As the capital of the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region, Urumqi is a fast-developing Chinese city, with unique characteristics. The starting point for most Xinjiang journeys, Urumqi is the necessary hub for onward travel to Turpan, Kashgar, or the Kanas National Park. Whether you’re waiting for the next train to Kashgar, or your Kazakh visa to arrive, Urumqi makes for a perfect few days. The hostel scene is fairly spread out, but quality seems to be the underlying factor!
First up, no visit to Urumqi would be complete without experiencing the Silk Road wonders of the Xinjiang Autonomous Region Museum. On the outskirts of the city center, just ask at your Urumqi hostel which bus line to hop on! Next up, the vibrant Uyghur quarter surrounding the Erdaoqiao Market. As most Urumqi hostels are located in the Chinese part of town, you’ll probably have to hop on a bus again. But no fear -- that’s half the fun of exploring Urumqi’s new neighbourhoods! When in Erdaoqiao, make sure to wander some of the backstreets where the call to prayer echoes and Uyghur butchers spare no mercy. Urumqi also offers a plethora of day-trip and short-trip activities at close range. Most of the Urumqi hostels will be able to link you up with a company or transport to organise a trip out to the Tianchi Heaven Lake or Turpan.
Whilst visiting Urumqi, no doubt a highlight will be an afternoon spent at the HongShan Park. This Chinese-style park, situated on a small inner-city slope, allows visitors to experience some of the day-to-day life of Urumqi’s citizens. Not too mention, the park shares some of the best views over Urumqi’s ever-growing cityscape! Some Urumqi hostels are within close walking distance, whilst others require a short bus ride. Don't fret -- Urumqi’s bus system is impeccable!
When choosing an Urumqi hostel, don’t stress too much about the location. Whilst most are in the city center, the city’s main sights are quite spread out and some form of transport is normally required. Urumqi hostels tend to fill up quickly during the summer high season (June to August). Also, if you’re planning on travel during the Chinese holidays, early bookings are certainly required!
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