Traveling from Shanghai to Lhasa by train is an epic journey across almost the entire country, from China’s easternmost shores to the far west, in the Tibetan capital of Lhasa. A journey of around 48 hours by train, this vast journey to Tibet is one of the most exciting adventures in the world.
One of the longest routes to Tibet, the train from Shanghai to Lhasa departs every day at 20:10 and arrives in Lhasa at 19:30 on the third day. Taking the ride, tourists can expect to enjoy a comfortable Tibet train experience with lower prices than by air, and appreciate the scenic view along the renowned Qinghai-Tibet Railway at the same time.
Shanghai Lhasa Train Schedule
There is only one daily train from Shanghai to Lhasa. Train Z164 will start from Shanghai Railway Station at 20:10 and arrive at Lhasa Railway Station at 19:30 in approximately 3 days. In reverse, the train back to Shanghai from Lhasa (Z166) departs 11:30 every day and will take nearly 50 hours to reach Shanghai. If you plan to join in a group tour in Tibet, you need to take a Tibet train from Shanghai at least 2 days before the fixed departure date of your group tour.
Timetable of Shanghai to Lhasa Train - No.Z164
|Shanghai||16 m||--||20:10||--||Day 1||--|
|Suzhou||5 m||20:55||20:58||3 min||Day 1||84 km|
|Wuxi||8 m||21:20||21:23||3 min||Day 1||126 km|
|Nanjing||5 m||22:56||23:05||9 min||Day 1||301 km|
|Bengbu||25 m||00:37||00:40||3 min||Day 2||485 km|
|Xuzhou||36 m||02:09||02:15||6 min||Day 2||649 km|
|Zhengzhou||108 m||05:07||05:14||7 min||Day 2||998 km|
|Xian||385 m||11:14||11:24||10 min||Day 2||1,509 km|
|Lanzhou||1,520 m||18:17||18:34||17 min||Day 2||2,185 km|
|Xining||2,200 m||21:07||21:27||20 min||Day 2||2,401 km|
|Delingha||2,982 m||01:29||01:31||2 min||Day 3||2,718 km|
|Golmud||2,780 m||04:21||04:46||25 min||Day 3||3,231 km|
|Nagchu||4,500 m||14:56||15:10||14 min||Day 3||4,051 km|
|Lhasa||3,650 m||19:30||--||--||Day 3||4,373 km|
Timetable of Lhasa to Shanghai Train - No.Z166
|Lhasa||3,650 m||--||11:30||--||Day 1||--|
|Nagchu||4,500 m||15:08||15:14||6 min||Day 1||322 km|
|Golmud||2,780 m||01:23||01:48||25 min||Day 2||1,142 km|
|Delingha||2,982 m||04:15||04:17||2 min||Day 2||1,478 km|
|Xining||2,200 m||08:55||09:15||20 min||Day 2||1,972 km|
|Lanzhou||1,520 m||12:11||12:26||15 min||Day 2||2,188 km|
|Xian||385 m||20:34||20:44||10 min||Day 2||2,864 km|
|Zhengzhou||108 m||02:50||02:58||8 min||Day 3||3,375 km|
|Xuzhou||36 m||05:43||05:58||15 min||Day 3||3,724 km|
|Bengbu||25 m||07:17||07:22||5 min||Day 3||3,888 km|
|Nanjing||13 m||08:54||09:00||6 min||Day 3||4,072 km|
|Wuxi||5 m||10:26||10:30||4 min||Day 3||4,247km|
|Suzhou||5 m||10:56||11:01||5 min||Day 3||4,289 km|
|Shanghai||16 m||11:51||--||--||Day 3||4,373 km|
1. The timetable and schedule is just for reference. When you make early reservation, please contact us for more details.
2. Both Shanghai to Lhasa train and Lhasa to Shanghai train depart every day. You can choose from your preferred date according to your own schedule.
How to shorten the train journey from Shanghai to Lhasa?
While the train journey to Lhasa from Shanghai is an awesome adventure, it is not to everyone’s liking, spending more than two days on the train. However, there is a way to make the train journey shorter, while still enjoying the stunning sights of Shanghai first.
