The area around the city, the Turpan Depression is the lowest point in China and second lowest on Earth (after the Dead Sea) at 154 meters below sea level. It is very dry and sometimes very hot, well into the 40'sC. The local people have developed karez, an irrigation system composed of wells connected by underground channels, to counter the heat and drought of the place. No place in China is hotter than Flaming Mountain in Turpan, a mountain made famous by the classic Chinese mythological novel, Journey to the West.
Turpan is famous for their grapes, grown primarily for raisins but also wine. Uyghurs are the biggest ethnic group in the area (70%), followed by Han chinese.
Travelling to Turpan by air is a cozy choice. It is recommended to fly to the Urumqi airport first and take a bus to Turpan. Long-distance buses are available from 9:00 to 20:30 every day. 2. Taxi and donkey cart are main transportations inside Turpan. It is a good choice to take a short trip by donkey cart to go around the city.
Tulufan Zhan - located in the town of Daheyan, 50 km NW of the town center
Kashgar - takes about 25 hours
Korla - takes about 8 hours
Lanzhou - takes about 25 hours
Liuyuan - takes about 8-9 hours
Xi'an - takes about 40-45 hours
The bus station with regular buses to Turpan city is just a 5 min walk from the station. Once out of the train station, walk straight to the traffic junction, turn right and walk for a couple of hundred meters. The bus station is across the road to one's left. Costs 11RMB.
Overall, it's a bit of a hassle though, so most people travelling between Turpan and Urumqi choose to take the long distance bus instead.
The downtown area is small and you can walk around it. But not all attractions are within easy walking distance. There are private, English-speaking tour guides who will drive you to the sites and give you an insight into history and culture. It is a good idea to arrange these tours before you travel, via the internet, as this gives you the opportunity to arrange a fixed price. Prices can be very reasonable if you go with a reputable tour company.
Bus 102 - going all along Laocheng lu (老城路), you can take it on crossing Laocheng Eastern street and Qingnian pedestrian street.
Direction to East - the last stop is Su Gong Ta (苏公塔) Sugong pagoda = Emin minaret (额敏塔).
to West - East mosque, North mosque and West mosque. Take off on the last stop and walk (hitchhike) next 5km to Jiaohe Ancient City. Alternatively, from the last stop of the line 102, you can hire a vehicle for around 10 RMB to take you the rest of the way to the site if one happens to be there.
A Taxi in the city is a standard 5RMB whether or not the driver starts the meter (it won't run over 5RMB even if you start it for journeys in the downtown).
For attractions that are further out (such as Gaocheng Ancient City, Bezeklik Thousand Buddha Caves, Tuyoq Village) renting a taxi for the day may well be a better option than the taking infrequent buses which will only pass nearby the places. As of Jul 2014, renting a taxi for the day should range from RMB 220 to 300, depending on the number of places you want to go and your negotiation skills.
Turpan Grape Gully (吐鲁番葡萄沟; Tǔlǔfān Pútaogōu), (10km from the city). Nicknamed Green Pearl City, an oasis of greenery, made up of more than 200 hectares of grape. The best grapes in China have been grown here for more than 1,000 years. The area you can actually see is painfully small, full of tourists taking pictures of nothing in-particular (often you if you're a western traveller), definitely not worth the 60RMB entrance ticket. 60 Y (30 for students but they'll try every excuse under the sun to avoid selling the half-price tickets to a non-Chinese student). edit
Emin Minaret (额敏塔; Émǐn Tǎ; also known as 苏公塔, Sūgōng Tǎ). Emin Minaret was built in 1777 in honor of the heroic Turpan general, Emin Khoja; it's the tallest minaret in China.30 yuan as of August 2012. edit
Turpan Gaochang Ancient City (吐鲁番高昌故城; Tǔlǔfān Gāochāng Gùchéng), (46km southeast of the city, you can get there either by taxi or first by bus to Doushan or Sanbao Township and then by motorbike). 8AM-5PM. Ruins of an ancient Silk Road town standing isolated in the Gobi Desert. Built in the 1st century B.C. and originally called Gaochangbi, it used to be a garrison town.¥20. edit
Jiaohe Ancient City (交河故城; Jiāohé Gùchéng), (about 20km west of Turpan - take bus 102 heading west along Lao Cheng Lu from the bus station until it terminates, then walk/hitch the last 5KM). Ruins of an ancient Silk Road town. This city was established during the Western Han Dynasty and continued through from the period of Northern Wei Dynasty.40 Rmb as of August 2012. edit
Bezeklik Thousand Buddha Caves.
