How to Get to Xining & Get around Xining 2021
Xining, the capital city of Qinghai Province, serves as a vital transport hub in Qinghai Province and a necessary gateway to Tibet for train travelers. The city itself has two splendid attractions - Kumbum Monastery (Ta’er Monastery) and Dongguan Mosque where tourists can explore the ethnic cultural diversity in northwest China. Whether you are planning a special visit to Xining, or a trip to the beautiful Qinghai Lake, the famous “Mirror of Sky” - Chaka Salt Lake and other destinations in Qinghai Province from Xining, or a Tibet tour by Xining-Lhasa train, or a Silk Road journey from Xining, you will find the most useful Xining Transportation Guide here. Detailed means of transportation, travel time, the best options are given to help you travel to Xining and around areas in the most convenient way.
Where is Xining located in China?
Xining (coordinates: 36.6171°N, 101.7782°E) is located in the northeast region of Qinghai Province, northwest China. It lies about 150 km east of Qinghai Lake, for about 2.5 hours’ drive and 300 km east of Chaka Salt Lake with almost 4.5 hours’ drive. And, Xining is about 110 km (1.5 hours’ drive) north of Kanbula National Forest Park and about 160 km (2.5 hours’ drive) from Tongren (Rongwu Monastery) in the south. Besides, the distance from Beijing to Xining is 1,660 km and over 2,210 km from Shanghai to Xining, 1,050 km from Chengdu and 1,972 km from Lhasa of Tibet.
Three Ways to Get to Xining:
So far, travelers can get to Xining by air, train and land driving. Taking a flight and a train is more popular for most tourists while the land driving is suitable for an extended trip from southern Gansu. We list major flight and train schedules of Xining below for your reference. You can contact us to get more details and the best travel suggestion.
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Get to Xining by Flight - Best Choice for Long-distance Travelers
Taking a flight is the fastest and most comfortable way to get to Xining, which usually takes several hours only. Xining Caojiabao International Airport, about 28 km (40 minutes’ drive) east of the downtown Xining is an airport serving tourists to and leaving Xining. It still works as an important air hub in Qinghai and Qinghai Tibet Plateau. It has opened over 60 air lines with 48 cities at home and abroad, which means you can fly to Xining from lots of major tourist cities in China, such as Beijing, Shanghai, Xian, Lhasa, Chengdu, Chongqing, Hangzhou, Nanjing, Xiamen, Qingdao, Tianjin, Changsha, Dunhuang, Harbin, Hohhot, Kunming, Urumqi, Wuhan, Zhangjiajie, Yinchuan, etc. Besides, there are irregular flights to Xining from Kuala Lumpur and Nha Trang in Southeast Asia. The airport also operates regional flights from Xining to Golmud, Golog, Huatugou, Yushu and Qilian within Qinghai Province.
Xian Caojiabao International Airport 西宁曹家堡国际机场
IATA: XMN ICAO: ZLXN
Address: Huzhu Tu Autonomous County, Haidong, Qinghai 青海省海东市互助土族自治县
Transportation: about 55 km, 1 hour’s drive from Kumbum Monastery; about 27 km, 40 minutes’ drive from Dongguan Mosque; about 37 km, 50 minutes’ drive from Tibetan Medicine & Tibet Culture Museum; about 175 km, 2 hours 40 minutes’ drive from Qinghai Lake and nearly 320 km, 4.5 hours’ drive from Chaka Salt Lake
Xining Caojiabao International Airport
Major Xining Flight Schedules:
|Flight Route||(Non-stop) Flight Time||Flight Route||(Non-stop) Flight Time|
|Beijing - Xining||about 2.5 hours||Shanghai - Xining||about 3.5 hours|
|Xian - Xining||about 1.5 hours||Chengdu - Xining||about 2 hours|
|Guangzhou - Xining||about 3.5 hours||Lhasa - Xining||about 2.5 hours|
Note: The above flight schedule is listed for reference only. You can contact us to get the frequency, up-to-date flight timetable and other flight routes to plan your air travel to Xining.
