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Long-distance bus travel is often the only way to travel in Xinjiang if you don't want to wait a day or two for the next available train. Every city in the region is served at least daily by buses from Ürümqi. There's even bus service to Almaty, Kazakhstan.
It's usually a straightforward affair buying tickets from the only station in town, but Ürümqi is more complicated. Unless you're going to Hotan or Altai—which have their own separate bus stations—your best bet is to first look for tickets at Nianzigou Station. If you don't like what's available there, or if your destination is Kashgar or Turpan, head to the South Station (Nanjiao Qichezhan).
Buses (Y25 each way after bargaining) leave for Heavenly Lake (Tianchi Hu) at 9:30 am from the north gate of Renmin Park. They usually leave the lake at 6 pm and arrive back in Ürümqi at 7:30 pm. Be careful to get on a regular bus rather than a tour bus that will take you to minor attractions on the way, limiting your time at the lake.
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