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Xining, the start of the Qinghai-Tibet Railway, is the main starting point for many trips to Tibet. Sitting at the crossing of the Lanzhou-Qinghai and Qinghai-Tibet Railway lines，it is the most important station for all trains going to Tibet. The railway to Lhasa was finished until 2006 while the station was completed in 1959. It now serves as the main station for trains to Lhasa, and all trains to Tibet pass through the city.
Sitting at an altitude of 2,275 meters above sea level, Xining is the capital of Qinghai Province. It is now possible to take the train to the Tibetan Plateau from Xining. The distance from Xining to Lhasa is 1972km/1233 miles. It is the ideal place to start your Tibet tour, with an altitude of 2261 meters, which makes you acclimatize easily when you get to Tibet. You also can spend 1~2 days in Xining, touring the various sights such as Qinghai Lake, Ta er Lamasery, etc.
The Z6801 is the only train that runs between Xining and Lhasa. It departs from Xining at 14:01 from Xining Train Station every day, and arrives in Lhasa at 11:20 on the next day. The train running from Xining is pressurized, supplied with artificial oxygen, and sealed. The windows have ultraviolet filters to protect passengers from UV radiation.
Cabins on Tibet Trains
There are two kinds of cabins on board where you can sleep overnight during your train journey to Tibet. The first-class cabin is the soft sleeper cabin, with 4 beds in one compartment; And the second-class cabin is the hard sleeper with 6 beds in one compartment.
Facilities on board
There is one dining car offering food and drinks on each train to Tibet. At the end of each coach, there are toilets and washing basins. The train offers spoiled water 24 hours so you can bring some instant noodles, coffee, and tea with you.
Oxygen Supply on board
The altitude sickness is always an important and considerable issue for travelers who are planning the train tours to Tibet. As a matter of fact, there are two kinds of oxygen supply systems which can relatively reduce the effect of high altitude in the train. So there is no need to worry too much about suffering from altitude sickness on board.
The advantage of taking Tibet train from Xining
1. The Shortest way to Lhasa by train within 24 Hours
Xining is the ideal choice for travelers who want to travel to Tibet by train but not willing to stay too long on the train. The train to Lhasa takes around 21 hours across the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau with a distance of 1,972km. It is the shortest train journey to Tibet that only takes one night on the train. and travelers can see most of the beautiful sceneries along the Qinghai-Tibet railway in the daytime.
2. More Helpful to Acclimate Altitude Changes
It is ideal for travelers to get to Xining (2261 meters) first, stay there at least 1 day and then take a train to Lhasa. It is not helpful to accumulate the altitude changes from Beijing (44 meters), Shanghai (16 meters), Chengdu (485 meters) and other cities cos the altitude of those cities are too low for people to acclimate.
3. More Chances to Get a Train Ticket to Lhasa from Xining
The demands for the train tickets from Xining to Lhasa is the largest among all the other trains going to Tibet. And it is much easier to get a ticket meeting your required departure time from Xining than from any other city in China. There are about 6 trains from other cities with larger transportation capacity heading to Lhasa passing from Xining each day.
There are many other attractions for travelers to visit in Xining except the amazing scenery that can be seen along the Qinghai-Tibet Railway. As the east gate of the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau, there are many top attractions to keep your eyes busy in Xining. In the southwest part of the city is the Ta’er Monastery, one of the six Great Monasteries of the Gelugpa Sect of Tibetan Buddhism. And a 600-year-old Dongguan Mosque, one of the top 4 mosques in Northwest China, just in the Xining city zone. And it’s big enough to hold over 300 Muslims in prayer.
4. Numerous Tourists Attractions around Xining and Qinghai-Tibet Railway
Outside the city lies the Qinghai Lake, with the famous Bird Island in the northwest of the lake. The island is small but becomes the home to millions of migratory birds twice a year, making it an excellent place for bird-watching and seeing several rare species of non-native birds.