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Xining Travel Guide

Xining Overview

Xining is the capital city of Qinghai Province. Xining lies in the eastern part of Qinghai-Tibet plateau, and the upper reaches of Shuang Shui River.

The City of Xining acts as one of the major gateways to the Tibetan Plateau. It is an ancient highland city on the Yellow River which offers many scenic spots and historical sites. Although the city itself has a strong Islamic flavor, as it is home to many Hui people, you will start getting a more Tibetan feel as you move away from the city.

The Xining region is also replete with natural scenic attractions. One is the Sun and Moon Mountain which divides Qinghai Province into two parts - the stock-raising area and the farming area. Another not-to-be-missed destination is the Qinghai Lake and Bird Island. This alluring body of water is home to hundreds of thousands of birds. About 35 kilometers west of Xining City in Datong County, you can experience the magical power of Laoye Mountain. Every year on the 6th day of the 6th lunar month, the traditional singing festival attracts hundreds of thousands of visitors.

Xining Facts

Chinese Name: 西宁

Location: Xining lies in the eastern part of Qinghai-Tibet plateau, and the upper reaches of Shuang Shui River.

Dialing code: (+86) 0971

Zip Code: 810000

Area: Xining covers an area of 7,372 square kilometers

Main attractions in Xining: TaXining Administrative Map’er Monastery, Dongguan Mosque, Sun & Moon Mountain, Qinghai Lake

Administrative Division: The municipality oversees eight districts and rural areas. Namely Chengzhong District, Chengdong District, Chengxi District, Chengbei District, Huangyuan District, Huangzhong District, Datong Hui and Tu Autonomous County and Haihu New District

Population: Xining is a multinational and multi-religion city, consisting of 36 nationalities such as Han, Hui, Tu, Tibetan, Mongolian, Manchu and Salar etc, which constitute 25% of the total population. Xining is the only city whose population exceeds one million.

Geography: Xining is located on the eastern edge of the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau and the upper reaches of the Huangshui River. As well as being an important hinge between the Central Plains and the western part of China in ancient times, Xining was an important link in the Silk Road. It continues to be an important rail and road link to the hinterlands of the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau. This is a long and narrow river valley belt from southwest to northeast, so called it "Xining big Nanchuan".

History: Xining is a plateau ancient city with a long history, is a part of the Yellow River culture. According to some archaeological finds such as Chengbei district Zhujiajian village sites, Shenna ruins and Xixingyuan sites, as early as four or five thousand years ago there were human production and living on this land. In Shang, Zhou, Qin and Han dynasty, the Hehuang region is the central inhabitation region of the ancient Qiang people.

Xining Climate & Weather

Brief Information

Xining, capital of Qinghai Province, is located in the between valleys of the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau. The unique topography created a unique climate here, and is also made here to be a popular tourist resort. Xining is a typical city of immigrants, referring to the multi-ethnic, multi-religious people mixed living here, creating the cultural prosperity. Meanwhile the solidarity of all ethnic groups makes it the most abundant land with the human spirit. In the mean while, a regional development and environmental conditions here are inseparable, so that know more about the climate of Xining is essential for us to enter this City.

Xining city is about two thousand meters above sea level. The average annual rainfall is about four hundred milliliters, while evaporation is more than one thousand milliliters and the length of day is two thousand hours of a year. The annual average temperature is seven degrees Celsius or so. It is a typical highland alpine frigid climate.

Due to geographical location, altitude and many other factors, Xining has no intense heat of summer here, and no ultra-low temperature cold winter. Summer is relatively the most beautiful season in Xining. While other places in hot summer, the temperature in Xining is only 26 degrees or so. It feels like in room with air conditioning. No wonder a lot of people choose to come here in summer.

More wonderful is that there seem few mosquitoes. You do not need to use mosquito nets. In summer, there will held several large-scale exhibitions every year, especially the tulips exhibition which makes it the sea of tulips.