Get to Xining by Train
Xining is the rail transportation hub in Qinghai and a must railway pass to Tibet. Currently, Xining has three railway stations in service: Xining Railway Station, Datong West Railway Station and Huangyuan Railway Station. Xining Railway Station, the largest railway station in Qinghai and Tibet regions is the main train station used by train travelers while the latter two are seldom used.
There are three railways starting or passing by Xining Railway Station, and they are the world-renowned Qinghai-Tibet Railway, Lanzhou-Urumqi High Speed Railway and Lanzhou-Qinghai Railway. So you can take a high speed bullet train to Xining from many cities in Northern China like Xian, Lanzhou, Zhangye, Jiayuguan, Turpan, Urumqi, and other connected cities, such as Chengdu, Chongqing, Taiyuan, etc. Meanwhile, you can experience an impressive train journey to Tibet, viewing breathtaking snow-capped mountains, vast grasslands and plateau landscape along the rail.
Xining Railway Station 西宁火车站
Address: No. 128 Huzhu Road, Chengdong District, Xining, Qinghai 青海省西宁市城东区互助路128号
Transportation: about 5 km (20 minutes by car, 40 minutes by bus) from downtown; 33 km (1 hour’s drive) from Kumbum Monastery; about 2 km, 10 minutes’ drive from Dongguan Mosque; over 150 km, 2.5 hours’ drive from Qinghai Lake and 300 km, 4 hours’ drive from Chaka Salt Lake
Xining Railway Station
Beijing to Xining
Beijing to Xining by Flight (More Recommended)
Flight Time: about 2.5 hours
Frequency: about 15 flights per day
It takes less than 2.5 hours flying from Beijing to Xining. Every day, there are around 15 direct flights taking off from Beijing Daxing International Airport (PKX) and Beijing Capital International Airport (PEK) to Xining Caojiabao International Airport (XMN). The flights are scheduled between 6:40am and 10:00pm each day. We suggest that you take a morning flight or a afternoon flight depending on your itinerary, because you need to transfer to the downtown and leave some time for acclimatization to the altitude of Xining.
Tips: 1.) Beijing Daxing International Airport operates most flights to Xining, but it is located 50 km far away from the city center for at least 1 hour and 10 minutes’ drive (transfers through subways needs about 1 hour 10 minutes as well) 2.) Beijing Capital International Airport lies about 35 km, 1 hours’ drive from the city center.
Beijing to Xining by Train
Train Time: about 19 hours ~ 22.5 hours
Frequency: 3 trains per day
There are no high speed bullet trains running from Beijing to Xining except a few overnight trains (T and Z trains). They are normal speed trains and all start from Beijing West Railway Station in Beijing to Xining Railway Station. Two trains leaves in the afternoon and one depart in the evening. They will get to Xining on the second day. Soft Sleeper, Hard Sleeper and Hard Seat are offered onboard. If you catch a Beijing to Lhasa (Tibet) Train, you will make a stopover in Xining.
Beijing Daxing International Airport
Shanghai to Xining
Shanghai to Xining by Flight (More Recommended)
Flight Time: about 3.5 hours
Frequency: more than 15 flights per day
There are frequent non-stop flights flying from Shanghai Hongqiao International Airport (SHA) and Shanghai Pudong International Airport (PVG) to Xining daily. And they leave Shanghai between 6:30am and about 19:30pm every day.
Tips: 1.) Shanghai Pudong International Airport is about 45 km, 1.5 hours’ drive from downtown; can be reached by Shanghai Maglev Train, Shanghai Metro Line 2, taxi, airport bus and city bus. 2.) Shanghai Hongqiao International Airport is nearly 20 km, 1 hour 15 minutes’ drive from the city center. You can get to the airport by Shanghai Metro Line 2, Line 10 and city bus.
Shanghai to Xining by Train
Train Time: about 25 hours ~ 34 hours
Frequency: 2 trains per day
Every day, Shanghai sends two trains (both are overnight trains) from Shanghai Railway Station to Xining Railway Station. One train departs in the morning and another one begins in the evening hour. They both arrive in Xian in the following day.
