Xining Lhasa Train: Latest Tibet Railway Schedules and Tips

Trains bound for Lhasa depart from Beijing, Shanghai, and Chengdu, but the authentic Qinghai-Tibet train originates from Xining. The journey from Xining to Lhasa takes approximately one day. Each year, about one-third of tourists choose to travel to Lhasa by train from Xining. This train is pressurized, equipped with oxygen altimeters, and sealed. The windows are fitted with ultraviolet filters to shield passengers from UV radiation. 

The benefits of the Xining Lhasa train route:

Quickest Railway access to Lhasa

Xining is the first train station of the Qinghai-Tibet train closest to Lhasa. The entire journey lasts one day. Tourists can board the train and admire the stunning scenery of the Qinghai-Tibet plateau through its windows.

High Transportation Capacity

Xining has 3 trains transporting 1000+ tourists to Lhasa daily, triple the capacity of Beijing or Shanghai. In summer, getting Qinghai-Tibet train tickets is easier if starting the journey from Xining instead of Beijing or Shanghai.

Schedules for Tibet Train from Xining to Lhasa

The train journey from Xining to Lhasa is known for its breathtaking views and scenic beauty. The train service from Xining to Lhasa operates on a regular basis, with multiple departures throughout the week. The departure times may vary depending on the season and demand, so it is always advisable to check the train schedule beforehand. The journey takes approximately 21 hours, providing ample time to enjoy the stunning landscapes and panoramic vistas along the way. There are several options available to travel between these two cities. One of the most popular and convenient ways is by train.

Train NoDepartureArrivalDuration
K917Xining West
14:35 (2nd Day)
23 Hr 50 Min
K9801Xining West
14:35 (2nd Day)
23 Hrs 30 Min
T164/T165Xining West
20:15 (2nd Day)
1 Day 20 Min
T22/T23Xining West
16:35 (2nd Day)
23 Hrs 40 Min
T222/T223Xining West
16:35 (2nd Day)
23 Hrs 40 Min
T264/T265Xining West
19:20 (2nd Day)
23 Hrs 55 Min
T27Xining West
15:40 (2nd Day)
23 Hrs 50 Min

About Xining Train Station

The station on Huzhu Road in Chengdong District was rebuilt in 2014. It consists of a main building and two squares, with three levels. There are ticket halls, waiting rooms, sleeper rooms, VIP areas, and a market. Most waiting halls are on the second floor, with departures on the ground floor and arrivals underground. From the airport, passengers must take a shuttle to Bayi Road Xining Airport City terminal, costing CNY25 and taking 40 minutes. The station is easily accessible by various modes of transportation, including taxis, buses, and private cars. If you are staying in a hotel nearby, you can also inquire about shuttle services provided by the hotel to the train station. 

Accommodation Nearby Xining Train station

If you are looking for accommodation near Xining Train Station, there are several hotels located in close proximity. These hotels offer comfortable rooms, modern amenities, and easy access to the station. Whether you prefer luxury accommodations or budget-friendly options, there is something to suit every traveller’s needs.


For those who prefer a more luxurious experience, there are options for upgraded class tickets available on the train. These classes offer more comfortable seating, larger cabins, and additional amenities to enhance your journey. However, it is important to note that these tickets may be limited in availability and sell out quickly, so it is advisable to book in advance.

Popular Attractions in Xining

Located on the outskirts of the bustling city of Xining, lies a hidden gem that captivates the hearts of nature enthusiasts and birdwatchers alike – Qinghai Lake. This magnificent lake is not only a feast for the eyes with its picturesque beauty but is also a sanctuary for millions of migratory birds that grace its shores twice a year.

Qinghai Lake Bird Island 

Nestled in the northwest corner of Qinghai Lake is the renowned Bird Island, a small yet vibrant haven for these majestic creatures. As the sun rises, the island comes alive with the symphony of fluttering wings and melodic bird calls. It is a sight to behold as flocks of birds soar gracefully across the sky, painting a mesmerizing picture against the backdrop of the azure lake. For avid birdwatchers, Bird Island is a sanctuary of wonders. It offers a rare opportunity to witness the awe-inspiring dance of nature as countless species of migratory birds gather here during their long journeys. From elegant swans and graceful cranes to vibrant flamingos and elusive egrets, the island is a treasure trove of avian diversity.