Bezeklik Thousand Buddha Caves (柏孜克里千佛洞; Bózīkèlǐ Qiānfódòng), (45km east of Turpan). Stand high on the cliffs of west Mutou Valley under the Flaming Mountain. Of the 83 original caves, 57 caves currently remain. The murals cover an area over 1,200 square meters in more than 40 caves. Beginning in the Southern and Northern Dynasties, the construction experienced Tang Dynasty, the Five Dynasties, Song and Yuan dynasties. The Caves had been the Buddhist center of Gaochang. Near the end of the 13 century, the royal family of Gaochang moved to Yongchang, Gansu. Around this same time, Buddhism in Turpan began to decline in popularity with the introduction of Islam. Subsequently, the religious importance of The Bizalkik Thousand Buddha Caves became less apparent. Many of the caves were destroyed during the ensuing religious clashes. Vandals dug out the eyes of many of the portraits human figures contained in the murals. Later, at the beginning of the 20 century, foreign explorers robbed the caves of much of the treasures. Despite all the destruction, the surviving parts, such as the delicate Buddha seat and the bright color of the murals, give us some idea of its past glory.edit
Tuyoq Village. about an hours drive outside Turpan city. Tuyoq is an ancient Muslim pilgrimage sight and well preserved ancient town. Some local followers claim 7 trips to Tuyoq is worth one trip to Mecca. It's not on the typical turpan "tourist trail" so you won't be overrun with red-hats, flags and loudspeakers. *tuyuk. a village with old houses about hundreds years ago. and its canyon is full with ancient buddha caves.. and this place is known as the chinese mecca This ancient village is situated 70km east of turpan city in a lush gully carved. of the flaming mountain. vineyards surround this site and it is famous for its oval-shaped seedless grapes. the raisins of this town is well known in china. Tuyuq valley is unique and special spot for the religious and traditional Uyghur lifestyle, This place is full of old buildings and houses are connected with out directions. you are getting into amazing without any scene of where you are, over a thousand years nothing seem changed here, last time ,we met an very old woman who told us her grandfather even did not know when the houses were built. This small village is full of the traditional atmosphere of local uygur ,everything have kept intact .their lifestyle ,their dress ,their behaviors in religion and the way in communication are all in their own ways and still look the same as the old time,. although there are no lodging here, you’ll assuredly be welcomed to spend the night in an Uyghur family. they are very friendly. Tuyok valley is a mirror village here in turpan. But in history it was a well known state, center of culture and religion . recorded by quite a few important dynasties and races like tang dynasty , gaochang state , jushi kingdom , etc. Today you see the most Muslim monasteries visited by local Muslims. before here it was quite a place for Buddhists who were converted later Muslims . So thing belong to Buddhists were mostly destroyed during some thousands of years. Those murals and caves, sculptures were somehow like those in china where Muslims did not have a chance to do anything. dunhuang is not for away from here , still you have thousands of caves containing millions of Buddhist arts 30. (,58 km)edit30. (,58 km)edit
kariz wells, turpan china. an underground channel for water for domestic use.clean and pure .a masterpiese built by local people 2000 years ago..the karez, an irragation system with a history of 2000 years, is considered as one of the three great ancient projects in china ,other two being the great wall and grand canal. being placed side by side with the dujiangyan irrigation project in sichuan province and the ling canal in guangxi , it is also known as one of the three ancient water conservancy projects in china. the karez is distributed in turpan, kumuk ,sanji , hotan ,atush ,kuqa and urumqi in history, but mainly in turpan and kumul. the karez is a very delicate irrigation system composed of vertical wells , underground canal , open canal and amall ponds or reservoirs , with the main body buried under the ground. the system can be devided into the water accumulation part and the water conveyance part. generally the underground canals are at a height of 1.5--1.7m and a width of 0.6--0.7m , with total length of 5-20 km. the number of the karez in xinjiang once reached 1784 . with 172367 vertical wells , 5272 km long underground canals and 858 million cubic meter of annual water output. today there are only 614 karez left with and an annual output of 301 million cubic meter.. of which there are 404 located in turpan are and yearly output is 230 million cubic meter of water, which remains the main water sources for irrigation , drinking and ecological uses in some villages ,40. edit
