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Xinjiang Travel Guide

Tianshan in Xinjiang
Xinjiang
(xīn jiāng 新疆) is a Uygur Autonomous Region of People's Republic of China. It is the largest region in China, covering one sixth of China's total. A great deal of it is desert and mountain. But cities were founded on oasis growing vegetables and delicious fruits. Its attractions are its people and scenery. Nationalities living in Xinjiang love dancing, singing and playing their own unique musical instruments. They are hospitable people. Visitors will be invited to taste sweet grapes, melons and plums, drink tea, and join the lively dancing. Grapes and Hami melon are well known in the market for their sweet and juicy taste and loved by both the domestic and overseas customers.

 Xinjiang Dance, Grapes&Melons
History
Xinjiang used to be known as Xiyu (xī yù 西域), Western Region. In 60 BC, in the early years of the Han Dynasty (hàn cháo 汉朝), the Military Viceroy's Office of the Western Region was established by the Emperor, to execute sovereignty and power on behalf of the central government. It was not until 1884 that Xinjiang was formally established by the Qing Dynasty (qīng cháo 清朝) as a province. It was peacefully liberated in 1949, and on October 1st, 1955 the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region came into being.

Silk Road
During the Han and Tang dynasties, silk products and other goods were shipped to the capital city of Chang'an (zhǎng ān 长安)(present-day Xi'an), where the Silk Road started, and then Silk Roadthey were transfered by a constant flow of foreign caravans along the Hexi Corridor (hé xī zǒu láng 河西走廊) to Europe by way of Xinjiang, where three routes were used to avoid the Taklimakan Desert. Ancient Silk Road extended from Southern Europe through Arabia, Somalia, Egypt, Persia, India and Java until it reaches China. The southern part of Silk Route started from Xi'an and ended in Xinjiang in China.

Feature for Tour
Superlatives are often used when describing Xinjiang: It is the most arid province; also contains the hottest and the coldest places; the longest inland river, the Tarim (tǎ lǐ mù 塔里木); the lowest marsh, the Aydingkol Lake (ài dīng hú 艾丁湖)(Moonlight Lake) in the Turpan Basin (tǔ lǔ fān pén dì 吐鲁番盆地); the largest inland lake and the largest desert. In Xinjiang tourists can visit the world-famous Yadan Spectacle in Korla (kù ěr lè 库尔勒), stone forests, enjoy the mystery of the desert with its spectacular sand mountains. The ancient Silk Road brought Xinjiang a mix of eastern and western cultures which left behind stunning relics. Today, those ancient cities, caves, temples and tombs attract countless tourists from home and abroad.

Tourist Attractions
Abakh Hoja Tomb
Abakh Hoja TombAbakh Hoja Tomb (ā pà kè huò jiā mù 阿帕克霍加墓), commonly known among the Chinese as the Tomb of Xiangfei (xiāng fēi mù 香妃墓), is the most magnificent tomb in Kashi (kā shí 喀什), filled with history and symbolism. It served as the family tomb of Abakh Hoja, the powerful ruler of Kashi in the 17th century.
Opening Hours: 8:00am-5:30pm
Admission Fee: CNY 15
Location: Kashgar
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The Id Kah Mosque
The Id Kah Mosque (ài tí gǎ ěr qīng zhēn sì 艾提尕尔清真寺) is the largest of its kind in the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region (xīn jiāng wū lǔ mù qí zì zhì qū 新疆乌鲁木齐自治区) and The Id Kah Mosqualso the center for Islamic activities of the entire Xinjiang region. The Id Kah Mosque is well known all over the world for its long history, grand structure and splendid national features. When you visit mosques, you should always remember that both men and women should always have their arms and legs fully covered. The best time to visit is probably early to mid-morning when there are few worshippers here.
Admission Fee: CNY 30
Opening Hours: 8:50am-10:00am
Bus Route: No. 77, 13
Location: Kashgar
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Karez Well
Karez WellKarez Well (kǎn ér jǐng 坎儿井) is an unique underground water system invented and built by the ancient farmers of various ethnic minorities of Turpan (tǔ lǔ fān 吐鲁番), which aiming to adapt to the basin natural environment, solar radiation and the atmosphere in the dry region. This irrigation system of wells connected by underground channels is considered to be one of the three great ancient projects in China.
Admission Fee: CNY 210
Opening Hours: 8:00am-5:00pm
Location: Turpan
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The Ancient City of Gaochang
The Ancient City of GaochangWithstanding the test of time and weather, the ancient city of Gaochang is one of the best -preserved ruins of the ancient cities in China. Gaochang, which means the king city in Uyghur language, was the capital of the old Yugor (yì dōu 亦都) people's empire. It was also an important section of the Silk Road, a great trade route of the past.
Admission Fee: CNY 40
Opening Hours: 8:00 - 17:00
Location: 45 km to the east of the city of Turpan
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Kuqa (or Kuche) Gorge
Kuqa GorgeKuqa (or Kuche) Gorge (kù chē dà xiá gǔ 库车大峡谷), also known as the Keziliya Grand Canyon (kè zī lì yà dà xiá gǔ 克孜利亚大峡谷) in Kuqa County (kù chē xiàn 库车县), Aksu Prefecture (ā kè sū dì qū 阿克苏地区), was discovered in summer of 1999 by a young Shepherd. In 2003, due to it unique scenery, it was elected as one of the Top Ten Beautiful Canyons in China. UNESCO has organized experts to observe and study the gorge twice. The peaks and rocks are in various shapes, which arouse your imagination. Different lights in different time add to the charm of the gorge.
Admission Fee: CNY 40
Opening Hours: 8:00-20:00
Best Time to Visit: All Year
Location: Kuche County, Akesu Region
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Ili Grassland
Ili GrasslandThere is a saying that you never know how board china is unless you have been to Xinjiang (xīn jiāng 新疆), and you never know how fantastic scene in Xinjiang unless you have experienced the fairyland of Ili Grassland (yī lí cǎo yuán 伊犁草原). The Ili Grassland boasts fertile soil and a mild, humid climate, with more rainfall in the mountains than in the river valley.
Admission Fee: Nalat Grassland: CNY 60
Best Time to Visit: July to September
Location: Ili
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The Wind City
The Wind CityNorthwest  of the Junggar Basin (zhǔn gá ěr pén dì 准噶尔盆地) is the Wuerhe (wū ěr hé 乌尔禾)(also "Urho") region, where there is a unique wind-eroded geological feature  commonly referred to as "wind city" because of the frequently howling winds. Due to its eeriness, it is also commonly referred to as "Ghost City". At night, strong wind blowing, sand flying and stones rolling, make frightful and dreaded sounds.
Highlight: The scenary of the wind city is extremely fantastic at the sunrise or the sunset.
Best Time to Visit: August to September
Admission Fee: CNY 30
Location: Urho
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Others: The Kanas Lake (kā nà sī hú 喀纳斯湖), Bosten Lake (bó sī téng hú 博斯腾湖), Aydingkol Lake (ài dīng hú 艾丁湖), etc.

