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Train tickets from Xian to Lhasa?

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Christchurch, New...
posts: 3
reviews: 8
Train tickets from Xian to Lhasa?

A friend and I will be in towards the end of September 2013 and we're wondering about getting train tickets to Lhasa. We were looking at using Chinatripadvisor.com but after looking at reviews it's not 100% reliable. I will be in Xian about 7 days before we take the train to Lhasa, what will my chances be of booking a train ticket on that day? I've done quite a bit of searching on the net but can't find any recent /helpful info. If anyone can offer any advice on this it would be greatly appreciated. We are doing a tour in Tibet so our permits/visas are under control.

Beijing, China
Destination Expert
for Beijing
posts: 5,000
reviews: 82
1. Re: Train tickets from Xian to Lhasa?

You need to get the tickets as soon as they come on sale, 20 days beforehand. Use an agent like DIY travel who charge a small commission and won't charge you if they can't get the ticket. Your other option is to get your tour provider to secure the tickets. There is little chance of getting tickets for this route any other way and virtually no chance within seven days.

Magog, Canada
posts: 26,379
reviews: 471
2. Re: Train tickets from Xian to Lhasa?

These are hard tickets to come by. Using the tour agent that does your permit should be your first choice and an agent you second choice. I would not wait until arriving in town.

Beijing, China
Destination Expert
for Guilin, Xi'an, Tibet
posts: 4,530
reviews: 3
3. Re: Train tickets from Xian to Lhasa?

Xian is the worst place to get train ticket to Lhasa. I belive they can't give you any promise. Or, you can purchase whole journey like Shanghai-Lhasa or Chongqing - Lhasa and try to board at Xian. This way is technically doable, but I think they still can't promise you as very few people ever tried this way.

Christchurch, New...
posts: 3
reviews: 8
4. Re: Train tickets from Xian to Lhasa?

Thanks for the replies. I will try the tour agent and if that fails fingers crossed we get lucky 20 days prior when the tickets go on sale. If there is anyone else that has experience with this trip I'd love to have some feedback.

beijing
posts: 3,735
reviews: 5
5. Re: Train tickets from Xian to Lhasa?

End of September, eh? Run-up to the National holiday week. Hope it's not too close to the end or you'll get caught up in the crush of domestic tourists leaving early for holiday and competing for the same pool of tickets.

Those T trains that route through Xi'an are all coming from somewhere else: Beijing, Shanghai, Chengdu, or Guangzhou) and are likely to be heavily subscribed. As a Plan B to give an agent, you might indicate your willingness to take one of the 3 K trains that originate more downstream if all the T's are unattainable:

K917 originates Lanzhou dep 12:05 arrive Lhasa 14:35 next day.

K 9811 originates Xining West dep 22:00 arrive Lhasa 21:45 next evening.

K 9815 originates Xining West dep 22:50 arrive Lhasa 23:10 next evening.

You'd still have to get from Xi'an to Lanzhou or Xining either by train (on a non-Lhasa-bound service) or a flight, which is often pretty cheap, especially to Lanzhou. With 7 days in Xi'an, you'd certainly have time to truncate a day off and start heading west. Xi'an to Lanzhou is bussable though 8 hours (by expressway). Or do in two segments in hard seat, with a stop midway at Tianshui (Maijishan Grottoes, anyone?).

Edited: 12:07 am, June 28, 2013
London, United...
posts: 192
reviews: 38
6. Re: Train tickets from Xian to Lhasa?

The train tickets in China can be bought 10 days in advance. From your description, you seem to travel independently without the help of tour agency. In Xian, Terra-cotta Army is a must-see. So you can take a coach bus at Xian Railway Station to Terra-cotta Army. Before you get on the bus, you can buy train ticket to Lhasa.

Beijing, China
Destination Expert
for Beijing
posts: 5,000
reviews: 82
7. Re: Train tickets from Xian to Lhasa?

Grace F??? What gives? Your advice in this thread, and others of late, is way off. Please take more care in reading the questions and in submitting your replies.

The OP will be on a tour to Tibet, as foreign nationals need to be, and has not asked a question about sightseeing in Xian. Further, train tickets go on sale 20 days in advance and the general consensus is that he won't stand a cat in hell's chance of buying one in person; certainly not in the given time frame.

Beijing, China
Destination Expert
for Beijing
posts: 5,000
reviews: 82
8. Re: Train tickets from Xian to Lhasa?

For anyone remotely interested in the current situation, as a guide to the trend, I just looked on the official website and it reports that there are 16 seats available for the journey beginning 20 days ahead, and 1 available for 19 days ahead. No sleepers left. Prior to this, everything is sold out.

beijing
posts: 3,735
reviews: 5
9. Re: Train tickets from Xian to Lhasa?

Agree with Qup. Grace's information is just wrong and the responses...well, nonresponsive. I'm not sure if it's a language issue or just being completely out of touch with today's reality.

Magog, Canada
posts: 26,379
reviews: 471
10. Re: Train tickets from Xian to Lhasa?

It confirms my original statement, these tickets are hard to get.