Shanghai – flight to Xining – Train to Lhasa
The simplest way to make the trip shorter is to take a flight to Xining, the capital of Qinghai Province and the start of the world-famous Qinghai Tibet Railway to Lhasa. From Xining, you can take the train on to Lhasa, which only takes 22 hours to reach the Tibetan capital.
Flights from Shanghai to Xining cost from around 116 US dollars, and take just 3 hours 45 minutes to reach the provincial capital. Three direct flights run to Xining from Shanghai daily, with Air China, Shenzhen Airlines, and China Eastern, with dozens of indirect flights as well.
The train to Lhasa from Xining is the shortest of all the trains to Tibet, and costs just 71 US dollars for the hard sleeper berths and 112 US dollars for the soft sleepers.
There is also an added advantage of traveling to Xining by flight to get the train to Tibet. At an altitude of around 2,275 meters above sea level, Xining is the perfect place to acclimatize to higher altitudes before heading for the immense heights of Lhasa and the rest of Tibet. This intermediate acclimatization, which requires just a day or two in Xining, can help to reduce the risk of altitude sickness once you reach the Tibetan capital.
Try to avoid the peak season if you want to enjoy a train journey from Shanghai to Lhasa. During the peak travel season of summer holidays and early October, the tickets are always in huge demand with more tourists heading to Tibet.
Also, it is best to make your reservation as early as possible, even if you take the train ride in low season, so that you can successfully book your preferred seat of your planned travel date.
Shanghai Lhasa Train Ticket
Soft Sleeper Train Ticket: 793.5 CNY
Hard Sleeper Train Ticket: 1262.5 CNY
What’s the Difference between the Soft Sleeper and the Hard Sleeper?
Soft sleeper on Tibet train is provided with 4 berths in each cabin.
The soft sleeper on Tibet trains is provided with the best possible facilities onboard, and could be the optimum choice for passengers caring about good privacy and comfortable travel experience. In each soft sleeper cabin, there are only four berths inside, with a lockable door to ensure a quiet environment.
While for budget travelers, the hard sleeper on Tibet train will be a good option, since it has a lower ticket price and also remains the comfort to some degree. There are 6 berths in each hard sleeper cabin. Although no door is provided for hard sleeper, tourists can have more chance to enjoy the time with locals or other passengers onboard.
How to Book Shanghai Tibet Train Ticket and How Can I Get the Ticket?
There is only one train daily from Shanghai to Lhasa, which leaves at around 8:10am from the Shanghai Railway Station. Booking tickets is not actually as easy as booking flights, as the ticket website is in Chinese, and does not accept foreign credit cards. For international travelers in China, you cannot use the site to buy your tickets, unless you have a Chinese friend willing to book and pay for the tickets for you.
The easiest and simplest way to book your train tickets with us. Once you have booked your Tibet tour, and we have actual start dates for the trip around Tibet, we can make the ticket booking on your behalf, and send you the booking confirmation by email. You can then collect your tickets from the station ticket windows on the day of your departure, with the booking number, your passport and Tibet Travel Permit.
You can buy the tickets yourself in person, and there are designated ticket windows at most railway stations for foreign travelers, to make it easier. Tickets can be bought at any station across Shanghai for Lhasa, though you will only depart from the main Shanghai Railway Station dedicated to the trains for Tibet.
However, this is not recommended for travel outside the low season for Tibetan tourism, as the tickets from Shanghai often book up weeks before the date of travel, and you may not be able to get a ticket so close to your expected travel date.
Get Your Tibet Travel Permit in Advance!
To collect your Tibet train ticket from Shanghai to Lhasa, you need to show your Tibet Travel Permit. Apply your Tibet Travel Permit and book your train ticket together with us, a real hassle-free Tibet train tour is one click beyond.Apply for Tibet Permit Online
Which one is cheaper? To get to Lhasa from Shanghai by train or by air?
