Urumqi, the capital city located in the northern Xinjiang, is more known as the gateway to Xinjiang and a vital transportation hub to get around Xinjiang. In fact, with rich tourism resources, Urumqi itself serves as an important travel destination too. The city owns more than stunning alpine scenery of snows, grasslands and forests but also multi-ethnic arts, customs and cultures. During your short stay in Urumqi, you can appreciate beautiful Tianchi Lake (Heavenly Lake) of Tianshan Mountains, taste local flavors and feel bazaar culture in Xinjiang International Grand Bazaar, explore mysterious ancient mummies in Xinjiang Regional Museum, take a relaxing hike trip and overlook Urumqi City in Red Hill Park, bask fresh air and summer coolness in Nanshan Pasture. Let’s see what interests you most on Urumqi’s Top Things to Do list below.
Spectacular Tianchi Lake
Tianchi Lake Looks Like a Turquoise in Tianshan Mountains
• Ticket: ¥95/person (April~October); ¥45/person (November~March Next Year); shuttle bus: ¥60/person (round-trip)
• Opening Hours: 08:30 ~ 20:00 (April~October); 09:30 ~ 19:00 (November~March Next Year)
• Recommended Length of Visit: Half a day-one day
• Best Time to Visit: May ~ October
• Address: Fukang City, Changji Hui Autonomous Prefecture, Xinjiang 新疆维吾尔自治区昌吉回族自治州阜康市
Tianchi Lake or Heavenly Lake of Tianshan Mountains is a huge national AAAAA scenic area which has been listed as a national geopark, a nature reserve and a UNESCO World Natural Heritage site. It is well-known as one of the famous landmarks of Xinjiang and it brags itself with remarkable natural scenery, serenity, geological landform and abundant Chinese myths-related cultural spots.
The center is the Tianchi Lake, a gourd-like blue mountain lake situated on the halfway up the Bogda Peak (5,445 m (17,864 ft).), northern slope of Tianshan Mountains. It is fed by the meltwater of the Tianshan Mountains. The lake was called Jade Pool in ancient times and said to be the looking glass of the Queen Mother of the West. The sparkling and crystal clear blue lake water looks like a giant jade nested in a deep valley. No wonder it gets the title of “the Pearl of Tianshan Mountains”. If the weather is fine, the green lake and reflected surrounding towering snowy peak, dense forests, floating white clouds and the blue sky will take you to a real heavenly lake on the earth.
It takes only 1 hour to drive from Urumqi to Tianchi Lake. From the tourist center (ticket office), a 40-minute shuttle bus will take you up the mountain. Next, you can walk or take a battery chart to the lake. It’s a leisurely experience to walk around the lake and visit spots nearby. Or you can take a sightseeing cruise to the make a loop and visit attractions ashore, or take a thrilling cable car ascending to Mount Maya, overlook the Tianchi Lake and distant peaks, undisturbed forests and meadows, temples, ponds. Summer is the most beautiful season when you can enjoy coolness and amazing green nature sights.
Popular Urumqi Tours with Tianchi Lake:
Vast Green Grassland and Kazak Yurts in Nanshan Pasture
Horses were Grazing in Nanshan Pasture
• Ticket: ¥45
• Opening Hours: 8:00-24:00
• Recommended Length of Visit: Half a day ~ one day
• Best Time to Visit: May ~ August
• Address: Urumqi County, Urumqi City, Xinjiang 新疆维吾尔自治区乌鲁木齐市乌鲁木齐县
Nanshan Pasture or Southern Pasture refers to the huge mountainous area between the southern outskirt of Urumqi and the north of Kalawucheng Mountain (north range of Tianshan Mountains). It is a wonderful alpine scenic spot, mainly featuring vast green grasslands, primitive forests, favorable climate, alpine pastoral landscape and authentic nomadic folk customs. This pastureland once was a hunting area and rangeland in ancient Tang and Qing Dynasties. Now Nanshan Pasture is a popular summer resort for the locals. If you’re looking for a place in Urumqi to breathe fresh air, enjoy wider space and pure natural scenery, this is it.
