What Kind of Facilities are Available on Tibet Train?
If you are planning to travel to Tibet by train, you will take one of the most amazing journeys in your life. The train runs for 22 hours to almost 3 days, depending on your departure station, but it is more than worth it to see the spectacular sights along the route. The Tibet train itself is specially designed and is equipped with good facilities. Making use of these facilities will facilitate your life onboard the train. Read on to get more informed about your upcoming Tibet train travel.
Sleeper Berth on Tibet Trains
The first and most important thing to consider for a train ride is the seats or berths on it. Totally, three types of seats are offered on Tibet trains for travel: soft sleeper berth, hard sleeper berth, and hard seat. Here we’ll introduce the major differences among them.
a. Hard Sleeper
The hard sleeper carriages have half open compartments. Each compartment contains 6 beds: 2 upper berths, 2 middle ones and 2 lower ones. All the sleeper compartments are on one side, while on the other side is the corridor for one to walk around. On the corridor, directly opposite to each compartment, there is a big window, under which being two folding seats and one tiny table installed on the wall. It is an excellent place for watching the scenery, or to read a book or listen to music.
The beds of hard sleeper are about 60 centimeters wide and 180 centimeters long. It is about 65 centimeters high between the upper and middle berths, while the lower berth has a vertical space of 90 centimeters. It should be noted that the hard sleeper berths do not have hard beds. The beddings on hard sleeper berths are soft, being just as comfortable as that of the soft sleepers.
b. Soft Sleeper
The soft sleeper has the same bed dimensions, but there are only four berths in each compartment, and the room has a lockable door. The corridor of soft sleeper carriage is decorated in the same way of the hard sleeper. Compared to hard sleeper, soft sleeper offers more personal space, and more privacy on the train travel. But it is much more expensive, not that suitable for budget travelers.
While hard seats are the cheapest option, it is not advised for traveling as the train takes almost 22 hours to get to Lhasa on its shortest journey, and the hard seats can become very uncomfortable after the first several hours.
Luggage Space on Tibet Trains
For passengers taking the soft sleeper, you can store your luggage under the lower bunks, or above the upper bunks. Overall, the storage space is quite small inside the cabin, and just some soft bags or small suitcases can be stored inside. While in hard sleeper compartment, you can store your luggage under the lower berth or on the rack above the corridor. Besides, there are racks provided above the hard seats in both sides of the carriage.
It is recommended to bring your valuable things along with you all the time when you take the train. Especially if you are travelling alone, you need to keep your eyes on your luggage. Also, it is better to pack your daily-use items like toothbrush, paper towels in a small bag separately, so that you can get to use them easily.
Dining Car on Tibet Trains
Except for the hard sleeper and soft sleeper carriages, seat carriages, the Tibet train is also equipped with a dining carriage, where passengers can order meals or buy tea, soft drinks, or beer. When it comes to the meal time, the dining car is open for business, mainly offering Chinese style and Tibetan style dishes.
At breakfast, there are porridges, steamed buns, pickles, eggs, milk, and ham sausages etc., for balanced nutrients. For lunch and dinner, there are freshly cooked dishes like Kung Pao Chicken, soups etc. At some occasions, there may also be night snack offered. Since the food material is hard to get and carry to the train, the food sold on Tibet train is always quite expensive than those of a normal restaurant.
If your berth is distant from the dinning car, or you don’t want to go there for dining. You can also wait for the food carts. The trainman will push the carts from time to time to each carriage. During the meals time, there are boxed Chinese food, such as fried pork and vegetables in the cart. While at other times, the carts are filled with packed snacks, instant noodles, potato chips, and fruits etc. But if you don’t want Chinese food, you can always buy snacks before departure, and take them with you on board.
In addition, when the train stops at major railway stations, you can get off the train for a short time. You can buy snacks or local foods from the vendors on the train platform. It is a great experience to see what each city has to offer along the way. But do prepare enough money before getting off the train.
Oxygen Supply on Tibet Trains
The unique feature of the Tibet train is that it is equipped with an oxygen supply system. As the train runs along the Qinghai-Tibet Railway after passing the stop at Xining city, it will travel at extremely high altitudes (top to around 5000 meters) on the plateau. To help passengers cope with the high altitude, the train will release oxygen into the carriages after passing Golmud.
Besides, there are oxygen supply outlets installed on the train wall of compartments and corridors. If you feel uncomfortable and have some slight symptoms of altitude sickness on the train, you can ask the trainman for the oxygen supply pipe, which is connected to the outlet for inhaling.
Washing Room on Tibet Trains
When you need to use the rest rooms, there are two types of toilets: the squat type toilet and the western type toilet. And of course, when you see the washroom, it is sanitized and clean. Every washroom has its own sink. And there is also a washing area outside, where you can wash your face or brush your teeth. The washrooms are located at the ends of each carriage. And some useful things to remember are:
•Always bring toilet papers (there is no papers offered inside)
•The wash rooms are blocked when the train stops
•The soft sleeper washroom is cleaner than the hard sleeper washroom, as there are fewer passengers in the soft sleeper cars
•The toilets on board are shared, there are no private washrooms in soft sleeper rooms
FAQ about Tibet Train
1. Is there Wi-Fi or internet on Tibet train?
There is no WIFI provided on Tibet train, neither can someone access internet. You can only use your mobile data. And you need to install your cell phone with a Chinese SIM card, so as to connect the internet.
2. Is hot water provided on the train?
For those who like to drink tea or coffee, there are boiling water on the trains, which can also be used for cup noodles and other snacks. The hot water supplier is provided at the end of each carriage, next to the washing area. When the indicator light on it turns to yellow, it means that the water is boiling. The hot water is free of charge, but please take care when handling hot water, as the train tends to move and shake.
3. Is it safe to take the Tibet Train?
It is a good thing to know that the Tibet train is very safe to take for international passengers. The train carries a large number of travelers each year, and the local government has supplied security measures for passengers’ safety. On one can get onboard the train without a ticket. Besides ticket check, security check is also required. The flammable and explosive are not allowed to carry. However, it is still advisable to keep valuable personal items such as jewelry, phones, and cameras with yourself while traveling.
4. How to deal with altitude sickness when taking Tibet train?
Altitude sickness can affect anyone, when the train travels in higher elevations. Symptoms and signs of altitude sickness include: fatigue, uneasiness in breathing at rest, fast and shallow breathing, chest tightness, change of color on either lips or fingernails, feeling dizzy etc.
If you have suffered from altitude sickness, you can take drugs for the symptoms, and use the onboard oxygen. If symptoms persist, and the sickness gets worse, descend immediately and spend a day or two at a lower elevation. Pregnant women, or people with high fever, should avoid high altitude trips.
To help you feel more comfortable, you can consult the medical services for further help with your altitude sickness. When it comes to service on the trains, they will always give you the best. The staff are all fully trained in customer service, and are very friendly and helpful.
Tips to Prevent Altitude Sickness
•Do not drink or smoke when ascending
•Avoid heavy lifting and strenuous activity
•Proper rest and oxygen in your body can help relieve altitude sickness
Overall, for a railway that runs through such a remote and harsh region of the world, the train is very well equipped and has excellent facilities. It is clean and safe, and very comfortable. Also, there is air-conditioning system that keeps the train at a constantly comfortable temperature all year round, so your trip can be as pleasant as possible. Try it, when you take your trip to Lhasa. You will never forget this amazing experience.