Since the Qinghai – Tibet Railway opened in 2006, millions of travelers have taken the train into Lhasa. The railway travels through remote areas of eastern and northern Tibet, across frozen plains, and over high mountain passes. In addition to offering passengers a glimpse of the incredible scenery of the Tibetan plateau, the train also offers the opportunity to rest and acclimatize before reaching Lhasa (3500m).
Due to the popularity of the Tibet train during the peak tourist season in the summer (May – October), train tickets become very difficult to get. Large government agencies reserve tickets before they go on sale to the public and then resell them to smaller travel agencies for a higher price. In addition, ticket dealers camp out in the train stations overnight, buy out the tickets as soon as they go on sale in the morning, and then scalp them to potential buyers. As a result, prices are driven up.
Note: Since May 1st, 2012, foreign travelers need to show a copy of permits along with all the copies of your passport to purchase train tickets. Once permits is issued, your passport number will be print it out on the left corner of the ticket.
Below is the schedule of trains to Lhasa. Passenger trains start in Beijing, Chengdu, Chongqing, Guangzhou, Shanghai, Xining and Lanzhou. At the moment, SnowLion Tours can assist travelers in purchasing Beijing, Chengdu, Xi’an, and Xining to Lhasa train tickets. For train tickets starting in other locations, we recommend you contact a local travel agency or hotel and ask them to purchase the tickets for you.
Note that train tickets go on sale 20 days before departure and sell out very, very quickly. If you plan to take the train into Lhasa, arrange for your tickets at least 2 months n advance. We cannot guarantee your tickets, but we usually have no problem getting them, and will try our best.