Major scenic spots are concentrated in a vertical valley near Urumqi. The most famous and frequently visited one is West Baiyanggou, where you view many tall aspen trees covered the valley, majestic peaks and grotesque rocks with stream flowing through, roaring waterfall and dotted white Kazak yurts. Special Kazak events like horse racing will be hold here. East Baiyanggou has magnificent forests, green meadow, rolling mountains and Kazak nomads. Muxutai is a pasture platform embraced by green hills on three sides. Juhuatai, an alluvial fan with gentle slope, presents great view of boundless prairie, luxuriant woods in elegant waves and herds leisurely grazing. In good weather during summer, you can lie down on the soft lawn, smell refreshing air, savor the comfortable sunshine, rare peace and natural beauty under the blue sky.
Popular Urumqi Tour with Nanshan Pasture:
Collections of Ancient Cultural Relics
Xinjiang's Ancient Mummy - General Zhang Xiong of Ancient Gaochang Kingdom
• Ticket: Free Admission
• Opening Hours: 10:30 ~ 18:00 (close on Monday)
• Recommended Length of Visit: 2 ~ 3 hours
• Best Time to Visit: All the year round
• Address: No.581 Xibei Road, Saybag District, Urumqi, Xinjiang 新疆新疆维吾尔自治区乌鲁木齐市沙依巴克区西北路581号
Xinjiang Museum or Xinjiang Regional Museum is a major attraction in central Urumqi often checked by tourists. With a huge number of collections, the museums focus on showing the long history and splendid cultures of Xinjiang, plus its diverse minority ethnic cultures. Before you officially start your Xinjiang travel, it’s helpful and meaningful to have an informative trip in the museum.
No entry fee is charged. But you can see hundreds of thousands of ancient artifacts of Xinjiang at one go. The Exhibition of the Memory on the History of the Western Regions on first floor displays lots of Xinjiang’s historical and cultural antiques from the Stone Age to the Qing Dynasty. The ancient potteries, jades, bronze, clothes, statues, paintings, coins, golden wares are the best history tellers and proofs of ancient wisdom. In another hall on the first ground, many wax figurines of Xinjiang’s different ethnic peoples, life scenes and items are exhibited to give you a real picture of the local lifestyle. The ancient mummy collection on the second floor is the most famous and impressive part, for six Xinjiang ancient corpses are shown. After visiting, you can know more about the unique funeral culture of ancient Xinjiang. Pluck your courage to closely see the “Loulan Beauty” buried 4,000 years ago.
Popular Urumqi Tours with Xinjiang Regional Museum:
Islamic Architectures in Xinjiang International Grand Bazaar
Different Kinds of Xinjiang-featured Handicrafts
• Ticket: Free Admission (￥50 for visiting the Silk Road Sightseeing Tower)
• Opening Hours: 10:30 ~ 23:00
• Recommended Length of Visit: 1 ~ 3 hours
• Best Time to Visit: All year round
• Address: No.8 Jiefang South Road, Tianshan District, Urumqi City, Xinjiang 新疆维吾尔自治区乌鲁木齐市天山区解放南路8号
Bazaar means market in Uygur language, and it is widely distributed throughout Xinjiang, for example in Urumqi, Kashgar, Khotan, etc. Xinjiang International Grand Bazaar, also called Erdaoqiao Bazaar, is the largest bazaar in China which perfectly integrates Islamic culture, architecture, ethnic commerce, entertainment, dining and shopping. It is one of the must-visit landmarks of Urumqi, which is regarded as “the Window of the Xinjiang” and a vivid reproducing of the prosperity of ancient Silk Road.
The bazaar, completed in 2003, covers a floor area of 100,000 square meters. It consists of different zones, including the architectures area, bouquet hall, food plaza with thousands of restaurants, outdoor show square, a mosque and a sightseeing tower. The 80-meter-tall sightseeing tower in the center offers great views of the surrounding buildings from the top. When you and your friends or families stroll around, you can taste lots of local snacks, enjoy the Xinjiang dances and singing, buy some Xinjiang specialty and souvenirs. It’s a good place to appreciate the unique Islamic buildings and experience the special bazaar culture of Uygur people.
Popular Xinjiang Tours with Bazaar Visit:
Symbolic Hongshan Pagoda of the Red Hill Park
Overlook Urumqi City from the Top of the Red Hill Park
• Ticket: Free Admission
• Opening Hours: 10:00~19:00 (May 1 ~ October 14); 10:30~19:00 (October 15 ~ April 30)
• Recommended Length of Visit: 1~3 hours
• Best Time to Visit: All year round
• Address: No.40 Beiyi Alley, Hongshan Road, Shuimogou District, Urumqi, Xinjian 新疆维吾尔自治区乌鲁木齐市水磨沟区红山路北一巷40号
Red Hill Park, or called Hongshan Park in the downtown area is “the Heart of Urumqi” and one of the symbolic attractions in Urumqi. It is a popular local park for recreation and leisure. The park is named after the red-colored hill, which is said to appear over the same period as the Tianshan Mountains rose. Though the hill sits only 910.6 meters above sea level with a low relative height of 60 only, it is regarded as a holy site for its magical legend and fantastic view of the Bogda Peak in the distance.
