Xinjiang is a district with so wide area. It's a good idea to rent a car, incluing a local driver, for the sake of safety. Be sure it's in a good condition. In my opinion, it's the best way if you have enough time.
Not all the road are in good condition.
If you want to drive by yourself, remember take more spare tires. When the car runs on the road, expecially from Urumchi to Tulufan, the temperature is high, sometimes tires will blow up. It's dangerous.
Last time the van I was in changed tires twice in 8 days.
We were supposed to reach Urumqi (China) from Alma Ata (Kirghizstan) by bus in about 1 hour, but in the last minute the plane was not available and the Agency changed the plan: we should reach Urumqi by bus (in fact a minibus for 8 people) crossing the border by Khorgos, across the Tien Shan Mountains! It was gonna be a 24 hours bus ride by small provincial roads...
After the initial surprise I was delighted to have the possibility of knowing close up this region of the world that I wouldn't (probably) have the cahnce of visiting again. Though the landscape was monotonous and the bus uncomfortable, it was a great experience to cross that nowhere land between China and the former USSR and I remember specially crossing the beautiful "Heavenly Mountains" of Tien Shan, about which I had read so much in tales about the Silk Road!!
To get around in Xinjiang you most likely have to take a few busses. Not so bad ofcourse, but they pack them full, and sometimes...the bus gets stuck on the side of the road. Then you learn how hot it is in the desert.
Within cities, bicycle is the One. Between cities and towns... you don't want to be left behind in the dessert. Yet, with enough water, it works for short distances.
When in Xinjiang, a horseback riding trip in the mountains is an unforgettable experience. Many of the lake areas like Tian Chi and Karakul have horses for rent.
When in China, westerns should choose a "5-star" hotel. Not because its fancy, but it helps being...more
No.17 West Renmin Road, Kashi, Xinjiang Uygur, 844000, China
Good for: Couples
No.230 West Laocheng Rd., Turpan, Xinjiang Uygur, 838000, China
Good for: Couples
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