Shanghai to Lhasa Train: Best of Orient Pearl to Tibet

Shanghai to Lhasa, covers 8 provinces and spans 4373 km. The 47-hour journey Shanghai-Lhasa train, operating since 2006, is known for its advanced technology for high-altitude travel. It has 15 compartments with a total of 863 passengers. 

Shanghai, known as the “Pearl of the Orient,” is a bustling metropolis and a popular tourist destination in China. With its modern skyscrapers, historical landmarks, and vibrant culture, it attracts millions of visitors each year.  One of the most exciting and scenic ways to explore China from Shanghai is by taking a train to Lhasa, the capital city of Tibet. The train journey from Shanghai to Lhasa is an extraordinary experience that offers breathtaking views of China’s diverse landscapes.

Before boarding the train, it is important to know the location of the Shanghai Train Station. The station is conveniently located in the city centre, making it easily accessible for travellers. There are various transportation options available to reach the train station, including taxis, buses, and the Shanghai Metro. It is recommended to plan your journey in advance and allow enough time for travel to avoid any last-minute rush.

Overall, the train journey from Shanghai to Lhasa offers a unique and unforgettable experience. It combines the charm of two diverse destinations, allowing travellers to witness the beauty of China’s landscapes and immerse themselves in its rich cultural heritage. Whether you are a nature lover, a history enthusiast, or simply seeking an adventure, this train journey is sure to leave you with lasting memories.

Schedule for Shanghai to Lhasa train

The train schedules for the Shanghai to Lhasa route are well-planned, ensuring convenience for travellers. The departure time for the train varies, depending on the specific train you choose. However, it is advisable to check the latest schedule and book your tickets in advance to secure your seat. The journey to Lhasa takes approximately 47 hours, so it is important to plan your itinerary accordingly.

Train NoDepartureArrivalDuration
45.35 Hrs
Option 1
G368Shanghai Hongqiao
3.82 Hrs
37.17 Hrs
Option 3
0.95 Hrs
45.35 Hrs
Option 5
G1974Shanghai Hongqiao
13.17 Hrs
36.35 Hrs

Shanghai International Airport to Railway Station

Shanghai is China’s main commercial and financial centre with great public transportation. Pudong Airport is the main entry point for foreign tourists. Taxis cost 179 yuan and take 60 minutes to reach Shanghai Railway Station, 52 km away. Alternatively, the airport bus (line 5) costs 22 yuan and takes 75 minutes.

Accommodation nearby Shanghai train Station

If you are planning to stay near the Shanghai Train Station, there are several hotels in the vicinity that offer comfortable accommodation. These hotels cater to a range of budgets and preferences, ensuring a pleasant stay for all travellers. From luxury hotels to budget-friendly options, there is something for everyone in the area.

Other Alternatives to Shanghai-Lhasa Train

Taking the Qinghai-Tibet train is popular but hard to get tickets during peak season. An alternative is to take a train or plane from Shanghai to Xining, and then head to Tibet. Trains from Xining to Lhasa have more capacity than the Shanghai-Lhasa trains. However, the 47-hour train ride may be uncomfortable. Most scenic views are from Golmud to Lhasa, so taking the train from Shanghai to Xining is a waste of time. If you have the budget, fly to Xining and then take the train to Tibet to save time and energy.

Popular Places to Visit in Shanghai

In addition to the train journey, Shanghai itself is a treasure trove of popular sightseeing spots. The city is famous for its iconic landmarks, such as the Bund, Yu Garden, and the Shanghai Museum. Visitors can also indulge in the vibrant shopping scene, explore the lively nightlife, and savour the delicious local cuisine. 

As the train departs from Shanghai, passengers are treated to glimpses of the city’s iconic skyline, including the Oriental Pearl Tower and the Shanghai World Financial Center. The train then gradually makes its way through the picturesque countryside, passing by lush green fields, serene rivers, and traditional Chinese villages.

Tibet Travel Permit is Must needed document to take Beijing Lhasa Train

To travel from Shanghai to Tibet by train, a permit is required. While tickets can be booked without one, it is necessary to have a permit in order to board the train. Independent entry into Tibet is not allowed for backpackers, so the assistance of a travel agency is needed to apply for the Tibet Travel Permit in advance. The permit, along with the ticket, will be checked during the check-in process. In Shanghai, a photocopy of the permit is considered acceptable. Typically, travel agencies obtain the permit a few days prior to the train journey and deliver it to the hotel. Once approved, the train ride offers magnificent views and opportunities to experience Tibetan culture. It also allows for introspection and a sense of tranquillity. Obtaining the permit is well worth the effort for the transformative experience of exploring the beauty, culture, and spirituality of Tibet.

Tibet Travel Permit Girl permit copy

To explore Tibet by train, you need a Tibet travel permit. This permit is crucial and different from a Chinese visa. To obtain it, book a tour with a registered travel agency in Tibet. They will assist with the application process and provide knowledgeable guides. Apply in advance with accurate personal information to avoid rejection. 

What sort of window view do we expect to see on Tibet Train?

The train journey offers a unique opportunity to witness the majestic beauty of the Qinghai-Tibetan Plateau, with its snow-capped mountains, vast grasslands, and crystal-clear lakes. The train also passes through the famous Tanggula Pass, which is known as the “roof of the world” and offers panoramic views of the Himalayas. Kekexile Nature Reserve.

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Riding the Qinghai-Tibet train is an unforgettable experience. The train is designed for high altitudes and offers breathtaking views. For more information on the scenery, Please check here.

Travel Tips for Catching Your Train

  1. Verify your train ticket and ensure that you arrive at the appropriate train station.
  2. You will be granted access to the train 30 minutes prior to the scheduled departure time. The train will be sealed off 5 minutes before departure, so make sure to be punctual.
  3. While waiting in the designated area, please consult the real-time train schedule and a display showing the boarding time for your train.
  4. Form a queue for the ticket inspection conducted by the ticket collectors or insert your ticket into the turnstile (be certain to select the correct platform).
  5. Present your ticket to the train attendant stationed at the doorway of your train carriage before embarking on your journey.
tourist front of tibet train

Important things to Note:

  • The schedule above is only for reference.
  • Foreign tourists must obtain a Tibet Entry Permit before buying a train ticket to Tibet. Ticket-only service is not available.
  • Tibet train tickets sell out fast, so inquire 3-5 months before departure.
  • Limited tickets from Shanghai to Lhasa, so fly to Xining and take a train to Lhasa instead.

Feel free to contact us to inquire about customizing a Tibet tour that includes a flight to Tibet. We will respond to your inquiry within 24 hours.


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About the author

The Tibetan Travel website's creator, hailing from Lhasa, is a cultural enthusiast. They promote responsible tourism, connecting the world to Tibet's beauty and heritage. Awards recognize their contribution.

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