Traveling to Lhasa by flight can often be much more expensive than traveling by train, though this does largely depend on when you are traveling, where you are traveling from, and what deals you can get. While it can be possible to get a flight for around the same price as the train tickets, it is rare to find one that costs less.
In the low season for Tibetan tourism, which is normally from December to January, flights from Shanghai to Lhasa cost from around 188 US dollars for an indirect flight, stopping for connections in Yangcheng and Xi’an before continuing to Lhasa. The cheapest flights also take around 22 hours to get to Lhasa, around half the time it takes by train. If time is of the essence, then a shorter flight of only 6 hours 30 minutes (stopping in Mian Yang) will cost as much as 510 US dollars for an economy ticket.
The train, however, costs from US$ 114 for the hard sleeper berths and US$ 182 for the soft sleeper berths, which give you much more luxury and comfort than the cramped economy flights. The journey by train from Shanghai does take around 46 hours to get to the Tibetan capital, crossing eight provinces to get to Tibet, but is much more cost efficient in terms of price and comfort.
Shanghai Lhasa Train Route
Shanghai Lhasa Train Route Map
Traveling from Shanghai to Lhasa is an incredible journey that traverses eight provinces across China, before climbing up to the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau. The trip covers a total distance of 4,373km and takes around 47 hours to reach your destination.
The first part of the train journey may be plain, with countryside view of eastern and central China. But after Xining, the beginning of Qinghai-Tibet Railway, the train will bring you one of the most breathtaking sceneries on the planet. You will appreciate Qinghai Lake, Gobi Desert, lofty Yuzhu Peak, massive grassland dotted with yaks, mystic Kekexili Natural reserve etc., along the way until Lhasa.
How about the altitude changes along the Shanghai-Lhasa railway? How to avoid high altitude sickness during the train journey from Shanghai to Lhasa?
Check the altitude change of Shnaghai-Lhasa train from the graph above.
Altitude change along Shanghai-Lhasa railway
Altitude sickness is a major concern for most people traveling to Lhasa, due to the high altitude of the Tibetan capital. The Tibetan plateau has an average altitude of more than 4,800 meters above sea level, and altitude sickness is a regular and normal thing for most international travelers.
Shanghai lies at almost sea level, being on China’s eastern coast, and is more than 4,000 meters lower than Tibet. While most of the trip to Tibet on the train from Shanghai is going to be no problem, once you start to climb up to the high-altitude plateau from Xining, there is a risk of getting altitude sickness as you get higher.
Xining is the first station where altitude sickness is likely to occur, though most people can travel to elevations of up to 2,400 meters without feeling any effects. After Xining, Golmud lies at 2,780 meters, and then the line climbs up to the Tanggula Pass, at an altitude of more than 5,000 meters. As you cross Nagqu Prefecture, the plateau has an altitude of around 4,500 meters, dropping to around 3,650 meters at the Lhasa railway station.
Avoid altitude sickness during Shanghai-Lhasa train journey
However, there are ways to prevent altitude sickness during the train ride, for those that were not able to acclimatize at Xining. The trains to Tibet all have oxygen supply systems, which pump oxygen into the cabins one the train leaves Golmud for the heights of the plateau. This added oxygen helps to prevent altitude sickness in the higher altitudes of Nagqu Prefecture, increasing the oxygen content of the air to around that of sea level, or a little higher.
There are also individual oxygen outlets in all the cabins, next to each berth and under every seat, for those that have problems with altitude sickness despite the increased oxygen. Breather tubes to connect to the outlets are available for free from the train staff, and can be used when you feel you need to, to help reduce the symptoms of altitude sickness while on board the trains.
To better enjoy your train journey from Shanghai to Lhasa, you are recommended to prepare some entertainment for yourself. During the long ride of nearly 50 hours, you can read books, watch movies, or listen to your favorite music, or find more funny and relaxing activities for yourself to kill the time onboard.
Shanghai Railway Station Guide
Shanghai Railway Station as the only one station offering Tibet trains to Lhasa.
