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Turpan 吐鲁番 Travel Guide

Turpan Overview

Turpan (also known as Turfan) is a desert oasis famous for it’s grapes, it’s scorching summer temperatures and for being the second lowest point on earth at 154 meters below sea level. At 150km east of Urumqi it was also an important stop on the Silk Road and it is this history, rather than the grapes (!) which draws in the tourists these days making this town a must stop along the Northern Silk Route.

Best Months to Visit Turpan

turpan when to go

Best Reason to Visit Turpan

What most impresses is the variety of sights to see; it is a truly exotic part of China full of Silk Road history.

Top Attractions in Turpan

Bezeklik Thousand Buddha Caves, the ancient dwellings of the modern day Uygur people. There are about 80 caves in good condition and many of these have murals inside. Emin Minaret, built in 1777 and 2 km east of Turpan, is the largest old tower in Xinjiang built in honour of the heroic Turpan general Emin Khoja. The Karez Irrigation System is up there with Great Wall as one of China’s ancient achievements and Turpan would not exist today without its ability to collect water from the Tian Shan mountains to feed this oasis. Ruins of Gaochang, which was the administrative centre of this northwest region until the Ming Dynasty. The Flaming Mountains are famed for their colours at sunset.

Weather Averages for Turpan

turpan weather averages

Our Top Turpan Travel Tip

An essential stop on the Northern Silk Route, Turpan is often a highlight for travellers. The sights around Turpan are spread over quite a distance so some planning is necessary to cover all there is to see.

Hand Picked Turpan Hotels

Options in Turpan are not great but then you do not travel here for the accommodation! The new Silk Road Lodges has the most character and the oddly names Tuha Petroleum Hotel is the most luxurious. Just outside of the city is The Vines which is our choice but which only has a few rooms so needs to be booked well in advance.

Explore More of China

Click the boxes below to explore further styles of destination in China.

By Phil Stanley & Headseast – TCTC Destination Expert.

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