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Home > Silk Road > Transportation on Silk Road

Transportation on Silk Road

All cities such as Xian, Dunhuang, Urumqi, Turpan and  Kashgar  along the Silk Road are connected by air, road and railways. Details of routes, connections, timetables and booking offices are contained in the Practical Information section for each city.

Air Links
Airphnes link most of the cities along the Silk Road; frequency of flights can vary from several times each day to once a week. Airplanes are the most efficient, comfortable to all of China's open cities and areas, a list in constant flux but generally expanding.

Xinjiang boasts the greatest number of airports and the longest air routes of all the provinces and autonomous regions of China.

Urumqi International Airport is one of China's six major airports with flights to West Asian and European countries.

Centered on Urumqi, domestic air routes radiate out to Lanzhou, Xi'an, Beijing and Shanghai. Closer to home, routes within Xinjiang itself serve Hami, Korla, Kuqa, Hetian, Kashi, Aksu, Yining, Karamay, Fuyun, and Altay.

Reconstruction and expansion is currently underway at Urumqi International Airport. At the end of 2003, its civil aviation routes totaled 116,000 kilometers (down 12.1 percent). Freight volumes were down 22 percent at 64 million ton-kilometers with passenger transport up 4.3 percent at 4.09 billion person-kilometers.

By Railway
China's third drive to upgrade train speeds across the nation is currently in hand. Work on the Lanzhou-Xinjiang Railway represents one of the major projects in pursuit of this aim. Construction is progressing smoothly with completion anticipated by October 1, 2004.

The Lanzhou-Xinjiang Railway runs more than 2,000 kilometers from Lanzhou City in Gansu Province in the east to Alataw Pass, the westernmost point of the Chinese section of the second Eurasian Link. It is a principal artery linking China's east and west and is the only railroad running between Xinjiang and the rest of China.

A dual-track section of the Lanzhou-Urumqi railroad is already operational and construction of the Korla-Kashi section of the Southern Xinjiang Railroad, also a major project, is in full swing. Works to the value of 2.4 billion yuan have been completed in the westward extension of the Southern Xinjiang railroad and the northern section of Wusu-Ala Pass railway.

The Lanzhou Urumqi rail line was completed in 1963, ending Xinjiang's economic isolation, with the completion of the railway between Urumqi and Kashgar made the train travel on the Silk Road more extended. So far train tickets are not possible to booked or purchased outside China.Once you are in China you can purchase it easily directly from the main train station (be prepared that you may have to stay in a long line in high seasons.Alernatively, We can book it for you and make it available to you on your arrival.For which you have to pay US$ 6 as a service fee for per ticket.

There are several ticket options are available :
1. Hard Seat - A bald seat, only slightly more expensive than a bus ticket, which is the most crowded, sometimes with unassigned seats unless you buy your ticket at the train'st originating station.

2. Hard Sleeper - A hold sleeper, consisting of open compartmems with six berths, is usually the most difficult to obtain, roughly the cost equals to the one forth of the Airfare for the same distance.

3. Soft Sleeper - is ail enclosed compartment containing four berths similar m Eastern European coaches, The price is roughly equals half the price of the Airfare for the same distance.

Soft Sleepers are not very difficult to purchased as it was before (when you have to obtain special permits to get the Soft Sleeper - as they are reserved for the Government Officials). Still on high seasons seats may seaily sold out.

During the train journey,boiled water and expensive mediocre food are,available on the train; drinks and snacks can be purchased at most station

By Road
Buses, the most inexpensive method of transportation, tend to be slow moving, especially in Xinjiang, where they regularly depart one or two hours behind schedule, or the desert sucks the life out of everything thing that moves or attempts to do so the three-day' bus ride from Urumqi to Kashgar (with overnights in Korla and Aksu) is highly recommended for the hardy traveller, offering spectacular views of the Hear only Mountains and interesting glimpses of the oasis towns along the northern rim of the Taklamakan Desert. Note that in Gansu, foreigners are required to purchase an insurance policy (Y20 FEC) and to produce the receipt when buying subsequent tickets, Bus company employees are fairly figid about this rule. which seems to be non-existent west of Jiayuguan.
Another option is to hire a land cruiser or mini vail, enabling you to visit sites far from cities or towns that would othervise be inaccessible. Costs can he minimized if you are in a group. Prices should be based on the number days hired and kilometers travelled

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