Almaty - Urumqi by train: reports, Q&A

The Silk Road by train. Experts: Milad, Provodnik
User avatar
Posts: 3827
Joined: Mon Jan 14, 2013 4:32 pm
x 3203
x 449

Re: Almaty - Urumqi by train: reports, Q&A

Postby steven » Wed Dec 05, 2012 9:11 am

Please read and post reports on the Almaty - Urumqi train below.

We summarize all info on the train travel in Kazakhstan page.
0 x
If you like Caravanistan: we have opened a tip jar! We love you back! :D

Posts: 15
Joined: Mon Jun 23, 2014 8:59 am

Almaty - Urumqi by train: reports, Q&A

Postby Mikael » Sun Aug 17, 2014 10:44 am

Took the train to Urumqi last week with my bike. The one leaving 00.20 Tuesday... so just after midnight Monday.

Train consisted only of Chinese wagons. There was no restaurant car and they didn't let foodsellers in. Maybe I could have gotten off at some stations but didn't want to chance it. Bring plenty food and drink.

Changing the wheels takes 40 mins and you can stay aboard or go get some food if you understand Chinese and hear the announcement. Border red tape took 4-5 hours. Better take a leak beforehand. ;-)

Chinese train personnel don't follow booking numbers but just bung you two and two into 4-bunk compartments in soft sleeper. Meant I could put my dissasembled, plasticwrapped bike in the upper bunk with no hassle from anyone. Even customs were happy with a pic of the contents while my kasakh fellow passenger had to lift his heavy suitcase down and open it at each control.

This is just my recent experience. YMMV.
0 x

Posts: 1
Joined: Tue Aug 26, 2014 2:30 pm

Almaty to Urumqi by Train/Bus

Postby RoNi » Tue Sep 09, 2014 12:16 pm


I have some quenstions. First of all can somebody recommened a good travel agency in Bishkek for buying Almaty-Urumqi train tickets? I think they are sold out anyway, but i would like to give it a try (next Saturday). Unfortunately i can't go to Almaty since my Passport is at the chinese Embassy in Bishkek.

Second option would be the bus, does anybody have some informations at what time this one is departing from Sairan and furthermore do I need to pre-reserve a seat and if any idea how to do this from Bishkek (i could call them - Russian shouln'd be the barrier here).

Thanks in advance
0 x

User avatar
Posts: 3827
Joined: Mon Jan 14, 2013 4:32 pm
x 3203
x 449

Re: Almaty to Urumqi by Train/Bus

Postby steven » Wed Sep 10, 2014 10:17 am

If you speak Russian, call the bus Station (Sairan). They pick up the phone in my experience

Numbers listed here
0 x
If you like Caravanistan: we have opened a tip jar! We love you back! :D

Posts: 4
Joined: Mon Apr 29, 2019 3:09 pm
x 6

Urumqi-Almaty train: report

Postby ough » Sun Jun 09, 2019 6:35 pm

Train: K9795
Date: Sat 8 Jun 2019
From: Ürümqi Station (乌鲁木齐站)
To: Almaty-2
Journey time: 25h20min

Chinese-operated train, composed of 6 wagons. New cabins, clean bedding, western toilet, hot water tap but no restaurant or food trolley. A particularly comfortable sleeper train. Cabins are 4-berth, though it seems that the common practice is to spread passengers 2 per cabin. Only four foreigners boarded at Ürümqi and we were all grouped together in carriage number 10; local passengers were directed to the other carriages. By the time we got to Huoerguosi (Khorgas), us 4 were the only passengers in the whole train.

The stop at Huerguosi is very long, we arrived at 11:15am to be told that the border control only opens after 15:30. We left our bags at the station and went for a walk in the small town to find a place to eat and kill some time. This stop is also where the train wheels are changed (Chinese to Kazakh gauge), but unfortunately this happens away from our eyes. It would have been nice to see it.

By the time the Chinese border opens we have another three passengers joining us, a grand total of 7 making the trip to Almaty. Border clearing is straightforward, a standard bag x-ray and passport control. No bag search, no phone inspection. I traveled with a laptop, a smartphone, a Kindle and a couple of battery packs; no notice taken.

We board the train again and slowly roll into Kazakhstan, where the train soon stops for the Kazakh officers to come onboard. Immigration was done inside the train, a simple affair of letting our bags be sniffed by a chirpy dog plus passport control. Once we are all cleared the train rolls a few more metres and stop at Altynkol for a long time. Only then we are ready to go for a bumpier ride on the Kazakh side. In total the immigration procedures represent a stop of 8h30min for 7 passengers only!

