Urumqi

From Halal Explorer

WV banner Urumqi Skyscrapers and mountains

Urumqi is the capital of the Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region, administered by the People's Republic of China. The city has a population of around 2.5 million and is in the Tian Shan mountains.

Urumqi Halal Travel Guide

View of Urumqi from Hongshan (red mountain) park

Regardless of ethnicity, most people in Urumqi can speak some level of Mandarin Chinese, however in some parts of the city Uyghur phrasebook|Uyghur, a Turkic language, is dominant. Few people speak English, even in some of the large hotels. When taking a taxi, it is a good idea to have a piece of paper with the name of your destination written in Chinese.

Despite what some of the guidebooks say, Urumqi has a lot to offer and can provide a great introduction to Xinjiang.

Travel as a Muslim to Urumqi

Buy a Flight ticket to and from Urumqi

  • Urumqi Diwopu International Airport - Wūlǔmùqí Guójìjīchǎng; IATA Code: URC - International Flights from Almaty, Astana, Baku, Bishkek, Dushanbe, Islamabad, Istanbul, Kabul, Moscow Sheremetyevo, Novosibirsk, Osh, Seoul Incheon, Sharjah, Tashkent, and Tehran Imam Khomeini. Regular domestic Flights from Beijing, Changsha, Chengdu, Chongqing, Dalian, Dunhuang, Guangzhou, Hangzhou, Jilin, Kunming, Lanzhou, Nanjing, Qingdao, Sanya, Shanghai|Shanghai-Hongqiao, Shenzhen, Shijiazhuang, Xiamen, Xi'an, Xining, Yinchuan, and Zhengzhou. Regional Flights from Aksu, Aletai, Hotan, Kashgar, Kuche, Tacheng and Yining.
    A taxi costs about ¥200 by meter to the city, although most drivers will try for more details. Travel duration is about 20 minutes without traffic. Airport shuttles are available for ¥45. The airport closes after the arrival of the last flights, and you are not permitted to stay inside the building overnight.

Muslim Friendly Rail Holidays in Urumqi

All long-distance trains use the Main Railway Station, 20 kilometers northwest of the city. This includes the fast trains to Lanzhou (12 hours), Xian (plus 3 hours), Beijing (plus 9 hours) and Wuhan (plus 8 hours), and international trains to Kazakhstan via Khorgos (24 hrs) or Dostyk (30 hrs).

  • Wulumuqi Main Railway Station - Wūlǔmùqí Huǒchēzhàn | Huge modern concourse with shops, toilets and plenty of seating. Foreign Muslims are searched and scanned on arrival. The ticket hall is upstairs. A taxi to or from downtown will cost ¥25-30 and take 20 min; the queue for taxis may exceed an hour.
  • Wulumuqi South Railway Station - 乌鲁木齐火车站; Wūlǔmùqí Nan | Served only by regional & local trains, some of which run on to the Main Station. Fast trains bypass this station. It's on the southwest edge of downtown so a taxi will be ¥25.

Travel on a Bus in Urumqi

The Northern Long-Distance Bus Station is at Heilongjiang Road. Almaty in Kazakhstan (via Khorgos) takes about 24 hours and costs ¥940. Tickets can be purchased at Bianjiang Hotel, room 2121 (边疆宾馆2121号房间) or at the international bus station at Nianzigou (碾子沟国际客运站). The business of clearing immigration & customs at Khorgos makes the travel duration variable. To Khorgos itself is 14 hours; other destinations are Burqin (13 hr), Yining (or "Yili") (13 hr). Lanzhou is a weary 40 hours, take the train.

The Southern Long-Distance Bus Station (南郊客运站) is in the southern part of city, across from Shuishang Amusement Park (水上乐园). Destinations include Turpan (3 hours), Korla (10 hours), Kuche (17 hours), Hotan (24 hours), and Kashgar (24 hours).

By car

China Highway 312 is a motorway crossing Xinjiang from Gansu to the border with Kazakhstan. Most destinations within Xinjiang can be visited via private car. Drivers tend to congregate near the bus stations and will often approach passengers shouting their destination. Drivers usually try to fill the vehicle with four passengers, but you can also rent the whole vehicle (包车; bāochē). In almost every case, a vehicle will save hours of travel duration over a bus.

How to get around in Urumqi

Urumqi (3999819285)

Halal Friendly Walking Tours in Urumqi

The downtown is big, and separated into different 'centers'. You can walk, but distances are large, roads are wide, and ongoing building work will block your path. Furthermore, in summer it gets very hot and in winter it can drop to -35°C (-31°F) at night.