Shanghai Hongqiao International Airport
Shanghai Railway Station
Chengdu to Xining
Chengdu to Xining by Flight (More Recommended)
Distance: about 1,050 km
Flight Time: less than 2 hours
Frequency: more than 15 flights per day
Chengdu, most known as the “Home of the Giant Panda”, also operates many flights to Xining each day. The flights take off from Chengdu Shuangliu International Airport (CTU) from about 6:30 am to 10:00 pm and land in Xining at around 8:00 am to midnight. Most flights fly in the morning which is good for you to rest and adapt to the altitude.
Chengdu to Xining by Train
By High Speed Train:
Chengdu dispatches one high speed train from Chengdu East Railway Station to Xining Railway Station every day. It departs at about 12:00 and gets to Xining at about 22:00, after 10 hours’ ride. There are two types of tickets are offered: First Class Seat and Second Class Seat.
By Normal Train:
There are 2 to 3 normal trains running from Chengdu Railway Station to Xining Railway Station as well. The trains are overnight trains spending about 14.5 ~ 15 hours.
Chengdu to Xining
Chengdu East Railway Station
Guangzhou to Xining
Guangzhou to Xining by Flight (More Recommended)
Distance: about 2,460 km
Flight Time: over 3 hours 15 minutes
Frequency: more than 5 flights per day
There are more than 5 flights taking off from Guangzhou Baiyun International Airport to Xining Caojiabao International Airport each day. Among them all, there are two non-stop flights (within 3.5 hours) and several flights with stopovers in Zhangjiajie or Guiyang (about 5 hours). The stopover is about 1 hour.
Guangzhou to Xining by Train
Train Time: about 32 hours
Frequency: 1 train per day
At present, there is only one train running from Guangzhou to Xining on a daily basis. It is the Guangzhou-Lhasa train, an overnight normal train that departs from Guangzhou Railway Station and passes Xining Railway Station the following day and terminates at Lhasa Railway Station on the third day.
Guangzhou Baiyun International Airport
Guangzhou Railway Station
Yinchuan to Xining
Xining is located about 605 km southeast of Yinchuan, Ningxia. You can get from Yinchuan to Xining by flight or by train.
Yinchuan to Xining by Flight (More Recommended)
Flight Time: 1 hour 10 minutes
Frequency: 1 direct flight per day
There is only one non-stop flight flying from Yinchuan Hedong International Airport to Xining Caojiabao International Airport every day. The flight departs at about 10: 30 am and lands in Xining around 11:30am. The 1-hour air travel is the faster and better choice for your Yinchuan to Xining travel.
Yinchuan to Xining by Train
Train Time: 11.5 hours ~ 12.5 hours
Frequency: 3 trains per day
There is no high speed bullet train running from Yinchuan to Xining and the opposite route. Only three normal slow trains are offered. They all leaves from Yinchuan Railway Station and get to Xining Railway Station. The earliest train can arrive in Xining since it departs at about 2:00 am and travels 12 hours. The other two trains are both overnight trains leaving in the evening and reaching Xining in the next morning.
Our Advice: Though the train ticket is much cheaper but it takes around lots of time onboard. So the flight is more recommended.
Yinchuan Hedong International Airport
Yinchuan Railway Station
Get around Xining - By Private Car, Taxi, Bus
As the capital city of Qinghai Province, Xining has the most convenient transportation. It’s easy to get around Xining by private car and public transport. But because Xining is located in the remote region of Northwest China and some attractions are situated far from each other. To save your time and ensure you a better travel experience, a private transfer is most recommended.
By Our Private Car
Travelling with China Discovery to enjoy worry-free transfer is the best way to get around Xining and travel around Qinghai. Our local tour guide and driver will pick you up from the airport and train station in Xining, escort you to your hotel in the downtown to check in by a safe, comfortable and licensed private vehicle and accompany you to Kumbum Monastery, Dongguan Mosque in Xining and trips to Qinghai Lake and Chaka Salt Lake and other destinations in and around Xining with speed. So you can focus on the sightseeing and get rid of the traffic matters.
It’s easy to catch a taxi at Xining Airport, Railway Station and downtown area to get around. But the charges are very high if you visit an attraction in the suburb area. Besides, the taxi will not run out of the city to distant places, like Qinghai Lake, Chaka Salt Lake.
