Happy Birthday to Beijing Lhasa Train!

Since it’s launched 10 years ago the train No.Z21 from Beijing to Lhasa, or better known as Roof of the World Train, become a very popular mode of transport and as a result its very difficult to get a place. You must book well in advance to avoid disappointment.

Tibet China Holidays

To celebrate a milestone here are ten interesting facts about train No.Z21:

1) Train No.Z21 start from Beijing West Railway Station at 20:00 and arrive at Lhasa Railway Station at 12:30 on the third day. And the return train from Lhasa to Beijing (Train No.Z22) departs from Lhasa at 15:30 and arrives in Beijing at 08:20 on the third day.

2) The journey takes around 41 hours passing 3,757 km.

3) The train crosses 8 provinces from Northern China to Tibet.

4) The altitude goes from 44 m in Beijing to 4500m in Nagchu, one stop before Lhasa.

5) There are 3 ticket types: hard seat, soft and hard sleeper. Soft sleeper cater for 4 people and hard for 6.

6) There is oxygen pumped into the train during the journey when crossing the high altitude. Also there are oxygen hoses in the cabins in case you need extra supply.

7) The train (I went in 2008) has one reastoran which serves Chinese food cooked on the train, fresh. There are toilets at the end of each carriage ( Chinese Style) and wash basins.

8) Contrary to popular belief you are not allowed to get off at the train station during the short stops.

9) Each carriage has big windows and that is the only way to get photos of the area you are travelling through.  The scenery is beautiful especially after Golmud but do not expect to see animals.

10) There is high demand for Beijing Lhasa train tickets and you may end up paying more than the net price! You reservation is not confirmed until last minute. If you can’t get hold of Beijing Lhasa train tickets you can try different route Shanghai Lhasa, Chengdu Lhasa as all this trains are going to central point which is Golmud and then they are merged and travelling together to Lhasa.

Timetable of Beijing to Lhasa Train – No.Z21

Station Altitutde Arrival Departure Stop Time Days Distance
West Beijing 44 m 20:00 Day 1
Shijiazhuang 80 m 22:33 22:37 4 min Day 1 291 km
Taiyuan 820 m 00:19 00:25 6 min Day 2 516 km
Zhongwei 3,000 m 07:05 07:16 11 min Day 2 1,263 km
Lanzhou 1,530 m 12:17 12:33 16 min Day 2 1,569 km
Xining 2,200 m 15:00 15:20 20 min Day 2 1,785 km
Delingha 2,980 m 19:22 19:24 2 min Day 2 2,306 km
Golmud 2,780 m 22:15 22:40 25 min Day 2 2,615km
Nagchu 4,500 m 08:04 08:10 6 min Day 3 3,435 km
Lhasa 3,650 m 12:30 Day 3 3,757 km

You can Ride the Roof of the World train on the 14 – days Tibetan Expedition tour.


Happy Birthday to Beijing Lhasa Train!
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