While located in the Northwest region of Xining, the climate here compared with the same latitudes is relatively stable, especially in summer when it is very cool, making it a natural summer resort. Although the climate is very favorable, it is still continental semi-arid plateau. Only city district’s altitude is relatively lower, where the radiation is very strong and diurnal range is great. It is better to bring sunscreen.

Came to Xining, a lot of people will choose to come here is the summer, of course, every year at this time is also famous tulip exhibition allows us in the cool climate, and enjoy the beauty of belonging to the eyes, of course, came to Xining, some to learn Xining climate, so that it can be prepared.

Climate Data Table for Xining
Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
1.4 4.3 9.5 15.9 19.8 22.6 24.5 23.9 19.0
7.8 2.8
-13.6 -10 -3.7 1.9 6.3 9.5 11.5 11.1 7.5 1.5 -5.6 -11.6
Rainfall (mm) 1.2 2.2 7.0 19.0 43.0 59.2 88.2 74.0 54.4 20.5 60.5 46.2
Days of rainfall 2.7 3.4 5.2 6.5 10.7 14.6 15.0 13.8 13.1 7.3 2.4 2.2


Best time to visit Xining:
Xining is located in the eastern part of Qinghai-Tibet Plateau, with the average altitude of 2275 meters, strong sunshine. Cool in summer, temperature is mostly below 20 ℃. Every July and August, Xining is the wind blowing gently, cool and pleasant summer resort.

In July, Qinghai Lake has large tracts of canola flower in full bloom. Yellow flowers and endless blue lake form a great scenery. the lake is the best tourist camp ground, and the temperature dose not exceed 18 ℃, cool and pleasant.

Try to Avoid domestic travel seasons
Try to plan your Xining tour to avoid the peak holidays. Because they are popular with Chinese tourists, Xining attractions become more crowded in these periods.

The most crowded seasons in China are Chinese Spring Festival (usually in late Jan or early Feb.), International Labor Day (May 01 to 03) and National Day (Oct 01-07). Spring Festival and the National Day golden week are the most crowded time for travelling.

Best Time for Xining Travel

Spring (March to May): Spring is windy season, March and April alternate clod and heat is quickly, when it is cold the temperature might be 5 degree below zero.

Summer (June to August): Here summer is cool, temperature is generally around 20 degree, not very hot so it is a natural summer resort. And when it comes to summer, Xining surrounded sceneries are the most beautiful, green grassland, flowers everywhere, beautiful forest waterfall, lake and river which makes Xining one of the most beautiful areas in China.

Autumn (September to October): In the early October if you are lucky you may catch up with the first snow and experience the wonderful scenery of golden mountain covered by white snow and can taste various sweet fruits of Qinghai.

Winter (November to next February): Inside the Xining city won’t be very cold. In winter the temperature will be 10 degree below zero, but with the strong sunshine of plateau, so in sunny day you may feel warm. Travel Xining during this time and stay in a featured guesthouse, and everyday go to visit mosque and temple to experience the atmosphere of minority belief, enjoy the pureness of Xining is also a good choice.

Dressing Tips

Spring (March to May): March and April alternate clod and heat is quickly, when it is cold the temperature might be 5 degree below zero and when it is hot the temperature might be 20 degree. And it is windy during March and April, suggest to wear light sweater with coat.

Summer (June -August): Thought it is not severe cold in winter, not sweltered heat in summer, the temperature difference between day and night is large. So even travel Xining in summer tourists have better to prepare an autumn coat. The elevation of Xining downtown is 2261 meters, please pay attention to sun protection, cap and sun glasses are necessary.

Autumn (September to October): Because Xining is plateau area, the temperature difference between day and night is large, so young people can wear a t-shirt with a suitable coat outside is enough in autumn.

Winter (November to February): Winter has a little lower temperature, wearing a thermal underwear or fleece with a down jacket outside is enough.

