Hetian (Hotan) Travel Guide
Chinese Name: 和田 (hé tián)
Total Area: 247,800 square kilometers
Nationalities: Uygur, Hui, Han
Zip Code: 848000
Area Code: 0903
Administrative Division: The region governs one city (Hetian City) and seven counties (Hetian, Pishan, Moyu, Luopu, Cele, Yutian, Minfeng).
Location: Located at the northern foot of the Karakorgan Range and on the southern fringe of the Taxkorgan Desert, Hetian is an oasis lying in the Tarim Basin, just north of the Kunlun Mountains, which are crossed by the Sanju Pass, and the Hindu-tagh, and Ilchi passes.
Neighboring Areas: Kashgar, Asku, Bayin'guoleng, Gansu, Qinghai and Tibet, India, Pakistan
Physical Features: The hypsography slopes down from south to north in this area with Karakorgan Mountains to the south and Taxkorgan Desert to the north. It has an elevation of 1,372 meters.
History: Hetian was where the states of Pishan, Yutian, Yumi, Qule, Jingjue and Shulu were established. Since 60BC during the West Han Dynasty, it has been recognized as Chinese territory. In 1883, this place was established as a prefecture to be supervised directly by the court, while in 1920, it became a prefecture. In history, this place was a town of military importance along the ancient Silk Road. It was also the crux of the four most important civilizations in the ancient world.
Climate: Located in the warm temperature zone, the area is dominated by a dry continental desert climate. It is hot in summer and not too cold in winter. The temperature has a great disparity between day and night. There are about 182~226 frost-free days a year. It has little rainfall and a high evaporation rate with an annual rainfall of 28.9 to 47.1 mm. The average annual temperature is from 11-12.1 C (51.8-53.8F) with an average sunshine time of 2470.4 to 2875.9 hours annually.
When to Go: August to September is the best period for visiting the area due to the beautiful scenery and nice weather.
Local Highlights: Corban, Roza, Jade Cultural Festival, Yutian Music Dancing
Local Products: jade, sheep, silk, carpet, Uighur medicine medicine, gelatin, pomegranates, yams, apricots
As a bustling center on the southern stretch of the ancient Silk Road, Hetian was one of the three thriving commercial centers in the history of Xinjiang. The ruins of many historical cultural sites still stand in desert in today's 'silk capital' Hetian, as a reminder of their brilliant past. In the main these are: Ancient City of Niya, Ancient City of Mallikurwatur, Ancient City of Yoktan. The Hetian Museum has a fine collection of cultural relics. In addition, tourists can also go to visit Muz Mountain of Cele (Qira) County, Hetian Oasis and Kunlun Mountains.
Hetian Travel Tips:
1. Hetian Airport is located about 12km south of the city downtown area. It has 6 daily flights to Urumqi provided by Shanghai Airways, Air China, China Southern Airlines, Tianjin Airlines, Hainan Airlines, etc. The flight journey to Urumqi is about 1 hour and 50 minutes. Passengers can fly to Beijing via Urumqi.
2. There is a daily train service from the Railway Station to Urumqi.
3. Hetian is served by China National Highway 315, which runs along the southern Tarim Basin from Ruoqiang to Kashgar, and the Trans-Taklamakan Desert Highway, which run north to Aksu. There are regular buses running daily to Yining, Kashgar, Aksu, Kolar, Turpan, Wushentala, etc.
4. There are ten public bus lines traveling around the city. Passengers can take them easily to the passenger distributed centers.
5. The taxi fares in the city are CNY5 (Daytime)/CNY7 (Nighttime) for the first three kilometers and then CNY1.3 per additional kilometer.
6. Since most attractions in the city lie in the desert, car rental is the best option for travel to them. A cross country Jeep is recommended in view of the nature of the terrain.