Xining travel itineraries, how to plan a best Xining trip
Xining is a city with a rich history, diverse culture, and stunning natural scenery that makes it an excellent travel destination for those seeking a unique and authentic experience in China.
Whether it's exploring ancient Tibetan monasteries, trying out the delicious local cuisine, or hiking through beautiful mountains and lakes, there is no shortage of things to do and see in Xining. With its convenient location, affordable prices, and friendly locals, Xining is definitely worth adding to your travel bucket list.
1-day itinerary for Xining
- Morning: Start the day early and head to Dongguan Mosque, one of the oldest and largest mosques in China. It's a great place to experience the Islamic culture in Xining. After the mosque, head to Xi'ning People's Park to relax and enjoy the beautiful scenery. You can also rent a boat and paddle around the lake.
- Lunch: Head to a local restaurant and try some delicious halal cuisine, such as hand-pulled noodles, lamb skewers, and steamed dumplings. Dongguan Night Market is a good place to find halal food.
- Afternoon: In the afternoon, visit the Qinghai Provincial Museum to learn about the history and culture of Qinghai. The museum has a wide collection of artifacts, including Tibetan Buddhist relics and traditional costumes of ethnic groups in Qinghai. After the museum, head to the Riyue Mountain Scenic Area for a beautiful view of the Xining city. You can take the cable car to the top of the mountain or hike up the trail.
- Evening: End the day by strolling around the colorful Xining Night Market, where you can find various street food and local snacks. If you have time, you can also visit the Huzhu Beishan Mountain rock carvings, a UNESCO World Heritage site, to learn about the history and art of the ancient Tibetan culture.
2 days Xining itinerary
Day 1: Visit the Dongguan Mosque, one of the largest and most important mosques in China, and the Jokhang Temple, a famous Tibetan Buddhist temple in Xining. Take a stroll around the Xining Botanical Garden, which boasts a collection of more than 1,500 species of plants, as well as a lake and walking paths. Head to the Xining Night Market, where you can sample local cuisine and street food.
Day 2: Take a day trip to Qinghai Lake, the largest saltwater lake in China and a popular natural attraction. You can take a boat ride, enjoy the stunning views, and try some of the local seafood. Visit Kumbum Monastery, a famous Tibetan Buddhist monastery located about 25 kilometers from Xining. The monastery is home to hundreds of monks and features intricate carvings and colorful murals. Return to Xining and stroll around People's Park, a popular gathering place for locals with a lake, pavilions, and gardens. You can also catch a performance of the local Tibetan Opera, which takes place in the park.
3-day itinerary for Xining
Day 1: Start your day at the Kumbum Monastery, located about 25km from the city. The monastery is one of the most important Tibetan Buddhist monasteries in China and is known for its exquisite architecture and beautiful scenery. Head back to the city and visit the Qinghai Provincial Museum, which houses a vast collection of artifacts and exhibits that showcase the history and culture of Qinghai Province. You can also enjoy a stroll through the nearby People's Park. For dinner, try some local cuisine at one of the city's many street food vendors or restaurants.
Day 2: Head to the Dongguan Mosque, which is one of the largest mosques in China and a popular tourist attraction. The mosque is known for its beautiful architecture and intricate decorations. Take a trip to the Qinghai Lake, which is the largest lake in China and is known for its stunning natural scenery. You can rent a bike or take a boat ride to explore the lake and surrounding areas. Return to the city and enjoy dinner at one of Xining's many hot pot restaurants, which are known for their delicious and spicy broths.
Day 3: Start your day with a visit to the Ta'er Monastery, which is one of the most important Tibetan Buddhist monasteries in China. The monastery is known for its beautiful architecture and religious significance. Visit the Xining Nanshan Park, which offers stunning views of the city and surrounding areas. You can take a cable car ride to the top of the park and enjoy a picnic or hike around the area. For your last evening in Xining, head to the Ximen Night Market, which is known for its wide selection of local street food and souvenirs. You can sample various delicacies while soaking in the local atmosphere.
Cycling itinerary for Xining
Xining is surrounded by stunning natural scenery, including the Qinghai Lake, the Kumbum Monastery, and the Dongguan Mosque. Cycling is a great way to explore the city and its surroundings.
