Owing to its spectacular scenic and high-elevation, taking a train to Tibet is one of the most popular ways to travel to Tibet. Travelers can easily board a train to Tibet from major big cities in China, such as Beijing, Shanghai, Xi’an, Shenzhen, Chengdu, Chongqing and son on. The high elevation section starts from Xining, the beginning of Qinghai-Tibet Railway which is situated on the northern edge of Tibetan Plateau. The whole train journey from Xining to Lhasa goes across the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau from north to south with an average altitude over 4000 meters known as the Road to the Sky. The highest point of the journey is Tanggula Pass at 5072 meters.
Since the operation in 2006, millions of travelers at home and abroad are attracted to board a train to Tibet. And the number of tourists is increasing every year since the train journey itself is an unforgettable experience ending in the mysterious lands in the world. And sometimes, it is difficult to get a train ticket in the peak travel season in Tibet (from April to September).
Actually for the sake of travelers, one of the big advantages of taking a train rather than flying to Tibet is the cost. Compared with a domestic flight from a major city to Tibet, the ticket price of a Tibet train is half or one third. Although the train journey will take you over 40 hours at an average, the experience itself is unique and travelers will be attracted by the changing views along the way.
If you want to experience the train journey but don’t want to stay too long on the train, you can fly to Xining firstly and then board a Tibet Train to Lhasa which only takes about 21 hours across the central part of the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau.
The Best Time to Board a Train to Tibet
The best time to board a train to Tibet and begin your Tibet tour is from April to November. The Tibet winter can be quite cold, and trekking or biking outside Lhasa is difficult and even impossible. The period from April to May and from August to October is the rainy season in Tibet which may be a problem to go, but it is not hot. If you don’t want to trek in Tibet, you can travel to Tibet during this period.
The most beautiful scenery of the train journey is from April to November. The temperature between day and night in Tibet is different. It is very cold at night, while you can enjoy the high-altitude scenery during the daytime. And in summer, travelers can trek to remote places in Tibet, such as Everest Base Camp, Mt. Kailash, etc. Most Tibetan places are open to tourists during the summer times.
Tibet train is busy in the peak travel season. It is difficult to get a train ticket. So, you need to buy a ticket in advance or seek help from your Tibet travel operator to help you get one.