we need to get from Kazakhstan (Dostyk is probably the best choice, but I don't know much about) to China - either Karamay or Urumqi.

We need to book tickets in advance and I can't find online booking anywhere.

As far as I know, the train is leaving from Almaty and takes about 30 hours so the better choice would be a bus, from as nearest to China border as possible because we will have a rented car in Astana so we can get to Chinese borders by the car.

Do you have advices? Can we book a bus or train going from somewhere near the China/Kazakhstan borders?

  • Are you adamant on going on the ground? I guess there's a lot of planes on those routes.
    – alamar
    May 16, 2017 at 15:02
  • Probably yes. I took a look on flights from Astana to Urumqi or Almaty to Urumqi and prices starts from 250 eur per passenger. It would be much cheaper using ground probably. We want to stay there 3 or 4 days.
    – Milano
    May 16, 2017 at 15:18
  • I don't understand your so. Is 30 hours too long?
    – gerrit
    May 16, 2017 at 15:32
  • 2
    I think you're out of luck for booking online bus tickets between Almaty and Urumqi. But, I also think I remember that the bus journey takes about 24 hours. A train is more comfortable, considering that, again, if my memory serves me well, the prices are similar.
    – MastaBaba
    May 17, 2017 at 1:19
  • ...we will have a rented car in Astana so we can get to Chinese borders by the car. wow, that's quite a trip! Unfortunately, I don't think you can book a bus/train online for international routes. If you decide to go by train from Almaty then you can buy tickets in advance in Astana. May 17, 2017 at 21:05

1 Answer 1


As most of the time, Seat 61 is the place to start your research. And indeed, the page on the silk road contains lots of useful information on the train from Alma-Ata to Urumqi:

How to buy tickets: You can book these trains in either direction using the Real Russia online system below or (for eastbound journeys) through a local agency such as www.tourasia.kz.

On Real Russia you can select Alma-Ata to Urumqi and a date (you might have to try different options since the train doesn't run daily) and get more information about the train. You should leave GPB as the currency as it will just display 0 as the price in other currencies (at least this just happened to me when I selected €).

There is a stop right before the border (Druzhba) which you can also select using the advanced search (you have to first select the country so that it will suggest the correct Druzhba for you). (Even when selecting GBP the system shows me a price of 0 which obviously can't be correct. I don't know whether your booking request will go through but it certainly is worth a try. (This doesn't happen when I select Alma-Ata as the start, so maybe other cities along the route also work.)) Of course you should check whether you can return your rental car there.

More information about this online booking system can be found at Seat 61.

Your other option (as stated in the above quote) is to get in touch with some travel agency which will get your tickets for some fee.

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