Xining Transportation

Xining Caojiabao Airport is the only second level airport in Qinghai Province, and an important air traffic hub on Qinghai-Tibet Plateau. It has opened direct flights to Beijing, Shanghai, Xi'an and other 10 cities.

Xining Caojiabao Airport
♦ Address: Gaozhai Township, 28 km away from Xinning downtown
♦ Official website: www.qhaport.com
♦ Tel: 0971-8133333

Xining Caojiabao Airport is the closest airport to the Qinghai Lake region, visitors can take the plane arrived in Xining, and then visit to Qinghai lake through the other traffic modes. Caojiabao Airport is about 29 km east of the Xining city, has opened direct flights to Beijing, Xian, Shanghai, Chengdu, Chongqing, Golmud, Guangzhou, Kunming, Shenzhen, Urumqi and other cities.

Xining is an important station on the Qinghai-Tibet railway, from all over the country taking train to Xining is also very convenient, and also train is the main mode for tourists to travel to Xining. At present to and fro trains stop at Xining Railway Station. The railway station is located in the Huangshui riverside Huzhu road of Chengdu District, close to the city center, there are many buses to Xining Railway Station which is very convenient.

Xining Railway Station
♦ Address: Jianguo Road, Chengdu District, Xining, Qinghai
♦ How to get there: people can take bus No.1, 3, 5, 7, 9, 11, 16, 20, 27, 28, 31, 40, 103, 104, 107 to Xining Railway Station

Xining Railway Station is located at Qilian Road. Xining is the intersection of Lanzhou-Qinghai Railway and Qinghai-Tibet railway. The railway transportation network can lead everywhere. There are direct trains to Beijing, Shanghai, Xian, Qingdao, Golmud and other cities. In the province, there are breach railways to Datong, Qaidam, Chaka, etc.

Xining West Railway Station
♦ Address: 10 West Road, West Station
♦ How to get there: taking bus Special Line 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 and No.26, 41, 58, 83, 109 to Xining West Railway Station
♦ Tel: (0971)7192222

Xining West Railway Station is located in Dapuzi Township of Chengbei District in Xining city in Qinghai province, was built in 1960, 12 km away from Xining Railway Station, 802 km from Golmud Station, under the jurisdiction of the Qinghai-Tibet railway company, now it is a third-class station.

Xining is one of an important hub city of northwest highway, located in the road intersection of Qinghai-Tibet way, Qinghai-Xinjiang way, Qinghai-Sichuan way. There are a lots of buses, the transportation is convenient.

Xining Bus Station
♦ Address: No.1 Jianguo Avenue, Chengdong District, Xining, Qinghai
♦ Tel: (0971)6155835

Xining Bus Station is located in Jianguo Road Huangshui Riverside in provincial capital Xining city in Qinghai province, and it is separated by the river with the Xining Railway Station, the traffic is very convenient.

Xining Nanchuan West Road Passenger Station
♦ Address: 48 Nanchuan West Road, Xining
♦ Tel: 0971-6253203

The buses in this station mainly going to Huangnan Prefecture, Hainan Prefecture, Haibei Prefecture, etc. And there are also buses to Yushu.

Xining Bayi Road Bus Station
♦ Address: 90 Baiyi middle raod, Xining
♦ Tel: 0971-8271672

The buses in this station mainly going the east route, heading to Lanzhou, Hui Autonomous Prefecture of Linxia, Gannan Prefecture, Huzhu County. And it is also the main station of taking bus to visit Qinghai Lake, in peak season, every day 9 tourism special line buses to Erlangjian Scenic Spot are departing from this station.

Xining Xinning Road Bus Station
♦ Address: 19 Xinning Road, Xining
♦ Tel: 0971-6155795

The buses are mainly long distance coaches in this station and they are going to Luoyang, Yinchuan, west of Sichuan, Changsha, etc. And there are buses going to Dunhuang, Delingha etc. Also there are buses going to Wulan and other areas in Haixi Towns that people can take it to Qinghai Lake.

Xining Tours & Tings to Do