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Xining Travel Guide

Xining

Situated on the edge of the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau and heavily populated by minority groups, Xining has earned a reputation as one of the more mysterious and diverse cities in China.

Situated on the edge of an inhospitable wilderness, Xining was a historic military garrison town. Those venturing beyond Xining into the frozen Qinghai-Tibet Plateau or the scorching deserts of Xinjiang were virtually guaranteed to never be seen or heard from again. This harsh remoteness made Xining and the surrounding areas perfectly suitable to serve as China's Siberia. The result is a diverse, open, slightly adventurous local population of Han Chinese as well as a large minority of Muslims and Tibetans.

First impressions upon arrival in Xining will likely be of the stark valley landscape and colorful people. The 30-minute trip from the airport into town take visitors through a handful of small Muslim villages and one begins to realize that this is a part of China that has remained untouched by the mighty hand of commercial tourism. The village homes are made of mud-bricks and wood, and horse drawn carts carrying people or goods are more prevalent than cars. As you get closer to the city you begin to see more urban development and soon enough, you've entered Xining. At first glance it appears to be a fairly typical developing Chinese city but scratch the surface, and you'll discover a thriving center of cultural diversity not found anywhere else in China.

Memorable Experiences

Eating lamb kebabs, flat bread, and drinking salt tea late at night on the streets of Xining in Muslim food tents.

Drinking yak butter tea and chatting with monks at Kumbum Monastery.

Sipping tea while enjoying the sunset view.

Top Xining Tours

Xining and Lanzhou Tour

  • Tour Code: bj0427
  • Days: 5
  • Destination: Xining-Lanzhou

From USD
$892

Summary: The scenery of the Qinghai Lake, provides an escape from fervent cities and allows you to experience beautiful natural sceneries. The lake itself is quite amazing. The Birds Island, situated on the northwest of Qinghai Lake, is waiting to present you with an extensive array of birds. To the city's southwest, is the birthplace of the founder of the Gelugpa Sect.

Tibet & Silk Road Adventure - China Orient Express

  • Tour Code: OE01
  • Days: 13
  • Destination: Lhasa - Sigaze - Gyantse - Qinghai-Tibet railway - Xining - Lanzhou - Jiayuguan - Dunhuang - Turpan

From USD
$2740

Summary: China Orient Express offers first-class customer service, a romantic exploration of the Chinese most remarkable sites and a constantly changing room with a view. You can expect welcoming cabins, fine dining and elegant surrounding no matter which remote corner of the China you choose to explore..

Hantang Culture & Tibet Adventure (A) - China Orient Express

  • Tour Code: OE06
  • Days: 11
  • Destination: Xi'an - Tianshui - Lanzhou - Xining - Qinghai - Tibet railway - Lhasa - Gyantse - Sigaze

From USD
$2740

Summary: China Orient Express offers first-class customer service, a romantic exploration of the Chinese most remarkable sites and a constantly changing room with a view. You can expect welcoming cabins, fine dining and elegant surrounding no matter which remote corner of the China you choose to explore..

Tibet & Hantang Culture Adventure (B) - China Orient Express

  • Tour Code: OE07
  • Days: 11
  • Destination: Lhasa - Sigaze - Gyantse - Qinghai - Tibet railway - Xining - Lanzhou - Tianshui - Xi'an

From USD
$2435

Summary: China Orient Express offers first-class customer service, a romantic exploration of the Chinese most remarkable sites and a constantly changing room with a view. You can expect welcoming cabins, fine dining and elegant surrounding no matter which remote corner of the China you choose to explore..