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.
It has a continental climate with highland features. It is usually dry and sunny with very limited rainfall. The average annual temperature is about 6 degree Celsius. In the coldest month the temperature may drop to -9 degree Celsius, and in the summer it is always less than 20 degree Celsius, a perfect place to escape the heat waves in the plain areas
Best Time to Visit
♦ 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 is a plateau ancient city with a history of more than two thousand and one hundred years, called Xiping Pavilion in ancient time, was once the place Han general after Zhao Chongguo had garrison troops peasants open up wasteland and grow food grain. And it was the capital of Nanliang (a regime of minority Xianbei), the throat of Tang-Tibet Ancient Road, thoroughfare of south Silk Road, and the portal to the central plains of the Qinghai-Tibet plateau, one of the cradles of Hehuang culture. Since ancient Xining was a shining "plateau pearl.
• Best Places to Visit
♦ Ta’er Monastery
–Ta’er Monastery located 25 kilometers southwest of Lusha town Huangzhong county Xining. Ta’er Monastery is the activity center of Tibetan Buddhism in northwest China, enjoys a high reputation in China and Southeast Asia. The butter sculpture, mural and barbola are known as the “three arts of Ta’er Monastery”. The monastery also collects a lot of Buddhist ancient books and records, history, literature, philosophy, medicine monographs, legislation books, etc. Ta’er Monastery is the gelug sect of Tibetan Buddhism in China (Shamanism) one of the six major monasteries, is also a leading scenic spots and historical sites in Qinghai province and the national key cultural relics protection units.
♦ Dongguan Mosque
–Dongguan Mosque is the biggest mosque in Qinghai province, is also one of the most important scenic spots in Xining city. The mosque architecture is a blend of Han, Tibetan, Islamic architectural styles, very unique. Mosque is a courtyard building. Dongguan Mosque in northwest has a strong influence, every day there are a lot of believers worship here. Dongguan Mosque is located in Dongguan street Xining city, is a compound made up of a few buildings, yard of length-width is about one hundred meter. Dongguan Mosque was built in 1913, just standing outside the mosque you can see a magnificent islamic style round arch where is the gate of the mosque. On both sides are two minarets, which are typical of Islamic architectures. And the internal is several Han palaces, upon top of the palace there is Tibetan Buddhism style of roof, which is unique.
♦ Sun & Moon Mountain
– Sun & Moon Mountain is located in the western Huangyuan county of Qinghai province, belongs to the Qilian mountains, and it was the fortress of central plains to the western regions in ancient time. There is peak in north and south of the mountain pass which looks like the sun and the moon, hence it gains the name of Sun & Moon Mountain. Qinghai-Tibet highway pass through Sun & Moon Mountain, and here was set up Sun & Moon Stone Tablet, and was built a Sun & Moon Pavilion. Tourists generally pass Sun & Moon Mountain while heading from Xining to Qinghai Lake, the pasture and miles and miles of mountains and scenery is very beautiful.There are two small pavilions, Sun pavilion and Moon pavilion, which are pseudo-classic architectures, not really antique buildings. Sun & Moon Mountain is famous for three reasons: one is the princess Wencheng passed here on route to Tibet, her story of making peace with rulers of Tibet by marriage added legend to Sun & Moon Mountain; Second, Sun & Moon Mountain is the boundary of agricultural and pastoral region, monsoon and non-monsoon region, outflow areas of lakes and inward flowing river lake area, and it is the most west edge of loess plateau. Overlooking from mountain, geographical landscapes on both sides of east and west are distinct; third is that Sun & Moon Mountain is always the important thoroughfare from the mainland to western Qinghai and Tibet. In Tang dynasty it was boundary ridge between Tang regime and vassals, was one of the important frontier pass and trade fair between Tang and vassals, and was also the bridge of friendly exchanges between central plains Han nationality and minority.
Xining as the center of commerce in Qinghai, there are many bustling shopping centers, the main shopping areas are concentrated in the center of the downtown grand cross zone.
Grand cross zone is hub for several major streets and shopping centers in Xining. In the grand cross the west side of West Street there are shopping centers such as Wangfujing, Guofang Department, and Dongguan Street in the east side also has some of the larger trade cities. In grand cross zone the north side of the North Street assembles many specialty stores selling Qinghai-Tibet plateau specialties, especially caterpillar fungus. Recommended buying the northwest specialty such as yak jerky and Chinese wolfberry in the big shopping mall, which is both practical and very affordable.
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: http://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.