Dunhuang-Turpan, China (overnight train) | 23 July, 2006 | $23.98 USD (train ticket)
This sleeper train took us from a town about two hours outside of Dunhuang to a town about one hour outside of Turpan. The train line wasn’t laid down in the most convenient route for tourists but its relatively easy to find a minibus to make the rest of the journey. This train trip was only about 10 hours, not including the extra three hours of connecting buses. Two days earlier I met a Taiwanese woman getting off the overnight train between Lanzhou and Jiayuguan. We shared a taxi around Jiayuguan tourist sites and a bus to Dunhuang at the end of the day. We traveled together on this train to Turpan, meeting up with a man from Paris who we would pal around with for a few days.
During this train trip I slept across from a Chinese lawyer who gave me his business card “just in case.” The Chinese who saw me talking to the Taiwanese woman were fascinated and treated her as much as a foreigner as me while, at the same time, insisting Taiwan was part of China. Although Turpan was around 104F (40C) the train was air conditioned and we didn’t feel the “furnace of China,” as its called, until we stepped off the train.