Bus is the cheapest and the slowest way to get around Xining. It is mostly used by the locals. Travelers seldom choose a local bus as it takes double times than a taxi and a private car.
China Discovery's Private Transfer
Bus in Xining
Xining to Qinghai Lake
Erlangjian Scenic Area, the main sightseeing area of Qinghai Lake lies in Gonghe County, Hainan Tibetan Autonomous, about 150 km west of Xining.
Xining to Qinghai Lake by Private Car
Drive Time: about 2.5 hours
Getting from Xining to Qinghai Lake by private driving is the most efficient and comfortable way. Travelling with us, you can take a spacious and clean car from your hotel or the airport and train station in Xining, drive on well-paved highways and enjoy gorgeous grassy mountains rolling up and down outside the window. The ride takes merely 2.5 hours. You may stop on famous Riyue Mountain Pass to admire the scenery.
Xining to Qinghai Lake by Long-distance Bus
Bus Time: about 3 hours
Xining Bayilu Bus Station (八一路客运站), about 6 km, 20 minutes’ drive from the city center, has frequent buses to Erlangjian Scenic Area of Qinghai Lake daily. The buses usually depart from 7:30am to 9:30am and will travel for 3 hours or so. If you take a bus, you will miss the chance to stop and enjoy the plateau scenery en route.
Most Popular Xining Qinghai Lake Tours:
Xining to Qinghai Lake Bus
Xining to Chaka Salt Lake
Chaka Salt Lake is located in Ulan County, Haixi Mongolian Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture, nearly 300 km west of Xining.
Xining to Chaka Salt Lake by Private Car
Drive Time: about 4 hours
Taking a private car is the most convenient way to travel from Xining to Chaka Salt Lake. We can pick you up from your hotel in Xining downtown or any places you designate. You will drive all the way with good road condition, pass through beautiful Riyue Mountain Pass where is covered vast grass lands and witness various landscape along the highway.
Xining to Chaka Salt Lake by Long-distance Bus
Bus Time: nearly 5 hours
Option 1: Xining Xinninglu Bus Station (西宁新宁路汽车站) runs one direct bus to Chaka Salt Lake each day. The trips is about 5 hours.
Option 2: If you miss the direct bus, there are buses from Xining Bus Station (西宁客运中心) and Xining Xinninglu Bus Station to bus station in Chaka Town. The terminus is within 4 km from Chaka Salt Lake and there is no public transport offered, Thus, after arrival, you need to take a chartered bus to reach the lake with another drive of 10 minutes.
Xining to Chaka Salt Lake by Train
Train Time: about 4 hours
According to railway authorities, there are special tourist trains scheduled running from Xining Railway Station to Chaka Railway Station during every June to August of peak season. The train starts from Xining in the morning and travels about 4 hours, and get to Chaka Railway Station at noon. The rail terminus is only 700 meters from the lake entrance, for about 10 minutes’ walk.
Hot Xining Chaka Lake Tour:
Sightseeing Train in Chaka Salt Lake
Xining to Kanbula National Forest Park
Kanbula National Forest Park is located in Jianzha County, Huangnan Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture, about 105 km south of Xining.
By Private Car: It takes about 1.5 hours to drive from Xining downtown to Kanbula National Forest Park.
By Long-distance Bus: Xining Bus Station delivers about 5 buses to Kanbula Town in every afternoon. The bus drives around 1.5 hours. Upon arrival, you need to take a chartered car to get to the park. (distance: 4 km, drive time: about 10 minutes)
Top Xining Tours:
Xining to Tongren (Rongwo Monastery)
Tongren County, most known for the “Regong Art” (a traditional Buddhist painting art) and Rongwo Mastery is located in Huangnan Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture of Qinghai Province, about 160 km south of Xining City.
Xining to Tongren by Private Car: Driving from Xining to Tongren by private car takes about 2.5 hours.
Xining to Tongren by Long-distance Bus: Each day, there are nearly 30 buses running from Xining Bus Station to Tongren Bus Station. They leave from 7;40 am to 6:30pm and travels about 3 hours.
Best-selling Xining Tongren Tours:
Xining to Lhasa
Lhasa, the holy spiritual center of Tibet lies about 1,972 km southwest of Xining. There are two ways you can take to travel from Xining to Lhasa.
