Xinjiang Autonomous Region's


Global Mark : 13.28 (up)

Ratings by criteria :

Charm Scenery Parks Culture Minor. Market Relax Fiesta 


3 4 1 4 5 3 4 2



Ratings by backpackers :

Surveyed Liked  Comeback  Recommend Range AVER.
12 100%  58%  (7) 92%  (11) 10 to 18 13.67

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.

  •  Gaochang Hotel (8523 229), 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 HS...

  • Oasis Hotel (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 swimming pool

  • 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...


Jiaotong Hotel jiaotong binguan

Keyun Luguan

keyun luguan

Goachang Hotel

gaochang binguan

Oasis Hotel

luzhou binguan

Turpan Binguan

tulufan binguan

Grain Trade Hotel

liangmao binguan

Turpan Fandian

tulufan fandian

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 mountains

  • The Flaming mountains : (5), 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 !

  • Gaochang Ruins : (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.

  • Emin Minaret : (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.

  • Karez underground 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 little interest.

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.

Bus Schedules :

To Price Type Duration Time Nb Freq.
Urumqi 13/15/18/24 ordi/luxe 2.5 7 to 19 ++ 30mn
Daheyan 5 ordi 1 to 1.5 8 to 19 ++ hour
Hami 43 ordi 8 9:30 1 na
Korla 38 ordi 7 to 8 10:30 1 na

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 Dunhuang to Turpan...