Top 10 Attractions in Urumqi, Top Things to Do in Urumqi

Plan your Urumqi tour?  Urumqi,  capital of Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region, is very often your springboard to delve into the expansive province. Urumqi itself  is worth a pop by on your Xinjiang trip.  It is the largest city in Western China. Urumqi is quite famous for its claim that it is the most inland major city in the world, that being the furthest from any ocean.

Urumqi, with its unique geographic location and its long, rich history, has forged a vibrantly unique culture in this ancient western region. It is an important post on the famed, ancient Silk Road. A great variety of peoples, costumes, languages, religions and customs have forged the unique features of Urumqi.

No. 01: Heavenly Lake
The Heavenly Lake, or Tianchi Lake, is located at the mountainside of the Bogda Peak, the highest peak in the east range of Tianshan Mountain, about 110 kilometers to Urumqi of the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region.

In ancient times, mud-rocks that flowed down from the glaciers and blocked the river course formed the Tianchi Lake. About 1,980 meters above sea level, the lake has a shape of half-moon and covers an area of 4.9 square kilometers. In summer, the Tianchi Lake is a perfect resort in the sweltering desert. One can enjoy the pure and fresh air as well as the cool and pleasant weather.

Entrance Fee: CNY 100 (peak seasons); CNY 40 (low seasons)
Opening Hours: 08:00-19:00
How to get there: there are shuttle buses at Renmin Park and Hongshan Hotel, you can take the shuttle to the Heavenly Lake

Heavenly Lake

No. 02:  Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region Museum 新疆维吾尔自治区博物馆
The Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region Museum was established in the spring of 1953 in the People’s Park in Urumai City.The museum boasts a collection of 32,000 cultural relics, 288 of which are of the national first class.

The articles on display at the museum highlight archaeological finds from the Silk Road and local cultural relics. The Museum features two basic displays: the Display of Xinjiang Historical Relics and the Display of Xinjiang Folklore.

Entrance Fee: free
Opening Hours: 09:30-19:00
How to get there: take Bus No. 7 from Hongshan Market

Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region Museum

No. 03: Glacier No.1
Glacier No. 1 is the headstream of Urumqi River which is located about 120 kilometers southwest of Urumqi city, on the north face of Tian Ge Er Peak.

Of the 5 glaciers around Urumqi, Glacier No.1 is the largest and it also claims fame as the closest glacier to a metropolis in the world. Its height ranges from 3800 meters to 4000 meters with a length of about 2.4 kilometers.

Its average width is 500 meters with maximum thickness of about 140 meters, and it encompasses an area nearly 2 sq/km. Glacier No.1 is honored by geologists as the “living fossil”.

 Glacier No.1
Glacier No.1

Entrance Fee: CNY 15
Opening Hours: 09:30-17:30
How to get there: You’d better take an off-road vehicle and guide by some skilled persons to go to the Glacier No. 1.

No. 04: Red Hill Park
Red Hill gets its name from its reddish brown color. The hill spans 1.5 kilometers long from east to west at an altitude of 910 meters and a relative height of 400 meters.

Red Hill Park is basically in the center of the city of Urumqi and is easy to find since the hill is noticeable with a nine-story red brick pagoda called Zhen Long Ta on top. It is uncertain when the pagoda was built. The park is a fun place to go. There are some trees and gardens, and you can cross the road to nearby People’s Park .

Entrance Fee: CNY 10
Opening Hours: 10:00-19:00
How to get there: take Buses No. 1, 7, 50, 61, 62, 68 or 101 to the Red Hill Park

Red Hill Park

No. 05: Shaanxi Mosque
The Shaanxi Mosque is a rare Hui Chinese mosque in the predominantly Uygur city of Urumqi which was built during Qing Dynasty rule under the reign of Emperor Qianlong or Emperor Jiaqing.

The mosque is built in the Han Chinese architectural tradition of pavilions with upswept eaves made of timber beams, columns and brick and also manifests Islamic influences from the west in its use of glazed tiles.

It consists of an elevated prayer hall within a high-walled precinct, marked by the bangke tower crowning its mihrab chamber.

Entrance Fee: CNY 10
Opening Hours: 08:00-16:00
How to get there: You’d better take an off-road vehicle and guide by some skilled persons to go to the Shaanxi Mosque.

 Shaanxi Mosque
Shaanxi Mosque

No. 06: Grand Bazaar
Grand Bazaar, also known as International Grand Bazaar, is an Islamic bazaar in Urumqi Xinjiang. It is the largest bazaar in the world by scale, combining Islamic culture, architecture, ethnic commerce, tourism and entertainment.

In the international bazaar, there are all kinds of shops, as well as food plaza, theatre and churches. Two areas are particularly interesting and shouldn’t be missed when visiting the Bazaar.

The NO.1 building and the NO.3 building offer global and domestic delights for every taste. There are also wonderful performances every evening in the bazaar.

Entrance Fee: free
Opening Hours: the whole day
How to get there: there are several buses in the downtown area can reach Grand Bazaar

Grand Bazaar

No. 07: Kanas Nature Reserve
Located in Burqin County of Altay City within the Xinjiang, Kanas Nature Reserve boasts a beautiful natural ecosystem formed by lakes, rivers, glaciers, forests, and grasslands.

