Ten kilometers (6 1/4 miles) west of Turpan, these ruins are better preserved and enjoy a more spectacular location than Gaochang, though they are historically less significant. If you have time for only one set of ruins, come here -- it's closer and more dramatic. Originally a Han garrison town, it has no city walls, as the site (which means "meeting of the rivers") is bounded by steep ravines. A clear central avenue runs east-west through the town, with residential, religious, and governmental areas delineated. The reason for the demise of the settlement during the Yuan dynasty is unclear, but the depth of the numerous wells suggests the water supply may have run out. Sunset is the best time to go; not only for photos, but to avoid most of the tour groups. Walk in a clockwise direction to further avoid the remaining tour groups, which always seem to make their pilgrimages in a counterclockwise circle. Jiaohe can be reached by taxi for ¥30 to ¥40 round-trip; make sure your driver waits for you as there aren't many spare drivers in the parking lot.