Xining to Lhasa by Flight
Flight Time: about 2.5 hours
Frequency: over 15 non-stop flights per day
Flying is the fastest way to get from Xining to Lhasa. Every day, there are more than 15 direct flights taking off from Xining Caojiabao International Airport and landing at Lhasa Gonggar International Airport. Depending on your itinerary, you can choose a flight leaving between 7:30 am and 10;30pm. Lhasa Airport is approximately 60 km, 1.5 hours’ drive from the downtown area.
Xining to Lhasa by Train
Train Time: about 20 hours ~ 22 hours
Frequency: 5~6 trains per day
With the shortest travel distance, train ride and more trains, Xining is the most popular rail gateway city to Tibet. There are 6 trains running from Xining Railway Station to Lhasa Railway Station daily. All are overnight trains leave in the afternoon and arrive in the next evening. Though the trains travel at a normal operational speed, you will witness marvellous snow-capped mountains, Hoh Xil Nature Reserve, blue lakes, Tibetan antelope and much precious wildlife.
Hot Xining Lhasa Tours:
Potala Palace in Lhasa of Tibet
Xining to Lhasa Train
Xining to Zhengye, Dunhuang and Other Destinations
Because Qinghai is surrounded by Gansu, Xinjiang, Sichuan and Tibet, it’s also common to travel to Xining with notable destinations in neighboring regions, such as Zhangye, Dunhuang, Jiayuguan and southern Gansu, Jiuzhaigou in northern Sichuan, even Urumqi in Xinjiang, etc. Check the traffic information of Xining below to plan an extended trip in northwest China.
Xining to Other Destinations in Neighbouring Provinces
|Travel Route||Distance||By High Speed Bullet Train||By Normal Train||By Private Car||By Bus||By Flight|
|Xining - Lanzhou||about 220 km||1~2.5 hours||2.5~4.5 hours||3 hours||3.5 hours||/|
|Xining - Zhangye||about 345 km||about 2 hours||/||about 5.5 hours||6~7 hours||/|
|Xining - Jiayuguan||about 565 km||about 3.5 hours||/||about 7.5 hours||/||connecting flights (over 5.5 hours)|
|Xining - Dunhuang||about 940 km||6~7 hours||/||about 11.5 hours||/||direct flights (about 1.5 hours)|
|Xining - Bingling Temple Grottoes (Linxia, Gansu)||about 220 km||/||/||about 4 hours||/||/|
|Xining - Langmu Temple (Gannan, Gansu)||about 440 km||/||/||about 7 hours||/||/|
|Xining - Labrang Monastery (Xiahe, Gannan, Gansu)||about 240 km||/||/||about 4 hours||/||/|
|Xining - Urumqi||about 1,750 km||9~9.5 hours||/||about 21.5 hours||/||about 2.5 hours|
|Xining - Jiuzhaigou||about 800 km||/||/||about 12 hours (drive via Gannan)||/||/|
How to Plan a Xining Trip
How to Get to Xining: You can fly to Xining from Beijing (2.5h), Shanghai (3h), Guangzhou (3h15min), Lhasa (2-3.5h), Xian (1.5h), etc. or take a bullet train to Xining from Xian (4-5h), Lanzhou (1h10min-1.5h), Zhangye (2h), Jiayuguan (3.3.5h), Dunhuang (6h), etc.
Best Time to Visit Xining: Months from May to October are the best because the temperature is moderate and comfortable.
Where to Stay in Xining: Xining downtown is most recommended. If you are going to visit Qinghai Lake or Chaka Salt Lake, you can also choose the hotels nearby.
Xining is the starting point and transfer center for a Qinghai tour. It’s suitable to spend 1 day discovering the top attractions in Xining, including the Kumbum Monastery, Dongguan Mosque, Tibetan Medicine & Tibet Culture Museum. The vast and beautiful Qinghai Lake, about 2.5 hours’ drive from Xining is the No.1 must-visit attraction. You can spend one day here appreciating the water scenery, hiking or biking along the lake or taking a Qinghai Lake cruise (cruise is only available from May to October). With one more day, you can expand trip to the Chaka Salt Lake, known as Mirror of the Sky for its stunning reflected natural landscape on the salt lake. Another day is needed. Usually, people take 3~4 days to visit the three destinations together to explore the cultural and natural highlights of Qinghai.
