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Home » Silk Road Travel Guide » Silk Road Transportation » Transportation in Urumqi

Transportation in Urumqi

By plane
Urumqi is served by the Urumqi Diwopu International Airport ( IATA: URC,) 20 km (12 mi) northwest of the city center with regular domestic flights from Beijing, Changsha, Chengdu, Chongqing, Dalian, Dunhuang, Guangzhou, Hangzhou, Jilin, Kunming, Lanzhou, Nanjing, Qingdao, Sanya, Shanghai-Hongqiao, Shenzhen, Shijiazhuang, Xiamen, Xi'an, Xining, Yinchuan, and Zhengzhou.

Urumqi also offers flights from Almaty, Astana, Baku, Bishkek, Dushanbe, Islamabad, Istanbul, Kabul, Moscow (Sheremetyevo), Novosibirsk, Osh, Seoul (Incheon), Tashkent, and Tehran (Imam Khomeini).
Xinjiang destinations include Aksu, Aletai, Hotan, Kashgar, Kuche, Tacheng and Yining.
A taxi costs about ¥50 by meter to the city, although most drivers will try for more. Travel time is about 20 minutes without traffic.
Airport shuttles available for 15 Yuan.
For those in transit note that the airport closes after the arrival of late flights and one is not permitted to remain inside the building overnight.

By train
Wulumuqi Railway Station is at Qingfeng Road.
Beijing West - Urumqi Train T69 takes 33h:52m Hard seat = ¥316: Soft seat ¥502: hard sleeper ¥531 / ¥549 / ¥568: Soft sleeper ¥837 / ¥874
Chengdu - takes about 49 hours
Dunhuang - takes about 14 hours (as of September 2009 no trains were running on the branch line to Dunhuang)
Hami - takes about 9 1/2 hours
Jiayuguan - about 16 hours
Kashgar - takes 24-33 hours (¥506 for top bunk soft sleeper)
Kuche - takes about 14 hours
Lanzhou - takes about 21 hours (¥338)
Shanghai - takes about 44 hours
Turpan - takes about 2 hours (but drops you about 50 km/31 mi north of Turpan, from where you have to catch a bus)
Xi'an - takes about 34 hours
Almaty, Kazakhstan - takes 32-48 hours
To get tickets for Almaty you need to purchase them from the hotel to the right of the train station. One can purchase tickets from [1] for about 3 times their face value. It is difficult to purchase tickets from standard travel agencies in China.

By bus
The Northern Long-Distance Bus Station is at Heilongjiang Road
Almaty, Kazakhstan (via Korgas) - takes about 24 hours and ¥440, tickets can be bought at the Bianjiang Hotel, room 2121 or at the international bus station at Nianzigou (+86-0991-587-8637, mandarin speaking). Daily departure at 1900h. Time spent clearing customs at Korgas make the travel time rather variable.
Burqin - takes about 13 hours
Korgas - takes about 14 hours
Lanzhou - takes about 40 hours
Tacheng - takes about 12 hours
Yining also called Yili - takes 11-14 hours and costs ¥165 (Jul 2008)
The Southern Long-Distance Bus Station is in the southern part of city (across from the Shuishang Amusement Park)
Hotan - takes 19-26 hours
Kashgar - takes about 24 hours
Korla - takes about 10 hours
Kuche - takes about 17 hours
Turpan - takes about 3 hours (heading for Gansu, will need to change buses for Hami)

By public bus
Bus number 52 goes from the round about near the airport to the museum. Other useful routes running generally north-south are 101, 61 and 63.
The very visible BRT (Bus Rapid Transit) Buses are a quick, efficient and very crowded way from getting from one end of the city center to another. BRT1 and 2 are very useful. BRT1 runs straight down Youhau Lu to the train station. BRT 3 connects the grand bazar, People's Theater and Square and ultimately terminates with a connection to BRT1 at its Northern end. Just put ¥1 in the box on the way onto the platforms and then squeeze onto a bus. These are recently opened (Sept 11) and run along a segregated busway - something of a cross between a bus and a tram.

By taxi
Metered taxi fares start at ¥10. There are also black taxis (illegal), driven nowadays by anyone, male or female. Fares for these are negotiable and they definitely come in handy during rush hour when metered taxis are tough to come by. Regardless, you should normally never pay more than ¥20 for a ride within the city, although many roads are closed at present (as of Apr 2013) as a subways network is being built and roads are being fixed and so you may sometimes need to pay more.

By car
China Highway 312 is a motorway crossing Xinjiang from Gansu to the border with Kazakhstan. Most destinations within Xinjiang can be accessed via private car. Drivers tend to congregate near the bus stations and will often approach passengers shouting their destination. Drivers usually try to fill the car with four passengers, but you can also rent the whole car. In almost every case, a car will save hours of travel time over a bus.

Get around on foot
The city centre is big, and separated into different 'centres'. You can walk, but distances are large, roads are wide, and ongoing building work will block your path. Furthermore, in summer it gets very hot and in winter it can drop to -35°C (-31°F) at night.