Blogs from Turpan, Xinjiang, China, Asia


Asia » China » Xinjiang » Turpan February 26th 2018

Well, brilliant weather, people, digs, food. Unbelievably excellent. Did lengthy blog last night, it did not appear so will say nothing until I see what happens this time.... read more

Asia » China » Xinjiang » Turpan February 26th 2018

Ok, 9 am breakfast in Silk Road Lodges, Turpan, a veritable feast including nan bread, feast of local delights and, rather quaintly, four budgerigars flying around our heads. 10.00 our driver arrived and we went to see Jiaohe ancient Buddhist century, largest mud city in world, check it out - walked in, saw the whole site in perfect weather, cloudless sky, all to ourselves. No point in my describing it, as it is so famous, but well worth our trip if we see nothing else. Then we went to see a section of the Karez system, whereby ice-melt is fed through underground hand-dug conduits for thousands if kilometres to help the desert blossom; again, very famous but great to actually see for oneself, and another private viewing! More power to the Chinese, they have everything open ... read more

Asia » China » Xinjiang » Turpan February 25th 2018

Well, we are here in Turpan. Will skip journey, but last 45 minutes descent into Urumqi was amazing, very low and steady over rugged, jagged mountains, thick with snow between the bare peaks and cliffs, glaciers almost to touch, incredible. Urumqi a bit chilly, minus 6 or so, great hotel (Luxemon Xinjiang Yindu, used and brilliant unlimited buffer dinner (with wines etc.). Maghnus met us at hotel, so we are all three together, up at 6am for 9.04 bullet train to Turpan, what a machine! Gliding through the largest windfarm I could imagine, then by txi intotown, staying at "boutique" Silk Road Lodges (, a neat, comfortable and ideal place on a working grape-farm just about 1km from Emin Minaret, in the Uighir part of town. Security is tight, as anticipated, but we are enjoying ... read more

Asia » China » Xinjiang » Turpan May 4th 2016

This time, I want to describe two of the most stunning places I have visited along the long forgotten silk road in Xinjiang. I start with Jiaohe ruins (also known it as Yar city by the Uyghur people). I got up pretty early, in the morning, to visit this archaeological site from Turpan which was the city where I stayed during that period. I decided to cycle until there under the scorching sun. Along the way, I had to face the common problems that someone may have in bustling Asian towns especially with careless driver that I had to dodge for a good long stretch of the way and the huge amount of dust that generated with the cars and trucks running along the street. I always feel enchanted when I pass through these streets full ... read more
Emin minaret

Asia » China » Xinjiang » Turpan August 1st 2015

The train from Hami stopped quite abruptly in the middle of the desert, we're guessing it was because of the wind because once we were at a standstill the train and electric wires were swaying all over the place. Apparently it's a common problem that they've tried to fix by building a wall along the north side of the line. To steal and bastardize the quote from Jaws - they're going to need a bigger wall. It's unbelievably hot here - over 40c in the shade in the afternoon and not lower than the mid 20s at any time of the night. Like the other places we've stayed in western China it also has a weird daily rhythm and routine. Because the whole of China officially operates on one time zone out here it's dark until ... read more
Hami Melon
Mausoleum of Hami Kings
Mausoleum of Hami Kings

Asia » China » Xinjiang » Turpan August 13th 2014

Arriving in Turpan Railway station at 0535 in the morning and facing the scrum of yelling taxi drivers in pitch dark is a bit daunting esp. as we had planned to take the minibus into the city which was 55kms from the station. Why they locate railway stations miles from the towns is beyond me but thats the reality. Problem was the buses didn't start until 0800. So breaking all the rules, we accepted an offer from the first yelling bloke, piled our luggage into the boot of his 'taxi' and roared off into the darkness - with absolutely NO lights on !! After some heated exchanges with the driver, we eventually got out of the vehicle but only after opening the doors of the car as he sped along. Was a close thing whether we ... read more
Help yourselves to free grapes outside the front door of the Hotel
Turpan - Emin Minaret
Turpan - Emin Minaret

Asia » China » Xinjiang » Turpan June 25th 2014

TURPAN TUESDAY 24 JUNE 14 Distance: 96 Kms SubT. 3,500 Kms Bal 8914 Kms Road Condition: highway. Good Weather: fine, cloudy and moderate wind. Time in Saddle: 4 hrs Av Speed: av. 25 kph. Elevation: 350 m : Decent 750 m Calories burned : 5000 Left our marvellous hotel at 7 am. Room was best on trip. Pity to leave it so early. The ride today was relatively short, good road, reasonable head wind. Today we road below sea level, meaning that the only meaningful direction is up! Within the next 3 weeks we climb to over 4,500 metres. Winding around the streets of TURPAN to the hotel was pleasant. The entrance was along a colonnaded, tiled road, with overhanging vines. Ate lunch at John's Cafe, a chain in DUNHUANG, TURPAN, & KASHGAR. No John in ... read more

Asia » China » Xinjiang » Turpan June 13th 2014

Turpan From Urumqi we headed east to Turpan across more desert. There are dozens of miles of wind farms along the way, vastly larger than any I have seen in the US. The Turpan basin reaches 150 meters below sea level. It is a lot like Death Valley, low, dry, and hot. We went through early in the day, so it was only 102. Turpan is surprisingly large and green, with tree lined streets and lots of activity. It was still hot, but more pleasant than the desert.... read more

Asia » China » Xinjiang » Turpan September 2nd 2013

After the tiring day in Dunhuang, I looked forward to the night in the train back to Urumqi. The soft sleeper with its clean sheets, its gentle sway just enough to let me drift into sleep and no noise whatsoever. I lay on my bunk, the Mogao caves flooding my mind with the mythical images floating in one after the other. I was basking in my thoughts, feeling every bit of the tiredness that sometimes doesn't let you sleep too easily. When a certain annoying sound made its way through the layers of images going through my head. It took over all my attention. And revealed itself as a full fledged snore orchestra. I have travelled on night journeys several times. Have had many snorers around me. But never have I wanted to kill one of ... read more
Minaret against the sun
Streets of Turpan
Dust bowl on the way

Asia » China » Xinjiang » Turpan July 17th 2013

I believe there are 3 places that stand out in Xinjiang province in terms of popularity. The first one is naturally Urumuqi because it’s the capital of the province and it’s also the largest and most developed city in this huge province. The second one is Kashgar because of its location in the far west of Xinjiang. It’s the gateway to Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan or Pakistan and it’s the heart of the Uyghur community and culture. Finally the 3rdplace must be Turpan, a famous oasis covered in green grapes where tourists come for a day trip from Urumuqi to enjoy big fat raisins and some sweet wine. Becky’s friend, Jiao Lu, had some business to attend in Turpan and she offered to drive us there so that we could visit the vineyards and the other sites while ... read more
oh yeah! good life!
dry hills around the oasis

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