During the Han and Tang Dynasties, Urumqi used to be a very important pass on the northern route of the ancient Silk Road. Nowadays, as the capital city, Urumqi still serves as a gateway to Xinjiang and a vital transportation hub where tourists usually begin their Xinjiang tour. Except taking a flight, getting to Urumqi by high speed bullet train on the Lanzhou-Xinjiang High Speed Railway is a very popular way to trace back the old Silk Road, view various of the wild northwestern China for today’s travelers. Which city has a high speed bullet train to Urumqi? How long does it take to Urumqi from Dunhuang? Any interesting destinations to visit on the way to Urumqi? Read on details below to plan your high speed bullet train tour to Urumqi and Xinjiang.
At present, Lanzhou-Xinjiang High Speed Railway (also called Lanxin High Speed Railway) is the only high speed rail of Urumqi, which links Urumqi and other areas of Northwest China. The 1,786 km-long rail was opened at the end of 2014. It starts from Gansu’s Lanzhou (兰州), passes through Qinghai’s Xining (西宁), Zhangye (张掖), Jiayuguan (嘉峪关), Dunhuang (敦煌) of Gansu, Xinjiang’s Hami (哈密) and Turpan (吐鲁番) and other destinations of Northwest China and terminates in Urumqi finally.
Every day, there are 14 to 20 high speed bullet trains running to Urumqi and they mostly depart from cities on the Lanzhou-Xinjiang High Speed Railway and a few from Xian. The regular running speed is about 200 km/h.
After the operation of Lanzhou-Xinjiang High Speed Railway, exploring the mysterious northwest china by the high speed bullet train has gradually become a popular tourist style and a convenient way of travel. Below are the most popular high speed train routes between Urumqi and other famous destinations along the Silk Road. Check useful train travel information below to enjoy your Urumqi tour.
Distance: about 1,927 km (1,197 mi)
From & To: Lanzhou West Railway Station 兰州西站 → Urumqi Railway Station 乌鲁木齐站
Duration: about 10 ~ 11 hours
Frequency: about 3 trains per day
The Lanzhou-Xinjiang High Speed Railway is also called Lanzhou-Urumqi High Speed Rail and the modern "Steel Silk Road", which perfectly connects lots of major great destinations on the ancient Silk Road. Therefore, many travelers make their Silk Road exploration by the fast bullet trains on the line. Between Lanzhou and Urumqi, tourists can easily make stopovers in Gansu, Qinghai and Xinjiang, visit wonderful places like Xining, Zhangye (Rainbow Mountains of Zhangye Danxia), Jiayuguan (Jiayuguan Pass), Dunhuang (Mogao Caves), Turpan (Jiaohe Ancient City, Flaming Mountains, Bezeklik Thousand Buddha Cave), etc.
Lanzhou delivers more than 20 trains to Urumqi each day. Generally, there are 3 daily bullet trains. Same number for the opposite route. If you want to take a bullet train from Lanzhou to Urumqi, you will start from Lanzhou in the morning and get to Urumqi in the evening on the same day.
Popular Silk Road Tour including Lanzhou & Urumqi:
Below is the real-time Lanzhou to Urumqi (wulumuqi) train schedule with all available trains, detailed train time, train number, departure station, time, terminal station, arrival time, ticket classes and prices. You can click the train number to get the time slot and all stations en route.
Note: Train information is subject to final confirmation due to the delay of data occasionally.
Distance: about 990 km (615 mi)
From & To: Liuyuan South Railway Station 柳园南站 → Urumqi Railway Station 乌鲁木齐站
Duration: about 4 hours 10 minutes ~ 4 hours 20 minutes
Frequency: about 3 trains per day
After exploring the exquisite mural paintings and statues of Buddhas in Mogao Caves of Dunhuang and visiting the desert oasis - Crescent Lake in the Sand Echoing Mountain, you may take a bullet train to continue your Silk Road adventure further to Xinjiang.
Liuyuan South Railway Station, about 2 hours’ drive from Dunhuang City and 2 hours 15 minutes’ drive from Mogao Caves, is the nearest high speed bullet train station to Urumqi. So, you need to transfer from Dunhuang to Liuyuan South Railway Station first, if you plan to get from Dunhuang to Urumqi by bullet train. Normally, there are 3 bullet trains running from Liuyuan South Railway Station to Urumqi. They all depart in the afternoon and arrive in Urumqi at night after over 4 hours’ ride.
Popular Silk Road Tours including Dunhuang & Urumqi:
Distance: about 167 km (104 mi)
From & To: Turpan North Railway Station 吐鲁番北站 → Urumqi Railway Station 乌鲁木齐站
Duration: within 1 hour
Frequency: nearly 10 trains per day
Turpan in the east of Urumqi is another historical town on the ancient Silk Road. You can spend 1 or 2 days visiting Jiaohe Ancient City, hot Flaming Mountains, interesting Karez System, time-honored Bezeklik Thousand Buddha Cave, other cultural relics and featured landscape. Then, you may make a short bullet train travel to Urumqi and transfer to other destinations in Xinjiang.
