[Important] Breaking news! China has resumed the issuance of all types of visas(Including tourist visa) for foreigners since March 15, 2023. Read more »

Turpan Travel Guide

Turpan Travel Guide 2023

Turpan is a prefecture level city in the central part of Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region. It is a place integrating the ancient civilization and modern civilization, connecting western and eastern cultures and religions, as well as a city with abundant Silk Road legacies. Both flights and trains are available to Turpan and it is only 1 hour’s high speed train from Urumqi (capital of Xinjiang). It will be an unforgettable trip no matter you visit Turpan alone or along with other cities in Xinjiang, such as Urumqi and Kashgar.

Why Visit Turpan:

  • Long History & Profound Culture - Human activities can be found in Turpan as early as 6000 or 7000 years ago. It is also an important city on the ancient Silk Road. In the process of thousands of years, Turpan has gone through many ups and downs and left us many historical and cultural sites such as Jiaohe Ancient City, Bezeklik Caves and Gaochang Ancient City.
  • Amazing Natural Landscape - Due to its location and climate, Turpan has formed spectacle landscape such as the Flaming Mountain Grand Canyon - deep canyons with fiery-red mountain surface, and the endless Kumtag Desert.  
  • Juicy Fruits in Summer - The fruits, especially the grapes, have become a namecard of Turpan, which makes summer Turpan's most popular travel season. Turpan Grape Festival is held in August every year. At that time, you can taste all kinds of grapes as well as other fruits such as watermelon. All of them are juicy and delicious.
  • Diverse Minority Folk Customs - Turpan is home to about 27 peoples including Uygur, Han, Hui, Kazak, Mongolian, Manchu, Uzbek, Tajik, Buyi... Over 70% of the population are Uygur people. Therefore, traveling in Turpan will offer you quite a different experience.
  • ...

Jiaohe Ancient City

Turpan Attractions & Things to Do

Turpan is a place where you can get both natural and cultural explorations. Jiaohe Ancient City is a must to know the mysterious Cheshi people in ancient times, Flaming Mountain shows you amazing mountain landscape and Karez System offers you an interesting experience to find out how this water system works. Check the best must-visits to plan your Turpan itinerary.

Jiaohe Ancient City

Jiaohe Ancient City (交河故城) is the previous capital of Cheshi Kingdom. It has a history of over 2000 years and is the largest, oldest and best preserved earth building city in the world. The whole city is like a huge military fortress standing on the 30-meter high loess platform.

Flaming Mountain Grand Canyon

Flaming Mountain Grand Canyon (火焰山大峡谷) is formed by the crustal movements in Flaming Mountain range in the process of thousands of years. These canyons are like oases in the originally deserted land with beautiful scenery.

Karez System

Karez System (坎儿井) is one of the "Three Great Engineering Projects in Ancient China". Local people built this water system to bring out underground water for irrigation and daily use, which turned the arid desert into an oasis.

Bezeklik Caves

Bezeklik Thousand Buddha Caves (柏孜克里克千佛洞) has a history of over 1500 years. It reflects the glory of Gaochang Kingdom in ancient times in Turpan. It is famous for the brightly-colored murals and is a treasure house of Buddhist culture and art.

Kumtag Desert

Kumtag Desert (库木塔格沙漠) covers an area of 22000 square kilometers, is one of the 8 Great Deserts in China. Standing in the vast desert with rolling dunes, you will be amazed at the magnificent scenery. Don't miss the gorgeous sunrise and colorful sunset.

Gaochang Ancient City

Gaochang Ancient City (高昌故城) used to be the capital of Gaochang kingdom. It has a history of more than 2000 years and it was abandoned in the war at the end of the 13th century. Most of the buildings have faded away apart from two temple sites.

Mazar Village

Mazar Village (麻扎村) is an ancient historical and cultural village with a history of more than 2600 years in the south of Tuyugou Grand Canyon. It is a typical representative of the village pattern under the cultural background of eastern Xinjiang.

Grape Valley

Grape Valley (葡萄沟) is a cool and humid oasis in the hot Flame Mountain. As the name implies, what’s most famous here is the dense grapes planted in the Grape Valley, which makes it one of the most popular scenic spots in Xinjiang.

Turpan Museum

Turpan Museum (吐鲁番博物馆) is the second largest museum in Xinjiang. It now has 20637 cultural relics and 707 among them are precious cultural relics. What you can not miss includes the world-famous beautiful giant rhinoceros fossils and mummies.

Turpan Grape Festival

Turpan Grape Festival (吐鲁番葡萄节) is held in August. It is first founded to commemorate the Silk Road with a history of more than 2100 years. The festival has been held for about 30 years. You can taste juicy grapes and enjoy local performance during the festival.

Turpan Weather & Temperature - Best Time to Go


Turpan is known as "Huozhou" (very hot place) in China. It has a typical warm temperate continental arid desert climate with abundant sunshine, few rainfall, frequent gales and is extremely dry. Besides, it has a large daily temperature difference and annual temperature difference. In the daytime in summer, it can easily reach 40℃ and at night it is about 25℃. In winter it is very cold and the temperature can drop below -10℃. It seldom rains in Turpan and the annual average precipitation is only 16.4 mm. If you travel to Turpan in March and April, special attention should be paid to the windstorms.

The best time to visit Turpan is from May to October, especially in July and August when the fruits are ripe.

