Train Journey Across the Roof of the World

Train Journey Across the Roof of the World 11 Days / 10 Nights


Trip Type:
Tibet By Train

Maximum Altitude:
2300 m

11 Days

Trip Starts:

Trip Ends:
Depart Lhasa


Best Time For Travel:
February to November

Trip Over View

This unusual journey begins at Xining - the capital of the Qinghai province and leads us across the high Tibetan plateau to Lhasa - the heart and soul of Tibet. From Xining, you will have an opportunity to take an excursion to Kumbum Stupa and Kokonor Lake before you embark on your train journey. Kumbum is the hometown of Tsonggkhapa, the founder of the Gelugpa Sect and 14th Dalai Lama. Qinghai Lake, also known as Kokonor Lake is the largest saltwater lake in China.

Tibet lake

The train journey from Xining to Lhasa is the biggest highlight of this trip. The train runs right across the Tibetan plateau offering us unlimited opportunities to witness the spectacular views of the Kunlun and Nyechen Tangula Mountain ranges. At Lhasa, we will visit the several Gelugpa monasteries and temples and wander about the traditional quarter of Jorkhang. Drive along Lhasa-Kathmandu Friendship Highway, southern route, motoring over high passes and enjoying the spectacular views of the Himalayas and visiting the cultural sights of Gyantse and Shigatse. Yamdrok Tso Lake, on the way to Gyantse is so tempting! The 40 mile section of the highway that follows the bank of the turquoise green lake water could be the most scenic drive of your life.

From Shigatse, we will take the Friendship Highway Northern route back to Lhasa that follows the Yarlun Dzangbo River, the only river that originates in west Tibet and runs to the east. In this trip, we will experience exotic local traditions and culture, enjoy the natural landscapes, snow-covered mountains, crystal clear highland lakes, broad meadows, emerald-green forests, peculiar plants and rare wild animals.

Outline Itinerary

Day 01: Arrive Xining.

Day 02: Kumbum Stupa and Kokonor Lake.

Day 03: Return to Xining and board on train.

Day 04: Arrive Lhasa in the evening.

Day 05: At Lhasa.

Day 06: At Lhasa.

Day 07: At Lhasa.

Day 08: To Gyantse.

Day 09: To Shigatse.

Day 10: Drive back to Lhasa.

Day 11: Depart Lhasa.

Day 01: Arrive Xining
Xining, 2300m (7,544m) above sea level used to be an important transfer station to the caravan roads to Tibet. Upon arrival in Xining, meet our local guide and transfer to the hotel.

Day 02: Kumbum Stupa and Kokonor Lake
Today, we leave Xining for an overnight excursion to Kokonor Lake. En route, we visit Kumbum monastery, known as Ta'er Si by the Chinese. Then cross over Sun-Moon-Mountain (RiYue Shan), which divides the meadows with agriculture area. We will reach the lake in the late afternoon, but we will keep on going to the Bird Island. Accommodation in a 3 star standard Island Hotel.

Day 03: Return to Xining and board on train
In the morning, we do some birding on Small Island known as "the heaven of the birds". Thousands of migratory birds make this island home from April to July each year. In the afternoon, we drive back to Xining. After some refreshments, we are transferred to the train station for the train journey of a life time. Train departs at 8:07 pm. Spend the night in the comfortable cabin with 4 sleeper berths.

Day 04: Arrive Lhasa in the evening
Qinghai-Tibet section of the railway is the world's highest and longest railway line. We will enjoy the beautiful scenery of the Tibet plateau. We arrive Lhasa in the evening at 8:30 pm. Meet our local guide at the airport and transfer to the hotel. Accommodation in Dhod Gu Hotel.

Day 05: At Lhasa
Today, we leisurely take the first half of the day resting and in acclimatization. In the afternoon, we stroll in the traditional market of Barkhor Street and visit the ancient Jorkhang Temple. Accommodation in Dhod Gu Hotel.

Day 06: At Lhasa
Today, we visit Potala Palace - the landmark of Lhasa which used to be the winter residence of the Dalai Lama and power center of Tibet. We will also visit Norbulingkha Palaces - the summer residences of the Dalai Lamas. Accommodation in Dhod Gu Hotel.

Day 07: At Lhasa
We visit two of the most important Gelugpa Monasteries - Drepung and Sera Monasteries. Drepung served as the residence of Dalai Lamas prior construction of the Potala Palace. A debating session of Lamas in Sera Monastery is something you would not want to miss.

Day 08: To Gyantse
We head out along Tibet-Nepal Friendship Highway towards the Tibetan town of Gyantse. We drive over two high passes, Kamba La (4,794m/15,725 ft) and Karo La (5,045m/ 15,548 ft) and enjoy the spectacular views of the Himalayas and the plateaus. We drive more than 40 miles along the bank of the beautiful Yamdrok Tso Lake. Accommodation in Gyantse Hotel.

Day 09: To Shigatse
After breakfast, we visit Pelkor Chode Monastery and Kumbum Stupa - the two major sights of Gyantse. Then we drive to Shigatse which is the second largest city of Tibet, only Lhasa is bigger than Shigatse. En route, we visit Shalu Monastery. At Shigatse, we visit Tashilunbo Monastery - the seat of Panchen Lama lineage. Overnight in Shigatse at Manasarovara Hotel.

Day 10: Drive back to Lhasa.
In the morning, we visit the markets of Shigatse and then drive back to Lhasa along the northern route of the Friendship Highway that follows the Yarlungzangbo River. Accommodation in Dhod Gu Hotel or similar hotel.

Day 11: Depart Lhasa.

  • Includes

    • 3 star standard accommodation on twin sharing.
    • Daily breakfast.
    • Xining-Lhasa train ticket, soft sleeper berth.
    • All transportations and tour by a private vehicle.
    • English speaking Tibetan Guide.
    • Tibet entry permits.
    • Sightseeing admission fees.


    • Airfare into Xining and out of Lhasa.
    • Lunch and dinner.
    • Drinks, tip and other expenses of personal nature.
    • Travel Insurance.
    • Extra expenses due to nature and unforeseen events.