Urumqi - Bulgan crossing
Replies: 9 - Last Post: May 31, 2013 3:38 AM Last Post By: mikaroundtheworld
Oct 16, 2012 8:39 AM
Urumqi - Bulgan crossingI'm in Urumqi, China trying to arrange transport to to the Mongolian border but having difficulty with the bus situation. Does anyone have any advice on this? Nobody seems to know much about this and I don't speak Chinese, which I understand puts me at a severe disadvantage, but figured I'd reach out for any help that might be out there!
Oct 17, 2012 6:53 AM
1It's very hard to get reliable, current information on this route.
Here's a 2007 announcement of the establishment of an international bus service between 青河县 Qinghe Xian in Xinjiang and 布尔干县 Bulgan in Mongolia.
http://tinyurl.com/blosfhy (in Chinese)
The announcement says the bus leaves Qinghe noon daily on a 168km journey to Bulgan. Whether this line in fact operates daily at present I do not know, but it's not unusual for service on lines like this to be suspended without notice.
As for getting to Qinghe from Wulumuqi, here's a 2007 letter from the local government to higher authorities complaining that the two night buses/day on this route are insufficient to meet demand, and asking for establishment of a third, daytime bus service. So it looks like you can reach Qinghe easily enough by overnight bus from Wulumuqi, though best to buy your ticket early.
http://tinyurl.com/c39n39q (in Chinese)
Keep in mind that the border is apparently closed from sometime in December till April.
(Help future travellers by posting here what you discover.)
Oct 17, 2012 5:39 PM
2I seem to remember on some thread or two in the past, a mention of an Urumqi travel agent that could deal with these arrangements, but can't recall the name. Allternatively, you could just get transport by bus sequence to Qinghe then see what's what for onward. If you can't speak any Chinese, you are definitely at a disadvantage trying to pull this off without a hiccup, so maybe either have a good hard copy or electronic phrasebook with characters to show, or get somebody in Urumqi to write down your ultimate destination and what you are trying to do, to be shown to ticket offices or officials along the way. I presume if you need a Mongolian visa, that you already have it. My understanding is that there are no visas-on-arrival given.
Oct 17, 2012 6:28 PM
3Thanks, all! I don't speak any Chinese but after some digging around, I found the public way to get there. For anyone in the fugure, you can get a bus ticket from the main bus station to Qinggil, in Qinghe county, about 500km from Urumqi and a 135 RMB bus ride. There are buses at night and at 11am. I had someone write down for me the characters for Qinggil and I copied down 'tomorrow' and 'morning' and that worked, though it turned out the cashier actually spoke English. I also went to the travel agency listed in LP and found a couple English speakers who were helpful in confirming the Qinggil info, but that was all they could provide. From Qinggil it's about a 2-hour bus to the border itself. As an American, I don't need a visa so should be fine. Thanks again!
Oct 17, 2012 6:42 PM
4Just so other travellers reading this thread don't get confused, 青河县 and Qinghe and Qinggil are all the same place, in the same way that Wulumuqi and Urumqi are the same place, different pronunciation.
Oct 18, 2012 9:45 AM
5kmellnick, please come back to this thread and post your experience when you can, after you get to/through Mongolia. Also any information you can pick up on seasonal border closures, transport options etc. Spare no details! Nice that you have that US passport so no Mongolia visa procurement issues.
Oct 19, 2012 9:27 PM
6Bus was an easy 8 hours. A couple Mongolian guys were headed to the border who spoke russian, we hopped in a taxi for 200RMB (67 each) 90 minutes to Takashiken, spent the night in a cheap hotel for 15 RMB each, then paid 15 each to get to the actual border. Pretty easy crossing, maybe a half hour total. A few folks were heading to Bayan Olgii and i was told i could wait to find a ride to khovd. the border isn't in any town, bulgan itself is about 20 minutes away. i paid 5000 togrik there and then ended up paying 30,000 to khovd. high i'm sure but couldn't find anyone else going. it was a 4x4 that ran a little slow and took about 10 hours. that about sums it up!
Oct 19, 2012 10:58 PM
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