Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Turpan and Urumqi

Day 11...

Travel Expenses
*** Total: 168RMB ***
Taxi from Daheyan to Turpan: 10RMB each / 4 person (55km)
Taxi to Jiaohe and back: 18RMB each / 4 person
Entry to Jiaohe Ancient City: 40RMB
Entry to Emin Minaret: 30RMB
Accomodation @ Turpan Guesthouse: 30RMB
Local Transport, Food and Others: 40RMB

*Overland Distance Covered So Far: 4,334km

Our train from Liuyuan to Daheyan, drop off point to Turpan, and finally arriving in the autonomous region of Xinjiang, home to the Turkic ethnic group of Uyghur

Beautiful Daheyan/Turpan train station

Turpan is famous for its grapes

You can find them growing everywhere along the streets

The town looks really beautiful with such natural decorations

Our guesthouse looking good from outside

And the interior decorations are kinda classy too

But cheap dorms are all located in the remote underground area haha

Our simple beds

We had local's momo for breakfast

And Naan is a very popular food here in Xinjiang, cheap and filling!

Some serious bargaining to be done before we set off haha

We went to the ruins of Jiaohe ancient city

It was constructed almost 2,000 years old

Much of the buildings are already beyond recognition of cos, and will take some good imagination to figure out how the city actually looks like in the past

Main street of the city

Various signboards explain what the particular area used to be

What used to be the locals' houses

Small alleys snaking through the buildings

Inside one of the buildings

Still standing city tower

Remains of the old temple

Views of the river valley that the city was built beside, in fact the word "Jiaohe" actually means "intersecting rivers"

Me and George taking in the beautiful sceneries

Interesting palm-shaped hole through one of the walls

Desert lizard

Speakers everywhere through which the admin office will keep reminding us to stay on track

Because they have cameras everywhere catching us! lol

Model of the whole city where u can clearly see the intersecting rivers

Our driver trying to get the car running again!

Back for lunch in town, topped with a chicken head lol

Locals riding donkey carts

They are usually camera shy at first =)

But learning abit of their Uyghur language always goes a long way =)

Beautiful vineyards

Uyghur kids

Entrance to Emin Minaret aka Su Gong Ta

Built in 1777 in honor of the heroic Turpan general, Emin Khoja

Emin Minaret itself

With its tall tower and mosque complex
~ View Picture on Flickr ~

44 metres tall minaret decorated with delicate geometric and floral patterns

Inside of the mosque

Narrow and dark alleys

Within the mosque complex

A huge tomb at the back of the mosque

As well as a graveyard

Dirty toilet even in the mosque!

Day 12...

Travel Expenses
*** Total: 198RMB ***
Taxi to Tuyoq Valley and back: 28RMB each / 3 person
Entry to Tuyoq Valley: 30RMB
Bus from Turpan to Ürümqi: 40 RMB (186km)
Accomodation in Ürümqi: 30RMB
Local Transport, Food and Others: 70RMB

*Overland Distance Covered So Far: 4,520km

Ready to go after a hearty breakfast

We took a half-day trip to Tuyoq Valley

Tuyoq Valley is a small isolated village where Uyghur people still live in their traditional houses

Locals selling fresh mulberries
~ View Picture on Flickr ~

And they are very very cheap!

Me having a fun conversation with the locals

Traditional mud-brick houses to survive the extreme weather in the desert

Some houses have just basic shelters as roofs

Dusty streets and alleys

A small mosque in the village

They kept cows in these small little shelters

As well as sheeps

Small ventilated rooms are used to dry grapes to make raisins

Numerous small cave grottoes at the back of the village

Locals were building a bridge

These kids were following us around the village haha

View from the top of a hill behind the village where you can clearly see the boundary between the desert and the oasis settlement

Nice shot taken by Claus

Aerial view of the village

~ View Picture on Flickr ~

Bricks that were used to make houses

Mulberry trees everywhere

Old Uyghur man

We stopped by the legendary red Flaming Mountains on our way back

I always thought that it was just a creation in the epic story, "Journey to the West". Now I know it is for real!

Back to Turpan town for lunch

We took a bus from Turpan to Uruqmi, passing by some beautiful sceneries

We went passed these spectacular wind turbines built in the middle of the desert

I believe there were at least hundreds, or even thousands of them

Urumqi train station

Finally some luxury in our cheap but wonderful triple room

More kebabs for dinner

Crowded night market

Watch the flame!
~ View Picture on Flickr ~


  1. Wonderful pictures, i want to go from Beijing to Karachi also:)

    Drop me an email if u can.


  2. looks beautiful! I'm travelling to Urumqi and surrounds next week, just wondering if you know of any way to get to Tuyoq other than driving yourself? I only have an Australian driving licence and I believe you need an international one to hire a car in China?

  3. Hi Priscilla,

    We didn't drive ourselves. We hire a taxi to bring us around Turpan, including to Tuyoq. It costs around 80 RMB for a taxi, so it will be better if you find 3 others to travel together to share the cost. =)