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Transportation on the Silk Road

Generally, the Silk Road we mentioned refers to the ancient branch in China, covering a few main cities: Xian, Lanzhou, Jiayuguan, Dunhuang, Urumqi, Turpan and Kashgar. Nowadays, it is convenient to transfer in these cities by air, train or bus.

1. By Air

On the Silk Road, by air is the most convenient and comfortable way to travel to the main cities. There are airports in Xian, Lanzhou, Dunhuang, Urumqi and Kashgar.


Located in the heartland of China, Xian has a Xiangyang International Airport ( XIY ). Domestic flights are available to Beijing, Chengdu, Lanzhou, Dunhuang, Urumqi, Chongqing, Fuzhou, Guangzhou, Harbin, Hangzhou, Kunming, Lhasa, Nanjing, Shanghai, Shenzhen… International flights are available to Bangkok, Fukuoka, Tokyo, Hong Kong, Osaka, Pusan, Sapporo, Singapore, Taipei and more.

Each day, there are several flights flying to Xian and leaving for other cities.

Xian Airport


In Lanzhou, Lanzhou Zhongchuan Airport ( LHW ) has several flights from more than 20 cities depart and arrive at in China. Daily flights to and from Xian, Urumqi, Dunhuang, Jiayuguan, Chengdu, Guangzhou, Beijing, Shanghai, Nanjing, Kunming, Wuhan…


Jiayuguan Airport ( JGN ) are now available to arrive directly from Lanzhou, Xian, Shanghai, Beijing.


Dunhuang Airport ( DNH ) are available to arrive directly from Xian, Urumqi, Lanzhou, Beijing…


Urumqi, situated in the north of Xinjiang, has Urumqi International Airport which is one of the six major airports in China. It has several international flights to West Asian and European countries, and domestic flights to Kashgar, Lanzhou, Xian, Beijing and Shanghai.

Flights to and from Urumqi are the most convenient method to arrive in Xinjiang region.


Kashgar Airport has an international routine flying from Urumqi to Kashgar, then to Islamabad of Pakistan. From Urumqi to Kashgar, China Southern Airlines, China Eastern Airlines and Hainan Airlines fly morning, afternoon and evening flights a day. However, the amount of flights will increases during summer and decreases during winter.

Duration time of flight:
Xian to/from Lanzhou: 1 hour
Xian to/from Dunhuang: 1 hour
Lanzhou to/from Jiayuguan: 1.5 hours
Lanzhou to/from Dunhuang: 2 hours
Lanzhou to/from Urumqi: 2.5 hours
Dunhuang to/from Urumqi: 1.5 hours
Urumqi to/from Kashgar: 1.5 hours

China Eastern Airlines from Shanghai to Kashgar

2. By Train

Tour by train in China is the favorite way because it is convenient and inexpensive. Silk Road Railway is connected by the Xian-Lanzhou Railway and Lanzhou-Xinjiang Railway. On these two railways, the China's third train speed-up project has been put into effect.

Xian – Lanzhou Railway

The distance of railway from Xian to Lanzhou is about 676 kilometers. Each day, there are up to 31 trains running about 6 to 8 hours between Xian and Lanzhou.

Lanzhou – Xinjiang Railway

Lanzhou – Xinjiang Railway runs through the hot tourist cities: Jiayuguan, Dunhuang, Urumqi, Turpan, Kashgar and other cities in Xinjiang. The dual-track section of the Lanzhou-Urumqi railway is already operated several years. Each day, there are 25 trains running between Xian and Urumqi.

The completion of the railway between Urumqi and Kashgar made the train tour on the Silk Road more extended. It takes 24 hours from Urumqi to Kashgar. You can enjoy the desert scenery of Taklamakan Desert.

So far, train tickets are not possible to book or buy outside China. You can tell us your arrival and we can book train tickets for you on the China Silk Road; or you can book tickets at China's Train Ticket Book Official Website.

Travel time of train:
Xian to/from Lanzhou: 8 hours
Lanzhou to/from Jiayuguan: 8 hours
Lanzhou to/from Dunhuang: 15 hours
Lanzhou to/from Urumqi: 21 hours
Dunhuang to/from Turpan: 8 hours
Urumqi to/from Kashgar: 24 hours
Urumqi to/from Turpan: 2.5 hours

Urumqi to Khotan Train

3. By Bus or Car in Xinjiang

Nowadays, you can take the most inexpensive method of transportation to travel in Xinjiang region – by bus, but it is not very safe and moves slowly. Especially taking 3-day bus from Urumqi to Kashgar is highly recommended for the very active travelers. On the bus, you enjoy the spectacular views of the Heavenly Mountains and interesting glimpses of the oasis towns along the northern edge of the Taklamakan Desert.

In addition, to hire a car or mini-vans enables you to visit sites far from cities or towns that would be inaccessible by bus. The price you pay is based on the days hired and kilometers travelled.

Travel time of bus:
Urumqi to/from Turpan: 3.5 hours
Turpan to/from Korla: 5 hours
Korla to/from Kuqa: 4 hours
Kuqa to/from Khotan: 12 hours
Khotan to/from Kashgar: 11 hours

Kashgar to Yining Bus

Most Popular Silk Road China Tour Packages

Have a question about your Silk Road trip planning? Simply tell us your travel ideas and we will handle the rest. No deposit is needed until you are totally satisfied with all tour plan details.

Call a specialist on +86-10-6800 2460


+86-10-6800 2460

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