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Urumqi Travel Guide

As one of the important travel destinations in Xinjiang, Urumqi is a good place to appreciate the beautiful scenery and experience the exotic culture.


Introduction of Urumqi

Urumqi is the capital of the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region and it is located in northwest China, central Xinjiang, Eurasia hinterland. Located at the northern foot of the eastern section of the Tianshan mountains and on the southeastern edge of Jungar Basin and with an arid climate of the temperate zone, Urumqi is inhabited by the Han, Uygur, Kazak, Mongolia and other nationalities of over 40, totaling over 1.5 million in population.

Urumqi is an important tourism center in Xinjiang and it is one of the most famous tourism destinations in China. The Tianshan Mountains are scattered with alpine snow and ice landscape, mountain forest landscape, grassland landscape, providing tourists with rich content for sightseeing and exploration. The culture and art, and customs of various ethnic groups constitute a tourism cultural landscape with ethnic characteristics. Xinjiang International Grand Bazaar, Xinjiang People Street, Erdaoqiao Ethnic customs street and other scenic spots with strong Xinjiang folk customs, renowned at home and abroad. The Silk Road ice and snow tour, the Silk Road Costume Festival and other festivals and exhibitions with Silk Road cultural characteristics have become the unique name cards of Urumqi.


Other information about Urumqi:

During its long history, Urumqi was the stationing and herding place of the town-state kingdom of Cheshi in the Han Dynasty, and Luntai County was established here in the Tang Dynasty. In the 38th year of Emperor Qianlong (1763) of the Qing Dynasty, Urumqi was named Dihua, and the Gongnin city was set up here in 1772. After the establishment of Xinjiang Province in 1884, Urumqi became the capital of the province. Today, a modern industrial system, with the petroleum, coal, steel, textile and electronic industries as its backbone, has taken shape in Urumqi has become a traffic hinge and a metropolis in Central Asia.

TOP5 Must-see Attractions in Urumqi

Xinjiang International Grand Bazaar

Xinjiang International Grand Bazaar (Bazaar means market), located in Tianshan District of Urumqi and is currently the largest Bazaar in China. The Grand Bazaar’s architectural style and scale are magnificent, and the ethnic minority products in the market are rich and exquisite.The entire International Bazaar is the most ethnic-style place in Urumqi.   

The garden tower about 100 meters high in the center of the square is called the Silk Road Tower. It is the most famous scenic spot in the Grand Bazaar. There are paintings and exhibitions on each floor of the tower to show the historical stories of the Silk Road and you can overlook the surrounding city scenery from the top of the tower. Inside the Grand Bazaar is a huge market, where numerous vendors sell specialty products from Xinjiang. Dried fruits, clothing, essential oils, and handicrafts are dazzling, and the decorations in the market are colorful and very beautiful, so you can have a good visit.

Tianshan Grand Canyon “Heavenly Mountain”

Tianshan Grand Canyon Scenic Area is located in Urumqi County, Urumqi, about 50 kilometers away from the urban area of Urumqi. The scenery here is fresh and natural, there are very diverse and beautiful, and it is a good place for local residents of Urumqi to visit the mountains in summer. The Tianshan Grand Canyon has a large area, including Tianshanba Recreation Area, Zhaobi Mountain Resort and Recreation Area, Gasdaban Sightseeing Area, Swan Lake Natural Scenic Area, Niu Ya Lake Forest Sea Songtao Sightseeing Area, Kazakh Ethnic Customs Park, and Alpine Grassland Ecological Area. There are several scenic spots in the Snow Mountain and Glacier. Tourists can take a battery car to play one by one after entering the scenic spot. Here you can see almost all the scenery in Xinjiang, including snow-capped mountains, canyons, green plants, water flow, etc. And it is a good place for photography. In addition, there are many yurts of Kazakh herdsmen in the canyon, which provide special delicacies such as mutton. You can enjoy delicious food in the mountains and rivers, which is very comfortable.

Nanshan Ranch

Nanshan Scenic Area generally refers to the vast mountainous area located in the south of Urumqi, at the northern foot of the Karawucheng Mountain in the northern Tianshan Mountains. It was a hunting area in the Tang Dynasty and a famous pasture in the Qing Dynasty. In the scenic area, there are towering snow peaks, lush trees, flowers and plants everywhere, and it has a strong ethnic minority style; it is an ideal summer resort.

Nanshan Scenic Area is mainly composed of east and west Baiyang Valley, Houxia, Chrysanthemum Terrace, Miaoer Valley and Banfang Valley. In spring and summer, the chrysanthemums on the hillsides are golden, the buttercups and comfreys are in full bloom, the fragrance is overflowing, the bees and butterflies are flying, and the slopes are full of cattle and sheep. Walking on the grassland, you can watch Kazakh performances such as horse racing and sheep chasing, which can be seen as a typical Tianshan grassland scenery.

