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Turpan Travel Guide

Turpan

An ancient Silk Road trading post, the Turpan oasis is surrounded by desert and mountains, ruined cities and Buddhist caves.

It's often said that when hanging clothes out during the summer in Turpan, it'll have dried before you're finished. Enjoying numerous consecutive days over 40°C, the dry heat of Turpan's summer days infuses the city with a languid torpor relegating daytime activities to consist mainly of drinking tea and sleeping.

Such is oasis life. Mountains to the north and west, and arid desert to the south, Turpan lies in the Turpan Depression, 154m below sea level at its lowest point, and is surrounded by the Gobi Desert. It was an important center of commerce and culture on the Silk Road and served as a key staging post on the north silk route. The momentous wash of religious influences over the past 2,000 years; Shamanist, Buddhist and Islam have given the people a sense of tolerance and hospitality that contrasts vibrantly with its harsh desert surroundings. With a population of about 70% Uyghur and the remaining 30% comprised of other ethnicities, Turpan maintains the Silk Road's romantic identity as a cultural crossroads.

City life centers around the bazaar with its numerous food stalls and goods for sale, and the public square, which deserted in the daytime, becomes a riot of colors, scents and sounds by night. Though the heat of day can make even the hardiest of travelers nearly comatose, many of Turpan's streets are covered with grape trellises providing welcome shade. Turpan has long been famous for its grapes and was once renowned throughout all of Asia for its wine. Now, most local families have a hand in the grape industry, either in the growing or selling them as they are or as raisins.

Memorable Experience

Walking through the Gaochang Ruins in the morning as the sun comes out from the clouds.

Hiking on the Flaming Mountains followed by swimming in the cool, fast stream at the Grape Valley.

Eating kebabs in the night market while Uyghur music and dance videos blare from the vendors.

Top Turpan Tours

Silk Road Tour by China Oriental Express Route B

  • Tour Code: OE06
  • Days: 13
  • Destination: Urumqi-Turpan-Dunhuang-Jiayuaguan-Lanzhou-Xian-Luoyang-Beijing

From USD

Summary: The Silk Road is a historically important international trade route between China and the Mediterranean. Because silk comprised a large proportion of trade along this road..

China Orient Express Silk Road Adventure from Urumqi to Xian

  • Tour Code: UR81
  • Days: 10
  • Destination: Urumqi-Turpan-Dunhuang-Jiayuguan-Tianshui-Xian

From USD
$2336

Summary: Take the amazing Shangri-La Express Train to travel from Urumqi to Xian, watching the gorgeous scenery along the rail and enjoy the comfortable 10 days train travel..

China Orient Express Silk Road Adventure from Xian to Urumqi

  • Tour Code: UR85
  • Days: 10
  • Destination: Xian-Tianshui-Jiayuguan-Dunhuang-Turpan-Urumqi

From USD
$2336

Summary: Take the amazing Shangri-La Express Train to travel from Xian to Urumqi, watching the gorgeous scenery along the rail and enjoy the comfortable 10 days train travel..

12 Days Silk Road Adventures by China Orient Express-B

  • Tour Code: UR83
  • Days: 12
  • Destination: Urumqi-Turpan-Dunhuang-Jiayuguan-Tianshui-Xian-Luoyang-Beijing

From USD
$2429

Summary: Take the amazing Shangri-La Express Train to travel from Urumqi to Beijing, watching the gorgeous scenery along the rail and enjoy the comfortable 12 days train travel..

12 Days Silk Road Adventures by China Orient Express-A

  • Tour Code: BJ84
  • Days: 12
  • Destination: Beijing-Luoyang-Xian-Tianshui-Jiayuguan-Dunhuang-Turpan-Urumqi

From USD
$2429

Summary: Take the amazing Shangri-La Express Train to travel from Beijing to Urumqi, watching the gorgeous scenery along the rail and enjoy the comfortable 12 days train travel..