There are more 7 to 10 bullet trains running from Turpan to Urumqi daily. They are arranged between about 10:30 and 22:00 every day. Train travel is less than 1 hour, very efficient and convenient.
Popular Silk Road Tours including Turpan & Urumqi:
Distance: about 1,380 km (857.5 mi)
From & To: Zhangye West Railway Station 张掖西站 → Urumqi Railway Station 乌鲁木齐站
Duration: about 7 hours ~ 7.5 hours
Frequency: about 3 trains per day
Zhangye in northwest Gansu and middle section of Hexi Corridor is most known for the colorful Danxia mountains. It’s highly advised that you leave 1 or 2 days exploring the fantastic geographic wonders and profound Buddhist treasures in Zhangye, including the Zhangye Danxia Geopark, Dafo Temple, Masti Temple, Pingshanhu Grand Canyon.
After your Zhangye tour, you can follow the Silk Road route and travel westward to Xinjiang. From Zhangye West Railway Station, there are 3 daily bullet trains heading to Urumqi of Xinjiang. It takes at least 7 hours. Between Zhangye and Urumqi, you will stop in Jiayuguan, Liuyuan (near Dunhuang), Hami (Kumul) and Turpan. Depending on your time and personal interests, you can drop by one or more destinations en route to admire the breathtaking natural scenery and special local customs.
Popular Silk Road Tours including Zhangye & Urumqi:
Distance: about 1,598 km (993 mi)
From & To: Xining Railway Station 西宁站 → Urumqi Railway Station 乌鲁木齐站
Duration: about 9 ~ 9.5 hours
Frequency: about 3 trains per day
Xining, located in eastern Qinghai, is the east portal of the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau and a must-stop of the southern route of ancient Silk Road. It is still used as the transfer center to Qinghai Lake, Chaka Salt Lake, Tongren and many other destinations in Qinghai. After finishing the Qinghai tour, tourists often get back to Xining to departure for onward destinations.
If you are going to travel from Xining to Urumqi by bullet train, there are 3 daily trains offered each day. They leave from Xining Railway Station and stop at Urumqi Railway Station after 9 to 9.5 hours’ travel. The first train starts at about 10:00 in the morning and the last train runs at noon.
Popular Silk Road Tour including Xining & Urumqi:
Distance: about 2,603 km (1617 mi)
From & To: Xian North Railway Station 西安北站 → Urumqi Railway Station 乌鲁木齐站
Duration: about 13 hours 15 minutes
Frequency: 1 train per day
As a great ancient capital of 13 dynasties in Northwest China, Xian is the home to the world-famous Terracotta Warriors and many historical sites. Significantly, Xian is the starting point of the ancient Silk Road. Whether you’re a Silk Road fan or a Chinese culture lover, Xian is always recommended for you. It’s the best place to catch a glimpse of China’s long history and profound culture. You can take 2 to 3 days visiting the top attractions, including the Terracotta Army, Bell & Drum Tower, Musim Quarter, Great Mosque, Xian Ancient City Wall, watching a Tang Dynasty show and dance, tasting northern style food, etc.
Now, there is only one bullet train running from Xian to Urumqi daily. It starts at 08:00, travels for over 13 hours and eventually arrives in Urumqi in the evening. This bullet train line is the longest one of getting to Urumqi, for you will pass by more than 10 midway stations on the way, like the Tianshui, Lanzhou, Xining, Zhangye, Jiayuguan, Liuyuan, Hami, Turpan and so on.
Most Popular Silk Road Tours with Xian & Urumqi:
Except the above listed cities, there are other places providing direct high speed trains to Urumqi for they are located on the Lanzhou-Xinjiang High Speed Railway or on the connected high speed rail. That means, travelers rightly in the cities can also take a bullet train to Urumqi. The optional departure cities include Baoji (宝鸡, Famen Temple), Tianshui (天水, Maijishan Grottoes), Shanshan (鄯善, Kumtag Desert, Flaming Mountain) and so on.
For now, Beijing, Shanghai, Chengdu and lots of cities in east, central and south China have no bullet trains to Urumqi. If you want to make a Silk Road adventure from one of the cities via the modern bullet train, we highly recommend you transfer to Xian, Lanzhou, Zhangye, Dunhuang, Xining and other closer destinations first and then take a bullet train travel to Urumqi. If you have a tight schedule and want to save time on transportation, you can check Urumqi Airport and Flight Schedules to find a suitable flight and fly to Urumqi. Normally the air travel is within several hours only.
Warm Tips: After arrival in Urumqi, you can take fast intercity trains (Fuxing Trains) to get around Xinjiang, travel from Urumqi to Korla, Karamay, Ili, Bortala, Khorgos, Wusu, Kuytun and other destination by the advanced Fuxing Train.
Currently, Urumqi has only one railway station in service - Urumqi Railway Station, the newly-built station which handles both high speed bullet trains and normal trains to/off Urumqi. To help your Xinjiang Urumqi tour go smoothly, below we offer the train station location and transportation guide. Among all the traffic, our private transfer is the most efficient and convenient way.
