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Hong Kong to Lhasa Train: How to Travel from Hong Kong to Tibet by Train?

Last Update: March 14, 2024

Hong Kong is a major transportation hub and a common entry point to mainland China. If you’re thinking of traveling to Tibet by train and traveling through Hong Kong, you can’t go direct, but there are a lot of great options for Tibet train experience. Here’s everything you need to know for how to travel from Hong Kong to Tibet by train.

Is There a Train from Hong Kong to Lhasa? No Direct Route

In 2018 the Guangzhou-Shenzhen-Hong Kong Express Rail open directly connecting Hong Kong to mainland China by train. You can’t travel direct to Lhasa, but it makes the train journey to Tibet much more convenient.

Trains from Hong Kong travel direct to a number of other Tibetan gateway cities on the mainland. The high-speed trains start form Hong Kong West Kowloon station, cross into mainland China and take you to your destination in speed and comfort.

Direct Trains to Lhasa Depart from 7 Other Mainland Chinese Cities

Seven mainland cities are known as gateway cities to Tibet. Trains from Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Chengdu, Chongqing, Xian and Xining travel direct across the country and vast expanse of the Tibetan Plateau to reach remote Lhasa. This makes it possible to take a direct train from Hong Kong to one of these cities and continue on to Lhasa from there.

Each city has its own advantages for traveling to Tibet. Guangzhou is very close to Hong Kong, Shanghai and Beijing are popular for touring on their own, and Chengdu and Chongqing have many transfers to Tibet available to choose from. With so many convenient options, the best choice depends on the kind of travel experience you are looking for.

Hong Kong to Lhasa by Train via Guangzhou: The Most Popular Choice

Guangzhou is the most popular gateway city for getting from Hong Kong to Lhasa by train. Traveling between Guangzhou and Hong Kong is very convenient with 38 high-speed trains available every day. The trip from Hong Kong West Kowloon Station to Guangzhou South Railway Station or Guangzhou East Railway Station takes around 1-2 hours, and second-class seats cost 215 Yuan. The trains run all day starting from 08:06 with the last train leaving at 22:33.

Guangzhou cityGuangzhou is the most popular gateway city for getting from Hong Kong to Lhasa by train.

With so many trains running between the two cities, it’s up to you if you want to board the Tibet train on the same day, or spend some time touring Guangzhou before heading to Lhasa. Either way, it’s the Tibet trains leave from Guangzhou Railway Station, so you will have to transfer between the stations. To get from Guangzhou South Railway Station to Guangzhou Railway Station, take metro Line 2 towards Jiahewanggang (嘉禾望岗). It takes about 45 minutes and costs 6 yuan. And if you start from Guangzhou East Railway Station, take the metro line 1 and then transfer to metro Line 2. Alternatively, to transfer by taxi takes around 50 minutes.

Train number Z264 is the daily Guangzhou to Lhasa train. It departs from Guangzhou Railway Station at 09:15 and takes 53 hours to travel the 4,980 kilometers to Lhasa, arriving at 14:17. Hard sleeper tickets cost 865 yuan, and soft sleeper tickets are 1468 yuan.

For a little over two days you’ll be able to see the landscapes across China from the south, through the central and west regions, and finally over the Tibetan Plateau. It’s the ultimate train journey to Tibet.

Hong Kong to Lhasa by Train via Xining: Most Available Tibet Trains

If you’re main interest is the Qinghai-Tibet Railway while getting to Lhasa as quickly as possible, then transferring from Hong Kong to Xining is the best option. Xining to Lhasa is the shortest train route to Tibet and has the most frequent trains available.

The fastest way to get from Hong Kong to Xining is to fly. There are no direct flights, but connections are available through Chengdu, Xi’an and Beijing. There are four flights available each day that take between 8-10 hours to arrive, including the stopover. Tickets cost between 1300 and 1700 Yuan.

The train from Xining to Lhasa takes around 21 hours. There are seven trains available each day that depart between 11:41 and 23:40. Tickets cost 495 Yuan for a hard sleeper, and 781 for a soft sleeper. While it’s possible to take an early flight from Hong Kong and arrive in Xining in time to board one of the later trains, we recommend staying in Xining for some time to adjust to the high altitude. In Xining you can visit places such as Kumbum Monastery and Qinghai lake, getting used to the 2,275 meter elevation.

Xining Qinghai LakeIn Xining you can visit places such as Qinghai lake.

Hong Kong to Lhasa by Train via Chengdu/Chongqing: More Convenient Transfers

Chengdu and Chongqing are popular tourist destinations in their own right, and offer flexible options for travel. Both can be reached by direct train or flight from Hong Kong, and both have direct trains to Lhasa. In Chengdu you can visit the famous pandas at the Panda Base, and enjoy the incredible food. Chongqing food is similarly famous, and the city is a unique blend of modern and traditional worth exploring.

