Top tourist destinations to visit in Xinjiang

Morgen Mo
2501 Words/10 Minutes, By Morgen Mo, Updated February 26, 2023

Xinjiang is a vast and diverse region in China, with many beautiful and unique cities to explore. Here are some of the top tourist cities in Xinjiang:

No. 1: Kashgar

Kashgar is one of the most ancient cities in China and is located in the western part of Xinjiang. It's famous for its old town, markets, and traditional Islamic architecture.

What to do in Kashgar

Explore the old city: Kashgar's old city is a maze of narrow streets and traditional houses. It's one of the best-preserved examples of traditional Islamic architecture in China, and a great place to explore on foot.

Visit the Kashgar bazaar: The Kashgar bazaar is one of the largest and busiest markets in Central Asia. It's a great place to buy traditional textiles, spices, and souvenirs, and to experience the local culture.

See the Id Kah Mosque: The Id Kah Mosque is the largest mosque in China and is an important center of Islamic culture in Kashgar. It's a beautiful example of traditional Uyghur architecture and is open to visitors.

Visit Abakh Khoja Tomb: The Abakh Khoja Tomb is a mausoleum complex that houses the tombs of several important Islamic figures from Kashgar's history. It's a peaceful and serene place to explore and learn about the city's past.

Take a trip to Karakul Lake: Karakul Lake is a stunning alpine lake located about 200 km from Kashgar. It's surrounded by snow-capped mountains and is a great place to go hiking, boating, and enjoy the natural beauty of Xinjiang.

Try Uyghur food: Uyghur cuisine is a unique blend of Central Asian, Middle Eastern, and Chinese influences. There are many great restaurants and street food stalls in Kashgar where you can try local specialties like lamb kebabs, laghman noodles, and nang bread.

No. 2: Turpan

Turpan is a city in eastern Xinjiang and is known for its stunning desert landscapes, ancient ruins, and grape vineyards.

What to do in a Turpan trip

Visit the Jiaohe Ancient City: Jiaohe is an ancient city that was once an important stop on the Silk Road. It's known for its well-preserved ruins and unique architecture, and is a great place to learn about the history of the region.

Explore the Grape Valley: Turpan is famous for its grape vineyards, and the Grape Valley is a beautiful area where visitors can see the vineyards and sample the local grapes and wine. It's a great place to relax and enjoy the stunning scenery.

Visit the Flaming Mountains: The Flaming Mountains are a stunning range of red sandstone mountains that stretch for over 100 kilometers. They're named for the way the sun reflects off the red rocks, creating a fiery glow. Visitors can hike or take a cable car to the top of the mountains for breathtaking views.

See the Karez Irrigation System: The Karez Irrigation System is an ancient system of underground canals and wells that's been used to irrigate the desert for over 2,000 years. Visitors can see the system up close and learn about its history and engineering.

Visit the Bezeklik Thousand Buddha Caves: The Bezeklik Caves are a series of Buddhist cave temples dating back to the 5th century. The caves are known for their beautiful murals and intricate carvings, and are a must-see for anyone interested in history and art.

Explore the Tuyugou Valley: The Tuyugou Valley is a beautiful valley located just outside of Turpan, known for its stunning natural scenery and traditional Uyghur architecture. Visitors can hike through the valley and see traditional Uyghur homes and villages.


Urumqi is the capital city of Xinjiang and serves as a gateway to the region. It's known for its bustling markets, museums, and the beautiful Tian Shan Mountains.

What to do in a Urumqi trip

Explore the markets: Urumqi is known for its bustling markets, including the Grand Bazaar and the Erdaoqiao Market. These markets offer a great opportunity to experience the local culture, taste the delicious food, and pick up some souvenirs.

Visit the Xinjiang Regional Museum: The Xinjiang Regional Museum is a great place to learn about the history and culture of the region. It houses a wide range of exhibits, including ancient artifacts, textiles, and artwork.

Take a trip to Tian Shan Mountains: The Tian Shan Mountains are located just outside of Urumqi and offer stunning views and hiking opportunities. Take a cable car up to the mountain for panoramic views of the city and surrounding area.

