The World’s highest railway

The Qinghai-Tibet railway or Qingzang railway is an alternative to flying in-out  of Lhasa. My first 2 trips to Tibet was from Nepal, crossing the Nepa-China border at Zhangmu located in Nyalam County. The road condition here is pretty bad and during bad weather it’s a nightmare travelling thru this section but thing has changed after the recent earthquakes and it has not been use by tourist since then.

View from train after getting on at Lhasa in the afternoon.

My recent trips to Tibet in June & July it was via Xian, where we fly into Lhasa and taking the Qinghai-Tibet railway back to Xining follow with a change of high speed train to Xian.


The Qinghai-Tibet railway is 1956km from Lhasa to Xining, passing Tanggula Pass (5,072m) above sea level, is the world’s highest point on a railway. Most part of the track pass over 4,000m and above 550km of the track is laid on permafrost.

Playing with their mobile devices is the only entertainment in the train.

The 24 hours train  journey from Lhasa to Xining is a overnight train leaving Lhasa in the afternoon. The train has 2-class of cabins, the hard seat sleep 6 to a cabin while the soft bed takes 4 to a cabin, which is more comfortable but it’s also more expensive. There is a coach which serve simple Chinese meals and drink but seats are limited during meals. The local Chinese mostly will pack their own meals box or cup noodles as there is hot water available at each cabin. Some big tour group will pre-book their meals and occupied the whole section.

I spend most of my time taking photos of the scenery thru the enclosed windows and also photos of curious children when they  approaches me.

Leaving Lhasa late afternoon the train will pass thru some scenic view before sunset and do wake up early as the next morning it will pass Qinghai lake and if weather is good you will get a pretty good view of the huge lake. But taking photos is not easy as the glass window can’t be open and the train is moving too fast. But do enjoy the view as you have your breakfast.

After 24 hours in the train you will arrived at Xining just after lunch time. Here most people will get down and connect to their final destination. After waiting for a few hours we took the high speed train directly to Xian, which is comfortable and fast.

All photos taken with Nikon D850.


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