The park is not very big but has plenty of green plants and entertainment facilities for children and adults. You can take a comfortable walk, relax yourself, enjoy the lovely natural scenery and watch the local daily leisure activities. Climbing up the Yuantiao Pavilion on the highest point of Red Hill, you can get a great panoramic view of the Urumqi city down the hill and the far-away snow-topped Tianshan Mountains. The Urumqi River beneath has gone and be replaced by the modern expressway. The interior of the pavilion exhibits photo gallery of Urumqi city development. Hongshan Pagoda (Red Hill Pagoda) standing on the red rocky bluff is a more than 200-year-old heritage from Qing Dynasty. This delicate tower has gone through ravages of blizzards and earthquakes and remain intact. Colorful night lights make the pagoda even more beautiful. In the park, you can also visit the Dafo Temple, see a statue of Lin Zexu and a giant memorial bronze tripod, have a rest in the lovely pavilions and enjoy a boat trip in the pure Southern Lake.
Popular Urumqi Tours with Red Hill Park:
How to Get to Urumqi: Fly to Urumqi from Beijing (4-4.5hrs), Shanghai (5.5hrs), Guangzhou (5hrs), Shenzhen (5.5hrs), Xian (3.5hrs)..., or take a high speed bullet train from Dunhuang (4hrs), Zhangye (7-7.5hrs), Turpan (1hr), etc.
Best Time to Visit Urumqi: May to October when the temperature is comfortable and the seasonal scenery is very beautiful.
Top Places to Visit Urumqi: Tianchi (Heavenly Lake) of Tianshan Mountains, Xinjiang International Grand Bazaar, Xinjiang Regional Museum, Red Hill Park, Nanshan Pasture.
Most travelers start a Xinjiang tour from Urumqi and take Urumqi as the transfer center of visiting the Northern Xinjiang. Usually, tourists spend one day exploring Urumqi’s highlights in the down area, including the Xinjiang International Grand Bazaar, Red Hill Park and Xinjiang Regional Museum. Making a day trip to Tianchi Lake is a popular itinerary if you won’t visit Kanas. Nanshan Pasture is a good summer resort worthy of your visit if you happen to visit Urumqi in summer.
Xinjiang is vast and beautiful. The Northern Xinjiang is most known for the natural beauty while the Southern Xinjiang is characterized rich cultural and historical treasures. Depending on your time and personal interests, you can extend trip to more destinations, such as the Turpan, fairyland Kanas Lake and Hemu Village in Altay, incredibly beautiful Sayram Lake, Wu’erhe Ghost City in Karamay, Ili (Kalajun Grassland, Narati Grassland, Guozigou...) in Northern Xinjiang, and travel further to the Southern Xinjiang’s Kashgar and vicinal Tashkurgan, Taklamakan Desert, Bosten Lake, Tomor Peak, Kuqa, Khotan, etc. You can pick up some highlighting places for a week's travel or haven an in-depth discovery for up to one month.
Northwest and Southwest China are two mysterious regions travelers love to visit. Following the ancient Silk Road from Xian to Xinjiang is also a popular travel route. It’s highly suggested that you visit Xinjiang with Dunhuang, Zhangye, Jiayuguan along the ancient Silk Road, or with the holy land of Tibet (Lhasa, Shigatse, Mount Everest, Mount Kailash, Nyingchi...). The nature scenery and distinctive culture will impress you deeply. China Discovery provides not only all-inclusive Xinjiang tours, Silk Road tours, but also can help you customize a wonderful trip on your own.
Top 3 Urumqi tours chosen by most customers to explore Urumqi in the best way. Check the detailed itinerary, or tailor your own trip now with us.
Lanzhou / Zhangye / Jiayuguan / Dunhuang / Turpan / Urumqi / Kashgar
Urumqi - Turpan - Kashgar - Tashkurgan
Urumqi / Turpan / Korla / Kuqa / Taklimakan Desert / Minfeng / Hongtan / Kashgar / Tashkurgan
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