Traversed by one of the most famous routes of the ancient Silk Road, Xinjiang is an ethnically-diverse region in the Mongolian Uplands. It’s renowned for its spectacular alpine and desert landscapes and is home to lively bazaars and China’s biggest mosque.
Things to do in Xinjiang
Soak up the natural beauty of the Altai Mountains while hiking, rafting or rock climbing in the Kanas Nature Reserve. It’s home to the glacial-created waters of Kanas Lake, which is surrounded by dense alpine forests and grasslands, while also being home to ethnic Tuvan and Kazakh villages.
Be awed by the Flaming Mountains, where red sandstone hills rise near the northern rim of the Taklamakan Desert. Explore the Bezeklik Thousand Buddha Caves and wander through the oasis town of Gaochang, then witness the desert’s soaring temperatures displayed on one of the biggest thermometers in China.
Want to see the largest mosque in China? Travel to the city of Kashgar to witness the Id Kah Mosque, which was built by Saqsiz Mirza in the 15th century. Admire its soaring minarets and Islamic-inspired architecture, then experience the buzz of Kashgar’s Sunday Bazaar.
Soak up the sights, sounds and smells of the Xinjiang International Grand Bazaar in Ürümqi and purchase handicrafts from the region’s ethnic minorities. Browse the fascinating exhibits of the nearby Xinjiang Silk Road Museum, then make the short journey east to witness some of China’s most spectacular alpine scenery at the Heavenly Lake Scenic Area.
Getting around Xinjiang
Ürümqi Diwopu International Airport is around 35 minutes’ drive from the centre of Ürümqi and trains connect cities across Xinjiang from the Ürümqi South Railway Station. Buses also travel throughout the province and connect smaller towns and villages.