Urumqi Travel Tips
Climate and Weather
The temperature in Urumqi fluctuates greatly between day and night. Urumqi is extremely dry due to its geographical location and continental climate. Spring and autumn are short while winter and summer are long. Remote as it is, the local inhabitants fondly call it 'Urumqi' which translates to mean graceful pasture.
Spring in Urumqi comes comparatively late. Usually the northern suburb of Urumqi has the first touch of spring in late March, the downtown area some two weeks later and the southern suburb ten days later again. Urumqi in summer is flowery and lush. Summer lasts typically for about 90 days in the northern suburb and about 60 days in the downtown area. Urumqi is an ideal place for a summer holiday when the average downtown temperature is about 23 C (about 73.4 F). From late August, autumn comes to Urumqi, a golden season of fruit harvests. In October you will experience fluctuations between day and night temperatures. The temperature of the long winter in Urumqi is around -15 C (about 5 F), but the scenery makes up for the cold at that time.
The best period for visiting Urumqi is from May to October when flowers are in full bloom and the melons and fruits smell sweet and are ripe for the picking. Dress warmly even when traveling in the hottest month (July and August) for the temperature differences between morning and night. Be sure to bring a sweater and trench coat in May, June, September and October. During the cold winter (November to March), you will need heavy winter wear.
Local Festivals and Folk Custom
The most important local festivals are the annual Corban Festival and Lesser Bairam. According to the Islamic calendar Corban Festival falls on December 10th and Lesser Bairam is 70 days before of Corban Festival. Having a strong ethnic flavor, Guniang Zhui (a kind of funny way to express love between young men and women) and Diaoyang (a traditional sport of the local minority) are very interesting tourist activities at that time. If you are lucky enough, you can appreciate such amusing movements.
Corban Festival is one of the most important festivals. It is also known as 'Sacrifice Festival', which is hosted every December 10th by Islamic population. In preparation all Muslims should clean and dress up to attend the ceremony at the Great Mosque. During the three-day holidays, people go door to door to exchange greetings in their best ethnic costumes. All homes serve the visitors delicious mutton. The thumping singing and dancing parties will be held in both urban and rural areas. Some sports activities: such as horse races, wrestling and sheep snatching are most popular among the Kazaks, Ozbeks and Tajiks nationalities.
Lesser Bairam is also called 'Fast breaking Festival'. It is the New Year festival of the Hui nationality as well as other groups. Every adult Muslim fasts one month every year. During the Ramadan, the Muslims eat either before sunrise or after sunset. The last day of Ramadan is a holiday.
The annual Silk Road Snow Folk Festival (Sichou Zhilu Bingxue Fengqing Jie) is a rising tourist festival in Urumqi. The grand opening ceremony is held in December and the festival usually lasts till the following March offering tourists a different travel experience.
Other Odds and Ends
Phone Dialing Code: 0991
Weather Forecast: 121
Consumers' Complaint: 12315
First Aid Center of Urumqi: 2833000
Zip code inquiring: 184
Phone number inquiring: 114
Tourist complaint: 2831902
Toilet Facilities: Using toilets in the downtown area of Urumqi costs about 0.2 Yuan.
Yangzijiang road Branch (city center): 4, Yangzijiang road
Jie Fang Bei road Branch (city center): 61, Jiefang Bei road
Beijing road Branch (south suburb): 5, Henan Xi road
Urumqi Branch of Bank of China offers currency exchange service. Address: 343, Jiefang Nan Lu.
Urumqi No. 1 People's Hospital
Address: 91, Jiankang Lu
Urumqi Shi You Yi Hospital
Address: 22, Shengli Lu
Xinjiang University: 14, Shengli Lu
Important Taboo and Other Notes:
1. Do not shake water off your wet hands in public.
2. Do not irritate Muslims by eating pork and by speaking about pigs in their presence.
3. Respect the customs and habits of ethnic minorities.
4. Protect yourselves against the elements in all seasons. Be careful about your drinking water. Boil it first.
5. You will come upon spectacular scenery; so do bring your photographic equipment along.
6. Avoid drinking hot tea after eating fruits to avoid diarrhea.
7. Though the 'clock time' in Xinjiang is just the same as the rest of China, in fact there is a two-hour difference in longitude between Urumqi and Beijing. For this reason the daily working hours are: 10:00 - 14:00, 15:30 - 19:30
While in Urumqi, you should modify you rest and dining times to be two hours later than if you were in a city in Middle China, otherwise you might feel out of step with local life. But don't forget that bus, train and flights all adopt Beijing Time. If you booked a flight to arrive or depart Urumqi at around 08:00, then you may find it is quite dark at that time. Please keep this in mind when making reservations.