Take about a seven hour bus ride from Urumqi to a village where there is a muddy salt lake. Trip to the Hami area is available only through chartered services. Numerous stopovers can be had at the petrol kiosks, even in the middle of nowhere. The road for most of the way is single lane. The trip there passes through a number of villages and towns. When a part of the road is undergoing maintenance, a bumpy detour has to be made on extremely uneven dirt track. Lots of dust will be stirred up. Remember to shut the windows tight before entering the detour tracks.
Hami is on the Urumqi-Xian line and can be easily reached by daytrain from Urumqi. As of 2008, it departed at 9:53 AM, and arrived at 4:31 PM.
As of April 2013, the Hami train station is under construction and is expected to be running again sometime between 2014-15. Trains arrive now at the Hami South train station, located 5 km outside of town. Bus line 7 (7:00 - 21:00) connects the south train station with the city.
Turpan (Tulufan) 5 hours
You should not miss kabob (roasted mutton barbecue) if you visit Hami, as it is a traditional food made by the Uyghur people. Also worth trying is fried rice (抓饭 zhuāfàn in Chinese), a rice dish eaten with one's hands that is made with mutton and radish, both main dishes in the area. If you prefer noodles, you will love the delicious beef noodle- its soup is famous for having 40 kinds of spices.
Hami is famous throughout China for its Hami melon (哈密瓜 hāmìguā), a melon made sweeter than usual by the extreme difference in temperatures between daytime and nighttime and the longer days in the Xinjiang summer. Besides Hami melons, other delicious local fruits include grapes, watermelon, apricot and mulberry. Dried fruit is available all year long due to the dry and windy climate. Hami is worth visiting for the local specialty foods and the hospitality of the local people.
Only a few hotels take foreigners, all of them near the train station. The prices in those hotels start around ¥300.
After insisting and with the help of the staff from another hotel, we were allowed to stay at a hotel located in an small alley next to the train station (red sign with white letters). Nice double room for Y100 (highly discounted price, but only allowed to stay 1 night. Original price Y168).
Fusheng hostel offers a double room for Y60. Guangdong Road. Findable on Google maps. (Closed as Apr. 2015).
Bus to Urumqi 7-8h, 126 ¥, very bumpy ride. 11.00, afternoon and 20.30