Below is a detailed timeline, Beijing time in brackets when in Kazakhstan:

23:33 - Departure from Ürümqi.
9:00 - Arrival at Yining, long stop
11:15 - Arrival at Huoerguosi, Chinese border control is closed
15:45 - Chinese border control opens
16:45 - Boarding train at Huoerguosi
17:00 - Departure from Huoerguosi
(17:25) 15:25 - Stop for Kazakh border control, inside the train just outside Altynkol
(19:00) 17:00 - Kazakh border control ends, train rolls into Altynkol
(19:55) 17:55 - Departure from Altynkol
(00:05) 22:05 - Arrival at Almaty-1
(01:00) 23:00 - Arrival at Almaty-2

Without getting into the deplorable political situation, I would add that traveling through Xinjiang wasn't as difficult as I expected. There are many passport checks but they are pretty inocuous for tourists. The security checks at train stations aren't more than I found in any other part of China, and the exit border came with the usual surliness but no invasion to my privacy. I understand personal experiences might differ, and the reverse trip might be a different kettle of fish, but for my part I am happy to have seen this part of the world, and for the education it brought me.
3 x

Posts: 2
Joined: Wed Jun 19, 2019 10:55 am

Re: Almaty - Urumqi by train: reports, Q&A

Postby tbouland » Wed Jun 19, 2019 10:58 am


I would like to go from Almaty to Urumqi at the beginning of july, but I couldn't find any website to book my train except in the realrussia website, but the price is 222€! Is it normal? Is there an other way to book it?

Have a nice day,

0 x

Posts: 47
Joined: Tue Mar 13, 2018 5:55 pm
x 4
x 25

Re: Almaty - Urumqi by train: reports, Q&A

Postby Jealgu » Wed Jun 19, 2019 3:11 pm

Tutu quotes about 112 euro. Much cheaper but still expensive. Unfortunately this train seems to be unbookable there, at leasy for 23 june it is.

Not sure if this train gets booked out quickly, but the old school ticket counter might be the cheapest.
0 x

Posts: 6
Joined: Fri Jun 14, 2019 12:57 pm
x 6
x 3

Re: Almaty - Urumqi by train: reports, Q&A

Postby Jvita » Mon Jul 08, 2019 2:55 pm

I'm looking to go from Urumqi to Almaty in a couple of weeks - the China Highlights website says there's a train on the 20th July but it costs $200 (K9795), but I've seen online people reporting tickets much cheaper, and also buying them when they arrive in Urumqi and not in advance. How risky would it be to buy at the station in Urumqi on the day? I'm arriving early morning on the 20th and the Almaty train departs at 23.33, which I think should be enough to sort it out, I'm just concerned about all the tickets being gone by then.
0 x

Posts: 11
Joined: Tue Jun 25, 2019 5:48 am
x 3
x 9

Re: Almaty - Urumqi by train: reports, Q&A

Postby Lubylu » Wed Jul 10, 2019 7:59 pm

Would be really grateful for any recent reports for the Almaty to Ürümqi train - hoping to get it in early September so very interested to hear anyone’s experience recently!
0 x

Posts: 1
Joined: Fri Jul 26, 2019 12:15 pm

Re: Almaty - Urumqi by train: reports, Q&A

Postby marenv » Fri Jul 26, 2019 12:17 pm

I also want to take this train from Almaty to Urumqi in October. Would be grateful on any recent reports on this journey. Thanks.
0 x

  • Similar Topics
    Last post
  • Almaty-Urumqi bus: reports, Q&A
    by funkyboots » Fri May 15, 2015 10:40 am » in Itineraries & trip reports
    by nielba View the latest post
    Sun Sep 08, 2019 5:53 am
  • Urumqi -Astana - Almaty by train
    by funkyboots » Sun Jun 08, 2014 5:46 am » in Trains
    by funkyboots View the latest post
    Wed Jun 11, 2014 9:49 pm
  • Bicycles on train from Urumqi to Almaty
    by ough » Wed May 01, 2019 6:19 am » in Cycling
    by ough View the latest post
    Wed May 01, 2019 6:19 am
  • Travel agent for Urumqi-Almaty train ticket
    by eigenvector » Tue Apr 04, 2017 5:01 am » in Trains
    by FansClubMan View the latest post
    Mon Aug 28, 2017 6:04 am
  • Urumqi - Ulan Bator by train
    by Dave&Bev » Wed Feb 21, 2018 3:32 am » in China
    by Milad View the latest post
    Wed Feb 21, 2018 5:27 pm

Return to “Trains”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 3 guests