How to Apply for a Tibet Travel Permit?
1. First you must obtain a Chinese visa from the Chinese Embassy in your home country;
2. Contact us at Tibet Odyssey Tours to put together the ideal itinerary for your Tibet tour;
3. Send scanned copies of your passport and the Chinese Visa to your travel consultant and provide an available address (like your hotel) in China where you can receive your permit;
4. We will apply to the Tibet Travel Permit from Tibet Tourist Bureau for you;
5.Once the permit is issued, we will send the original permit to you by post, or in some cases, we can deliver it to you personally.
How to Book a Tibet Train Ticket
1. Best Option: Book with Tibet Odyssey Tours
Tibet Odyssey Tours offers a ticket-booking service that can save you a lot of time and trouble. All that you need to do is send us your passport information by a scanned copy of the picture page of your passport and your Chinese visa and we can book the ticket for you. In general it is much easier for a travel agency such as Tibet Odyssey Tours to book train tickets than it is for individual travelers. As the first step in your journey to Tibet, your friendly travel consultant at Tibet Odyssey Tours can work closely with you to customize your ideal private or group tour itinerary. Once your Tibet itinerary has been determined, our travel experts will apply for the Tibet Travel Permit for you and get your train ticket booked for you. Once you have arrived in China, our local guide and driver can escort you to the appropriate railway station and help you collect your train ticket and board the train. Upon your arrival at the train station in Lhasa, our local tour guide and driver will meet you and take you on to your hotel. No need for you to worry about the train ticket booking process, collection your ticket, finding transportation to and from the train stations or any communication barriers – we take care of all of that for you so you can just relax and enjoy your trip.
2. Book in Person at Railway Stations
It is possible to book a train to Lhasa and Tibet at every railway station in Mainland China. You will need to take your original passport and your Tibet Travel Permit with you in order to book your train ticket. At some railway stations, such as Chengdu Railway Station and Beijing West Railway stations, a photocopy of your Tibet Travel Permit is sufficient. But if you book a train or depart from Chongqing, Xian or Lanzhou, the original Tibet Travel Permit is required. Occasionally any particular railway station may not ask for the Tibet Travel Permit to buy a train ticket to Tibet, but it is always best to have it with you to buy a ticket, and it will certainly be required in order to board any train to Tibet.
If you do decide to book your ticket at the train station, be there as early as possible because you will most likely have to wait in long lines. At the Beijing West Railway Station, you can go to counter 16 in the eastern ticket hall of the north square which should normally have an English-speaking agent. At most other train stations there will not be any English-speaking staff available so communicating what you need may be difficult. It would be a good idea to ask your hotel or a Chinese-speaking friend to write down your desired departure date, time, name of your destination city and desired train number to show to the train ticket seller to help you get the correct ticket. There are some self-help automatic ticket dispensers available at some train stations, but they can only recognize Chinese ID cards so don’t waste your time with them.
Booking on 12306.cn
12306.cn is the only official ticket-booking website operated by the China Railway Engineering Corporation. It offers accurate train ticket information and you can book the ticket immediately, but the process is a bit complicated and it requires registration and log-in before you can book any train tickets. This website is only in Chinese and mostly only accepts payments from Chinese banks, UnionPay and Alipay, and possibly a few foreign debit cards.
Call 95105105 for a Reservation
Also only available in Chinese, it is possible to call 95105105 for a ticket reservation from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. daily. If you call and reserve a ticket before 12:00 p.m. then you must collect your ticket by noon. If you call and reserve your ticket after 12 p.m., you must collect your ticket before midnight. The Chinese language requirement and strict pickup times make this option less than ideal for foreign travelers.
How to Collect Your Tibet Train Ticket
Once you have managed to book your train ticket online, you will be issued a collection number along with the train ticket information. You will need to write down this information or take a photo of it with your smartphone. You can obtain your train ticket at any railway station in Mainland China, but there is an additional 5 RMB fee for collecting the train ticket at any train station other than the departure station. Train tickets for foreign travelers can only be obtained at the ticket counters, so don’t bother with any of the automated kiosks. China’s railway stations are almost always busy and crowded, particularly during the Chinese New Year/Spring Festival, National Day (October 1) and other Chinese holidays. If you will be collecting your train ticket on the day of your departure, we recommend that you get to the train station at least 2 hours in advance. Don’t forget to take your original passport and Tibet Travel Permit.
How to Change Your Tibet Train Ticket
It may be possible to change your Tibet train tickets if you have a change of plans. If the tickets are available for your desired train, you can change to a different date, seat class and seat number. There is no charge to change a train ticket 15 days before the departure date. From 2 to 14 days before your departure date, there is a 5% fee of the cost of the train ticket to change it. 1 to 2 days before the original departure date, there will be a 10% fee to change the ticket, and within 24 hours of the original departure time, there will be a 20% fee of the train ticket cost to change the ticket.
If you need to change your destination, it is possible to change your train ticket up to 48 hours before the original ticket’s departure time at no cost. You will receive a refund for any overpayment or you may have to pay the difference if your new destination’s train ticket costs more. Once you have changed the original train ticket to the new destination, no further changes will be allowed.
All Tibet train tickets can only be changed at the railway station with your original passport. During the Chinese New Year/Spring Festival travel period, all ticket alterations cost 20% of the original ticket price.
How to Cancel a Tibet Train Ticket
If you have a change of plans or if you are unable to take the train, you may be able to cancel your train ticket. If you cancel at least 15 days before the scheduled departure time, you can receive a full refund. Just as with alterations, canceling more than 2 days but less than 15 days before the scheduled departure will incur a 5% penalty of the original ticket price, 1 – 2 days before the scheduled departure will incur a 10% penalty and within 24 hours of the departure time there will be a 20% penalty fee.
Just as with alterations, all Tibet train tickets can only be canceled at the railway station with your original passport. During the Chinese New Year/Spring Festival travel period, all ticket cancellations will incur a 20% penalty fee.
How to Read a Tibet Train Ticket
Your Tibet train ticket has much help printed on it, including the train number, train type, departure date, departure time, departure railway station, arrival railway station, seat class, seat number, and validity period. Once you have received it, read it carefully to make sure you board the train smoothly.
Helpful Train Tips
Booking Time – You can book train tickets in China 30 days in advance or 28 days in advance at the railway station. Booking time periods may possibly be different during peak seasons such as Chinese New Year/Spring Festival, the October 1 National Day holiday, Labor Day or other big holidays.
Children’s Tickets – A child’s ticket costs half the price of an adult ticket. Each adult can bring one child for free if they stand shorter than 1.2 meters (47 inches). Any additional children will need to buy a child’s ticket. Children with a height of 1.2 to 1.5 meters (47 inches to 59 inches) tall will also need to buy a children’s ticket. If the adult has booked a soft or hard sleeper ticket, the child will need to share the berth with the adult who purchased the ticket.
Luggage – The rules state that every train passenger may bring luggage up to 20 kg (44 pounds) with a total width, length and height combined not exceeding 160 cm (63 inches) without charge. If your luggage exceeds the prescribed limit, it will need to be checked in and the appropriate baggage fees paid.