This nature reserve, which incorporates forests, grasslands, glaciers, permafrost, mountains, rivers, lakes and other extreme northern ecosystem landscape elements, has diverse rare animals and plants and is rich in other wildlife resources. The highlight of Kanas Nature Reserve would probably be Kanas Lake.

Kanas Nature Reserve

It is an ideal area for scientific research, observation adventure, eco-tourism, film and television production, painting and photography.

Entrance Fee: free
Opening Hours: 08:00-18:00
How to get there: take Buses No. 30, 104, 60 or 537 to get the Kanas Nature Reserve

No. 08: Mount Nan Pastures
Located on Kelawucheng Mountain, a branch of north Heavenly Mountain to the south of Urumqi, Xinjiang, Mount Nan Pasture is a great place for horse riding and relaxing in beautiful natural scenery.

The pasture is a fertile place with charming mountains around. It is cool here in the summer, and is a good place to get away from the heat. This is a natural pasture.Besides the animal husbandry, the pasture also has great many tourist attractions.

Entrance Fee: CNY 20
Opening Hours: the whole day
How to get there: There are Tourist Buses outside Renmin Park

Mount Nan Pastures
Mount Nan Pastures


No. 09: Wulabo Ancient Town
Wulabo Ancient Town ( also  konwn as Ulanbay ) is located 17 kilometers away from the southern suburb of Urumqi City near Wulabo Reservoir, it is also called Pochengzi. It is an ancient site from the Tang to Yuan dynasties, with walls that are well-preserved and measure 4 meters high 480 meters long from east to west and 550 meters long from north to south.

The town is divided by a wall into northern and southern parts. Many ancient tombs and relics were uncovered in the south of Wulabo Reservoir in 1983. Apart from stone tombs, most of the relics were pottery works, gold earrings, copper mirrors, stone mortars and small ironware.

Entrance Fee: CNY 20
Opening Hours: 08:00-17:00
How to get there: take bus No.312 from North Railway Station of Urumqi, No.528 from Riyuexingguang Park,9 from Santunbei to Shuixigou Toll Station and exchange 312, 528

No. 10: Bayanbulak Grassland
Covering an area of more than 23,000 square kilometers, Bayanbulak is the second largest grassland in China and is one the most important stock raising bases of Xinjiang.

Bayanbulak means “abundant spring water” in Mongolian. If you come here you will be provided a unique chance to enjoy vast green grasslands which stretch as far as the eye can see. In this vast Bayanbulak Grassland there is the famous Swan Lake. Specifically, Swan Lake is a wide area of wetland that is made up of many interconnected small lakes.

Entrance Fee: CNY 15
Opening Hours: 09:30-17:30
How to get there: take the Tourist Bus to Bayanbulak Grassland from Nianzigou Bus Station of Urumqi

 Bayanbulak Grassland
Bayanbulak Grassland

Tip:  Hassle-free Urumqi Guided Tours
If you don’t want to go the do-it-yourself route and prefer the hassle-free escorted tours,  here are some options for Urumqi Guided Tours:

Urumqi Highlight Day Tour  from US$119 p/p
Urumqi Pasture Excursion Day Tour  from US$89 p/p
Urumqi 4 Day Tour    from US$419 p/p
Urumqi Turpan 4-Day Tour  from US$325  p/p

Further Readings

Top 10 Attractions in Urumqi
Best Urumqi Photos
How to get from Beijing to Urumqi

Any questions, just drop a line.


8 thoughts on “Top 10 Attractions in Urumqi, Top Things to Do in Urumqi

  1. I was recently in Urumqi with a silk road tour. I noticed many beautiful ceramic murals on buildings. What can you tell me bout them and ceramic production in Urumqi.
    Thank you.

  2. Hi S. P. Stein,

    As far as I know these are local popular wall painting or wall murals. They are painted by hand on the walls, not necessarily made from ceramics. We don’t know much about the wall paintings. Check out the link ( A Page in Chinese ) to have a feeling of the wall painting business in Urumqi:

  3. I Will be in Urumqi on monday oktober 2. Will the Regional Museum be open then?
    How about the other musea?

  4. Dear Dingena Donner,

    As far as I know, all the museums will be open in Urumqi during Ocotber execept Monday. Monday is closed.

  5. Dear friends,
    We are two girls from Vietnam and we plan to go to visit Xinjiang (Urumqi) area from 21 October and we are interesting for a 4-5 days tour. Could you please tell us if there is any available tour from that day and if there is any group tour we can join in. We have small budget and so we are fine to stay at any guesthouse during our stay there. We will have a flight to Chengdu on 18 October and we think to take train to go to Xinjiang (Urumqi), is it possible to make Chengdu-Urumqi in 2-3 days by train?
    We are looking forward to hearing from you soon.
    Kind regards,
    Lan Anh

  6. Dear Lan Anh,

    Thanks for your inquiry! But unfortunately we don’t have group tours available for you to join in.

    There are two daily trains from Chengdu to Urumqi which takes 47 hours. Please use the following website to book your train tickets:

    Have a nice time in China!

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