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Xian – Lhasa Trains

Though Xi’an is a very important city in west China. China Railway does not consider it as the beginning station of Tibet Railway like Beijing-Lhasa Train, Shanghai-Lhasa Train. As obvious as one could see in the following map, Xian-Lhasa train is more an integral part of Chongqing-Lhasa railway, of Guangzhou-Lhasa railway.  With Shanghai-Lhasa railway than an independent railway route.

The city has always had close ties to Tibet and was the ancient seat of the Tang Dynasty, then known as Chang’an. It was the home of Princess Wencheng, who traveled to Tibet to marry Songtsan Gambo, the then first emperor of Tibet. Her marriage to the king strengthened the ties between the Tibet Empire and the Tang dynasty for a few hundred years. The story of Princess Wencheng has become a part of Tibetan history and had a major effect on Tibetan Buddhism in the region.

Xian Lhasa Train Map

Xian Lhasa Train Route Map


While there is a train station at Xi’an, but it is not a starting point for trains to Tibet. Only The Trains from Guangzhou and Shanghai to Lhasa would pass through and stop in Xi’an which makes the Xian-Lhasa train tickets booking more difficult. Therefore, we do not recommend tourists to arrange Xian to Lhasa train journey in their China tours. especially in peak tourist seasons like a summer holiday.

Lhasa train Schedule and Fare

Train No. Destinations Depart Arrival Run Time Distance Hard Sleeper Soft Sleeper
Z265 Xian to Lhasa 10:09 18:10 (3rd day) 32h 01m 2832 km CNY 629.5 CNY 1005.5
Z266 Lhasa to Xian 12:05 21:15 (3rd day) 33h 10m 2832 km CNY 629.5 CNY 1005.5
Frequency: Depart daily

Train No. Destinations Depart Arrival Run Time Distance Hard Sleeper Soft Sleeper
Z223 Xian to Lhasa 05:59 15:40 (3rd day) 33h 41m 2832 km CNY 629.5 CNY 1005.5
Z224 Lhasa to Xian 10:00 21:50 (3rd day) 35h 50m 2832 km CNY 629.5 CNY 1005.5
Frequency: Depart every other day

Shanghai Lhasa train Schedule and Fare

Train No. Destinations Depart Arrival Run Time Distance Hard Sleeper Soft Sleeper
Z165 Xian to Lhasa 10:17 19:10 (3rd day) 32h 53m 2832 km CNY 629.5 CNY 1005.5
Z166 Lhasa to Xian 11:15 20:49 (3rd day) 33h 34m 2832 km CNY 629.5 CNY 1005.5
Frequency: Depart every other day

Timetable of Xi’an to Lhasa Train – No.Z65

Station Altitude Arrival Departure Stop Time Days Distance
Xian 385 m 09:45 Day 1
Lanzhou 1,520 m 16:35 16:50 15 min Day 1 676 km
Xining 2,200 m 19:25 19:45 20 min Day 1 892 km
Delingha 2,982 m 23:51 23:53 2 min Day 1 1,209 km
Golmud 2,780 m 02:40 03:05 25 min Day 2 1,722 km
Nagchu 4,500 m 13:03 13:09 6 min Day 2 2,542 km
Lhasa 3,650 m 17:05 Day 2 2,864 km

Timetable of Lhasa to Xining Train – No.Z165

Station Altitude Arrival Departure Stop Time Days Distance
Xian 385 m 11:24 Day 1
Lanzhou 1,520 m 18:17 18:34 17 min Day 1 676 km
Xining 2,200 m 21:12 21:32 20 min Day 1 892 km
Delingha 2,982 m 01:34 01:36 2 min Day 2 1,209 km
Golmud 2,780 m 04:26 04:26 25 min Day 2 1,722 km
Nagchu 4,500 m 14:42 14:51 9 min Day 2 2,542 km
Lhasa 3,650 m 19:17 Day 2 2,864 km
The timetable and schedule are just for reference.

Location of Xian Railway Station

Xi’an Railway Station is a major junction for trains traveling to northwest China, as well as a transfer center for travel to southwest China and is a major gateway to the entire western region. With trains running through the station from the Longhai Railway, the Xikang railway, the Ningxia Railway, and the Baoxi Railway, you can reach every major city in China from Xi’an.

The two-story terminal building that houses the platforms was built in the style of the Tang Dynasty and has four main waiting rooms, luggage storage, ticket offices, and a gamut of food stands. Unlike most stations in China, the square in front is sunken, with many cafes and restaurants, and is surrounded by trees. The ticket hall is easily located, to the left of the main entrance. The station lies on Huancheng Road, just north of the ancient city wall, just 3.5km from the center of the city.

Xianyang International Airport is 39km away, and the Shuttle Bus runs between the airport terminals and the Jiefang Hotel, near the train station. The trip takes about 90 minutes and costs 25CNY per person. Taxis are freely available for the trip as well and cost around 100CNY for the one-hour drive to the station.

