Urumqi Travel Guide, Xinjiang
Urumqi (Wulumuqi), the capital city of Xinjiang Uigur Autonomous Region,situated on the northern slope of the Tianshan, is the furthest city in the world from the ocean, founded in 1763. As the most land-locked area in the world, the city somewhat resembles a Russian industrial town. This is also a compulsory stop in terms of transportation since the Silk Road was opened up.
With a long history as an important trading center, the Han Chinese population dominates the city. Explore the old streets and the Uigur area known as Erdaoqiao, so that you can compare the different ways of living among the diverse ethnic groups.
For most travelers, Urumqi is only a quick stopover on the way to more attractive sights in Xinjiang.
The Bazaar/ Folklore Street/Hongshan /Tianchi
When to go?
May to October, when flowers are in full bloom, melons and fruits smell sweet and are ripe for picking...
Getting there and away
Daily domestic flights to Beijing, Guangzhou and other major cities and to Kashgar internally are available . International flights to Moscow and Islamabad are also available (not all daily).
The Urumqi airport is 17km from the city. Either take a taxi for around Y40 or an airport shuttle bus for Y10, which
terminates at Red Hill Park gate. Also, Bus No.51 (Y1/head) can take passengers to the downtown area.
Urumqi is linked by rail to 6 major cities, including Xi'an, Shanghai(48 hours), Beijing(45 hours), Chengdu, Zhengzhou and Lanzhou.Train services also connect Urumqi with other main cities in Xinjiang, such as Korla, Aksu, Kuitun, and Liuyuan.
The train station is in the southwest part of the city. It costs Y10 to take a taxi from the city center to the station. Bus #8 / #52 can also get you there.
The best way to get around in Xinjiang is by bus as the highway system is relatively complete. The Urumqi bus station is a few blocks northeast of the train station. There are several bus stations in Urumqi, each associated with a different destination city. There are also special tourist lines to Heavenly Lake (120 km), Southern Pastures (75km), Turpan (200km/3 hours), Shihezi (150km), etc.
Northern Suburb Passenger Transport Station
Address: 8, Dongba Jiahu Lu
Route: for places in eastern Xinjiang
Southern Suburb Passenger Transport Station
Address: 1, Yan'erwo Lu, Santunbei
Route: for destinations in southern Xinjiang
Nianzigou Passenger Transport Station
Address: Heilongjiang Lu
Route: mainly to places in southern and northern Xinjiang
City buses in Urumqi can get crowded and are prime hunting grounds for pickpockets and bag slashers. A better alternative are the minibuses that go through the city for an average fare of Y2~3. Taxis start at Y10 for the first 3km, with Y1.3~1.7/km over.
- Ya'ou Bingguan - offers the most reliable budget accommodation. Y40~120.
- Hongdi Bingguan - located at Hongshan Lu, Y60/bed in dbl, Y25/bed in trpl.
- Hongshan Bingguan - a favorite place for backpackers, at the junction of Xinhua Bei Road and Guangming Road, 4km from therailway station, ajacent to some of the major scenic spots, the Red Hill, Peoples Park and the bus stop for Tian Chi are all near by. Its Muslim restaurant is famous for its "roast whole lamb" and instant-boiled mutton. There are also Chinese and Western Restaurants on the premises.
The hotel has a large travel information center providing tour service. Most of the staff here are really friendly students, keen to practice their English language skills on foreigners.
Address:108, Xinhua Bei Road, Tel:0991-2824761
- Red Hill (Hong Shan)
Red Hill is a symbol of Urumqi, owing to its uniqueness. The body of the mountain, made up of aubergine rock, has a reddish brown color.
The place has been developed into the beautiful Red Hill Park. Modern entertainment facilities and ethnic performances bring a fresh and lively atmosphere to the park.
Admission Fee: CNY 10
- Southern Mosque
an important historic heritage site located in the downtown of Urumqi, built in 1919 and subsequently renovated on three different occasions. The mosque accommodates 1,100 Moslems.
The most eye-catching architectural features on the property are found in the minaret; the bathing pool; the guest reception hall and most impressive and exquisite of all, the prayer hall.
Bus #1, #104 and #101 run to.
- Tartar Mosque
Also known as the Yanghang Mosque, located at the southern end of Jiefang Nan Lu. Built with private donations from the Tartar Community, the mosque is unique in its use of traditional Tartar architecture. It features geometric carvings in wood and brick and an octagonal dome adorned with a crescent. The mosque is a main center for worship in Urumqi, covering an area of over 3000sqkm, it can accommodate up to 1000 people in its prayer hall.
The mosque is open to tourists, including women, however you need get permission prior to entry.
- Tianchi(Heaven Lake)
Situated in the Heavenly Tianshan range, 115 km northeast of Urumqi, Heaven Lake (Tianchi) is arguably one of the nicest spots in all of China. Covering 4.9sqkm, it's China's answer to Switzerland, with lakes, waterfall and alpine scenery. The crystal water, the pine trees covering the hillsides and the snow capped mountains in the background make is a spectacular sight.
This lake sits halfway up the mountain range and offers excellent walking and horseriding with breathtaking views, which is particularly refreshing for those arriving in Urumqi from the barren deserts elsewhere in Xinjiang.
The Kazakhs set up yurts around the lake for tourist accommodation between May to Sept, around Y40 per head including meals.
How to get there: Buses leave from the north gate of Renmin Park in Urumqi 9am~9.30am and return from the lake between 5:00pm~6:00pm daily. The trip takes about 2.5hrs. Minibuses are most efficient. There are also private buses running from the Hongshan Hotel.
It's a popular tourist destination, you might only enjoy it without the crowd : in the morning and after 5pm
Admission Fee: Y90