Urumqi Travel Guide

Urumqi Travel Guide

Heavenly Lake
Heavenly Lake    Pictures
Urumqi, the capital of Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region in northwest China, is just like a piece of emerald embedded at the foot of the Tianshan Mountains. As home to 49 minority ethnic groups, this graceful prairie city is an important stop along the ancient Silk Road, leading to Central Asia and even as far as Europe.

The city lies in the shadow of the lofty ice-capped Bogda Peak with vast Salt Lake to the east, rolling pine-covered Southern Hill to the south, and alternating fields and sand dunes of Zunggar Basin to the northwest. With shorter spring and autumn but longer winter and summer, May to October is the golden season for travel, when flowers are in full bloom and the fruits, like melons and grape, are ripe with fragrance. The 2 hours' time difference between Xinjiang and Beijing lead to local working time starting from 9:30 or 10:00. The temperature varies widely between day and night. Considering this, you're advised to set out on your travels around noon each day.
Luoyang Train
It is a hub linking China with East Asia and also Europe. As such Urumqi Airport plays a significant role for traveling to cities in China, East Asia, European countries and other destinations within Xinjiang. Long-distance buses to most attractions are available from the city. The Lanzhou-Urumqi high-speed train makes train trip to Xinjiang fast, convenient and comfortable.
Nang, local food in Xinjiang
Almost all cuisines of China can be found here, so there is no need to worry about eating. Eating food from different local ethnic groups is a must-do activity. Kebabs, Nang and Xinjiang Noodles of Uyghur, cheese and Boiled Lamb from Mongolia, bread and dairy-products from Russia ensure that you will not help having a try of some if not all that is on offer. Various local fruits and nuts will leave you a sweet memory.
Local Market
Coming here will not let you return to your country empty-handed. Shopping in the International Grand Bazaar is a pleasant experience. Bargain hunting for handicraft souvenirs such as rugs, carpets, Uygur-style hats and knitted sweaters, ethnic costumes, hand-made embroideries and carved jade, will definitely draw your intense interest.

Uygur Performance
Nightlife here provides a multiple-range of choices such as watching the ethnic song-and-dance show, tasting native delicacies in the night market, or simply hanging out in bars. Shopping along Zhongshan Road or at Er Dao Qiao Market is sure to make your night interesting. Or one can climb the Red Hill to appreciate the beautiful night view of the whole city.


Local Performance
The most important local festivals are the annual Corban Festival and Lesser Bairam. Corban Festival, also known as “Sacrifice Festival”, falls on December 10th in the Islamic calendar and lasts three days. During that time, ethnic activities, thumping singing and dancing parties will be held in both urban and rural areas. All homes serve their visitors delicious mutton. Lesser Bairam, also called “Fast Breaking Festival”, is the New Year’s Day of the Hui nationality as well as some other ethnic groups. It is the holiday at the end of Ramadan. The annual Silk Road Snow Folk Festival, from December to the next March, allows visitors to enjoy the fun of skiing.

Although it is remote, its history can be traced back to the Neolithic Age. It used to be a residence of some northern nomadic people. From1755 onwards, the start of fast development got underway in this area and the city got the name “Urumqi”. In 1884, it changed its name to “Dihua” and was regarded as a political center. From 1954, it reverted to its original name and is the capital city of Xinjiang.

Some fast facts and practical information provided below will facilitate your life and trip in the city.
  • Area & Zip Code
  • Useful Phone Numbers
  • Post Office
  • Money Exchange
  • Hospital
  • Famous University

- Last updated on Jul. 31, 2023 by Catherine He -
Questions & Answers on Urumqi Travel
Asked by Pete from UNITED KINGDOM | Jul. 30, 2023 02:32Reply
Foreigners allowed?
Are there any areas of Xinjiang where foreigners cannot go? And if so, are they clearly signed or do you have the potential to just stumble into them?
Answers (1)
Answered by Vivian | Jul. 31, 2023 20:47

I think you are talking about the boundary areas with neighbouring countries. Generally, if you go here for sighteeing only, no special travel permit will be required. Anyway, you may contact local tourism bureau or travel agencies for more details.
Asked by Petra Krupickova from CZECH | Jun. 27, 2019 20:26Reply
I would like to visit Kanas Lake in July
but I heard that Sayram lake host Naadam Festival from July 13 to 15. Is the Naadam Festival worthy? Is it possible to go from Kanas Lake to Sayram lake with public transport? Thank you very much.
Answers (1)
Answered by Andrew from USA | Jun. 30, 2019 20:08

The Naadam Festival is the grandest festival in a year. It is totally worthy. Most people choose self-drive tour between these two lakes.
Asked by J | Mar. 16, 2019 09:35Reply
Is it possible to go to Kanas lake in October?
After the golden week? Will there be snow or will the leaves start falling off?

Answers (3)
Answered by Reagan from FINLAND | Mar. 20, 2019 02:47

Yes, it will be ok for you to tour around Kanas Lake in October. Based on the previous weather statistics, there will may have several light snow weather. And the leaves will start falling off.
Answered by J | Mar. 20, 2019 07:54

Thanks! Will the road be closed during light snow?
Answered by Reagan | Mar. 20, 2019 19:36

As I know, the road will be closed only during the heavy snow. Don't worry.
Asked by Trung Hieu Nguyen from VIETNAM | Feb. 26, 2019 00:09Reply
Urumqi to Kanas Lake by bus or train? Which is better?
I’m going to Kanas Lake this March. How the weather this time? I like to see snow and winter scenery.
I know there are two options:
1. Take night bus from Urumqi to Burqin.
2. Take night train from Urumqi to Beitun.
Which is more convenient?
Thank you.
Answers (1)
Answered by Trent from FINLAND | Feb. 28, 2019 22:26

I prefer to take a night ttain to Beitun first. Then transfer to a coach to Kanas.
Besides, the temperature may range from -5C to 5C. Thus you will see the snow and winter scenery at that time.
Asked by Yen from THAILAND | Oct. 05, 2018 04:56Reply
Train from Urumqi to Xining and Xi'an on Oct 23, 2018
I am trying to check the train schedule from Urumqi to Xining or Xi'an on Oct 23, 2018 from this website.
There is no train on that day. Checking back on Oct 22, 2018 - there is also no train on this date too.
But on Oct 21 and before this date, there are many trains running to all these city.

Just wonder is there any problem with the train from Urumqi ??
Or it is just the website error ?
Has anyone book the train from Urumqi on these day ? Is it ok ??
Answers (1)
Answered by Shea from USA | Oct. 11, 2018 01:17

Dear, I searched the route on this website and it is no problem. That shows many trains on these days. Maybe there is something wrong with your network. You can have a try again.
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