Monday, October 19, 2015
Central Asia: Layover in Urumqi
I had a long layover in Urumqi, about 16 hours in total including an overnight stay. There are a few flight options, giving choices of duration you want in Guangzhou vs Urumqi. I decided to have a longer layover in Urumqi with a short one in Guangzhou. I opted for a 4 hours transit in Guangzhou and a 16 hours in Urumqi.
I have initially planned a couple of things I wanted to see in Urumqi or at least hope to see the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region Museum and Grand Bazaar. That, was the plan but one can only plan eh. I ended up only walking around near the hotel I was put up.
Ok - back to the transit hotel story. I approached the China Southern transit desk and was given a hotel slip and the staff in charge stuck a sticker on my backpack so that the driver can identify me. On my way there, there was only one other person and me on the same flight that was transiting to Bishkek. She wanted a room to herself and paid. I wasn't keen on sharing and have someone coming in to the room when I was sleeping (even though I am game to stay in dorm, don't ask me what logic is that..). So I paid ¥150.00 for the other bed as well.
I had every intention to get my own room on my return trip as well but as I reached Urumqi past midnight, there were not enough rooms even if I paid. :( I shared a room but all turned out OK though I did not have a good sleep.
The girl works in Bishkek and passed me her phone number if I needed help in Bishkek. Very kind of her. Even the van driver was nice, he helped me carry my fat backpack!
On my way there, I was put up in Yuyuan Hotel and Golden Beach Hotel on my return trip. The rooms were nothing to shout about, in fact the bathroom in Golden Beach Hotel was quite bad! It was those bathroom without door, only a shower curtain to cover the bath area. Serious, why do people make that kind of bathroom! = ="
Umm, I dont have any photographic evidence though because I was rooming with another person and it was right in the middle of the night.
I had half a day in Urumqi and an overnight sleep on a proper bed. Can't beat that! Though the lady at the counter in both hotels are a little strange. Both times when I asked what time does the bus leave, they responded as,"We will call you." Well, they did call but all they say would be "pack your bags and come down." No time to do anything because well, nobody is going to risk missing the bus or rather, flight.
There was a street full of restaurants and eating places near the hotel. However it reminded me of Petaling Street in KL and I much prefer a small, home style eating place so I didn't have my dinner there. I did however walk around the neighbourhood.
As it was an eating street, there were many cute statues along the street.
The other thing I wanted to do in Urumqi was to eat dapanji (大盘鸡). I settled for a small family run eatery near the hotel (not in along the food street). However as per it's name - big plate chicken, the smaller portion still use half a chicken and there is absolutely no way I can finish the dish by myself. How I wish I can find another person to share it with me so that I could eat dapanji in Xinjiang. Not wanting to waste the food, I chose to have something else. The lady boss suggested stir fry noodles and I went with it. I can't even finish this stir fry noodles and it was for one person's portion. So it was lucky that I didn't order dapanji.
Despite my best effort, I could only finish half of this. Taste wise it was ok but the noodles were a little too al-dente to my liking.
So that was my rest and relax layover in Urumqi.
Side note: I think I'm coming down with a cold.. Noooooo