Best way to see Hotan, Kashgar, Kuqa...

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Cassarian
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Best way to see Hotan, Kashgar, Kuqa...

Post by Cassarian »

Hi there,

I’m planning a trip between the cities of Hotan and Urumqi, with the possibility to extend the trip to Dunhuang (if possible).

Probably I’ll arrive in Hotan from Almaty with a flight, and I was wondering which could be the best way to see cities like Yarkand, Kashgar, Kuqa (maybe Aksu) and finally Urumqi.

Is the train the best option from Hotan? (Or from another city, I’ve still not decided which would be my starting point).

Is there a train or a bus from Urumqi to Dunhuang?

Many thanks for your help
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AreWeThereYet?
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Re: Best way to see Hotan, Kashgar, Kuqa...

Post by AreWeThereYet? »

Avoid buses. Buses = road, and road = multiple checkpoints en route. A train would be better but be prepared for utter mayhem. I met a couple of Pakistani traders in Kashgar station and one told me "I'm from Lahore and this is something like I've never seen before". Which I guess says a lot!
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TomGoode
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Re: Best way to see Hotan, Kashgar, Kuqa...

Post by TomGoode »

To get to Dunhuang from Urumqi you’ll need to catch the train to Liuyuan from which point there’s a 2 hour bus ride (~35¥) that can take you down to Dunhuang near the city centre.
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StephParis
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Re: Best way to see Hotan, Kashgar, Kuqa...

Post by StephParis »

Cassarian wrote: Probably I’ll arrive in Hotan from Almaty with a flight, and I was wondering which could be the best way to see cities like Yarkand, Kashgar, Kuqa (maybe Aksu) and finally Urumqi.

Is the train the best option from Hotan? (Or from another city, I’ve still not decided which would be my starting point).
If you start in Hotan, then train is your best option. As of August 2019, foreigners are accepted in Hotan, Kashgar, Kuqa and Urumqi. Can't tell about Yarkand, but in August 2018 they were not allowed.
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Cassarian
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Re: Best way to see Hotan, Kashgar, Kuqa...

Post by Cassarian »

Many thanks for the replies.

So Should I really expect “utter mayhem” from Chinese railways?

To be honest, with all this hype on infrastructure development in China, I was expecting a good service. Am I too optimistic?

A couple of weeks ago I saw with my eyes the situation of railways in Uzbekistan, so I am prepared: platforms not numbered, no useful informations on the screens in the station, and so on.

Is there a similar situation in western China?

(Quite surely I’ll be arriving from Almaty, so my question is: should I start my trip from Hotan or from Urumqi, considering that in my plans there is also a visit to Dunhuang?

Thanks again for your help
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BakuBound
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Re: Best way to see Hotan, Kashgar, Kuqa...

Post by BakuBound »

Assuming you travel hard sleeper, trains are quite civilized once you are on board. No problem, really.

The problem is, stations -- especially with the extra security checks in Xinjiang -- can be crowded and uncomfortable. But usually not too confusing, apart from the usual language problems.

Buying tickets can be a big problem, especially sleeper tickets. Absolutely buy in advance on ctrip or the like. Remember you still have to deal with the crowds at the station to pick up your actual paper ticket when you buy online.
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StephParis
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Re: Best way to see Hotan, Kashgar, Kuqa...

Post by StephParis »

Cassarian wrote: Quite surely I’ll be arriving from Almaty, so my question is: should I start my trip from Hotan or from Urumqi, considering that in my plans there is also a visit to Dunhuang?
Without the Dunhuang visit I would say do it north to south. As you plan to visit Dunhuang, start in Hotan and head north. Dunhuang will be your final destination and you'll have a smooth exit from Xinjiang.
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rhinomaxil
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Re: Best way to see Hotan, Kashgar, Kuqa...

Post by rhinomaxil »

I used trains in Xinjiang and it was absolutely fine. Depending on your destination you might want to book in advance but I was able to buy my ticket at the train station on the day of departure from Kuqa to Kashgar for instance
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Cassarian
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Re: Best way to see Hotan, Kashgar, Kuqa...

Post by Cassarian »

Many thanks for your replies.

There could be any problems for foreigners travelling alone in Xinjang, in your opinion?
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StephParis
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Re: Best way to see Hotan, Kashgar, Kuqa...

Post by StephParis »

Cassarian wrote:There could be any problems for foreigners travelling alone in Xinjang, in your opinion?
What kind of problems ?
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