With short driving distance, there are a few less-known but incredible destinations you can visit, such as the Tongren with authentic Amdo Tibetan Buddhist culture and famous Regong Arts, Kanbula National Forest Park with magnificent Yellow River and Danxia landform. If you’re interested and have more time, you can continue the Buddhist cultural trip to Xiahe (Labrang Monastery) and Linxia (Bingling Temple) in southern Gansu.
☛ 4 Days Qinghai Lake Kanbula National Forest Park Geographic Wonders Tour
☛ 4 Days Qinghai Lake Landscape Tour plus Tongren Authentic Tibetan Culture & Art Exploration
☛ 5 Days Amdo Tibetan Culture Experience Tour
Northwest and southwest China are mysterious lands full of natural beauty and cultural charms. Tourists often make a long trip from Qinghai to neighboring Zhangye (Rainbow Mountains), Jiayuguan, Dunhuang (Mogao Caves) of Gansu along the Silk Road, or make a Sky Train trip to “Roof of the World” - Tibet, visit Potala Palace, Mount Everest, Namtso Lake..., or explore Badain Jaran Desert in Western Inner Mongolia, go further to Urumqi, Turpan and more destinations in Xinjiang and travel land to Jiuzhaigou, Ruo’ergai of Sichuan.
☛ 7 Days Qinghai Lake Zhangye Danxia Badain Jaran Desert Wonders Tour
☛ 6 Days Xining to Lhasa Train Tour by Qinghai Tibet Railway
☛ 6 Days Xining to Lhasa Train Tour by Qinghai Tibet Railway
☛ 12 Days Epic Silk Road Tour including Qinghai Lake and Zhangye Danxia
You can choose from our most popular Qinghai tour packages covering excellent sightseeing and the best local experiences. As an experienced and professional China travel agency, China Discovery also offers customized tour service to help you design a unique trip on your own. Just contact us, tell us your schedule and preferences, we will create a memorable China Qinghai tour for you.
- Xining Travel Guide
- Things to Do in Xining
- Xining Maps
- Xining Weather
- Where to Stay in Xining
- Xining Airport and Flights
- Xining Railway Stations
- Xining to Lhasa Transfer
- Lhasa to Xining Transfer
- Xining to Zhangye Transfer
- Zhangye to Xining Transfer
Keep Reading About Xining
- Qinghai Lake
- Kumbum Monastery
- Chaka Salt Lake
- Dongguan Mosque
- Kanbula National Forest Park
- Rongwo Monastery
- Amne Machin Snow Mountain
Keep Reading About Qinghai Attractions
- Qinghai Tours
- Things to Do in Qinghai
- Activities in Qinghai
- Qinghai Weather & Seasons
- Qinghai Transportation
- Qinghai Maps
- Where to Stay in Qinghai
- Economy Qinghai Hotels
- Comfortable Qinghai Hotels
- Luxury Qinghai Hotels
- How to Plan Qinghai Tour
- Xining Travel Guide
- Golmud Travel Guide
- Tongren Travel Guide
- Yushu Travel Guide
- Qinghai Tibet Railway
- Amdo Travel Guide
- Qinghai FAQs & Tips
Keep Reading About Qinghai Tours & Travel Guide
Recommended Xining Tours
Top 3 Xining tours chosen by most customers to explore Xining in the best way. Check the detailed itinerary, or tailor your own trip now with us.
- 4 Days Enchanting Qinghai Lake Chaka Salt Lake Tour
Xining / Qinghai Lake / Chaka Lake / Xining
- 5 Days Amdo Tibetan Culture Experience Tour
Xining - Tongren - Xiahe - Linxia
- 4 Days Qinghai Lake Kanbula National Forest Park Geographic Wonder Tour
Xining / Kanbula National Forest Park / Qinghai Lake / Xining
Start planning your tailor-made holiday to China by contacting one of our specialists. Once enquired, you’ll get a response within 0.5~23.5 hours.Customize a Trip
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