Visit the Red Hill Park: The Red Hill Park is a beautiful park located in the heart of Urumqi. It's a great place to relax, enjoy a picnic, or take a stroll.

Try the local cuisine: Urumqi is known for its delicious food, including lamb kebabs, hand-pulled noodles, and naan bread. Be sure to try some of the local specialties during your visit.

Visit the Xinjiang International Grand Bazaar: The Xinjiang International Grand Bazaar is a modern shopping mall that combines traditional Uyghur architecture with modern facilities. It's a great place to shop for souvenirs, taste local delicacies, and enjoy live performances.


Hami is located in the eastern part of Xinjiang and is famous for its sweet Hami melons. It's also known for its ancient ruins and historical sites.

What to do in a Hami trip

Visit the Hami King's Mausoleum: This is the resting place of the famous Hami king, Sultan Sati Beg. The mausoleum is a stunning example of Uighur Islamic architecture and is a must-visit attraction.

Explore the Hami Bazaar: The Hami Bazaar is a lively and bustling marketplace where you can find a variety of local products, including spices, dried fruits, and traditional Uighur handicrafts.

Taste the famous Hami melon: Hami melons are known for their sweet and juicy flavor and are a specialty of the region. You can taste the fresh melons at the local markets or visit one of the melon farms.

Visit the Hami Museum: The Hami Museum is a great place to learn about the history and culture of the region. The museum has a collection of artifacts and exhibits that showcase the Uighur way of life.

Explore the natural scenery: Hami is surrounded by beautiful natural landscapes, including the Gobi Desert, the Tian Shan Mountains, and the Hami Grand Canyon. You can take a tour or hike to explore these natural wonders.

Enjoy traditional Uighur food: Uighur cuisine is known for its delicious lamb kebabs, pilaf, and noodles. You can try these traditional dishes at local restaurants and food stalls.

Attend a local festival: Hami hosts a variety of festivals throughout the year, including the Hami Melon Festival, the Hami International Desert Marathon, and the Hami Grand Canyon Tourism Festival. Attending one of these festivals is a great way to experience the local culture and traditions.


Kuqa is a historic oasis town , famous for its ancient Buddhist grottoes, Uyghur culture, and traditional bazaars.

What to do in a Kuqa trip

Visit the Kizil Thousand Buddha Caves: These ancient caves are located about 70 km from Kuqa and are one of the most important Buddhist sites in China. The caves contain thousands of Buddhist statues and frescoes, many of which date back to the 3rd century.

Explore the Kuqa Grand Mosque: This is one of the largest and oldest mosques in Xinjiang, built in the 17th century. The mosque is an excellent example of Uyghur Islamic architecture and features a beautiful courtyard, prayer halls, and intricate tile work.

See the Kuqa Bazaar: The bazaar is the heart of Kuqa's old town and offers a lively atmosphere filled with vendors selling everything from spices and textiles to fresh produce and souvenirs. It's a great place to experience the local culture and sample some of the delicious street food.

Visit the Subashi Ruins: The ruins are located about 20 km from Kuqa and are the remains of an ancient city that dates back to the Han dynasty (206 BCE-220 CE). The site features a large palace, city walls, and Buddhist temples.

Hike in the Tianshan Mountains: The Tianshan Mountains are located to the east of Kuqa and offer some of the most stunning scenery in Xinjiang. There are many hiking trails that offer breathtaking views of the surrounding mountains and valleys. One popular hiking spot is the Keziliya Canyon, which features colorful rock formations and a crystal-clear river.

Hotan is a city in the southwestern part of Xinjiang and is known for its rich history and culture. It's famous for its jade production, carpet weaving, and the ancient Silk Road ruins.

What to do in a Hotan trip

Visit the Jade Market: Hotan is famous for its jade, which has been prized for thousands of years. The Jade Market is a bustling bazaar where you can see and buy a variety of jade products, including jewelry, figurines, and carvings.

Explore the Ruins of Yotkan: Yotkan was an ancient city that was once an important center of Buddhist learning. Today, the ruins are a fascinating place to explore, with a variety of temples, stupas, and other structures that date back to the 4th century AD.

