally flows into the Yangtze River. When the train passes through the Tuotuo River, you can see the magnificence and shock of the source of the Yangtze River. If lucky, you can see the sunrise on the Tuotuo River.

5) Tanggula Mountains (5,068 m)

The Tanggula Mountain Range is located at the junction of Qinghai Province and the Tibet Autonomous Region in China. It is the highest altitude area that the Qinghai-Tibet Railway passes through. The world’s highest railway station, Tanggula Station, is located here. It is known as “the closest place to heaven”. Looking westward from the station, you can see the majestic appearance of the main peak of Tanggula Mountain.

Tanggula Mountain RangeTanggula Mountain Range

6) Cuona Lake (4,594 m)

Cuona Lake lies in 20 kilometers southwest of Amdo County. It is regarded as the highest altitude freshwater lake in the world. Cuona Lake is also a holy lake for the Tibetan people. The water here is crystal clear, reflects the blue sky and the white clouds. The lake is rich in products, attracting national key protected wild animals such as black-necked cranes, swans, etc. The train’s rail is only 20 meters away from the lake, so travelers can get a fantastic view of this majestic alpine lake from the train.

Reason 3 : Get Gradual Altitude Increase to Alleviate Altitude Sickness

When you arrive in Tibet by plane, the altitude increases suddenly from a few hundred meters to over three thousand meters, without giving your body sufficient time to acclimate. This rapid change in altitude can increase the risk of altitude sickness.

Altitude sickness is itself an acclimatization process, and taking the train to Tibet offers a gradual ascent over approximately 24-54 hours, naturally providing a buffer period for adapting to the high-altitude environment. Therefore, compared to flying, altitude sickness is generally not as severe during the train journey to Tibet.

By gradually ascending, your body can better adapt to the high-altitude environment, reducing symptoms of altitude sickness such as headaches, nausea, and difficulty breathing. This gradual experience allows you to integrate more smoothly into the high-altitude life of Tibet, enjoy its beautiful landscapes, and worry less about the discomfort of altitude sickness.

Reason 4 : Enjoy Convenient Access from Major Chinese Tourist Cities

Major Chinese tourist cities like Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Chengdu, Chongqing, Xi'an, and Xining have direct train routes to Tibet, providing great convenience for travelers. You can take the train to Tibet from these popular tourist cities, avoiding the hassle of transfers and waiting. Additionally, China's high-speed rail network has made transportation to Xining even more convenient, offering more choices for your entire journey.

Qinghai-Tibet Railway viewQinghai-Tibet Railway View

You can spend 1-2 days exploring these popular cities before taking the train to Tibet, adding diversity to your journey. This style of travel allows you to not only experience the vibrancy of modern metropolises but also immerse yourself in the tranquility and magnificence of the Tibetan Plateau, providing a richer travel experience. This seamless transportation connection gives you more opportunities to explore the distinct regional characteristics of China, making your journey more colorful and diverse.

Reason 5 : Meet Travelers from Different Places and Make New Friends

Choosing to take the train to Tibet not only allows you to immerse yourself in enchanting natural beauty but also provides an opportunity to interact with and make new friends from different parts of the world. During the long train journey, you'll spend quite a bit of time with fellow passengers, offering a rare social opportunity. This shared travel experience opens the door to meeting people from various cultures and backgrounds.

During the journey, you can exchange travel stories, share sightseeing recommendations, and learn about their culture, traditions, and ways of life. Additionally, the train usually has a shared dining car or lounge area, which is a great place to socialize and meet new friends. Here, you can have dinner with other passengers, exchange experiences, or simply enjoy relaxed conversations.

You may find that sharing travel experiences and plans with strangers can make the journey more enjoyable and fulfilling. This interaction not only enriches your travel experience but may also lead to new friendships and long-lasting bonds.

Reason 6 : Choose from Different Comfortable Cabin Classes

The Tibet train provides a high level of travel comfort, and one significant advantage is the ability to choose different cabin classes based on your needs and budget. This flexibility is a key factor in ensuring passenger satisfaction and comfort.

