Travel agent for Urumqi-Almaty train ticket

The Silk Road by train. Experts: Milad, Provodnik
eigenvector
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Travel agent for Urumqi-Almaty train ticket

Postby eigenvector » Tue Apr 04, 2017 5:01 am

Hi, I would like to travel Urumqi-Almaty by train in August. So far I only found one online agency that advertises these tickets (China Highlights). They will only deliver the ticket to a hotel in Urumqi, which is fine, but I'd like to understand a bit more about how to purchase tickets for this train.

Is it true they are only put on sale 3 days in advance?
Do these trains routinely sell out? (I plan to travel on a Monday)
Is it true the ticket can only be purchased in person in Urumqi (either by you or your agent)? This would explain why most online agents don't offer the ticket even those that offer other international trains from China.

Finally, does anyone have a recommended agent through which to buy this ticket? I don't really mind paying a bit extra to use a reliable agent.

Thanks in advance for any help.
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Wahlsted
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Re: Travel agent for Urumqi-Almaty train ticket

Postby Wahlsted » Tue Apr 04, 2017 8:20 am

I used Real Russia, who are reliable, to purchase the ticket in the other direction (Almaty - Ürümch) in May last year. Im not sure if they can sell it in the other direction though. But ask, they also send you the ticket (printed in Moscow) in advance if you like.

I checked around a year ago, and that train don't seem to be bookable online anywhere in eastbound direction. You ether need to use a travel agency, or have to go to the ticket office locally with your passport and also show your visa. I guess the visa thing is the issue here, but I actually don't know. I also think you don't need to be at the ticket office in person, but the passport need to be there...

The train was definitely not sold out when I went (May). I went with the Kazakh train (I think Monday is the Chinese train) and there was no restaurant car in the train, but many platform vendors at the longer stops. At the Kazakh border station (where it is a long stop to chage the trains boogies to Russian broad guage ones) there is a restaurant in the station building. Staying in the train during the process can be really hot during summer when the AC is shut of.
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eigenvector
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Re: Travel agent for Urumqi-Almaty train ticket

Postby eigenvector » Wed Apr 05, 2017 3:49 am

Thanks for sharing your experience. Real Russia is also offering the Almaty-bound ticket on their website. I might go with them for the convenience to have the ticket in advance.
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laurie507
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Re: Travel agent for Urumqi-Almaty train ticket

Postby laurie507 » Fri Apr 28, 2017 4:10 am

Me and my girlfriend used Real Russia to book our Urumqi to Almaty train for this Saturday night. They use a China Tour (CITS) agent based in the centre of Urumqi on Renmin Road close to the south entrance of people's park.

We went to their office on wednesday in the hope of having the tickets in hand but the CITS agent we spoke to explained they were not ready this far in advance. He was very helpful and explained he had a guy who would get the tickets for us in person on Saturday morning and have them delivered to our hotel before we check out. This seems a little tight for time for us, but the agent assures us this is normal.

We will let you know how we get on once we arrive in Almaty (hopefully!) on Monday morning.

Does the bus to Almaty leave from close to the train station? Just want to have a back up plan ready. Thanks.

Laurie
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laurie507
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Re: Travel agent for Urumqi-Almaty train ticket

Postby laurie507 » Thu May 04, 2017 2:09 am

The K9795 train from Urumqi to Almaty leaves from Urumqi South station. The time of departure seems to change from week to week or depending on what Chinese rail website you look at. Our train departed at 23.14 on Saturday.

On our initial reservation with Real Russia it said the train departed Saturday evening at 23.41. Some websites said it departed at 00.21. When we finally got the tickets from the CITS agent on the saturday morning the tickets stated the train departed at 23.14. The ticket just says Urumqi to Almaty, it is not clear what station in Urumqi it departs from. Again, some websites say Urumqi station, others Urumqi South (UrumuqiNan). The CITS agent confirmed it departed from the south station.

Lots of local buses serve Urumqi South train station, including BRT 1. It was very quiet when we arrived, we had to go through 2 security bag scanner checks, but no real que and we were sat in waiting room 1 within 15 mins after getting off the bus. There are a couple of shops in the station to stock up on last minute snacks and water. No food or drink is sold on the train, not even a little trolley, so come prepared.

The train is soft sleeper only, but an older style soft sleeper I suppose, despite the ticket saying hard sleeper. It is an older style train carriage but plenty of space to spread out as not many people were using this service.

The border crossing went slow but smoothly, the chinese side a bit grumpy, the kazak side very friendly and wanted to chat English with us and explain all the sites we should see in Almaty. Once through border control the train stops for another hour for the train wheels to be changed. You can get off here and use the nice cafe inside the station for some soup and noodles, which our Chechen room mate from the train, treated us to. Great start to our time Kazakhstan!

The train arrived into Almaty 2 station on time at 05.57 monday morning. There is a little money exchange office inside the station but it was closed that early in the morning. There are plenty of other money exchange points within Almaty to change any left over chinese Yuan. They all seem to change dollars, pounds and euros also.
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FansClubMan
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Re: Travel agent for Urumqi-Almaty train ticket

Postby FansClubMan » Mon Aug 28, 2017 6:04 am

viewtopic.php?f=12&t=3625

It is a bit late to reply you but my topic has detailed info about going to Astana, wish you a fantastic journey!~
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