Frequently Asked Question
Tibet Train FAQs
Yes, the train is well pressurized for the plateau environment, but if you get a headache while crossing the mighty Thangula Ranges (5700m), the train has two main oxygen supplying systems. The whole cabin has an oxygen-releasing outlet and there are individual oxygen pipes right over your bed. Before the train reaches the high plateau, train attendants will distribute oxygen masks that you can use by connecting them to the outlets on your bed.
There are three main types of seats on the train: hard seat, hard sleeper and soft sleeper.
1. Soft Sleeper which is also known as First Class.
Most confortable and expensive option on the Tibet train. Soft Sleeper (First Class) usually cost CNY400 which are more expensive than Hard Sleeper. There are 4 berths in each cabin with a door and is equipped with its own TV, each side 2 beds, upper and lower bunks. Toilets on the train are shared and are located at the end of the carriage.
2. Hard Sleeper which is also known as Second Class.
There are 6 berths in each cabin, each side 3 berths, upper, middle and lower bunks with no door. You will have your own bed. There is enough space to lay down.
3. Hard Seat
Passengers sit next to each other in open compartment of 4 or 6, you can’t lay down, and space is bit small. Westerners rarely choose this option for such long train ride.
Yes, you can charge your electronic devices on the train. There are electric outlets in the corridors of each car, but remember the sockets and plugs used in China are A, C, and I. You can buy adapters in China.
There is water boiler in each car and you can get boiled water for free, but you need to bring your own mugs.
Each train has a dinning car with a capacity of 40-50 seats. The dining car mainly serves Chinese cuisines, noodles, and soups. If you don’t want to eat in the dinning car, then there is a delivery cart that will bring dishes around to each car every meal. If you need to purchase dishes, the cost range will be RMB 20-25 per dish. For breakfast, they generally serve pickles, eggs, bread and rise porridge for RMB 10-15.
Once we successfully reserve the train tickets, we will send you detailed train ticket itinerary by email including E-ticket number, departure/arrival time, and seat information, the itinerary form would be same as below
You can get the paper train ticket in adavance from any train station in China or any train ticket selling counter in the cities near your hotel (Except HK and Macao), sometimes if may charge CNY5 as printing cost, with your oringal passport and E-ticket number (some times train station also requires the Tibet travel permit copy, it depends).
Or on the departureday, you arrive at the train station at least 1.5 hours earlier, and collect the paper ticket from the ticket window, sometimes especially on Chinese public holidays, such as Jan 1st, May 1st, and Oct 1st, you may need to wait in long lines, so please prepare for enough time to get earlier at the train station. Usually the train station check in stops 15 minutes before the train departure time.
The Lhasa Train Station is only 20km south of Lhasa. It is separated from the main city by Lhasa River. It should only take around 30 minutes to get to the center of the city.
It is because the train tickets to Lhasa are in very high demand. Firstly, there are limited number of trains to Tibet, especially soft sleeper tickets, there are only 48 soft sleeper berths in each train and sometimes government control most of the soft sleeper tickets for there use, secondly, there are numerous ticket-dealing agents that sell the tickets for a higher cost, so if you book the tickets through agencies, all the tickets come with some service fees.
If you are taking the train to Tibet, then there are 3 main things that you need:
1. Copies of your Tibet Travel Permit,
Your Tibet travel consultant will send you by email in advance, you need to print out, there are 2 pages and print 3 copies, black and white version is ok.
2. Your original passport
Please make sure that you have the same passport which was used to book the train tickets.
3. Paper train ticket
You can get the paper train ticket from the ticket sellng counter by showing your passport and train ticket reservation number.
The toilet on the train is shared and no western toilet.
The train ride to Tibet from mainland China range anywhere from 24 – 50 hrs. It is not a short trip and you will need to pack properly in order to fully enjoy the train ride and scenery along the way. We suggest you pack all of your unnecessary items in a larger bag and put all necessary items in a smaller, handy bag that you can access easily. Here is a brief packing list for your smaller bag:
3. Mug or cup for boiled water
4. Flash light (train cabin lights go out at 10pm)
5.Snacks and cookies
6.Ear plugs and eye mask
7.Toothpaste and toothbrush
More than 15 days before departure date: free
More than 48 hours, less than 15 days: 5%
More than 24 hours, less than 28 hours: 10%
Within 24 hours: 20%
That’s for the original ticket price, but usually tour agency charges service fee too, and it’s not refundable.
Note: Train tickets to Lhasa can’t be cancelled/changed directly online by tour agencies, therefore, travelers need to take the original passports to any train station in China to cancel/change by themselves.
It remains a question for many travelers whether taking the train to Tibet helps with Altitude sickness or not, but many experts says that taking the train doesn’t really provide that much help since the train itself is well designed and pressurized to prevent altitude sickness in its passengers. Moreover, many passengers have trouble sleeping on the train and will be very tired when they arrive in Lhasa, which will increase the risk of getting altitude sickness. The best way to prevent the Altitude sickness is to spend at least 2 days in Lhasa doing mild activities before heading to higher altitude places.
Yes, you can book your train tickets to and from Lhasa (Tibet) on some online ticket booking website such as Qunaer.com or Ctrip.com used quite often in China, the third party website may charge some service fee.
In fact, teh official train ticket booking website is www.12306.cn, but it requires a Chinese ID card to register an account, then you can book on it, if you have Chinese friends or relatives, they can help you book the tickets too, currently the official train ticket booking website is only available in Chinese language and accepts only Chinese bank card.
Note: All the train tickets to and from Tibet start to sell 30 days before the departure date, its better for you to prepare booking the ticket on the 1st selling date, so you have bigger chance to get it. If you are failed on the first day then either keep checking in the next few days or require your agency to help book the tickets. Late booking may not able to get the ticket.
We should always book train tickets from the ticket dealers in advance. If you would like to book your own ticket, then we wont’ book your ticket for you and you will have to get in line at the train ticket counter to purchase them. It is very common that all the train tickets are sold out before they even begin to be sold from the ticket counter. In this care, we will try to purchase the tickets for you but because of the late booking, there might be an expensive surcharge.
For the most part, trains depart on time and you are advised to arrive at the train station 2 hours before your departure time. You will need to fill out a health record form prior to departing and there are often many people in line so it may take some time to check into the train.
There are no showers on the train so you will have to wait to until you get to Lhasa.