The Shangri-La Western Express Train

About the Train

With their combination of remote destinations and comfortable accommodations, private train journeys open a world of discovery to adventurous travelers. The Shangri-La Western Express offers a comfortable, rewarding way to experience a legendary rail route.

Our Trips

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Train & Hotel Accommodations

On the Shangri-La Western Express private train you can relax and watch the panorama rolling out before you from your private window, and there are frequent opportunities to explore the territory on guided off-train tours.

Two styles of accommodation are available on board the Shangri-La Western Express:

  • Diamond Class (en suite)
  • Heritage Class (WC at both ends of each car, shower at one end)

Please note that a variety of cabins styles may be in use aboard the train. Decor, layout, and type and number of dining and sleeping cars on your journey may differ from the examples depicted in MIR’s literature and on our website.

Diamond Class

Diamond Class cabins are the more comfortable and spacious compartments available onboard the train. Measuring 75 sq ft (7 sq m), each cabin is furnished with a large double bed, picture window, table, chair, and wardrobe. En suite bathroom facilities include a wet-room-type shower.

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  • Sample Diamond class corridor on the Shangri La Western Express Sample Diamond class corridor on the Shangri La Western Express
  • Sample Diamond class en-suite cabin on the Shangri La Western Express Sample Diamond class en-suite cabin on the Shangri La Western Express
  • Sample Diamond class en-suite cabin on the Shangri La Western Express Sample Diamond class en-suite cabin on the Shangri La Western Express

Heritage Class

Heritage Class cabins are more compact at 36 sq ft (3.45 sq m), with two lower twin berths. Beds convert to comfortable sofas for daytime use, and there is storage space under the berths and above the door. WCs are found at both ends of each car, and each car has a shower compartment at one end as well.

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  • Sample Heritage class cabin on the Shangri La Western Express Sample Heritage class cabin on the Shangri La Western Express
  • Sample Heritage class cabin shared shower on the Shangri La Western Express Sample Heritage class cabin shared shower on the Shangri La Western Express

Hotel Accommodations

Hotel nights in upscale and best-available properties are commonly interspersed throughout journeys. Please review the detailed itinerary for specifics. Additional nights before and after any tour can be arranged on request.

Life Aboard the Train

The Shangri-La Western Express is a comfortable, though not luxurious, private train that accommodates up to 140 passengers. Average group sizes commonly range from 100 to 120 passengers, and off-train excursion groups have a maximum of 26 passengers per coach. Join travelers from around the world in the relaxed and casual environment onboard, with no need to wear formal attire on excursions or while dining.

Train formations vary depending on the number of passengers on a given departure. Group sizes on winter trips are generally smaller than spring, summer, and fall departures. The exact configuration of the train on any particular journey may not be determined until close to departure.

Dining Cars

Dining cars have dedicated chefs serving a Western breakfast and a wide range of authentic Chinese specialties at lunch and dinner, using only the finest local ingredients. Meals are accompanied by a selection of wines from around the world, as well as soft drinks, tea, and coffee. Dining cars are also used for other activities such as lectures and documentaries. More than one dining car may be included in the train formation, depending on the number of passengers.

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  • Sample Dining Car on the Shangri La Western Express Sample Dining Car on the Shangri La Western Express
  • Sample Dining Car on the Shangri La Western Express Sample Dining Car on the Shangri La Western Express
  • Sample Dining Car on the Shangri La Western Express Sample Dining Car on the Shangri La Western Express
  • Sample Dining Car on the Shangri La Western Express Sample Dining Car on the Shangri La Western Express

Bar/Lounge Car

The bar/lounge car, included on most departures, is a social hub of the train where passengers can relax in a comfortable setting, enjoy a drink, and gather with one another around the piano.

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  • Sample Bar and Lounge Car on the Shangri La Western Express Sample Bar and Lounge Car on the Shangri La Western Express
  • Sample Bar and Lounge Car on the Shangri La Western Express Sample Bar and Lounge Car on the Shangri La Western Express

Off-Train Tours

Rail journeys feature an extensive lineup of tours at the various stops on the routes. Private coaches and local guides whisk you away from your train for fascinating half- or full-day forays into the principal towns and cities, sometimes including an in-city dining opportunity. Your tour’s itinerary includes all the details.

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  • Potala Palace in Lhasa, Tibet Potala Palace in Lhasa, Tibet.
The Shangri La Western Express train
Potala Palace in Lhasa, Tibet
Sample Bar and Lounge Car on the Shangri La Western Express train
Sample Diamond Class cabin on the Shangri La Western Express train
Cabin attendant service on the Shangri La Western Express train
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  • The Shangri La Western Express train The Shangri La Western Express train.
  • Potala Palace in Lhasa, Tibet Potala Palace in Lhasa, Tibet.
  • Sample Bar and Lounge Car on the Shangri La Western Express train Sample Bar and Lounge Car on the Shangri La Western Express train.
  • Sample Diamond Class cabin on the Shangri La Western Express train Sample Diamond Class cabin on the Shangri La Western Express train.
  • Cabin attendant service on the Shangri La Western Express train Cabin attendant service on the Shangri La Western Express train.
  • Sample Dining Car on the Shangri La Western Express train Sample Dining Car on the Shangri La Western Express train.
  • The Shangri La Western Express train waiting at a station The Shangri La Western Express train waiting at a station.

Traveler Reviews

  • "A great adventure. Something one should do at least once in life."

    J. Heldman

    Oakland, CA

  • "This was certainly a trip of a lifetime. Needless to say, it was great! Thanks for all your help getting everything organized at the beginning. Hope to do another trip … Again, it was fantastic!"

    S. & M. Cowperthwaite

    Ottsville, PA