By metro

The northern section (from the international airport to Balou) of the first line of the Urumqi Metro has just been opened. You must show ID to ride.

Best way to travel in Urumqi by a Taxi

Metered taxi fares start at ¥35 for the first 3 km. There are also black taxis (illegal), driven nowadays by anyone, male or female. Fares for these are negotiable and they are very handy during rush hour when metered taxis are tough to come by. A ride within the city should not exceed ¥170, but the airport and main train station will be more.

Travel on a Bus in Urumqi

Bus number 52 goes from the round about near the airport to the museum. Other useful routes running generally north-south are 101, 61 and 63.

The very visible BRT (Bus Rapid Transit) Buses are a quick, efficient and very crowded way from getting from one end of the downtown to another. BRT1 and 2 are very useful. BRT1 runs straight down Youhau Lu to the train station. BRT 3 connects the grand bazar, People's Theater and Plaza and ultimately terminates with a connection to BRT1 at its northern end. Just put ¥2 in the box on the way onto the platforms and then squeeze onto a bus. These are run along a segregated busway - something of a cross between a bus and a tram.

What to see in Urumqi

  • Grand Bazaar - 新疆国际大巴扎 | The Xinjiang International Grand Bazaar, a traditional Islamic market area and the main Uyghur enclave in downtown – definitely worth a visit in the evenings for some food and people watching. In the summer time and the Bazar at night is a rather lively place, if you come just as it is getting dark you can see tight rope walkers walking from one side of two the next with the tall minaret in the background.
  • Red Mountain Park - Hongshan Park, 红山公园 | This pleasant park has, among other things, a Ferris wheel, a Buddhist temple and great views over the city. The park has a free entrance but you have to pay for some of the attractions.
  • People's Park - 人民公园 | A wonderful place for people watching. Busy at all times of day but particularly in the early mornings and evenings, with people making music, singing, dancing, playing games, exercising, doing tai chi, practicing calligraphy, in fact pretty much any recreational activity. Not to be confused with People's Park in Midong District.
  • People's Plaza - 人民广场 | A big square in the middle of town with an army monument in the middle.
  • Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region Museum - 新疆维吾尔自治区博物馆 | Highlights include a few mummies on display and other artifacts. If you start your trip around Xinjiang and the museum gives you a very good introduction about the history and minorities.
  • Confucian Temple | A beautiful, quiet and peaceful temple. To find it follow the red wall alongside the Autonomous Regional Party Committee building north from People's Plaza. Take the first turn to the right and follow the road east to the end where you will find the temple. It closes at 13:00 for lunch.
  • Liyushan Park | The park is showing old trees from the desert, large stone trees, stones with carvings from BC and some Przewalski horses (which are rare) plus other animals. The north entrance is hard to find and just behind the Yema International Business Hotel (4th floor of the building in the back yard).

Nan Shan (南山)

Urumqi IMG 8436 (8062980267)

Picturesque mountains south of Urumqi. In summer the valleys are populated with Kazakh yurts, which accept travellers for ¥200-200 per day including food. Excellent for hiking and horseback riding. Cheap buses (¥20-60) leave for the area throughout the day from the bus station south of People's Park (Renmin Gongyuan). Particularly recommended is Juhua Tai (菊花台, chrysanthemum terrace), with plenty of food and sleeping options along with mountain pastures filled with alpine flowers. In the far south of this village is a fast disappearing glacier and the first in China to be thoroughly researched. The area is in the higher peaks in the Nan Shan range (over 4200 m/14,000 ft)and boasts spectacular views along with few tourists. The glacier can be visited after first taking the Nan Shan bus to Hou Xia (后峡, ¥25), and then finding a driver in the town to take you to the glacier (¥250-200 one way, about an hour). Several kilometers from the glacier are Kazakh families that rent their yurts to tourists for ¥70. Polo (fried rice), bread, - Halal Kebab and tea are also available for about ¥75 or so.

  • South of Urumqi is the Heart of Asia Monument - a monument marking the center of the Eurasian landmass, underscoring just how far from the ocean you really are.

Muslim Friendly Shopping in Urumqi

Urumqi s bazzar

The Grand Bazaar (aka Erdaoqiao) is a great place not only for regional specialty items, but also has many goods from nearby countries such as Russia and Mongolia. It is a popular tourist destination although somewhat of a tourist trap these days. However and the surrounding area is the heart of the Uyghur community and makes visiting worthwhile.