Address: No.1 Gaotie Beiliu Road, Tunhe District, Urumqi, Xinjiang 新疆乌鲁木齐市屯河区高铁北六路1号
Urumqi Railway Station to City Center: about 10 km, 20 minutes’ drive; at least 1 hour by Urumqi BRT or city bus.
Urumqi Railway Station to Xinjiang International Grand Bazaar (Er'daoqiao Grand Bazaar): about 15 km, 30 minutes’ drive; nearly 1 hour 10 minutes by city bus (with extra transfers).
Urumqi Railway Station to Xinjiang Regional Museum: just 7 km, 15 minutes’ drive; approximately 1 hour by Urumqi BRT or city bus.
Urumqi Railway Station to Tianchi Lake of Tianshan Mountain: about 71 km, 1 hour 10 minutes’ drive; almost 2 hours if you take a coach from the bus station with additional transfer.
Urumqi Railway Station to Nanshan Pasture: about 65 km, 1.5 hours’ drive; around 2 hours by bus.
You can visit Urumqi Railway Station to check more intercity train schedules and train station traffic guide!
Class of Ticket
You can usually choose from the First Class Seat, the Second Class Seat or Business Class Seat on the high speed trains. While, there are three types offered on the normal train, including Soft Sleeper, Hard Sleeper and Hard Seat. learn more >>
Book, Collect, Alter and Cancel
Foreign tourists can book train ticket online or via a ticket agency, or buy the tickets physically at the train station with your valid passport. Train ticket alteration and cancellation are only available at ticket counters. learn more >>
Board & Get off
1) Prepare your passport and China Visa; 2) Get to the right train station at least 30 mins in advance; 3) Collect your train ticket; 4) Read your train ticket; 5) Pass the security control; 6) Pass through Security & Luggage Checks; 7) Find the right waiting room; 8) Cross the ticket checking gate; 9) Get to the right platform; 10) Get on your train. learn more >>
Passengers don’t need to check luggage separately. Each passenger is allowed to carry luggage in certain weight and volume, but without limitation of amount and types. learn more >>
Facilities and Service
All high speed trains in China are equipped with advanced facilities and good service, including luggage racks, air-conditioner, power socket, dining car, hot water, etc. learn more >>
How to Get to Urumqi: Fly to Urumqi from Beijing (4-4.5hrs), Shanghai (5.5hrs), Guangzhou (5hrs), Shenzhen (5.5hrs), Xian (3.5hrs)..., or take a high speed bullet train from Dunhuang (4hrs), Zhangye (7-7.5hrs), Turpan (1hr), etc.
Best Time to Visit Urumqi: May to October when the temperature is comfortable and the seasonal scenery is very beautiful.
Top Places to Visit Urumqi: Tianchi (Heavenly Lake) of Tianshan Mountains, Xinjiang International Grand Bazaar, Xinjiang Regional Museum, Red Hill Park, Nanshan Pasture.
Most travelers start a Xinjiang tour from Urumqi and take Urumqi as the transfer center of visiting the Northern Xinjiang. Usually, tourists spend one day exploring Urumqi’s highlights in the down area, including the Xinjiang International Grand Bazaar, Red Hill Park and Xinjiang Regional Museum. Making a day trip to Tianchi Lake is a popular itinerary if you won’t visit Kanas. Nanshan Pasture is a good summer resort worthy of your visit if you happen to visit Urumqi in summer.
Xinjiang is vast and beautiful. The Northern Xinjiang is most known for the natural beauty while the Southern Xinjiang is characterized rich cultural and historical treasures. Depending on your time and personal interests, you can extend trip to more destinations, such as the Turpan, fairyland Kanas Lake and Hemu Village in Altay, incredibly beautiful Sayram Lake, Wu’erhe Ghost City in Karamay, Ili (Kalajun Grassland, Narati Grassland, Guozigou...) in Northern Xinjiang, and travel further to the Southern Xinjiang’s Kashgar and vicinal Tashkurgan, Taklamakan Desert, Bosten Lake, Tomor Peak, Kuqa, Khotan, etc. You can pick up some highlighting places for a week's travel or haven an in-depth discovery for up to one month.
Northwest and Southwest China are two mysterious regions travelers love to visit. Following the ancient Silk Road from Xian to Xinjiang is also a popular travel route. It’s highly suggested that you visit Xinjiang with Dunhuang, Zhangye, Jiayuguan along the ancient Silk Road, or with the holy land of Tibet (Lhasa, Shigatse, Mount Everest, Mount Kailash, Nyingchi...). The nature scenery and distinctive culture will impress you deeply. China Discovery provides not only all-inclusive Xinjiang tours, Silk Road tours, but also can help you customize a wonderful trip on your own.
Top 3 tours chosen by most customers to explore in the best way. Check the detailed itinerary, or tailor your own trip now with us.
Lanzhou - Zhangye - Jiayuguan - Dunhuang - Turpan - Urumqi - Kashgar
Urumqi - Turpan - Kashgar - Tashkurgan
Urumqi / Turpan / Korla / Kuqa / Taklimakan Desert / Minfeng / Hongtan / Kashgar / Tashkurgan
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