How to travel to Tibet from Xining

Xining city is the capital city of Qinghai province. It has a history of over 2000years. Xining is the gateway to travel between Tibet and the Gansu Province. Once, it was the commercial hub on the Hexi Corridor caravan route to Tibet. The timbers, wools, and salt were the main commercial products the trade in ancient times.  The city can offer a vast variety of cultural vibe of Tibetan, Mongolian and Chinese Muslims.

The Qinghai Tibet Railway from Xining to Lhasa
The Qinghai Tibet Railway from Xining to Lhasa

It is a journey of 2000 odd kilometers from Xining to Lhasa. There are few ways to travel to Tibet depending on personal choice. There is a famous Qinghai-Tibet Railway which is the highest in the world.

Train to Tibet from Xining

Tibet train tour is the most popular tour among travelers. We recommend few simple tips that you could enjoy more. The best time to travel to Tibet by train is in summer. Few trains leave from Xining to Tibet, and you should try to leave from Xining at 7 pm. During summer, the daylight hours are longer in Tibet so that you could enjoy the beautiful view of Qinghai Lake (Tso Ngonpo).

Tibet train
Hard Seats on the train to Tibet

From Xining to the city of Golmud has about 800km, which has less scenic of the trip but the best part of the trip starts from the city of Golmud to Lhasa. It has around 1100km long Journey. The next morning, you could enjoy the beautiful sceneries of the Tibetan Plateau. This stretch of journey crosses the highest elevation of the Tibetan Plateau at 5072 meters of height.

Train to Tibet

They called the Thangula Pass. Every high pass has its own beauty, and you could enjoy every bit of it from the cabin window. Then there is the Nyachen Thangla, and the Kunlun mountains range at an altitude of 4650 meters. You could witness one of the world’s highest freshwater lakes, Tsonang Lake, between these two giant mountains.

You will reach Lhasa at around 5 pm and when you disembark the train. All must go through the checkpoint where the local police will check your train ticket, passport, and Tibet Travel Permit. They will photocopy your passport and registered it once again by the Chinese police. This is the last mandatory check, and this is a reminder that you have arrived inside the Tibetan Autonomous Region. 

Tibet train tour by Explore Tibet
Tibet train tour

The local tour operator will receive you from the station with a white scarf, welcoming you to Tibet. A trip to Tibet is a profound reality check and a privilege, so keep it as one without spoiling the well-being of others who are responsible for your behavior while in Tibet. This is an important consideration we must make clear, and we hope you will understand why we want to mention this.

Travel to Tibet by plane

The most convincing way to travel to Tibet is by plane. It’s a short two-hour flight.  The flight fare is reasonably cheap if you were able to book early. It’ll cost you 500 -800 RMB. From Xining city to the airport, you can take the bus which cost only 21RMB and the taxi cost 100RMB.

Flight to Lhasa, Tibet
Flight to Lhasa, Tibet

 Once landed in Gonggar Airport in Tibet. There is a similar procedure of checking and registering your passport and Tibet Travel Permit. The tour operators will wait for you at the airport. It will take almost one and half hours to get there in Lhasa City.

 Notes: If you haven’t been to high elevated places before, I would suggest not take the flight because the risk of getting altitude sickness is high. It will definitely ruin your whole trip.

Overland trip to Tibet from Xining

This trip usually takes two days, but it might take more or less, depending on the tour itineraries. The best time to take this trip is in summer and autumn. The sceneries of places across the Tibetan Plateau are heavenly beautiful. First, you’ll come across Qinghai Lake. It is one of the most popular destinations in Qinghai.

Tibet overland group tour to Kathmandu, Nepal
8 Days Tibet EBC Group Tour

After passes through Golmud, there is vast grassland surrounded by high mountain ranges. You will see endangered species like wild yaks, Tibetan antelopes, and Tibetan wild goats if you are lucky enough.

It will be long journey but truly worth it. It’ll be the best tour you ever take in Tibet.