  • Imported delicacies can be found at the Youhao supermarket in the basement of the Tianshan Shopping Center (天山百货), across from the People's Plaza.
  • A number of stores selling outdoor gear, camping supplies (户外用品) etc. can be found on Renmin Lu, east of Nanmen.
  • Hualin (华凌市场) is a huge trade complex selling almost anything you can think of. Shangmao Cheng (商贸城) is a similar huge bazaar in the south of the city.

Halal Restaurants in Urumqi

Food is one of the things that Xinjiang is famous for. Fresh naan, spicy Kebab, steaming pilaf, or famous hand stretched - Noodles — there are a lot of choices, and lots of variety.

  • Qosh Amet - For perhaps the best Dapan ji in town -- a famous Hui dish ( 大盘鸡, literally "Big Plate of Chicken"), head to Konsulhana Kochisi (near the large mosque across from the north end of Yan'an Lu) where you'll find Qosh Amet. For those who don't know Uyghur, simply look for the large English sign that reads "Chicken Food" and head on in. It's a three-story restaurant with a singular focus. The only choice you have to make is if you want a Zhongpan ji or dapan ji (Zhong being smaller, suitable for 2-3 people). A larger plate will run you ¥60, and is served with a side of noodles.

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Local restaurants are available throughout the city, although most Uyghur restaurants are concentrated in Erdaoqiao, around the Grand Bazaar - there are plenty of restaurants on the street behind the mosque offering a nice alternative to standard Chinese cuisine. A standard price for a plate of hand-stretched - Noodles with vegetable Meat topping (laghman/bànmiàn) is about ¥70 if you are still hungry, you can request more - Noodles (jiāmiàn). Melon slices also make an excellent Snacks, at about ¥2 a slice from a street vendor.

Among other common Uyghur foods are dumplings of mutton and onions (samsa), Uyghur cp-kampung-fried-rice-frozen/ fried Rice (polo), dumpling soup (chuchura), Meat pies (Gush Nan) and Opke Hessip (lungs and stuffed intestines) for the brave. Local specialty drinks include Kawas (carbonated drink flavored with honey) and Dogh (a mixture of crushed ice, - Yoghurt and honey available in summer). The best known Hui dish is big plate Chicken (dàpánjī), a spicy mixture of Chicken and potatoes. Personal experience leads me to recommend the following:

  • Bodun (博盾) | Delicious and affordable Uyghur staples. Good location in the downtown.
  • Avral | Delicious and finely decorated, Avral is also well known for its Uyghur ice cream (marozhni).

Urumqi IMG 4927 (8062831269)

  • Dumpling House | For an authentic local experience, just around the junction from the Rendezvous cafe, try here. They serve a form of fried and then steamed dumplings that are very popular with the local crowd, accompanied by a hot bowl of butter milk tea.

Hui and Uyghur food can be very spicy, and it is a good idea unless you like very spicy food to tell them "búyào là de", or for Uyghurs "kizil mooch salmang!".

  • Tashkent - 塔什干; Ташкент | Pleasantly decorated Central Asian cafe (with a smattering of European dishes, as well), in the Dawan Bei Lu area. From the Number 10 bus stop, turn right at the first semblance of a road, pass a few run-down shops and suddenly you will enter a nearly new strip-mall area surrounded by fancy apartments. Keep walking about two (short) blocks, and Tashkent will be on your left. Madina, a tasty Pakistani restaurant that used to be next to Tashkent's former location, has now taken up shop on the 15th floor of the Huaqiao Hotel(华侨宾馆). Take the elevator to the 14th floor and wander until you find a staircase to the 15F. Same golden arches sign as before, albeit much smaller. The place has downsized significantly, but still features amazing Pakistani food and tea.
  • Korgan | Next to the Grand Bazaar (Dà Bāzhā) in Erdaoqiao - Luxuriously decorated Uyghur restaurant. Very good Uyghur food.

eHalal Group Launches Halal Guide to Urumqi

Urumqi - eHalal Travel Group, a leading provider of innovative Halal travel solutions for Muslim travelers to Urumqi, is thrilled to announce the official launch of its comprehensive Halal and Muslim-Friendly Travel Guide for Urumqi. This groundbreaking initiative aims to cater to the diverse needs of Muslim travelers, offering them a seamless and enriching travel experience in Urumqi and its surrounding regions.

