Hard Sleeper Berth of Tibet Trains

For tourists who want to experience a sleeper train journey to Tibet, the hard sleeper is the economical option without compromising the comfort. 

About Hard Sleeper on Trains

The Hard sleeper abbreviated YW, is a passenger railway compartment class in the People’s Republic of China. Hard sleeper is a class on most Z-series, T-series express trains and K-series rapid trains. They are the cheapest type of sleepers on Chinese trains. A hard sleeper China train carriage consists of 11 semi-open compartments, so it can be noisy but also a good opportunity to meet some common Chinese people. Each compartment has six berths, three on each side(Lower berth is usually more comfortable). The hard sleeper berth is not as large as the soft sleeper berth – only 24 inches(60 cm) wide and 71 inches(180 cm) long. Basic bedding including quilt, sheets and a pillow is provided.

Facilities of Hard Sleeper Berth

A ladder at the end of the beds is provided for passengers to gain access to the top and middle berths. Passengers on the middle and upper berth can not sit up straight, as the head spaces for the middle and upper berths are only 28 inches (70 cm) and 26 inches (65 cm) respectively, with only the lower berths providing enough space to comfortably sit up.

A hook is provided above each bed for passengers to hang an overcoat or other items on. There is a small table located between the two lower bunks. Each compartment also has a thermos, a dustbin and a tray for litter. An LCD TV is also available in each compartment on some trains. A small table and two foldable seats are located in the aisle by the window. There is also an open luggage rack located above the seats in the aisle that is large enough to hold a 28-inch suitcase.

A bottom bunk serves as a public couch, as other passengers in the same compartment usually sit on it during the day so you have much less privacy with a bottom berth although there is much more head room. Once the lights go out at night, you will still hear people walking up and down the aisles. The middle bunk has less headroom but more privacy than the bottom bunk although you will still need to use the ladder for access. Shorter people may be able to sit upright on the bed but still have to be a bit bent over. The top bunk is a bit difficult to access so it is not recommended for people who are not reasonably physically fit. It provides the most privacy but very little headroom. One good aspect is that it is easy to access your bags that are on the luggage rack above the aisle table.

The differences between hard and soft sleeper compartments are as follows:

1. 6 bunks instead of 4 (3 on each side)
2. No door(some type have)
3. No blind on the window (but there are curtains)
4. Less comfortable bedding, e.g. only one pillow
5. No TV screen

Useful Tips

1. If you are traveling to Lhasa from Beijing, Shanghai, Chengdu, you are strongly suggested to take the Soft Sleepers because you need to spend two nights on the train.

2. To travel to Tibet by train, you need to hold a Tibet Travel Permit.

3. If you feel uncomfortable with the environment of the compartment due to sharing the space with others who may be girls or boys, the opposite sex, you can also ask the conductor to change a compartment with the same gender.

4. Public facilities on Tibet trains include dining car, toilet, drinking water and smoking area. Since the sinks are public use, you are suggested to get up early in the morning, so that you will not wait in line for too long to brush teeth, wash the face and use toilet. 

5. Because of high altitude, it is prone to altitude sickness on the way to Tibet. If you have difficulty breathing, there are Oxygen supply in hard sleeper. Any problem, you can ask conductor for help.

6. The corridor is equipped with folding chair and small table, passengers can go to there to stretch legs. 

7. If you buy the middle berth and upper berth, you’d better to bring a pair of comfortable shoes or slippers, which is convenient for you to get on or off your bed.