Getting there & away
Two long-distance bus stations in Ürümqi serve northern and southern destinations. The north bus station (chángtú qìchēzhàn) is on Heilongjiang Lu and has sleeper buses to Tǎchéng (Y112 to Y142, 11 to 12 hours), Yīníng (Y120 to Y150, 11 to 14 hours) and Bù’ěrjīn (Y127 to Y137, 13 hours). If you have a Kazakh visa, you can also go to Alamaty in Kazakhstan via a sleeper bus to Korgas (Y133, 14 hours). From Korgas it’s another 12 hours to Alamaty. A longer but more pleasant trip would be to travel to Alamaty via Yīníng. Bus 2 runs from the train station to Hongshan, passing Heilongjiang Lu on the way.
The south bus station (nánjiāo kèyùnzhàn) is south of the city and has frequent departures for Turpan (Y35, 2½ hours), Kuqa (Y106 to Y165, 10 to 17 hours), Kashgar (Y192 to Y212, 24 hours) and Hotan (Y220 to Y410, 19 to 26 hours), the latter crossing the Taklamakan Desert. Bus 1 runs between Xidaqiao and the south bus station, bus 109 will get you there from Hongshan intersection, and from the North Gate bus 104 will take you almost all the way (a ten-minute walk beyond the Xinjiang University stop).
Ürümqi has international flights to neighbouring Central Asian countries. Destinations include: Almaty (Kazakhstan), Bishkek and Osh (Kyrgyzstan), Baku (Azerbaijan), Hong Kong, Islamabad (Pakistan), Novosibirsk (Russia), Moscow, Dushanbe (Tajikistan), and Tashkent (Uzbekistan). Some of these are seasonal and many are suspended for no real reason, especially in winter. Other flights are constantly being discussed; currently, it’s a flight to Punjab (India).
There’s also continued talk of new flights to Lahore (Pakistan) and Punjab (India); seasonal flights go to Seoul and possibly Istanbul. Linking Tashkent, Islamabad and Lahore with Kashgar (starting here) is debated incessantly.
China Southern has a booking office next to the Kǒngquè Dàshà, but hotel travel agents will consistently get you better prices.
There are two primary international airline offices in town: Siberian Airlines (286 2326; Changjiang Lu) in the Ramada Inn, and Kyrgyzstan Airlines (231 6333; Xinhua Nanlu) in the Huáqiáo Bīnguǎn (Overseas Chinese Hotel).