Bird Island – Paradise for bird watchers

Birdwatchers can spend hours observing these magnificent creatures in their natural habitat, capturing breathtaking photographs and creating memories that last a lifetime. But Bird Island is not just a paradise for migratory birds; it is also a sanctuary for rare non-native species. These unique visitors add an extra layer of excitement and intrigue to the island’s already enchanting ambience. Keen-eyed birdwatchers may be lucky enough to spot the elusive Siberian Rubythroat or the stunning Yellow-browed Warbler, which make occasional appearances on Bird Island. These sightings are not only a treat for enthusiasts but also valuable data for researchers studying the migratory patterns and behaviours of these incredible birds.

Kumbum Monastery

While Qinghai Lake and Bird Island are undoubtedly the crown jewels of Xining’s natural wonders, the city itself has much more to offer. As the eastern gateway to the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau, Xining boasts a rich cultural heritage and a plethora of attractions that beckon foreign visitors. In the southwest part of the city, a mystical aura surrounds Ta’er Monastery, one of the six Great Monasteries of the Gelugpa Sect of Tibetan Buddhism. This ancient monastery, with its stunning architecture and tranquil surroundings, is a spiritual haven for devotees and a testament to the city’s deep-rooted religious traditions. Visitors can immerse themselves in the peaceful ambience, marvel at the intricate Buddhist murals, and witness the devoted monks engaging in their daily rituals.

Dongguan Mosque

Within the city zone, a historical marvel awaits – the Dongguan Mosque. This 600-year-old mosque, steeped in history and architectural brilliance, stands as a testament to the enduring presence of Islam in China. Its grandeur and intricate design draw visitors from far and wide, eager to witness the harmonious blend of Islamic and Chinese influences. As the call to prayer echoes through its hallowed halls, over 300 Muslims gather to practice their faith, creating a sense of unity and devotion that is truly awe-inspiring.

Xining, with its natural wonders and cultural treasures, offers a captivating blend of experiences for all who venture here. Whether it is marvelling at the awe-inspiring beauty of Qinghai Lake and Bird Island or immersing oneself in the spiritual embrace of Ta’er Monastery and Dongguan Mosque, this enchanting city promises an unforgettable journey into the heart of China’s natural and cultural heritage.

How to Get to Xining Train Station?

Xining station is the busiest and most popular among all the stations serving trains to Lhasa. It marks the beginning of the Qinghai-Tibet Railway and acts as a stop for every train bound for Tibet. Moreover, with 4-5 daily trains to Lhasa, obtaining tickets for the journey is significantly easier.

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

To travel to Tibet from Xining by train, you need a permit. You can book tickets without them, but you must have them to board the train. Backpackers cannot enter Tibet independently, so you need a travel agency to help you apply for the Tibet Travel Permit in advance. The permit and your ticket will be checked during check-in. A photocopy of the permit is acceptable in Xining. Usually, travel agencies obtain the permit a few days before your train journey and deliver it to your hotel. Once approved, the train ride offers breathtaking views and encounters with Tibetan culture. It also provides time for introspection and a sense of tranquillity. The permit is worth the effort for the transformative experience of exploring Tibet’s beauty, culture, and spirituality.

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?

During the train ride from Xining to Lhasa, you can expect to be treated to some of the most stunning views in the world. As the train ascends into the Tibetan Plateau, you will be surrounded by majestic mountains, vast grasslands, and crystal-clear lakes. Keep your camera ready to capture the mesmerizing sights of snow-capped peaks, colourful prayer flags fluttering in the wind, and yak herds grazing peacefully in the valleys. Major attractions include Qarhan Salt Lake, Yuzhu Peak, Kekexili Nature Reserve, Tuotuo He River, Tangula Pass, Tsonag Lake, Qiangtang Prairie, Namtso, etc.

img 0658

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.
tibet Train on Grassland Views

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 Beijing 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.

Upon arrival in Lhasa, you will be greeted by the awe-inspiring beauty of the Tibetan capital. Lhasa is known for its rich cultural heritage, ancient monasteries, and vibrant markets. Some of the popular sights to explore in Lhasa include the iconic Potala Palace, Jokhang Temple, and the bustling Barkhor Street.

In conclusion, travelling from Xining to Lhasa by train offers a unique and unforgettable experience. From the moment you board the train in Xining to the moment you arrive in Lhasa, you will be captivated by the beauty of the Tibetan landscapes. So sit back, relax, and embark on a journey of a lifetime. 


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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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