1) Location: Urumqi is in the central northern Xinjiang Uyghur autonomous region, which makes up Northwest China.
2) How to get there: Urumqi Diwopu International Airport is about 20 kilometers north of the center of the city. By train, Beijing and Shanghai are about 43 hours away. Kashgar is about 24 or 30 hours away by rail.
3) When to go: Xinjiang is miserably cold in the winter. During the hottest summer months, July and August, the temperature often goes over 32 degrees Celsius or 90 degrees Fahrenheit, but the dry climate makes the weather comfortable. In the evenings, the weather is perfect or slightly cool. Summer is the best season to go to the mountains. For visiting lowland areas, late spring and fall are fine. A lot of fresh fruit and vegetables are harvested in the autumn.
4) Food: Uyghur food is generally like Lanzhou-style food (lots of wheat products, including hand-pulled noodles), but uses fresher ingredients. They also eat more diary products. Uyghurs like dried fruits and nuts, and a typical breakfast might be bread and tea with yoghurt, almonds, olives, honey and raisins. All over China, Uyghurs are known for their big nutty fruitcakes that taste really good if they are well made.
5) Travel Advice: Check the news or contact China Highlights' travel advisors before you go.
6) People speak Chinese languages: Unlike in the eastern cities, fewer people speak English. So it is a good idea to book a tour package or contact us for a tailor-made tour. If you go by yourself, it would be better if you have the name of your destination in Chinese written on a piece of paper to show the taxi drivers.
Nearby Attractions About two and a half hours east of Urumqi is Heavenly Lake near Bogda Mountain. About two hours south is South Pastures, where you can perhaps rent a yurt to stay the night. A little further south in the range are higher peaks over 4,200 meters or 14,000 feet and glaciers. To reach the glaciers and spectacular views, go to the town of Hou Xia.
There is a new ski resort in the Heavenly Mountains (Tian Shan) called Ping Tian Resort. It is being billed as China's first luxury ski resort, and it is open in the winter. It is just getting started. It is being developed by well-known North American skiing industry leaders who have developed some of the world's most famous ski resorts.
Turpan is more than three hours away. Kashgar is a Silk Road city on the far western border next the Himalayan ranges. Kashgar is between 23 and 33 hours away by train.