Xinjiang is another wonderful land endowed with unique scenery and folk customs on the ancient “Silk Road”. After you enjoyed a Mogao Caves tour in Dunhuang, the most dazzling gem on the trade route, you can continue your adventure further to Turpan in Xinjiang. Not only because Turpan is the must access to Xinjiang, but also because the city has lots of ancient ruins and geological wonders distinguished from that in Gansu, Qinghai and other areas in Northwestern China. Real trippers tend to travel Gansu and Xinjiang together to deeply feel the profound natural, cultural and historical charm of Northwestern China. Taking a 3.5 hours' bullet train is the best way to travel to Turpan from Dunhuang. Read the following guide and tips to get more transportation details.
Turpan (吐鲁番) is a prefecture-level city in central Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region (新疆维吾尔自治区), east of Tianshan Mountains. Located in 200km (3 hours’ ride) east of Urumqi (乌鲁木齐), the capital city of Xinjiang, Turpan is usually used as a gateway city to Xinjiang, and an important transportation hub of Eurasian Continental Bridge. Also, the Lanzhou Xinjiang Railway and Southern Xinjiang Railway meet in Turpan.
Dunhuang (敦煌) is a county-level city which located in northwest of Gansu Province and westernmost of Hexi Corridor. It lies at the intersection of Gansu, Qinghai and Xinjiang, about 1,100 km/ 12 hours’ driving to southeast Lanzhou.
Xinjiang borders Gansu in the northwest, thus, Turpan is situated in the northwest of Dunhuang, with an estimated driving distance of nearly 800 km/ 9 hours’ drive.
Dunhuang to Turpan Transportation Map
Compared to long hours’ driving or complicated air travel with extra transfer, taking a train is surely the fastest and most convenient option to get to Turpan, Xianjiang from Dunhuang, Gansu. Totally, there are more than 20 days daily you can choose from, including several fast bullet trains arriving at the same day and nearly 20 normal trains costing half daytime more. Read more train travel information to pick up the best suited one.
Dunhuang Railway Station in Dunhuang doesn't run trains to Turpan. You have to transfer from Dunhuang to Liuyuan Railway Station or Liuyuan South Railway Station in Liuyuan Town, Guazhou City, to catch trains to Turpan and Xinjiang. We highly suggest you travel with China Discovery, because we offer you worry-free transportation between destinations and considerate pick-up and drop-offer service to make sure you always have more time and energy to enjoy the journey.
Liuyuan Railway Station Location Map
▶ Dunhuang City to Liuyuan South Railway Station: about 210 km/ 2 hours & 15 minutes’ driving
You can take bus at Dunhuang Bus Station to get to Liuyuan Bus Station. After getting off, walk about 5 minutes (350 m), you can easily find Liuyuan Railway Station (to take normal trains to Xinjiang)
▶ Dunhuang City to Liuyuan Railway Station: about 210 km/ 2 hours & 15 minutes’ driving
Also, you can take a bus from Dunhuang to Liuyuan Bus Station. But you need another local transfer (about 3.5 km/ 10 minutes’ ride) from the bus station to Liuyuan South Railway Station. Unless you know Chinese well, have a good direction and are good at adapting to the local environment, such complicated way is not recommended.
Railway Length: about 633 km/ 393mi
Journey Time: about 3.5 hours
From & To: Liuyuan South Railway Station (柳园南站) - Turpan North Railway Station (吐鲁番北站)
Every day, there are 4 bullet trains (all are D trains) leaving from Liuyuan South Station to Turpan North Station. The trains all depart in the afternoon time and arrive within the same day, and the trains will pass by Hami (哈密, a prefecture-level city in Xianjiang) before getting to Turpan and finally heading towards Urumqi, Xinjiang. On the Dunhuang to Turpan bullet trains, two kinds of seats are offered: First Class Seat and Second Class Seat.
Our Advice: It’s more recommended to take the bullet train to travel from Dunhuang to Turpan, which is time-saving, fast and provide a unique travel experience and nice views en route.
Most Popular Dunhuang Turpan Bullet Trains Tours:
Distance: about 491 km/305 mi-732 km/455 mi
Duration: about 5.5-9 hours
From & To: Liuyuan Railway Station (柳园站)- Turpan North Railway Station (吐鲁番北站) & Turpan Railway Station (吐鲁番站)
You can also choose from approximately 20 ordinary trains running at a traditional slow speed to get to Turpan from Liuyun. The normal trains (K, T, Z trains) depart from around 01:30 am to 00:00 each day. Some are overnight trains getting to Turpan on the next early morning. It’s more wise to book a Soft Sleeper or Hard Sleeper than the Hard Seat, since you will spend over half a day on the normal train.
Our Advice: The normal train is a good way to save your money and time, even solve your one night accommodation.
Recommended Dunhuang Turpan (Overnight Train) Tours:
Check the following real-time Dunhuang (Liuyuan) to Turpan (Tulufan) train timetable:
Note: Train information is subject to final confirmation due to the delay of data occasionally.
1. Dunhuang to Turpan By Flight
Unfortunately, currently, there is no direct (non-stop) flights flying from Dunhuang to Turpan. The only possibility of air travel is transiting through Chengdu, Xian or Lanzhou, costing at least 6 hours to over 15 hours at the airport. So, taking a flight is not a good idea, which wastes your precious time and money.