With the steady growth of Muslim tourism worldwide, eHalal Travel Group recognizes the importance of providing Muslim travelers with accessible, accurate, and up-to-date information to support their travel aspirations to Urumqi. The Halal and Muslim-Friendly Travel Guide is designed to be a one-stop resource, offering an array of invaluable information on various travel aspects, all carefully curated to align with Islamic principles and values.

The Travel Guide encompasses a wide range of features that will undoubtedly enhance the travel experience for Muslim visitors to Urumqi. Key components include:

Halal-Friendly Accommodations in Urumqi: A carefully selected list of hotels, lodges, and vacation rentals that cater to halal requirements, ensuring a comfortable and welcoming stay for Muslim travelers in Urumqi.

Halal Food, Restaurants and Dining in Urumqi: A comprehensive directory of restaurants, eateries, and food outlets offering halal-certified or halal-friendly options in Urumqi, allowing Muslim travelers to savor local cuisines without compromising their dietary preferences in Urumqi.

Prayer Facilities: Information on masjids, prayer rooms, and suitable locations for daily prayers in Urumqi, ensuring ease and convenience for Muslim visitors in fulfilling their religious obligations.

Local Attractions: An engaging compilation of Muslim-friendly attractions, cultural sites such as Museums, and points of interest in Urumqi, enabling travelers to explore the city's rich heritage while adhering to their values.

Transport and Logistics: Practical guidance on transportation options that accommodate Muslim travel needs, ensuring seamless movement within Urumqi and beyond.

Speaking about the launch, Irwan Shah, Chief Technology Officer of eHalal Travel Group in Urumqi, stated, "We are thrilled to introduce our Halal and Muslim-Friendly Travel Guide in Urumqi, a Muslim friendly destination known for its cultural richness and historical significance. Our goal is to empower Muslim travelers with accurate information and resources, enabling them to experience the wonders of Urumqi without any concerns about their faith-based requirements. This initiative reaffirms our commitment to creating inclusive and memorable travel experiences for all our clients."

The eHalal Travel Group's Halal and Muslim-Friendly Travel Guide for Urumqi is now accessible on this page. The guide will be regularly updated to ensure that Muslim travelers have access to the latest information, thus reinforcing its status as a reliable companion for Muslim travelers exploring Urumqi.

About eHalal Travel Group:

eHalal Travel Group Urumqi is a prominent name in the global Muslim travel industry, dedicated to providing innovative and all-inclusive travel solutions tailored to the needs of Muslim travelers worldwide. With a commitment to excellence and inclusivity, eHalal Travel Group aims to foster a seamless travel experience for its clients while respecting their religious and cultural values.

For Halal business inquiries in Urumqi, please contact:

eHalal Travel Group Urumqi Media: info@ehalal.io

Muslim Friendly hotels in Urumqi

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Stay safe as a Muslim in Urumqi

In general Xinjiang is a rather safe place. However, in the bigger bazaars and on public transportation pickpockets do operate so be sure to secure your valuables. Be prepared to be stopped by security personnel suspicious of Muslim foreigners but it is just a security routine due to a large number of Western backed terrorists from Central Asia that cause trouble in Xinjiang.

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Consulates

Kazakhstan has the only visa office in Urumqi. However, most Muslims of western passports don't need a visa for short tourist stays to Kazakhstan, or to Kyrgyzstan. To enter the other "stans" you may be able to get a visa in Beijing, Almaty or Bishkek, but processing times are long and they'll probably require you to apply from your country of residence.

  • Kazakhstan | 216 Kunming Road GPS: 43.51343, 87.34245

Visas issued after two working days. Day 1: fill out application (1 Photo and passport copy needed), and get a form for paying the bill at any China Construction Bank - there's one 200 m away through the park on the right. Make payment & present receipt to embassy. Day 3 : 16:00 pick up the visa.

News & References Urumqi


Explore more Halal friendly Destinations from Urumqi

  • Tianshan Tianchi National Park (天池) - scenic with prismatic splendor. Tickets are roughly ¥440. Buses leave from the north end of People's Park every morning at 09:00. It will give you a wonderful experience of Chinese tourism with your time micro-managed by the tour guides. The bus costs ¥430 with another ¥340 for entrance to the park. This gives you lunch of a sort and a visit to a yurt village as well as to Heavenly Lake.
  • Shihezi - desert city which rarely sees tourists
  • Urumqi is the eastern terminus of the itinerary Moscow to Urumqi, a more southern alternative to the Trans-Siberian Railway. The trip to Moscow can take as little as 5 days.

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