Shanghai Railway Station is the largest station in China, and a major hub for the Chinese rail network. Of all the four railway stations in Shanghai, Shanghai Railway Station is the only one which offers trains to Tibet. Besides, trains to the surrounding cities from Shanghai are very convenient, and run every two hours to cities such as Hangzhou, Suzhou, and Nanjing.
The station has a circular design, with two floors, and both north and south squares that include bus and taxi stands. It is provided with eight ordinary waiting rooms and one special waiting room for passengers with soft sleeper tickets, and there is no shortage of fast-food restaurants around the concourse and outside the building.
Located on Moling Road, in Zhabei District, Shanghai Railway Station has excellent transport to and from the city. For tourists about to take the train from Shanghai to Lhasa, it is recommended to reach the station at least 2 hours before your departure time, since the queues for the ticket windows can be long and you will go through a series of checking before boarding.
Get to Shanghai Railway Station from Pudong Airport
Map showing the locations of Shanghai Railway Station and other landmarks in Shanghai.
The distance between Shanghai Railway Station and Shanghai Pudong International Airport is about 45 km. From Pudong Airport, it will take about 1.5 hours to get to the Station by subway. And the cost is only for 7 RMB per person one way.
Route: Metro Line 2 East Extension Line- Metro Line 2- Metro Line 4
First walk about 200 meters to Pudong International Airport Stop to take Metro Line 2 East Extension Line to Guanglan Road, and then change to Metro Line 2 after 8 stops. Then transfer to Metro Line 4 at Shijiadadao stop, before reaching Shanghai Railway Station after another 7 stops.
By Airport Shuttle Bus No.5
Tourists taking Airport Shuttle Bus No.5 can directly go to the railway station from Pudong airport, and there is no need to transfer on the way. The bus leaves every 15-30 minutes from 6:30 to 23:00, and will take 2 hour and 30 minutes to get to the station. The ticket price is 22 RMB one way per person.
Route: Terminal 1 – Longyang Road Station-Century Ave & Pudong South Road- Yan'an East Road Zhejiang Middle Road-Shanghai Railway Station
By Shanghai Maglev Train
If you want to experience the fastest vehicle on land, you should never miss the Shanghai Maglev Train, which is a technological miracle that connects Pudong International Airport and the city subway. At a design speed of 860 kilometers per hour, the Shanghai Maglev can bring tourists directly from Pudong Airport to Longyang Road Station. An ordinary one-way ticket for the maglev train is 50 RMB.
Route: Shanghai Maglev – Metro Line 2 – Metro Line 4 Outer Line
First take the Shanghai Maglev at Pudong International Airport, and then transfer to Metro Line 2 at Longyang Road. Next, change to Metro Line 4 Outer Line at Shijidadao after 3 stops. Then go through 6 stops to get to Shanghai Railway Station where you can go out of the subway at Exit 6.
It will take around 1 hour to take a taxi from Pudong Airport to the train station. Normally the taxi fee will be 200 RMB, while it may rise much higher due to traffic jam during working rush hours of the day.
Get to Shanghai Railway Station from Hongqiao Airport
Tourists can get to Shanghai Railway Station by subway from Hongqiao Airport.
Taking a metro will be a good choice to transfer from Shanghai Hongqiao International Airport to the station. Covering a distance of 20 km, it will only take 50 minutes to run across 12 stops of the entire ride. The ticket is 5 RMB per person one way.
Route: Metro Line 2 - Metro Line 1
Take Metro Line 2 at Terminal 2 of Hongqiao Airport, and go through 9 stops to transfer to Metro Line 1 at People’s Square. After that, you will further pass 3 more stops to reach Shanghai Railway Station.
To enjoy more comfort and convenience, you can also choose to take a taxi to the station from Hongqiao Airport. It will normally take 50 minutes and cost 70 RMB by taxi. And if it is during the peak travel season, the price will be much higher than you have imagined.
Get to Shanghai Railway Station from Shanghai Hongqiao Railway Station
Shanghai Hongqiao Railway Station is the high speed train station in Shanghai, offering a rapid connection to the surrounding cities. It is a popular choice for tourists to take a high speed train from Shanghai to Hangzhou or Shanghai to Nanjing, to have a nice sightseeing in these cities before enjoying the train tour to Tibet.