2. Dunhuang to Turpan By Bus
There is one daily direct bus from Dunhuang to Turpan. But, very few tourists use buses for long distance travel for it takes quite a long time, about 10 hours, nearly the entire daytime. The bus travel is super uncomfortable and tedious, and that’s why it is barely chosen by people. Or you can firstly get to Hami and then take another bus from Hami to Turpan, which requires you pay more time and money, not recommended neither.
It’s very classic and popular to spend 3 to 4 days to tour Dunhuang and Turpan during a Silk Road journey.
Two days are most suitable for visiting top highlights in Dunhuang. You can have one day to appreciate the Buddhist treasury - Mogao Caves, and another day to see the Mingsha Mountain and Crescent Moon Lake, try camel riding and interesting desert activities. Then you can take a 2.5 hours’ bullet train from Dunhuang to Turpan. Also, 2 days is a typical itinerary to discover major attractions in Dunhuang. To catch a glimpse of Turpan, you can visit Jiaohe Ancient City, Bezeklik Thousand Buddha Caves, Flaming Mountains, Karez Underground Irregation System, Emin Minaret, etc.
Hot Silk Road Tours with Dunhuang & Turpan:◆ 5 Days Dunhuang to Turpan Silk Road Culture Tour
If you get more time and would like to have an in-depth exploration in Dunhuang and Turpan, you can select from our longer tour packages in Dunhuang and Turpan to better touch the culture and history, taste local food, watch night shows and so on. Or you can contact us to tailor-make a special Dunhuang Turpan tour according to your requirements.
More Longer Dunhuang Tours:
More Longer Dunhuang Tour:
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How to Get to Turpan: There are high speed trains to Turpan from Xian (about 12.5h), Lanzhou (about 9.5h), Xining (about 8h), Zhangye (about 6.5h), Jiayuguan (about 5h), Dunhuang (about 3.5h), etc. and flights from Urumqi (1h), Beijing (5.5h), Lanzhou (2.5h), Changsha (4.5h), Korla (1h), Burqin (1h15min), etc. Many travelers also travel to Urumqi by flight first and then transfer to Turpan.
Best Time to Visit Turpan: May to October is the best time to visit Turpan. It is cold in late autumn and winter (November ~ next February) and rather windy in early and mid-spring (March and April). The temperature is high in summer, but you will get a lot of sweet fruits.
Generally, a classic Turpan tour takes 2 ~ 3 days. If your time is limited, you can focus on the essence of Turpan City. We suggest you spend 1 day touring the highlights of Turpan City, such as Karez System - a magic project bringing out underground water to this barren land, Turpan Museum where lots of historical exhibits including mummies are collected and Jiaohe Ancient City - the world's largest and oldest city ruins, and another day exploring its attractive surroundings, including Bezeklik Thousand Buddha Cave with exquisite murals & profound Buddhist culture, Flaming Mountain Grand Canyon with breathtaking landform, and peaceful Mazar Village (in Tuyuk Valley) where people still live traditionally. If you have one more day, don't miss Kumtag Desert, a beautiful desert offering amazing desert landscape and many interesting activities (like jeep safari, desert hiking, desert surfing, etc.).
Of course, it's far from enough if you just visit Turpan. Travelers always travel Turpan with Urumqi - the tourist center in northern Xinjiang together. It needs about 1~2 days to visit landmarks of Urumqi City, like Xinjiang Regional Museum, Red Hill Park and Erdaoqiao Grand Bazzar. Heavenly Lake, only 70 km away from Urumqi downtown is a must. If you are interested in Muslim culture and Silk Road culture, don't hesitate to go to Kashgar, one of Xinjiang's golden triangle tourist cities together with Turpan and Urumqi. In Kashgar, there is time-honored Kashgar Old City, yellow-tiled Id Kah Mosque, busy Grand Sunday Bazaar, etc.
If your time allows, traveling along China's Silk Road is strongly recommended. You can trace the footprints of ancient travelers from Xian - China's old capital city of 13 dynasties, to Qinghai (Xining, Qinghai Lake), Gansu (Zhangye, Jiayuguan, Dunhuang) and Xinjiang (Urumqi, Turpan, Kashgar). An in-depth Silk Road tour can be 2 weeks long, but you can spend a shorter time admiring the essence at your own pace.
☛ 10 Days Classic Silk Road Tour (Xian - Dunhuang - Turpan - Kashgar)
☛ 11 Days In-depth Wild Silk Road Adventure Tour (Lanzhou - Zhangye - Jiayuguan - Dunhuang - Urumqi - Kasgar)
☛ 12 Days Silk Road Tour from Beijing (Beijing - Xian - Dunhuang - Turpan - Urumqi)
Top 3 Turpan tours chosen by most customers to explore Turpan in the best way. Check the detailed itinerary, or tailor your own trip now with us.
Xian / Dunhuang / Turpan / Urumqi / Kashgar
Dunhuang / Turpan
Kashgar / Tupran / Dunhuang / Jiayuguan / Zhangye / Xian / Beijing
Start planning your tailor-made holiday to China by contacting one of our specialists. Once inquired, you’ll get a response within 0.5~23.5 hours.Customize a Trip