Chongqing Hot potYou can enjoy the incredible food in Chongqing and Chengdu.

There is one high-speed train each day from Hong Kong to Chongqing and Chengdu. To get to Chengdu takes 8h15m with tickets starting from 875 Yuan. The train to Chongqing is a little faster, only taking 7h, and costing 717 Yuan for a second-class seat.

Train number Z322 departs from Chengdu for Lhasa every other day at 21:11. The 3,070 km journey takes 34.5 hours. Hard sleeper tickets cost 627.5 Yuan, and soft sleeper tickets cost 997.5 Yuan. Z223 from Chongqing to Lhasa also departs every other day from Chongqing at 21:56. The journey takes 33h45m, and costs 627.5 Yuan for a hard sleeper, and 997.5 Yuan for a soft sleeper.

Hong Kong to Lhasa by Train via Beijing/Shanghai: More Flexibility in Scheduling

Beijing and Shanghai have highly modern transportation infrastructures offering great convenience and flexibility for travelers. Having many connecting flights to Hong Kong, traveling to Tibet via Beijing or Shanghai makes it easy to find exactly the right options for your needs.

Flying from Hong Kong to Beijing takes around 3.5 hours. There are 15 daily direct flights that cost between 752 to 2900 Yuan. The earliest flight arrives in Beijing at 11:50, so it is necessary to spend at least one night in Beijing. If you have the time, a few days in Beijing can let you see some of China’s most famous sites like the Forbidden City, Temple of Heave and the Great Wall.

The Forbidden City in BeijingIn Beijing you can see some of China’s most famous sites like the Forbidden City.

A Hong Kong to Shanghai flight is only a short 2.5 hour trip. There are a large number of flights to choose from all day long with tickets as low as 575 Yuan. A morning or early afternoon flight, departing before 14:00, will get you in to Shanghai early enough to catch the train to Lhasa, but you can also choose to spend a few days seeing the city. Staying around Shanghai Railway Station is convenient for catching the train to Tibet, and is close to famous attractions like the Bund, Yu Garden, and Oriental Pearl TV Tower.

Train Z21 departs from Beijing for Lhasa every day at 19:53. Lhasa is 3,757 km away, taking 39h43m to arrive. Hard sleeper tickets cost 720 Yuan, and soft sleeper cost 1144 Yuan. Shanghai is a little further away. Z164 is the 44h32m train from Shanghai to Lhasa that departs daily at 18:33. Tickets cost 793.5 and 1262.5 Yuan for a hard sleeper and soft sleeper respectively.

What Documents are Needed for Traveling from Hong Kong to Lhasa by Train?

International travelers need a Tibet Travel Permit to board the train for Tibet. The Tibet Travel Permit is applied for after getting a Chinese visa, or directly if you’re from a country that enjoys China’s visa exemption policy. The cost and service for obtaining a Tibet Travel Permit are included in our tour packages. We’ll let you know what information is needed, and take care of the rest, including delivering the permit to you.

Tibet Travel PermitTibet Travel Permit is required for visiting Tibet.

Travelers with a Hong Kong or Macau passport do not need to apply for a Tibet Travel Permit. Instead, you need take your HK/Macau SAR Passport and Home Return Permit for Tibet visit.

Tips for a Smooth Train Trip from Hong Kong to Lhasa

In order to have a smooth train journey from Hong Kong to Lhasa here are a few tip to keep in mind.

Book your Tibet train tickets well in advance. Demand for train tickets to Tibet is always high, and during peak seasons tickets can be hard to find. We recommend booking your tickets at least 30 days in advance, or 60 days if you want to visit Tibet in the high season.

Prepare for altitude sickness. Talk with a doctor before traveling to learn about high-altitude sickness. It is a serious concern for travelers to Tibet and your doctor can help you understand the symptoms, and what medicine you can take with you. It is a good idea to stop in a relatively lower altitude place such as Xining or Lhasa for a few days before continuing to higher regions such as Everest Base Camp or Mount Kailash.

Pack the essentials for the train. Depending on where you board, you’ll be spending at least 21 hours on the train. Trains to Tibet are modern and comfortable, but you still need to pack well. Prepare the following:

• Comfortable night wear and slippers
• Water flask / thermos for hot water
• Tissue paper
• Wet wipes, small towel
• Personal toiletries
• Local currency in cash to buy food, snacks or beverages


Traveling from Hong Kong to Lhasa is easier than ever before. With direct train and flights available to major Tibetan gateway cities in mainland China, there are routes available that will let you explore different parts of China on your way to Lhasa. Contact us for more information, or tell us what you’re looking for and we’ll help you book your tour today.

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