Xinjiang Regional Museum

Xinjiang Regional Museum is located in Shayibake District, Urumqi. It is a provincial-level museum in Xinjiang. The museum displays the history of Xinjiang and the folk customs of various ethnic groups as well as domestic rare exhibitions such as the mummy hall. The exhibits are very characteristic of Xinjiang. The famous "Loulan Beauty" ancient corpse, "Five Stars Out of the East" Han Dynasty brocade and other cultural relics can also be seen here, which is a must-see scenic spot in Urumqi.

The museum is a modern three-storey building, but it also integrates the architectural styles of Xinjiang’s arch windows and domes, which is very characteristic. There are several permanent exhibition halls in the museum. The first floor is the Xinjiang ethnic customs exhibition and the Xinjiang ancient historical relics exhibition. The second floor is divided into left and right sides. On the left is the exhibition hall of past dynasties and the theme exhibition of "Always be with the motherland", and on the right is the ancient mummified corpse exhibition and the white jade exhibition hall. In addition, there are often some temporary exhibitions and displays in the museum. If you catch up, you can go and watch.

On the first floor of the Xinjiang Ethnic Customs Exhibition Hall, it introduces the folk customs of 12 major ethnic groups in Xinjiang, including Uighur, Kazakh, Mongolian, Xibo, etc. You can see their musical instruments, daily necessities, felt houses, hats, scarves and so on. The characteristic costumes are mostly bright in color and have a very ethnic style. The Xinjiang ancient historical relics exhibition shows a variety of unearthed cultural relics on the Silk Road from ancient times to the present, including many artifacts from the Central Plains of the Han and Tang dynasties, which are very characteristic of ancient China. The mummy display on the second floor and the display of "Always be with the motherland" are the highlight exhibitions in the museum. The mummy hall displays the corpses of ancient people thousands of years ago. Due to the dry climate in Xinjiang, these corpses have been preserved from corruption and are very precious. Among them, the ancient corpse of "Loulan Beauty" is one of the essences of the whole museum. In the exhibition "Always be with the motherland", there are precious cultural relics such as the "Five Stars Out of the East" tapestry and the long seal of the Han Guiyi Qiang. Among them, the "Five Stars Out of the East" tapestry is even more precious. The legend about it is very exciting, you must know it.

Hongshan Park

The main body of the park, Hongshan, is composed of purple glutenite, and the mountain is ochre red, which is very unique. In the park, you can walk in the forest, go boating on the lake, visit cultural buildings such as statues of Buddhist temples, experience various amusement projects, and climb the top of the mountain to overlook the panoramic view of the city. It is also a must-see attraction for foreign tourists visiting Urumqi. The park is small in size, about five or six hundred meters in length and width, and you can walk around after entering. There is a red mountain in the park, with an altitude of about 900 meters, but the drop from the mountain is only about 100 or tens of meters. There are many trees between the mountain roads and the environment around here is very clean and good. It takes about half an hour to climb the mountain here. If you are not physically strong, you can take a sightseeing bus from the bottom of the mountain to the top of the mountain. The park mainly has several entrances on the east side. The entrances are a little difficult to find. After seeing the park from other areas such as Youhao Parkson, you need to go around the park from the east side, and then enter westward from the North Lane 1 of Hongshan Road and Xinmin West Street. When playing, there are mainly several areas such as Hongshan Pagoda, Dafo Temple and Yuanqiao Building. Hongshan Tower is located on the top of Hongshan Mountain on the west side. It is a nine-story germanium red tower, which is the same color as the red mountain below and is very special. At the Hongshan Tower, you can take a panoramic view of the urban area below, and the field of vision is very wide. The overlooking building is located in the park and also on the top of the mountain. It is also possible to take panoramic views of the city here, but it is not too different from the Hongshan Tower. It is not recommended to buy a ticket to go there. Located on the north side of the park, the Big Buddha Temple is an antique temple where tourists can worship Buddha and pray for blessings.


Top 8 Urumqi Special Delicacies


Kebab is one of the most popular traditional snacks in Xinjiang, and it can be found everywhere in Xinjiang. The reason why Xinjiang Kebab is so delicious is because the meat here is fresh and the spices are authentic. When skewering the meat, one piece of lean meat and one piece of fat meat are skewered, so that when grilling, the delicious gravy in the fat seeps into the lean meat, which tastes extremely delicious.