Transportation
Recently, with the fast development of the provincial economy, Xinjiang is regarded as the as a developing province and transport hub in northwestern China. It can be reachable by air, by train, by land. Thus, make the tourism there developing very fast.
 
By Air
Air transportation to Xinjiang is quite convenient these days, the Xinjiang Airlines manages eleven airports in total, the flight within Xinjiang access to most of the important tourist cities like Urumqi, Kashgar. Korla, Hotan, Aksu, Yining, Altay, Karamay, Tacheng, Kuqa and Qiemo. There are total 59 routes, the Region has 12 inner routes, 40 routes for the domestic, 6 international routes and 1 to Hong Kong, which all served by 21 passengers’ planes.

By Train
At present, there is only one domestic railway entering Xinjiang through Gansu Province, which passes the major cities of silk road like Lanzhou, Jiayuguan, Hami, Turpan to Urumqi. Due to the geography, the railroad of Xinjiang is over 3000 kilometers and link to all the major cities along the Silk Road like Urumqi, Turpan, Aksu and Kashgar. It has also has a international train from Urumqi to Alma-Ata.

Food
Xinjiang FoodXinjiang dishes are bold in style since here lived so many ethnic minorities, the most common dish you will see is roasted Lambs, they are served whole normally, and the pancakes are presented in the shape of a tower, and rice eaten by hands among the ethnics. Besides, the Mutton Kebab is the most popular food you will see when strolling around in Xinjiang.  Kebabs are crispy outside and tender inside, slightly salty and hot. And the same as Nang, which is the staple food for the Uygur.

The Best Time to Visit
The best season for tourism in Xinjiang is autumn and more specifically from August to September. During these two months the weather is cool but the many varieties of fruit reach maturity attracting many tourists from within China and abroad.

Tips:
1. While you are visiting Xinjiang, it is important to be aware of the time zone being used. Although officially run on Beijing time, Xinjiang people also use there own system. If Beijing time is used it means that the sun doesn't raise until 9am and it is still light at midnight in the summer months. When making travel arrangements, be sure which time zone or system is being used or you could get caught out.
2. Xinjiang is a region where several ethnic groups exist. All of these ethnic groups are devout followers of Islam. All travelers should respect their beliefs. People should not eat pork, dog's, donkey's or mule's meat in Muslim restaurants or even talk about it. This will cause (great) trouble. You should not enter Mosques without being properly dressed; Women or ladies are not allowed to enter some mosques in the south of Xinjiang. Travelers should not gaze at Uigur or their staff in markets without buying anything.

 

Last Updated on Tuesday, 31 August 2010 10:30
 

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