Day 1: Start your day by cycling to the Kumbum Monastery, which is located about 20 kilometers from the city center. This stunning monastery is one of the most important religious sites in Tibetan Buddhism, and is home to over 3,000 monks. You can spend a few hours exploring the monastery and its beautiful surroundings. After visiting the Kumbum Monastery, cycle back to the city and head to the Xining Botanical Garden. This garden is a great place to relax and enjoy nature, and it features a wide variety of plants and flowers. You can spend some time strolling through the garden and taking in the beautiful scenery.
Day 2: Start your day by cycling to the Dongguan Mosque, which is located in the city center. This mosque is one of the most important Islamic sites in China, and is known for its beautiful architecture and rich history. After visiting the mosque, cycle to the Qinghai Lake, which is located about 150 kilometers from Xining. This stunning lake is the largest saltwater lake in China, and is surrounded by breathtaking natural scenery. You can spend the day cycling around the lake and taking in the beautiful views.
Day 3: Start your day by cycling to the Qinghai Provincial Museum, which is located in the city center. This museum features a wide variety of exhibits related to the history and culture of Qinghai Province, and is a great place to learn more about the region. After visiting the museum, cycle to the Ta'er Monastery, which is located about 25 kilometers from the city center. This monastery is another important religious site in Tibetan Buddhism, and is known for its stunning architecture and beautiful surroundings. You can spend a few hours exploring the monastery and taking in the beautiful scenery.
4-day itinerary for Xining
Day 1: Start your day with a visit to the Kumbum Monastery, one of the largest and most important Tibetan Buddhist monasteries in the region. It's located about 25 km from the city center and can be reached by taxi or bus. After lunch, head to the Xining Dongguan Mosque, the largest mosque in Qinghai Province and one of the most important Islamic sites in China. Take a guided tour to learn about the history and culture of Islam in China. In the evening, explore the Xining Night Market, where you can sample a variety of local street food and shop for souvenirs.
Day 2: Take a day trip to the Qinghai Lake, one of the largest saltwater lakes in China and a popular tourist destination. You can rent a bike or take a boat tour to explore the lake and its surrounding scenery. On your way back to Xining, stop at the Riyue Mountain Scenic Area, which offers stunning views of the surrounding mountains and valleys.
Day 3: Visit the Qinghai Provincial Museum to learn about the history, culture, and natural environment of Qinghai Province. The museum has a large collection of artifacts, exhibits, and interactive displays. After lunch, take a stroll around the People's Park, a large public park in the city center that offers a peaceful retreat from the hustle and bustle of the city.
Day 4: Start your day with a visit to the Ta'er Monastery, another important Tibetan Buddhist monastery located about 26 km from the city center. Take a guided tour to learn about the history and architecture of the monastery. After lunch, head to the Nanshan Ski Resort, where you can enjoy skiing, snowboarding, and other winter activities. The resort offers stunning views of the surrounding mountains and is a great place to experience the winter wonderland of Xining.
Xining birding itinerary
Day 1: Arrive in Xining, Upon arrival, check into your hotel and spend the rest of the day exploring the city. You can visit the Dongguan Mosque, the Kumbum Monastery, and the Tibetan Plateau Museum.
Day 2: Qinghai Lake, Head out early to Qinghai Lake, which is about 150 km from Xining. It's the largest saltwater lake in China, and is an important stopover for migratory birds. You can hire a local guide or join a birdwatching tour to spot species like the bar-headed goose, the great crested grebe, and the brown-headed gull. If you have time, visit the Bird Island in the lake where you can spot Pallas's gull, Tibetan sandgrouse and other species.
Day 3: Chaka Salt Lake, Drive to Chaka Salt Lake, which is about 300 km from Xining. This saline lake is home to a variety of migratory birds like black-necked crane, bar-headed goose, and ruddy shelduck. You can take a walk on the boardwalks to get closer to the birds and enjoy the stunning views of the lake.
Day 4: Erlangjian Scenic Area, Head to the Erlangjian Scenic Area, which is about 50 km from Xining. This area has a diverse range of habitats including forest, wetland, and alpine meadow. You can spot birds like the Chinese grouse, Chinese nuthatch, and Sichuan jay.
Day 5: Maixiu Wetland Park, Visit the Maixiu Wetland Park, which is located in Xining. This park is an important stopover for migratory birds like the black-necked crane, whooper swan, and mallard duck. You can walk on the boardwalks to observe birds from a safe distance.
Day 6: Depart Xining, Depart from Xining for your next destination.
Please note that the best time to visit for birdwatching in Xining is from April to June and from September to November. More birding itineraries in Qinghai >>
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