Turpan is located at the center of Xinjiang, 328 feet below sea level. It is commonly known as the “Turpan depression”, the lowest and hottest place in all of China. 70% of the population is Uigur and some of the world’s finest grapes are produced here. So it is pleasant to sit in the shade with a cool drink and watching the street life of this remote place.
Best Time to Visit?
The best time to visit Turpan is Autumn when it has comfortable daytime temperatures and cool nights. Moreover, various fruits get ripe and the area is shrouded in a sweet scent of fragrant fruits during this time of the year.
How to get there?
Distances from Beijing and Shanghai
Beijing to Dunhuang - about 2900 KM
Beijing to Urumuqi - about 3760KM
Shanghai to Dunhuang - about 3200KM
Shanghai to Urumuqi - about 4070KM
Plane and Train information
Beijing to Dunhuang One flight a day (07:40-10:50)
Dunhuang to Turpan One train a day (20:16-08:32)
Shanghai to Dunhuang - No direct flight between Shanghai to Dunhuang. People departing from Shanghai will have to fly to Xi’an and then transfer to Dunhuang)
Shanghai Pudong to Xi’an One flight a day (08:15-10:35)
Xi’an to Dunhuang One flighta a day (13:35-15:55)
Dunhuang to Turpan One train a day (20:16-08:32)
Beijing to Urumuqi T69 (18:44-10:50) 40hours 6 minutes
Urumuqi to Beijing T70 (20:03-13:38) 41hours 35minutes
Shanghai to Urumuqi T52(20:48-15:17) 42 hours and 29 minutes
Urumuqi to Shanghai T51(18:57-14:49) 43 hours and 52 minutes
Distances between each city and road conditions
Dunhuang —Turban 940KM by overnight train 12 hours 16 minutes
Turban —Urumuqi 150KM highway 2.5-3 hours
Kashgar—Karakuri lake 396KM city roads 4-4.5 hours
Karakuri Lake —Tashkorgan 192KM city roads 2-2.5 hours
What to see
The Bizaklik Thousand Buddha caves are situated in a spectacular river gorge. They once stored a collection of Buddhist murals which showed unusually marked western influences. Unfortunately they were taken by German Museums around 1900 and destroyed by Allied bombs during World War II, so that today only fragments remain.
The Flaming Mountains are sandstone mountains, that got the name of their color. At certain times of day, a combination of snow and shadows turns them red and makes them flicker, as if it was glowing.
The impressive Gaochang Ruins are surrounded by 10m high walls. The city Gaochang was founded in the 1st century AD as a garrison town.
The smaller and less important Jiaohe Ruins are better defined than Gaochang. The ancient city occupies a spectacular position on a steep plateau.
One can also visit the cemetery of Gaochang, the Astana-Karakhoja Graves.
The Aydingkol Lake is located 50km from Turpan City and at the bottom of the deepest depression in China’s land mass, lying 155m below sea level. It is shaped like a moon and has a long history dated back about 250 million years.
Grape Valley (Putao Gou) is an attractive desert oasis to the north of Tupan with vines and trellises bulging with grapes.
It is offensive to shake water off your wet hands in public.
Protect yourselves against the elements in all seasons. Be careful about your drinking water. Boil it first.
Bring your camera as there are many very scenic spots in Turpan.
Though the 'clock time' in Xinjiang is just the same as the rest of China, in fact there is a two hour difference in longitude between Urumqi and Beijing. For this reason the daily working hours are: 10:00 - 14:00, 15:30 - 19:30
While in Urumqi, you should modify you rest and dining times to be two hours later than if you were in a city in Middle China, otherwise you might feel out of step with local life. But don't forget that bus, train and flights all adopt Beijing Time. If you booked a flight to arrive or depart Urumqi at around 08:00, then you may find it is quite dark at that time. Please keep this in mind when making reservations.
Uygur men conversing happily
There is a total population of more than 400,000 in Turpan prefecture, of which the Uygur nationality makes up 72.97 percent, the Han 20.29 percent, the Hui 5.88 percent and other nationalities make up the rest. The city of Turpan has a population of 200,000, of which 71.2 percent are Uygurs, 21.3percent Hans and 7.3 percent Huis
The food in Turpan is quite similar to those in Urumqi, including not only the Han's Cantonese, Sichuan cuisines, but Uygur and Muslim specialties. The most famous Uygur snacks are the Kebabs, Nang, hand-picked rice which are the staple food for the local people.
The most well-known product from Turpan is the grape, which, together with Hami melon, is one of the four best fruits of Xinjiang. The best time to sample Turpan grapes is between July and October, during the harvest period. Outside this time however, you can still sample some good local products including raisins which are one of Turpan's biggest export products. The wine made from Turpan grapes is another popular thing to purchase and sample.
Turpan hats also enjoy great fame in China. Six to eight pieces of silk or cotton cloth, decorated with chrysanthemum, plum blossom, lotus flower or peony patterns are sown together to make a complete hat.