Urumqi for women

Written by Dec 15, 2005 12:12
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It's different for the gentler gender

Traveling in Xinjiang can be a little different for women than for men, especially as a foreign woman - just keep that in mind. Xinjiang is roughly 50% Uighur, and the Uighur have very different cultural standards than the Han Chinese (there is a significan Hui population in Xinjiang, but I'm not sure of the exact percentage).

I find it can range from very difficult to very easy to travel in Xinjiang. I used to live in Urumqi, and it was a mix of great and terrible. It was hard, as a woman, to meet people, because women in Xinjiang tend to be very reserved compared to women in the rest of China. Also, sexism is much more rampant in the more conservative Muslim areas.

Although DENNIS seems to think that the people of Xinjiang looke "Arab" because of proximity to "Arab" countries, in fact, Xinjiang is nowhere near an Arab country, but rather borders on the "Stans" - former Soviet republics such as Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan, as well as Pakistan and parts of India. The Uighurs looks like Uzbeks or Kazakhs (although there are exceptions, and there are some differences among these people as well) who are ethnically closer to Turks than to Arabs. The Uighur language isn't terribly different from modern Turkish.

Urumqi is a rapidly growing city like anywhere else in China, and so it has some fantastic modern shopping (cosmetics, fur coats) if you are feeling short on luxury. The Holiday Inn is nice enough of a place to stay if you need a break from backpacking. Almost everything you will read about Urumqi in places like Lonely Planet will be wrong because everything changes so fast. Buy your traditional Uighur goods likes drums, cloth, and food in smaller places like Kashgar and Turpan. And bargain like a fool!

That said, do try some da pan ji (literally "big plate chicken") while in Urumqi. The best place, assuming it stays open, is a little Hui eatery at NongDa (Xinjiang Nongye DaXue, also known as BaNong). Go through the main gate, and take your second left. Down the road on the right should be a little courtyard where everyone eats - the Hui place is on the first level, on the back wall, in the middle. It's the cleanest place, the people are very friendly, and the da pan ji rocks.

 More Urumqi Travel Reviews
1. Ultimate Urumqi DENNIS Oct 16, 2004 12:10
Comments (4)


Sep 18, 2014 03:38 Reply

Mr.JAILANI BIN SALEH from Singapore said:

Any body know where I could read more about travel in Urumqi or nearby Places in Xinjiang like Turfan and ili. How difficult is it to travel to all these places of interest if I make my base at Urumqi all to be done within 5 days. After that I have to return to Beijing for my onward journey back home.I love visiting Muslim places of interests, Savour local Halal food (I ate some mutton BBQ meat on a stick in the city of Harbin, very nice) and enjoy the snow. Anybody knows where in Xinjiang I could go and see the snow in early December.


Jul 25, 2012 18:45 Reply

Mr.SUPAY from Peru said:

Thanks for your comment about Urumqi... I am thinking to go by car by the end of August... I would like to meet some people before I go. I wonder if you can help. My Email is: ooo666bar@hotmail.com


Aug 7, 2011 00:06 Reply

Ms.A,INAH from K.L. Malaysia said:

Mr. Leo,

Thank you for your reply. My husband and I had been on the Silk Road route - Beijing, Lanzhou, Jiayikuan, Dunhuang, Turpan etc anf it was then we tasted the Zhuan Fan in Urumqi. Since we have only two nights in Urumqi before our group commence our tour of Northwest Urumqi, we will only visit the Grand Baazar and local night markets. We are very interested to visit local family and to witness a local dance performance. Thank you once again.


Aug 5, 2011 07:03 Reply

Ms.AMINAH from K>L, Malaysia said:

My husband and will be Urumqi on August 15 and 16, 2011. Thereafter we and another 15 individuals will tour Norhhwest Urumqi and will visit places such Burqin etc. During the 2 days/nights in Urumqi, both os us will besides visiting the Grand Bazaar would like to see and taste local delicacies especially at the night market. We would also like to visit a Uighur family for a few hours. We had visited Urumqi once some few year back and had tasted the rice normally served during weddings etc. Any recommendations?

Aug 5, 2011 20:07
Mr.LEO replied:

I found some tours here about Urumqi. You may have a look: https://www.travelchinaguide.com/tour/silk_road/
Or you can also contact www.TravelChinaguide.com directly. They can tailor make a tour as you want.

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