astana ancient tombs. Astana tombs countless Gaochang people sleeping on the strip the Gobi wilderness known as the Underground Museum, more than 500 tombs have been excavated. A one of the tombs, realistic or symbolic approach holds a lot of historical and cultural relics from the Western Jin Southern and Northern Dynasties to the Tang Dynasty, such as a large number of unearthed all kinds of instruments, pottery wood silk, fully reflects the prosperity and the rise and fall of the political, economic, cultural, illustrates the close ties of the Western Regions and the Central Plains region. The Astana tombs to iron the fact that Xinjiang since ancient times, the Chinese part of the family, whether ancient or modern, belong to the Chinese nation the root of this source. These all-encompassing, making fine heritage, embodied the then of Gaochang social material and spiritual civilization, showing the true face of that period, people said the Astana tombs of the the Gaochang history secret database. entrance ticket:20. edit
flaming mountain. he flaming mountain is lying in the middle of the turpan depression ,running from east to west, it is not only one of the well know mountains in every Chinese families but also the branch ranges of the tianshan mountains, the flaming mountain is 98km long and 9km wide and the highest peak is 851m high above the sea level and the average altitude is 510m above the sea level. The flaming mountains are entirely a bared and colorless mountain except the reddish colored the soil and rocks, The mountain influence the climate of the turpan depression. And at the same time it act like gaint natural dam of the underground of the basin. ctually the flaming mountain was formed in the oregenic movements of himalays ,in millions of years, the natural weathering and numerous folded belts caused by crustal movement have formed the undulating lies, crisscross gullies and ravines of the flaming mountain. under the blazing sun the red rocks glows and hot air curls up like smoke as though they were on fire, at the foot of the flaming mountain the ground temperature reaches at about to 80 decrees . so it is said that eggs could be cooked under the sand and fried on a rock, In recent years ,the numbers of visitors to the mountains has been on the increase and a clamoring to go on the flaming mountains tours has arisen.edit
tourist map of turpan, turpan. this map helps you where to go and visit ,and shows the position of sites edit
Plenty of delicious dishes can be found in the market, in front of the bus station, or in the pedestrian zone downtown. Cheap (but spicy) food is the norm, with plenty of meat options. Vegetarians better find a Chinese restaurant, many of which are north of the main square ("Grape Girls" square)
艾力热孜快餐店 (ai li re zi kuai can dian) on a parallel alley on the eastern side of the bazaar opposite the long-distance bus station serves excellent laghman (noodles), baked dumplings and barbecue skewers. Try the tandoori lamb or lamb dumplings in black-eyed pea soup for a different taste of Uighur food you won't find in other cities in Xinjiang.
Night Market, Guanghui Street, near Bezeklik Street. An alternative to the night market outside the bazaar, this option is more for locals than tourists. edit
Marry Brown, Bezeklik Street 28, . 09:00 - 22:00. The Malaysian fast-food chain recently opened its first restaurant in Turpan. Fried chicken, chicken burgers/wrap/rice/noodle with prices comparable to Mc Donalds. Clean and with air conditioner and wi-fi, great for a break during those +40C Turpan summer days! edit
Herembag, Shahezi Street 21 (At the artificial lake park), ☎ 0995-8555111, . An authentic Uyghur food restaurant chain with locations all over Xinjiang and Tianjin. Located downtown, at the corner of the artificial lake park. The restaurant has a very nice setting and offers Uyghur/Russian/Turkish/Chinese/Western (pasta & pizza) dishes at reasonable prices (not cheap though). Nice selection of teas available.edit
(directly across from the Turpan museum). very simple place serving basically excellent Uyghur noodles for RMB 15 and lamb skewers for RMB 5.