Important Notice:

  1. Despite its vital place as one of the major gateways from inland China to Tibet, Xian is not a city that all trains have to pass. Currently, there are only three trains (i.e. Chongqing-Lhasa[Z222], Guangzhou-Lhasa[Z264], Shanghai-Lhasa [Z164]) that will make a stopover in Xian en route for Tibet.
  2. There is no train bound for Lhasa from Xian as the initial railway station. Yet, Xian serves as a crucial transit station for Lhasa-bound trains. Theoretically, tourists can buy a Xian-Lhasa train ticket and head for Lhasa. However, it is virtually impossible (especially during the peak season of Tibet travel, e.g. May-October) for tourists to successful purchase the train ticket.
  3. The reason is that the railway agency is prone to sell tickets to passengers who have a longer ride than offer tickets to riders with a shorter journey and cheaper tickets. If a tourist wants to travel to Lhasa by train from Xian esp. during the peak Tibet travel season, it is highly recommended to have a backup plan, i.e. Going to Lhasa by plane.
  4. In fact, We offer a better solution, namely tourists may first take a train or plane to Xining, the real starting station of Qinghai-Tibet railway and then take Xining-Lhasa train to Lhasa as many trains will pass Xining railway station, which makes it easier for tourists to buy train tickets.
  5. Tibet Travel Permit is required to be checked if one travels to Lhasa by train from Xian. Do inform your travel agency to deliver your Tibet Travel Permit to the hotel you live in.

What sort of window view do we expect to see?

Just like the road trip by car, one could enjoy the scenery on both sides of the road. The stunning scenery along the Tibet railway line will never let you down. As the train passes Xining and enters Golmud region, the breathtaking view appears one after another. Be sure to capture the memorable experience with your camera. Major attractions are Qarhan Salt Lake, Yuzhu Peak, Kekexili Nature Reserve, Tuotuo He River, Tangula pass, Tsonag Lake, Qiangtang prairie, Namtso, etc.

Having a ride on Qinghai-Tibet train route is definitely the experience of a lifetime. Besides, the long distance and pressurized train tailor-made for acclimatization of extreme altitude make the ride different from another train journey. Following tips are suggested for tourists to better enjoy the Views on Tibet train. See more: the detailed introduction of the scenery of Qinghai-Tibet railway.

Travel Tips for Catching Your Train

  1. Check your train ticket or consult with your ticketing agent to make sure that you get the correct train station.
  2. You will be allowed on board the train 30 minutes before departure time. The train will be closed 5 minutes before departure. So please well schedule your time for the transfer from your hotel to the station taking the traffic snag into consideration.
  3. You are requested to go through the security check (luggage check) when you enter the main hall of the train station.
  4. Once you are in the main hall, please see the huge live train timetable board to get the correct waiting room for your departure train.
  5. In the waiting room, very often you have to stand to wait there for the coming train since usually there will be very much crowded and no seats are available.
  6. While in the waiting room, please see the live train timetable and a signboard indicating the boarding time of your train.
  7. Line up for the ticket check by the ticket collectors or insert the ticket in the turnstile and then follow the throng on to the platform ( make sure to get the correct platform).
  8. Show your ticket to the train conductor standing the door of your carriage before you embark on your train ride.
  9. After the train is moving, the train conductress will walk to you again to check your passport or ID card for security reason. In addition, you have to give your ticket to the conductor in exchange for a boarding card (if sleeper tickets). The card shows your seat number same with the ticket. When the train is about to arrive, the conductress will approach you to exchange the card back for your ticket.
  10. If you miss the train or lose your tickets, you cannot have your tickets refunded and you have to buy another one.
  11. If you lose your tickets on the train, you are supposed to buy another one when passing the arrival station. So do not lose your tickets on the train

Railway Rules and Regulations You Should Know

China railway rules and regulations are different with any other country in the world. Getting familiar with these rules will make your rail travel in China more successful and happy!

Carry-on Luggage Rules:

  • Inflammable and explosive dangerous goods, animal and pet are not allowed to take on board of the train.
  • Weight requirement for carry-on luggage: maximum weight of carry-on luggage is 10kg for a child passenger, the maximum weight for carry-on luggage is 20kg for an adult passenger.
  • Size requirment for carry-on luggage: total length of your carry-on luggage ( length+width+height) should be under 200cm.

Requirements for Child Tickets

Instead of age, China railway has special requirements on height to buy child ticket. Summary for Child Ticket requirement:

  • Children with the height under 120cm can enjoy free rail travel and don’t need to pay to travel by train.
  • Children with the height of 120cm and 150cm have rights to buy discounted train tickets. Price for a sleeper ticket for a child is about 70% of that of an adult ticket.
  • Children with the height above 150cm should buy fully-priced train tickets no matter how old they are.


  • The timetable above is just for reference.
  • We can NOT offer ticket-only service. According to the Tibet Government, foreign visitors must book a tour from a travel agency and obtain a Tibet Entry Permit before booking Tibet train ticket.
  • Tibet train tickets are quite popular and always sold out quickly, please make your inquiry at least 3-5 months before your departure date.
  • Because the hard and soft sleeper tickets from Other cities to Lhasa are few and hard to get, we recommend you to take a flight to Xining, and then take the train from Xining to Lhasa.
  • The main advantage of traveling via airplane to Xining and then taking the train from there is that you can save time on the trip, and as Xining is at an elevation of 2,275 meters, you can always spend a day there to help with acclimatizing to the higher altitudes. This can help to reduce the risk of altitude sickness. Moreover, as most of the spectacular scenery is on the train from Golmud (where the train starts its ascent to the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau) you would not be missing any of the best parts of the train journey.

You are free to contact us for an inquiry about customizing a Tibet tour with a flight to Tibet. A quick reply will be sent to you within 24 hours.

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