Big Plate Chicken

Speaking of Xinjiang cuisine, the first thing to mention is Xinjiang Big Plate Chicken. Although Xinjiang Big Plate  Chicken can be eaten in every city in China now, the real delicious chicken can only be found in Xinjiang. The most famous one in Urumqi is the Xuezhan Big Plate Chicken. The price varies from 40 to 120 yuan depending on the chicken and the size. In Xinjiang, the real Big Plate Chicken is cooked with local roosters, potatoes, green peppers and red peppers. It tastes fresh and spicy.

Xinjiang Special Polu

Polu is also one of the most popular foods in Xinjiang. Polu is mainly stewed with rice, mutton, carrots, onions and clear oil. The stewed rice is shiny, fragrant and delicious. In addition, there are Polu made with dried fruits such as raisins, dried apricots, and dried peaches, which are called sweet Polu or vegetarian Polu.


Naan is the daily staple food of Xinjiang people. It is a baked pancake, similar to biscuits, crispy or soft, and delicious. Most of them are round, with many types, different shapes, sizes and flavors. Naan is mostly made of wheat flour as raw material, but also corn flour, supplemented with sesame, onion, egg, clear oil, ghee, milk, salt, sugar and other condiments. There is also meat naan made by adding fresh mutton to the flour and supplementing the ingredients.

Xinjiang Special Noodles

Xinjiang Special Noodles are also called "Latiaozi" in Xinjiang. They are made from good flour and noodles, and they are pulled into the shape of round strips, hence the name. It is flexible and slender, round and smooth, and tastes unique. The key to making slivers is to master the two links of noodles and drawing. Use salt water when mixing the noodles, the salt should be put in the right amount, just right, and the noodles should be softer.

Milk Tea

Milk tea is an indispensable drink in the daily life of ethnic minorities in Xinjiang. Kazakhs, Mongolians, Uighurs, Uzbeks, Tatars, Kirgiz and other ethnic groups like to drink milk tea very much. It is not without reason that ethnic minorities in Xinjiang love to drink milk tea. Because in pastoral and alpine regions, there is more meat and less vegetables, and milk tea is needed to help digestion, which is one of the reasons. The second reason is that it is cold in winter and dry and hot in summer. Drinking a lot of milk tea in winter can quickly drive away the cold and quench thirst in summer. The third reason is that pastoral areas are sparsely populated and there is a long distance between each residential area. It is not easy to find drinks when you go out to graze or run errands, so you can drink enough milk tea before leaving home and eat some dry food on the way, so that you can withstand hunger and thirst for a long time.

Gox Garda

Gox Garda (Samsa) is one of the favorite foods of Xinjiang People. Gox Garda is mainly baked in naan pits. Roll out the bun skin with the dead surface and fold the four sides into a square. Wrap the stuffing made of diced mutton, onion, cumin powder, and other raw materials, and bake it in the naan pit. What’s more, the nutritional value of Gox Garda is also high.

Roasted Whole Lamb

Authentic Roasted Whole Lamb is a major dish in Xinjiang. Choose fat and tender lambs or lambs around one year old, and use white flour, eggs, salt, pepper, cumin and other ingredients to prepare a paste and apply it to the sheep with their hooves and internal organs removed. Then use a wooden stick with nails to pass through the lamb body frame and bake it in a special pit, and keep turning the wooden stick to heat the lamb evenly. The roasting process takes more than one hour. As the most famous dish in Xinjiang, Roasted Whole Lamb can only be tasted at important banquets or parties, but you can also see some stalls selling Roasted Whole Lamb in various Bazaars.

Recommendations for Famous Restaurants in Urumqi

Huoyanshan Buffet Hot Pot (Causeway Bay Store)

A self-service hot pot restaurant with Xinjiang characteristics, there are many branches in Urumqi. The dishes are fresh and have a wide variety. In addition to Hot Pot, there are Xinjiang specialties such as Big Plate Chicken, Polu, and Pepper Chicken as well as a variety of desserts. The overall cost performance is relatively high. The service is also very good, and there are Xinjiang song and dance performances every day.

Address: 6th Floor, Causeway Bay Department Store, No. 69, Jiefang North Road, Tianshan District, Urumqi

Xiaolizi Xuezhan Big Plate Chicken (Northwest Road Store)

Xiaolizi Big Plate Chicken is a time-honored brand in Urumqi. There are many diners every day, and the Big Plate Chicken is very generous; it has several branches in Urumqi.

Address: No.2 Northwest Road, Shayibake District, Urumqi

Xiaogazi (Mingyuan Store)

One of the most popular restaurants in Urumqi, it is quite suitable for tourists’ appetite. No matter it is meat or soup, the taste is very positive, which makes people have endless aftertastes; their homemade yogurt is also very good, which relieves greasy and spicy. And the price is affordable here.

Address: 1st Floor, Flame Mountain, No. 1 Mingyuan West Road, Shayibake District, Urumqi


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