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“Good view, bad sleep” 3 of 5 stars
Review of Qinghai Tibet Train (Lhasa Express)

Qinghai Tibet Train (Lhasa Express)
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Type: Scenic Railroads, Landmarks
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Attraction details
Owner description: The world's highest railway goes 710 miles from Qinghai to Lhasa.
Senior Contributor
26 reviews 26 reviews
3 attraction reviews
Reviews in 21 cities Reviews in 21 cities
30 helpful votes 30 helpful votes
“Good view, bad sleep”
3 of 5 stars Reviewed March 9, 2012

I and my wife took this train from Lhasa down to Xining. We tranvelled in April and there was nothing else along the way other than snow and glacier; yet, still amazing. The view might be more lifely when the weather gets warmer.

As you might be noticed, it does not allow passengers to get out of the train when it stops at stations on the way.

We shared our room with other 2 as there is no private room for 2. The condition of the train was okay, but bad smell of smoking seeped into our room thru air ducts. We couldn't sleep for the whole night!!!

Visited April 2011
Was this review helpful? Yes 8
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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75 reviews from our community

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Date | Rating
  • Chinese (Simplified) first
  • English first
  • German first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
Gold Coast
Top Contributor
92 reviews 92 reviews
34 attraction reviews
Reviews in 32 cities Reviews in 32 cities
59 helpful votes 59 helpful votes
“Not for the fainthearted”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed January 5, 2012

We tried to book our train journey from Beijing to Lhasa but were told they could only confirm our tickets 10 days prior to travel and they retained the rights to sell off the spare bunks in our cabin without a refund (we booked a private cabin with four bunks for two of us).
So we decided to try booking from Lhasa to Beijing instead and got ticket and bunk confirmation straight away... don't ask me why the booking system should be so different from the different stations but I guess this is China...
The cabin was comfortable enough, I wish I would have read up on the reviews I would have stocked up on food and charged batteries.
The staff don't speak english and were at best rude. The train is dirty and gets dirtier by the mile. I won't even describe the toilets. I was thrilled to notice they had electrical sockets in the cabin so that I could keep my phone charged. Unfortunately it didn't work.
I walked through the train and tried all the other wall sockets none worked even in the bathrooms.
I noticed the surly trolley boy plugged his phone into a socket behind a counter, I asked in sign language if I could use it with my phone (waving my phone and charger at him) it seems he spoke one word of english only and it was a firm, no!
We booked a soft option cabin which simply means there was a mattress, doona and pillow on each bunk. They were clean and soft. They supply a thermos only - no cups. There is a hot water tap at the end of each aisle. The trolley boy comes past every half hour or so with chinese packets of something and drinks. There is a dining room but it has no printed menu as no one speaks english and no one is particularly interested in the westerners it's a scary adventure! We were lucky enough to meet an Indonesian girl who had studied in Melbourne and lived in Shanghai so she spoke chinese and english and was able to help us out for the first part of the trip. I don't know what we would have done without this delightful girls help, she made all the difference.
The scenery is fascinating, hours and hours of tundra like landscape with yak farmers in the foreground and magnificent peaks in the background.
It's not for the fainthearted but I would do it again!

Visited September 2011
Was this review helpful? Yes 14
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Beijing, China
1 review
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
“With the help of CITS to book train tickets from Beijing to Lhasa”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed November 29, 2011

I have to say it is not easy to book train tickets from Beijing to Lhasa, only 35 soft sleeper berths, My god. I was made this trip with the help of CITS, katherine and I used a soft sleeper berth room. I recommend CITS, the website is www.tibettravel.org.

Visited July 2011
Was this review helpful? Yes 4
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
London, United Kingdom
Top Contributor
290 reviews 290 reviews
144 attraction reviews
Reviews in 173 cities Reviews in 173 cities
176 helpful votes 176 helpful votes
“Lhasa to Lanzhou on the T224 train”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed November 8, 2011

I flew into Lhasa from Beijing rather than vice versa in the event there was any flight disruption leaving Lhasa due to weather, and the understanding that it was easier to arrange outward tickets. I went through Snow Lion tours that purchased the ticket for me in advance. I was in a 4 birth soft sleeper with the train departing Lhasa promptly at 12.45 in the afternoon. My principal reason for travel to Lhasa on this occasion was to use the train about which I had undertaken a lot of research prior to arrival - definitely an amazing engineering feat. My principal interest was in photography and certainly the views did not disappoint.

Initially all was very comfortable as the sole occupant for the first 12 hours on one of the lower births. The cabin was comfortable, with a small table by the window. Luggage has to be kept in the cabin with no formal storage space. I had no issues with altitude even though the train climbs to 5000m but had spent a few days in Lhasa already. The views were superb along the way. I purchased lunch and snacks as necessary. I seemed to be the only non Chinese national on the train. All the staff and passengers I encountered were very friendly although no one in particular could communicate in English. Some pre-recorded destination and stop detail announcements were made in English however. After sunset at about 1900hr it became a bit more tedious with little else to do except get an early night. A particular downside of taking T224 train out is its relatively late departure so that quite a proportion of the dramatic scenery near Golmud was in darkness. There seem to be a variety of departure times and destinations which one can choose from. In the early hours of the morning 3 adults a child and a considerable amount of baggage also got into my cabin from when onwards the whole journey became quite cramped, noisy and somewhat unpleasant. The people were nice enough but these cabins are just not big enough to support such numbers. If I were to do this again I would consider purchasing an entire cabin/ sharing with friends which would have definitely improved conditions on the second day. The second day felt very long until my departure at Lanzhou. I wanted to fly back to Beijing and purely experience the train and view the scenery at its most dramatic part. I chose Lanzhou over Xining due to a greater number of daily flights back to Beijing. The distance from the train station in Lanzhou to the airport is considerable (1 - 1.5 hours) and cost 180 Y by taxi after some help from the station guards with negotiation. The airport process was very smooth with no problems.

Visited November 2011
Was this review helpful? Yes 14
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Singapore, Singapore
1 review
5 helpful votes 5 helpful votes
“Lhasa via Xining”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed September 18, 2011

I read about the recommendation of stopping over at Xining and planned our trip that way. Indeed that is an extremely good route as the altitude in Xining prepared our bodies for Lhasa. Just that by doing that it makes getting soft sleeper train ticket even more difficult as the trains come from Beijing/Shanghai/Chengdu. We were on T23 and only 4 of us board soft sleeper; the rest were occupied from Chengdu. I use Chinayak(CITS) which seems like the only one who are confident in getting soft sleeper and they delivered, although only one day before the train departs which made my heart hanging in the air for quite a while.

Visited September 2011
Was this review helpful? Yes 5
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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