Tips: Turpan is dry throughout the year and has strong sunlight in the day, it is recommended to bring facial cream, lip cream, hand cream, sunhat, sunglasses, and sunscreen accordingly.

▶ Read more about Turpan Weather >

Turpan Transportation

Turpan Turpan Travel with China Discovery

▶ Get to Turpan

Turpan is in the east of Xinjiang in western China. Both flights and trains (high-speed trains and normal trains) are available. But the flight schedule is not stable and the connected cities are limited, so most people choose to get to Turpan by train or get to Urumqi first and then take a 1-hour high-speed train to Turpan.

By air: Turpan Jiaohe Airport (IATA:TLQ 吐鲁番交河机场) is about 17 km, 30 minutes' drive from Turpan downtown. It operates flights between Beijing (5.5h), Lanzhou (2.5h), Changsha (4.5h), Zhengzhou (4.5h), Korla (1h), Burqin (1h15min), etc. You can take a taxi to downtown or take a bus at Turpan North Railway Station, which is only 2 km from the airport.

By train: Turpan North Railway Station (吐鲁番北站) is about 14 km, 30 minutes’ drive from Turpan downtown. It receives daily high speed trains from Xian (12.5h), Lanzhou (9.5h), Xining (8h), Zhangye (6.5h), Jiayuguan (5h), Dunhuang (3.5h), Hami (1.5h), Urumqi (1h), etc. There are also available normal trains to Turpan from Beijing, Shanghai, Chongqing, Chengdu, Hangzhou, Guangzhou, Nanjing, Kunming, Zhengzhou, and cities at long distance, but almost all the trains are overnight trains taking more than 24 hours.

▶ Get Around Turpan

You can get around Turpan downtown by public bus. But if you are going to attractions such as Jiaohe Ancient City, Flaming Mountain, and Gaochang Ancient City, it is more convenient to take a taxi. But most taxi drivers in Turpan don’t understand English or other foreign languages and you need to write down your destination in Chinese in advance.

By Private Car - Top Recommended: As attractions in Turpan are scattered in different directions, traveling with a private vehicle and a local guide is quite helpful. To better acclimatize yourself to local environment and get a better travel experience, it’s highly advised to get around Turpan by private car. Please feel free to contact us for transportation help.

▶ Read more about How to Get to & Get around Turpan >

Turpan Accommodation: Where to Stay


In general, the accommodation condition in Turpan can not measure up to hotels with the same star rate in big cities like Beijing and Shanghai. But you can still find several 5-star and well-decorated 4-star hotels. When you are traveling to Turpan, it is most recommended to stay in Turpan downtown with convenient transportation and various hotel choices. What's more, main attractions such as Jiaohe Ancient City, Karez System, Turpan Museum, Grape Valley are all in or not far away from downtown and there are many restaurants, shopping malls, snack streets around. If you want to stay close to Turpan Airport or Turpan North Railway Station, there are also some choices, but most are 3-star and 2-star hotels.

Recommend Hotels in Turpan Downtown: Tuha Petroleum Hotel Turpan (吐鲁番吐哈石油大厦 ★★★★★) Atour Hotel (亚朵酒店 ★★★★), Turpan Huozhou Mercure Hotel (吐鲁番火洲美居酒店 ★★★★)

▶ Read more about Where to Stay in Turpan >

Useful Turpan Travel Maps

Here we provide some travel maps of Turpan to help you know its location, transportation and major attractions.

Turpan Attractions Map

Turpan Attractions Map

Turpan High Speed Railway Map

Turpan High Speed Railway Map

Other Popular Destinations in Xinjiang

Xinjiang is a vast land not only creates tremendous natural wodners like crystal blue Tianchi Lake, beautiful Kanas, majestic mountains, and vast grasslands, but also presents unique culture of diverse ethnic minorities and profound history of the ancient Silk Road. Besides Turpan, the following are more destinations you can choose for an in-depth exploration of the natural and cultural sepctacles of Xinjiang.

Other Popular Destinations in Western China

Though far away from the eastern and central developed cities, northwestern China is a beloved dream land for tourists to trace back to the ancient Silk Road and discover less-touristy landscape and experience the diverse minority culture. As one of the birthplace of many ancient Chinese civilizations, you can also find time-honored relics in this region. Here are four best places selected for you to enjoy the stunning plateau scenery, vast deserts and glorious culture and history, make a special, meaningful and memorable adventure. You can easily travel to these charming places from Turpan. (Check all destinations in China.)

Turpan China Map

Chinese Name: 吐鲁番

Chinese Pinyin: tǔ lǔ fān

English Name: Turpan, Tulufan

Area: 69,713 Square Kilometers

Population: 637,300

Language: Mandarin, Uyghur

Tel Code: 0995

Zip Code: 838000

Time Zone: (UTC+8)

Plan your Xinjiang Turpan Tour

Generally, a classic Turpan tour takes 2 ~ 3 days. If your time is limited, you can focus on the essence 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. Then you can spend another day exploring its attractive surroundings, including Bezeklik Thousand Buddha Caves 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.

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.

The following are our most popular Turpan tours covering the best highlights, you can choose from a favorite one according to your schedule and interest or contact us to customize a special one on your own.

Recommended Tours

Taking a relaxing cruise on Heavenly Lake
11 Days In-depth Wild Silk Road Adventure Tour (Cultural Relic & Unrivalled Landscape)

Lanzhou / Zhangye / Jiayuguan / Dunhuang / Turpan / Urumqi / Kashgar


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
Why Book with China Discovery