Global Mark : 13.28 (up)
Ratings by criteria :
Ratings by backpackers :
||10 to 18
Description : A Muslim oasis with not much inside but a lot outside.
Comments : The idea (as a lot of people will remind you) is to take
a day bus tour to the surrounding attractions.
What to do : Negotiate a tour / Walk the grapevine trellises cooling
streets / Drink a lot (incl. wine) / Confuse local Uighurs with foreigners /
Become Muslim and head to the City
Mosque / Wash your clothes as the weather means record drying speed / Buy dry
raisins (or other dry stuff) / Watch local dances / Eat shish kebab /
What you may not like :
Being in the hottest place in China / The
bad quality-price ratio of some of the rooms / Spending too little time in some
of the sights / The expensive bikes / The "compulsory" bus tour to see
the sights / Some ridiculously priced sights
How long ? The time to rest a bit and make a tour
Where to stay ?
Jiaotong Hotel (8531 320),
next to the Bus station, near the liveliest
spot of the town / Dorm 8(10) or 10(4) with fan / Dorm 12(6) or 18(4 or 3) with TV and air cond... / Bed 40, 50 or 80 in Dble with bath
/ Basic but acceptable toilets & bath / HW 7 to 10, 13 to 15 and 20
to 1am // Go there for the convenient
location, the relatively cheap prices, the eagerness of the management to strike
a deal at great rate (say, a private Dbl with bath for 50Y in LS) / What you may
not like : some cheaper but humid rooms on the GF, the wait for the
key, the staff opening your door without warning, the noisy and dirty air cond.,...
Keyun Luguan (853 1094),
inside the bus station, on the right / Dorm
with air cond. : 10(4), 15-25(3) or 35(2) in basic rooms / One individual
shower / Public toilets of the bus station / HW 24 hours (so they claim...) // Go there for the cheapest prices
in town. / What you may not like : the
noise, smell and atmosphere of this very small and basic place.
on Gaochang Lu, south of the museum / Dorm 30(3) or 40-50(2) with
bathroom, depending on the floor / HW 24 hours // Go there for one of the best
deal in town, the good location near the dining area / What you may not
like : probably having to pay twice as much during
(8522 478, fax 825 3348),
on Qingnian Beilu /a luxury hotel with an old wings /
Dorm 27 (4) without air cond nor fan / Dbl 300 (LS) or 450 (HS)
/ OK toilets and shower / HW 8 to 24 // Go there for the surroundings and
standing of the place, the amenities of the hotel, the relax location, the
acceptable rooms. / What you may not like :
the poor quality-price of the rooms, being with a lot of foreigners which
could prove a noisy experience
Turpan Binguan (8522 301),
south of the old city on Qingnian Nanlu / Dorm 30(5) / Dble 280 / OK toilets and shower (outside) / HW 20 to 23 / Swimming pool
/ Bikes 6Y per hour // Go there for the relax location
or if you crave about western food as John's Cafe is opposite. / What you
may not like : the relative small rooms, the 20Y fee to the indoor
The Grain Trade Hotel (8522 448),
on Laocheng Lu / Dorm 20(4) but you have to come with friends / Dbl 120 (180HS) /
Dirty toilets / No bath / HW 24 hrs in Dbl only // Go there if you want to stink
and sweat with friends
Turpan Fandian (8522 147) / Dorm 19-28(4)
in basic rooms or cells, 30-36(3) and 40(2) / Dbl with bath 180 / OK toilets
at some floors / Outside paying shower (2.5Y) / HW 9 to 24 // Go there if the other places are
full, to check the relatively cheap Dbl, to visit the "cells" of the
basement / What you may not like : the
double cost (Chinese pay half price or, more exactly, foreigners pay
double as some of the rooms are barely worth the Chinese price), not being paid
to stay in the "cells" in the basement...
Grain Trade Hotel
Backpacker's Tips : Chris Wright (Oct 04)
« Doubles in Gaocheng Hotel now cost 150
yuan. Friendly staff but cockroaches and prostitutes abound.
