Xinjiang Travel Guide, Plan the best trip to Xinjiang
Provinces adjacent to Xinjiang are Tibet to the south and Qinghai and Gansu provinces in that order to the southeast. Places adjacent to Xinjiang are Nagqu and Ali in Tibet, Yushu Autonomous Prefecture and Haixi Mongolian-Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture in Qinghai, and Jiuquan in Gansu
Xinjiang is located in the hinterland of Asia and Europe, with a land border of more than 5,600 kilometers, bordered by eight countries: Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Pakistan, Mongolia, India and Afghanstan.
Xinjiang, which means "new territory" in Chinese, is a vast region located in the northwest of China, bordering Central Asia and Mongolia. The history of Xinjiang is complex and diverse, with various ethnic groups and cultures coexisting and interacting for thousands of years.
In ancient times, the region was a hub of the Silk Road, connecting China with the Mediterranean world and facilitating the exchange of goods, ideas, and religions. Over the centuries, different empires and kingdoms, such as the Han, Tang, Mongol, and Qing, ruled over Xinjiang, leaving their marks on the region's culture and society.
Top tourist destinations in Xinjiang
Urumqi: Urumqi is the capital city of Xinjiang and is often used as a starting point for exploring the region. It is known for its bustling markets, including the famous Grand Bazaar, as well as its museums and cultural landmarks.
Kashgar: Kashgar is a historic city that is located on the ancient Silk Road. It is known for its traditional architecture and lively markets, where you can find everything from spices and textiles to handmade crafts.
Turpan: Turpan is a desert oasis that is famous for its grapevines and melons. Visitors can explore ancient ruins such as Jiaohe and Gaochang, as well as natural wonders such as the Flaming Mountains and the Karez irrigation system.
Kanas Lake: Kanas Lake is a picturesque alpine lake that is located in the Altai Mountains. The area is known for its stunning natural beauty, including forests, meadows, and waterfalls, and is home to the unique culture of the local Kazakh people.
Hotan: Hotan is an ancient city that is known for its silk production and traditional crafts such as pottery and jade carving. Visitors can explore the local markets and workshops to see these crafts being made by hand.
Tourist destinations in Xinjiang >>
Top attractions, what you must visit in Xinjiang
Xinjiang is a vast and diverse province filled with stunning natural beauty, fascinating cultural heritage, and unique experiences for visitors to explore, such as the breathtaking landscapes of the Tian Shan Mountains, the ancient Silk Road cities of Kashgar and Turpan, the vibrant Uyghur culture and cuisine, and the surreal natural wonders of the Kanas Lake and the Flaming Mountains.
Silk Road: Xinjiang is home to many historical sites along the ancient Silk Road trade route, such as the ruins of the city of Jiaohe and the Bezeklik Thousand Buddha Caves.
Urumqi: It is the capital of Xinjiang and a major center for culture and history. The Xinjiang Regional Museum is a popular attraction here.
Turpan: It is an ancient oasis city known for its unique culture and history, as well as its beautiful landscapes and delicious fruits, such as grapes and melons.
Kashgar: it is an ancient city in the western part of Xinjiang, known for its traditional architecture, bazaars, and the Id Kah Mosque, the largest mosque in China.
Hnads-on activities and outdoor adventures in Xinjiang
Some hands-on activities you can enjoy in Xinjiang include learning how to make traditional Uyghur food like laghman noodles and lamb kebabs, attending a local dance or music performance, hiking or horseback riding in the beautiful Tianshan Mountains, visiting a local vineyard to learn about grape harvesting and winemaking, and exploring ancient ruins like the Jiaohe Ruins in Turpan or the Gaochang Ruins in Xinjiang.
Food and restaurants, what and where to eat
Xinjiang cuisine, also known as Uyghur cuisine, is a vibrant and diverse culinary tradition that combines the flavors and ingredients of Central Asia, the Middle East, and China mainland, featuring spicy and savory dishes such as lamb kebabs, hand-pulled noodles, crispy fried bread, yogurt-based dips, and aromatic pilafs, all of which reflect the region's rich cultural heritage and nomadic history.
Hotels, where to stay while traveling in Xinjiang
Xinjiang offers a diverse range of hotels, from luxury international chains to budget-friendly options, with many situated in the bustling capital city of Urumqi or the picturesque oasis towns along the ancient Silk Road, providing visitors with comfortable accommodation, authentic regional cuisine, and convenient access to the region's stunning natural landscapes, cultural attractions, and unique ethnic minority communities.
Hotels in the popular cities in Xinjiang >>
Weather, the best time to visit Xinjiang
The best time to visit Xinjiang depends on what you're looking to see and do. Generally speaking, the best time to visit is during the summer months of June to August when the weather is warm and dry, making it ideal for outdoor activities such as hiking and exploring the natural landscapes.
However, if you're interested in seeing the region's famous grape and melon harvests, the best time to visit would be in late August and September. If you are visiting for skiing, then the best time would be winter season. Keep in mind that the temperature can be very cold in winter, so be prepared with warm clothing.
How to plan a travel itinerary for Xinjiang
A comprehensive Xinjiang travel itinerary plan could include exploring the bustling city of Urumqi and its famous night market, experiencing the unique ethnic cultures and traditions in Kashgar's Old Town and Sunday Bazaar, marveling at the breathtaking natural landscapes of the Karakoram Highway, Taklamakan Desert, and Tianchi Lake, discovering the ancient history and ruins of the Jiaohe and Gaochang cities, indulging in the delicious Uyghur cuisine, and engaging in various outdoor activities such as hiking, skiing, and camel riding.
- Day 1: Urumqi, Xinjiang Regional Museum, the Red Hill Park, and the Grand Bazaar. In the evening, enjoy a traditional Uyghur dinner and cultural performance.
- Day 2: Heavenly Lake
- Day 3: Turpan, Jiaohe Ruins, Emin Minaret, Night Market and try some local street food.
- Day 4: Grape Valley
- Day 5: Kashgar, Id Kah Mosque, Kashgar Old Town, In the evening, enjoy a dinner of lamb kebabs and naan bread.
- Day 6: Karakul Lake
- Day 7: Sunday Market
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