On the Qinghai-Tibet train, you can choose from different types of seats, such as soft sleepers, hard sleepers, and hard seats, based on your budget and personal preferences.

Soft sleepers offer the most comfortable option, with spacious berths suitable for long-distance travel. In addition, soft sleepers provide a private door that can be closed at any time, enhancing privacy and comfort. Although they are more expensive, they offer the highest level of travel experience.

Hard sleepers provide an economical option with relatively spacious berths, suitable for passengers looking for comfort within a limited budget.

For budget-conscious travelers, hard seats are the most economical choice. Although they only provide basic seating, they do not prevent you from enjoying the scenery outside the window.

No matter which cabin class you choose, the Tibet train is committed to providing a clean and comfortable environment. The dining car offers delicious meals, and the train provides restrooms and washing areas for passengers' basic convenience. The beautiful scenery outside the train windows adds significantly to the journey, making your train trip a pleasurable and unforgettable experience.

Reason 7 : Benefit from Tibet Train’s Safety, Reliability, and Assurance

Choosing to take the Tibet train to Tibet allows you to enjoy a relatively safe and reliable journey with guarantees in place. The Qinghai-Tibet Railway employs advanced technology and equipment to ensure the stability and safety of the rail line. The maintenance and upkeep of the train cars are closely monitored to ensure their reliability. In addition, modern safety equipment and systems are installed on the train to ensure passenger comfort and safety. As a result, even in extreme natural conditions such as high mountains, plateaus, and harsh weather, the train can still provide reliable service.

Furthermore, the design of the Tibet train takes into account factors like air pressure and oxygen levels in high-altitude regions. The train cars are equipped with oxygen supply systems to address oxygen deficiency at high altitudes, reducing the risk of altitude sickness for passengers.

Additionally, the train has medical personnel, railway police, and emergency medical equipment onboard, ensuring your safety throughout the journey. These safety and security measures make taking the Tibet train a reassuring choice, allowing you to enjoy the magnificent high-altitude landscapes with peace of mind.

Reason 8 : Promote Environmental Sustainability with the Tibet Train

Taking the train is not only a convenient mode of travel but also an environmentally friendly choice. Compared to airplanes, trains emit fewer carbon emissions because they use electricity or gas instead of aviation fuel. This means that train travel generates significantly lower greenhouse gas emissions, which have less impact on the atmosphere and climate.

This is especially important in environmentally sensitive areas like Tibet. Trains also have a fixed track on the ground, which does not cause extensive ecological damage to the landscape.

Tibet trainTaking the Tibet train is an environmentally-friendly choice.

When traveling to places like Tibet, known for its stunning natural beauty, choosing to take the train not only reduces the environmental footprint of your journey but also helps protect this precious land. Therefore, for travelers who want to actively engage in ecological conservation during their travels, taking the train to Tibet is a meaningful choice. By choosing to travel to Tibet by train, we can all contribute to the preservation of Tibet's natural beauty and ecological diversity.

Reason 9: Enjoy a Unique Travel Experience by Taking Tibet Train

Traveling to Tibet by train offers a unique travel experience. Unlike flights, train travel allows you to gradually immerse yourself in the majestic landscapes of the Tibetan plateau, adapt to the high-altitude environment, and enjoy a tranquil railway journey.

On the train, you can admire the scenery along the way, engage in close interactions with fellow travelers, savor authentic train cuisine, and experience the wonders and surprises of the journey. This slow and leisurely journey is not just a means to reach your destination; it's an adventure filled with exploration and discovery, connecting people with the marvelous encounters of nature.


Compared to other modes of traveling to Tibet, such as by flight or road, the train is the most interesting and memorable way to reach Tibet. The Qinghai-Tibet Train is not only a means of transportation but also an opportunity to visit and experience Tibet.

As Tibet tour experts with over 10 years of experience in organizing Tibet tours, we promise you a seamless Tibet train tour with tourist-friendly services, including booking Tibet train tickets and applying for Tibet Travel Permits. You can explore all our classic Tibet train tour packages starting from Beijing, Shanghai, Chengdu, Xining, Xian, etc. Additionally, you can also contact our Tibet travel experts to tailor-make your own Tibet train journey.

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