Visit the Carpet Factory: Hotan is known for its handmade carpets, which are made using traditional techniques that have been passed down for generations. At the Carpet Factory, you can see the process of making these carpets and even try your hand at weaving.

See the White Jade River: The White Jade River (Yurungkash River) is a stunning natural wonder that runs through the city. The river is known for its milky white color, which comes from the jade deposits in the surrounding mountains. You can take a boat ride on the river or hike along its banks.

Learn about Uyghur Culture: Hotan is home to a large Uyghur population, and there are many opportunities to learn about their culture and traditions. You can visit Uyghur homes and try their delicious food, watch traditional music and dance performances, and learn about their history and customs at the local museums.


Kanas is a scenic area located in the northern part of Xinjiang and is famous for its beautiful lake, surrounded by pristine forests and snow-capped mountains. It's a great place to enjoy outdoor activities like hiking, boating, and horseback riding.

What to do in a Kanas trip

Visit Kanas Lake: Kanas Lake is one of the most beautiful lakes in China. The water is a stunning shade of blue-green, and it's surrounded by pine forests and snow-capped mountains. You can take a boat ride on the lake, hike along the shoreline, or just sit and enjoy the view.

Explore Hemu Village: Hemu is a remote village located in the Kanas scenic area. It's known for its traditional wooden houses and the local Tuwa people, who still maintain their traditional way of life. You can explore the village on foot, visit a local family's home, and learn about the Tuwa culture.

Hiking in the Kanas Mountains: The Kanas Mountains are a part of the Altai Mountains and offer some stunning hiking trails. You can hike to the top of Baihaba Village for a panoramic view of the area, hike to the Kanas Glacier, or take a multi-day trek through the mountains.

Visit the Kanas Nature Reserve: The Kanas Nature Reserve is a protected area that covers over 6,000 square kilometers. It's home to a wide variety of flora and fauna, including rare species like the snow leopard and the Altai argali sheep. You can take a guided tour of the reserve to learn more about the local wildlife and ecosystem.

Experience Kazakh Culture: The Kazakh people are one of the ethnic groups that live in the Kanas area. You can visit a Kazakh yurt, watch a traditional horse race, or enjoy some local Kazakh cuisine. The Kazakh culture is an integral part of the Kanas experience and is well worth exploring during your trip.


Bayinbuluke is a city known for its stunning grasslands, snow-capped peaks, and crystal-clear lakes. It's a great place to experience traditional Kazakh culture and to explore the natural beauty of the region.

What to do in a Bayinbuluke trip

Explore the Bayinbuluke Grassland: The grassland is one of the main attractions in Bayinbuluke, and it's a great place to take a stroll and enjoy the scenery. You can also go horseback riding, rent a bicycle or a motorbike to explore the grassland.

Visit the Bayinbuluke National Forest Park: The national park is home to a wide variety of wildlife and has many trails for hiking and trekking. You can also take a cable car ride to see the park from a bird's eye view.

See the Keketuohai Scenic Area: This area is located near Bayinbuluke and is famous for its unique rock formations and waterfalls. It's a great place to take photos and enjoy the natural beauty.

Visit the Kazakh Yurt Village: The Kazakh people are a minority group in China and are known for their unique culture and traditions. You can visit their yurt village and experience their lifestyle and customs.

Attend a local festival: Bayinbuluke hosts several festivals throughout the year, such as the Kazakh Eagle Hunting Festival and the Nadam Fair. These festivals are a great way to experience the local culture and traditions.

Visit the Bayinbuluke Grand Canyon: The Grand Canyon is a breathtaking natural wonder with towering cliffs and winding rivers. You can take a guided tour to explore the canyon or go rafting on the river.

Try the local cuisine: Xinjiang is known for its delicious food, and Bayinbuluke is no exception. Be sure to try local dishes like lamb skewers, hand-pulled noodles, and naan bread.

These are just a few more examples of the many wonderful cities to explore in Xinjiang. Each city has its own unique attractions and cultural offerings, making it an incredibly diverse and fascinating region to visit.

Morgen Mo

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