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Getting There

Khotan's airport (tel. 0903/293-3200), 10km (6 1/4 miles) west of downtown has two daily flights to Ürumqi. A taxi into the center of town should cost taxi ¥20. The CAAC air ticket office at Wulumuqi Nan Lu 14 (tel. 0903/251-8999), is open from 9:30am to 8pm.

The main bus station (tel. 0903/202-2688) is at Hemo Lu 5, north of town, on the south side of Highway 315. Sleeper buses cross the Taklamakan Desert Highway to Ürumqi every couple of hours; afternoon services are more comfortable and cost more (1,509km/936 miles; 24 hr.; ¥250-¥387). There are also several daily buses to Korla (15 hr.; ¥78). There is now a new road which cuts through the desert between Khotan and Aksu. Buses leave every 90 minutes and cost ¥136 for the 8 hr. journey; some of these buses continue on to Kuqa (113 hr.; ¥159). Alternatively, you could buy a ticket to Luntai (874km/542 miles; 10 hr.; ¥155) from where there are buses for Kuqa (110km/68 miles; 2 hr.; ¥10) that leave when full. There are buses every couple of hours to Kashgar (520km/322 miles; 9 hr.), both regular (¥67) and evening sleeper services (¥95). Regular buses depart from the east station (Dongjiao Keyun Zhan; tel. 0903/202-5487) on Taibei Dong Lu and visit the oasis towns east of Khotan, stopping at Keriya (Yutian; 177km/110 miles; 3 hr.; ¥25), Niya (Minfeng; 294km/182 miles; 5 hr.; ¥51), and Charchan (Qiemo; 603km/374 miles; 10 hr.; ¥102).

Getting Around

Taxis are plentiful, but seldom use their meters; ¥5 is sufficient for most journeys within town. Bus fare is usually ¥1, paid to the conductor.

Tours & Guides

Hetian International Travel Service is on the third floor of Tamubage Lu 23 (tel. 0903/251-6090). It's open from 9:30am to 1:30pm and 4 to 8pm. While rates charged for guides are reasonable, you're better off arranging your own transport.

Fast Facts

Banks, Foreign Exchange & ATMs -- If you are continuing east along the southern Silk Route, change your money in Khotan, as there are no facilities before Golmud or Dunhuang. There are several branches of the Bank of China around Khotan, the most convenient of which is at Beijing Xi Lu 28. This branch accepts traveler's checks and credit cards and has an ATM. It's open weekdays in summer from 9:30am to 1:30pm and 4 to 8pm; weekdays in winter from 10am to 2pm and 3:30 to 7pm.

Internet Access -- Several Internet cafes are on Nawake Lu, including Crazy Boy, a little east of Gaoyang Kaorou restaurant. It's open 24 hours and charges ¥2 per hour.

Post Office -- On Beijing Xi Lu 1 (tel. 0903/202-1885), a little west of the intersection with Wenhua Lu, the post office's narrow frontage belies its size. It's open in summer from 9am to 8:30pm and in winter from 9:30am to 8pm.

Visa Extensions -- The PSB at Beijing Xi Lu 92 (tel. 0903/202-3614) offers one of the speediest visa extensions available. It's open weekdays from 9:30am to 1:30pm and 4 to 7:30pm and processing takes a day.

Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.