Then, from Shanghai Hongqiao Station, tourists can take an easy transfer to Shanghai Railway Station by subway, across a distance of 21 km. It only take around 50 minutes and costs 5 RMB per person one way.
Subway Route: Metro Line 2 – Metro Line 1First take Metro Line 2 at Hongqiao Railway Station, and then get off the train at People’s Square, which is the transfer station for Metro Line 3. After get onboard Metro Line 3, you will further pass 3 stops to reach Shanghai Railway Station.
Get to Shanghai Railway Station from Downtown
Currently, Metro Line 1, Line 3 and Line 4 provide the straight transfer to Shanghai Railway Station. Respectively, the south square of Shanghai station is connected with Metro Line 1, while the north square with Metro Line 3 and Line 4.
If you want to get to the station from the Bund, you can first take Metro Line 2 at Nanjing East Road and change to Metro Line 1 at People’s Square. It will only need 40 minutes to the transfer, and the ticket price is 3 RMB per person.
Besides, frequent local buses are provided to bring tourists from all districts of the city to the station. Despite of its lower price, the bus will probably take much time for transfer, as it will usually stop for many times en route.
Shanghai Tibet Train Tours
Get travel ideas from our most recommended Shanghai Tibet Tours by train. Choosing from different classic travel itineraries in Tibet, you will enjoy the lifetime Shanghai-Lhasa train experience with our one-pack services of guaranteed Tibet train ticket and Tibet travel permit.
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Is there any recommended China Tibet travel route from Shanghai?
Shanghai – Beijing – Xian – Lhasa
A trip from Shanghai to Lhasa, taking in the sights of Beijing and Xi’an is one way to get the best of China’s unique history on the way to Tibet, the most unique region in the world. After touring Shanghai, tourists can take the Shanghai to Beijing high speed train, which departs dozens of times every day and only takes about 6 hours to reach the capital city.
A mixture of both ancient and modern that blend together seamlessly, Beijing is the place where you can pay a visit to the renowned Great Wall of China, the only man-made structure that can be seen from space.
Then you can move on to Xi’an, the second stop on this route and the home of the famed Terracotta Warriors, an entire army of carved statues of soldiers, horses, and chariots that were created to be buried with the Chinese Emperor, Qin Shi Huang, more than 2,500 years ago.
From Xi’an, it is possible to book tickets to Lhasa by train, as the routes from Shanghai and Guangzhou pass through the city on their way to Lhasa. It is advisable to ensure you book the tickets as soon as the ticket office opens, around 60 days before the trip, as the trains are usually fully booked in the peak months.
Shanghai – Chengdu – Lhasa
Taking a different route through Chengdu, the provincial capital of Sichuan Province in southwest China, is another great way to experience one of China’s largest tourist attractions, the Giant Pandas.
Chengdu has four separate panda research bases, where you can see these beautiful creatures in their natural habitats. An awesome experience, pandas have been cited throughout Chinese history, and are one of the icons of this vast nation.
Traveling to Lhasa from Chengdu can be done easily by train, as the city is one of the seven gateway cities to Tibet. Trains leave Chengdu every other day, taking around 36 hours to get to the Tibetan capital. Tickets cost around US$ 90 for hard sleeper berths and US$ 143 for soft sleeper berths.
Shanghai – Xining – Lhasa
Taking a flight to Xining in Qinghai Province is one of the best ways to get to Tibet from Shanghai, and you can take the train from Xining much more easily than from any other city in China, as there are more tickets available from Xining to Lhasa.
Aside from being perfect for that intermediate acclimatization to the higher altitudes before reaching Lhasa, Xining is a delightful small city in northwestern China, with plenty to see and do both in the city and in the surrounding countryside.
Not far from the city lies the Qinghai Lake, the largest lake in China, and inside Xining itself is the largest Muslim mosque in China, the Dōngguān Grand Mosque, holding up to 50,000 worshippers on a regular basis.
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