Turpan White Camel Youth Hostel (吐鲁番白驼旅舍), 柏孜克里克路55号，55 Bezaklik Road (火焰山宾馆院内。Next to the famous Flaming Mountain Hotel. The hostel is not directly on the main street but about 10m behind in a small side street (when looking carefully from the main street into the side street you can see the white light sign of the hostel), ☎ 09958660556 and. checkin: 1200; checkout: 1300,or late if you wish. Very nice hostel in central Turfan, the only youth hostel in town. It has a lovely courtyard style layout which makes it quite sociable. It used to be a siheyuan courtyard home for three families and has been converted. Nice bedrooms in classic Turpan 'cave' style which makes them coolish year round. Decent communal bathrooms with foreign toilets. The management team are a group of friends and so there is quite a friendly relaxed atmosphere, lots of visitors in and out so it is a good place to relax and meet people. They have games available like dice cup, cards, ping pong can be set up. they speak moderate english and can help with booking tours etc. nearby are many shops, night markets, even some clubs. generally a great place.50-120. edit
Most of locals sleep on their roof or on the streets (during a day you can see hundreds of bed frames all around) because of the terrible heat. You can try the same.
If you try and find a hotel for the night, be careful of the few English-speaking touts around, especially the one calling himself "John". They will make sure you pay an inflated price and will get themselves a lucrative commission on your expense. If the hotel staff tries to call one of those touts on your arrival, ask them to stop and show you a room instead.
Turpan Hotel, Qingnian Road, ☎ +86 995 522025. Three-bed dorms with A/C and attached bathroom (western toilets and hot showers). Cleaned by the hotel maid service daily and stocked with towels and toiletries. Chinese breakfast is served in the adjoining Muslim restaurant at 8am; arrive early or the food goes cold. Bathrooms in the double rooms smell really bad due to the sewers. Front-desk staff speak some English. Update Dec 2014: the dorm room is closed in Winter (except perhaps if you insist really a lot), double room available at discounted price of 100Y.50 yuan per bed, as of August 2012. edit
Jiaotong Hotel (Transportation Hotel), 230 laocheng west road, ☎ +86 995 6258666 or 6258688 (fax: +86 995 6258688). Widely regarded as a great value, this hotel is located directly adjacent to the bus station and across the street from the bazaar and one of the night markets, making it very conveniently located. Many travelers have recently speculated that this hotel is closed, but that is not the case. They simply changed their phone numbers. The phone number listed above is the new one, and the hotel was renovated in 2011.edit
Tuha Petroleum Hotel (吐鲁番吐哈石油大厦; Tǔlǔfān Tǔhāshíyóu Dàshà), 230 Wenhua Road (文化路230号; Wénhuàlù 230hào), ☎ +86 995 8666666 (fax: +86 995 8666668). Five star hotel with large rooms with internet access against surcharge and with safes, air-conditioners and mini bars. Business center, currency exchange, gift shop, beauty salon, ticket office, karaoke, night club, billiard, table tennis, fitness, bowling, indoor swimming pool and massage available. Chinese and Western restaurants as well as coffee shop, bar and room service. The food in the Western restaurant is great, but the breakfast could be better.Listed rates for doubles ¥1,080-1,280, including breakfast. edit
There are a lot of young locals who can speak some English and will ask to practise their skills with you before offering you "help" with getting around. This usually involves a lot of "friends" and "uncles" who can take you wherever you want to go, "all you need is money for gas." Of course, don't trust them!
A hired car or taxi will take you to the train station for 100 yuan. Alternatively, you can go to the Turpan bus station (客运站 ke yun zhan) and hop on the bus to the to the Daheyan bus station, which costs 25 yuan and takes about an hour. Plan for bad roads and delays, so do not underestimate the amount of time you will need. From the Daheyan bus station, turn right, and at the next intersection turn left, where you will shortly find the train station at the end of the road.
Though the train station itself is a bit out of town you can buy tickets at a hidden ticket office near the bazaar. The office is across the street from the bus station and about 200 meters west. It's to the right of a China Construction Bank, beneath a sign for China Tietong Laocheng Road Office and inside a China Mobile shop. Across the driveway is an address sign of 405.
Frequent buses to Urumqi take about 3 hours. There is a stop halfway for a toilet break. As of July 2013 all passengers had to disembark from the bus to go through a police checkpoint. This is a common occurence in Xinjiang around this time.