Doubles in the cleaner Jiaotong hotel now cost 180 yuan.»
Backpacker's Tips : Sandrine Prioux, France (July 01)
« Only two dorms left : Communication Hotel (good Dbl without shower
75y, excellent common shower) and Turpan Hotel (27y, shower
5mn away, 2y extra)»
Where to eat ? For local dining experience,
head North of the Bus Station, near the Theatre on Gaochang Lu : big kebab (2Y a
stick), lamb jiaozi (0.2Y a piece), noodle soup (3Y), hotpot or even popcorn... everything you need for a cheap,
tasty and colorful diner.
What to see/visit ?
Most people will visit the
sights with a bus tour. The small van should cost between Y250 and Y300 for a
day tour. This means that it should cost around Y50 per people if you are 5 or
more people (Japanese or naive
tourists are usually charged more). Drivers will press you to join their tour
when they'll see you walking the street, usually claiming that they already have
people going with them. CITS in Oasis Hotel or the staff in Jiaotong Hotel also
organize trips. Agree precisely of a price and itinerary beforehand.
The day tour should last from
9am to 16pm with a lunch break (not included) and include the following sights :
Bezelik Thousand Buddha
Caves : (1), Y12, 30mn / The caves are now in bad
conditions so you can easily give it a miss (especially coming or going to
Dunhuang). Much more rewarding is to sweat up
the Flaming Mountains (or ride a camel) for a superb view toward the snow
The Flaming mountains
free, on the way
Atsana Graves : (2), Y10, 10mn
/ Only three caves are open to
visitors and only one is really interesting as its houses two impressive mummies.
But if you plan to visit Urumqi's museum, save your money !
(4), Y12, 1
hour / If you do not wish to pay, you
can have a panoramic view of the crumbling ruins from the outer wall : from the
entrance, head right with the wall on your left and climb where appropriate (if
you are discreet, you might even sneak inside). On your way back to the parking,
check out the impressive cemetery on the other side of the road.
: (3), Y6, 15mn
/ Here also, it is fairly easy to
have a free look : go around on the right via the vineyard up to the impressive
tower. If the guy inside is sleeping, you might also sneak in....
Jiache Ruins : (4), Y12, 1
hour / No backdoor entrance here as the
sights are located on a hill but the vegetation and water surroundings would
themselves be worth half a day of exploration.
irrigations channels : (3), free, 15mn / Those channels are more than
3000km longs so what you see is obviously only a small section of them.
During the season from July to
Sept (best time August), you will probably also stop at Grape Valley
for lunch and wine testing.
If you are willing to pay around
100Y more you can also arrange to drive the 60km up to Aydingkol Lake, the second lowest lake in the world (154m below sea
level). Be however advised that there is usually very little water and therefore
Backpacker's Tips : Sandrine Prioux, France (July 01)
« New entrance fees : 20y for the caves, the tombs, Gaochang, the
Minaret & Karez. 30y for Jiache Ruins,
certainly the best and the only one we
paid for, although we appreciated the 50y
day-tour. Tip : take a bus to an Uighur
village, hot but very nice and cheap.»
Internet ? China Telecom did not get
connected at the time of writing so the only place was opposite Grain Trade
Hotel, at the usurious rate of 38Y an hour.
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Trains << Click there (Trains at Daheyan)
The trip to Urumqi : Big Bus / SSS / L / Y24 / 2h30
There is supposed to be a bus
leaving every half an hour from 8am but our 9am bus left only when full at 9:30.
The road is quite bump free and it was a relief as the seats were not really
bump certified. The desert scenery with snow mountains backdrop was pretty
enough to give the journey a touch of class... We arrived at the Turpan's Bus
Station from where I took bus No101 to the Tianchi's Bus Station... to realize
that the only bus onward to Tianchi are leaving at 9:30 in the morning. Certainly a trick for you
to stay in the hotels nearby...
See also trip from