Silk Road Trip 2017 Photos Set 1 of 3: Hong Kong to Lanzhou to Urumqi

This is part 1 in the series of posts showing a total of 50 photos from our August 2017 trip to and along the China side of the silk road.  To continue to part 2, click here.

In August 2017, we decided to take an educational summer trip to China’s silk road starting overland from Hong Kong.  Traditionally, the eastern terminus of the land-based silk road was Chang’an (now known as Xi’an), and even though the bullet train from Guangzhou to Lanzhou stops in Xi’an, we decided to save time and skip straight to our first stop in Lanzhou.  Lanzhou is famous for hand-pulled noodles which can be found in halal restaurants in almost every city I’ve visited across China, and the making of which I’ve posted a video of on my Instagram page.

The bullet train from Lanzhou to Urumqi was completed in 2014 and claims to be the highest high-speed rail track in the world.

Here were my train tickets from Futian (the new Shenzhen high-speed railway station closest to Hong Kong) to Guangzhou to Lanzhou to Urumqi to Kashgar. The G trains were 300km/hr, D was 190km/hr, and T was a sleeper train.
I still don’t understand why delicious noodle dishes like this Shaanxi Biang Biang noodles are so hard to find in Hong Kong, but I am very glad to have good, inexpensive Chinese lunches like this anytime I’m in Shenzhen.
Train G96 from Guangzhou to Lanzhou maxed out at 306km/hr.
These seemed to be inflated pig skins tied up to make rafts…
… and these were some tourists floating on the Yellow River in Lanzhou on one of those rafts.
Lanzhou was a nicer city than I expected, and is a great place to see where China as most people think of it (the cities defined by the Yellow, Yangtze and Pearl rivers) meets the silk route to Central Asia.
Another shot from Zhongshan mountain in Lanzhou across the pearl river.
This was taken from the cable car, which I recommend taking one way across the Yellow River to Zhongshan mountain park (walk across the iron bridge the other way).
On the bullet train to Urumqi, we already started noticing a very different landscape that started looking more Mongolian.
Countless large wind turbines could be seen from the train from Lanzhou to Urumqi…
… with solar farms becoming more common only much closer to Urumqi.
Hami is famous for its melons – here are a few sitting on some carts at Hami train station.
At Turpan train station, we saw these Russian tanks and trucks being transported on another train.
Urumqi is a sprawling city with terrible traffic, but it was nice to get a view from the top of red hill and see people dressed in so many different styles already.
I probably like China’s provincial museums far more than most, but the Xinjiang museum in Urumqi really is a must-see for anyone interested in the Silk Road and the history of China’s connection to Central Asia.  In this section, they had several mummies from Xinjiang’s deserts, which one map contrasted with those in Egypt.

Click here to continue to part 2.