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Avg.Score: 4

Stretching vast distances across oasis-studded deserts and snowy mountain peaks, the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region, slightly larger than Western Europe or Alaska, is home to a population on par with that of Shanghai, with just under 20 million people living in cities and towns that go back to the days of the Silk Road. Of those 20 million, a 45% majority are Uyghur, with Kazakh, Hui Chinese (ethnic Chinese Muslims) and smatterings of other ethnic minorities mixing with a Han Chinese population that has shot up in the last 50 years from around 8% of the total in 1949 to nearly 41% today.

For travelers, Xinjiang (Xīnjiāng, 新疆) makes for a fascinating experience. In a few weeks, you can stay with quasi-nomadic Kazakhs in traditional yurts on the shores of Tian Chi (Heavenly Lake), explore the ruins of the desert city of Jiaohe, haggle over a silk carpet or finely wrought knife in a Kashgar bazaar and see caves full of ancient Buddhist statues and frescoes near Kuqa. You'll find that Xinjiang is like no other place in contemporary China, the people and culture retain a distinct Central Asian quality despite many centuries of Chinese influence.

User destination reviews


Urumqi is not overly populated as the likes of shanghai, shenzhen or beijingHowever, due to its ... more >>

By: edmundoab on 7-Dec-2008 21:37 Avg. Score: 3.7


Find a local Uighur guide to take you out into the desert. If you can spend the night out there, do it. It's amazing... ... more >>

By: YogiBear on 13-Mar-2008 14:30 Avg. Score: 3.7


Hi all. I'd like to remind you that the weather in Xinjiang is really changeable. Do take good care of yourselves if you ... more >>

By: Cheers on 24-Oct-2007 14:20 Avg. Score: 0.0


a picturesque place and i love the fresh air. kebabs and the local Tianshan Beer (said to be brewed with mountain melt w ... more >>

By: Dennis-L on 14-Oct-2007 18:09 Avg. Score: 4.2