Xining Overview

Xining Travel Overview introduces Xining fast facts including the Basic Information, Population,Climate, Geography, Culture History, Economy, Natural Resources, Landmarks, Administrative Diversions.

Basic Information


Xining is located on the eastern edge of the Qinghai–Tibet Plateau and the upper reaches of the Huangshui River. It is the political, economic, and cultural center of Qinghai Province with an average altitude of about 2,200 metres (7,200 ft). Human activity in the region can be traced to 2,100 years ago. During the Western and Eastern Han dynasties, owing to its developing agriculture, Xining was paid noticed due to its economic and military significance. Throughout the centuries, Xining has been a buzzing centre of commerce and transportation set at the heart of the ancient Silk Road. 

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Xinning enjoys cold steppe climate and has  also been dubbed the Summer Resort Capital of China owing to its cool summer.  Xining is located at a high altitude in the province of Qinghai. Because there are only few clouds the sun shines exuberantly here. Xining gets more hours of annual sunshine than other places in China. Nights are cold or cool throughout the year, and the diurnal temperature variation often reaches or exceeds 15 °C. The monthly 24-hour average temperatures ranges from −7.4 °C (18.7 °F) in January to 17.3 °C (63.1 °F) in July;  the annual mean is 6.10 °C (43.0 °F), still making it one of the warmest locations in Qinghai due to the low elevation by provincial standards.

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Best Time to Visit

Summer is the best time to visit Xining. Summer in Xining is cool, with the daily average temperature lower than 17 centigrade. It is a good place to escape the unforgiving heat during summer time. You can enjoy a cool summer when you go to Xining and visit Qinghai Lake. The period from May to Sep. with the most weather condition is the best time to visit. The spring scenery in Xining is fine in May. Bird islands on Qinghai Lake are full of migratory birds flying from the south. It is a good time for Xining Birding Tours. Except the comfortable weather condition, many of the region's colorful festivals occurs this time.

In July, Xining enjoys a comfortable climate and is also the best season for watching the rape flower in Xining, with the rape blossoming covering the hills and fields, golden and brilliant. July and August is a good time to visit Qinghai Lake. The lake is beautiful with mountains and lakes. Both sides are golden and beautiful. The annual Qinghai Lake International Road Cycling Race will also be held at this time. 

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Administrative Division

Xining Administrative Division introduces Administrative Maps of Xining, Places to Visit in Xining, Travel to Xining and explore the interesting Regions, Areas, Prefectures, Cities, Districts, Counties, Towns and Villages.

As of December 2019, Xining has jurisdiction over 5 districts and 2 counties:

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History of Xining

Xining has a history of over 2100 years and was a chief commercial hub on the Hexi Corridor caravan route to Tibet, handling especially timber, wool and salt in ancient times. The trade along the Hexi Corridor was part of a larger trade corridor along the Northern Silk Road, whose use was intensified in the 1st century BC after efforts by the Han Dynasty to control this route.

Under the Han dynasty (206 BC–220 AD) a county there called Linqiang controlled the local Qiang tribesmen. It was again a frontier county under the Sui (581–618) and Tang (618–907) dynasties; during the 7th and early 8th centuries it was a center of constant warfare with the Tuyuhun and (later) the Tibetan peoples. In 763, it was overrun by the Tibetans and while under Tibetan control was known to the Chinese as Qingtangcheng. Recovered by the Song dynasty in 1104, it received the name Xining (meaning "peace in the west") and has been the seat of a prefecture or superior prefecture under that name since that time. In the late 16th century, the Ta'er Monastery was founded some 19 km (12 mi) to the southeast, establishing Xining as an important religious center for the Yellow Hat sect of Buddhists.

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Xining is located at the junction of the Loess Plateau and the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau. It is a multi-ethnic city, with its cultural and artistic development has strong national and local characteristics. Traveling in Xining, you may feel strong cultural atmosphere of Muslims and Tibetans, as well as the ethnic culture of Tu and Hui nationalities. Xining food culture, historical sites, folk art and crafts as well as intangible cultural heritages in Xining are the highlights of Xining Culture.

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Xining is the transportation hub of Qinghai Province, which can be reached in many ways. Caojiabao International Airport is the only civil airport in Xining, operating flights to major cities in China. Xining serves as the intersection of Lanzhou - Qinghai Railway and Qinghai-Tibet Railway. It is relatively convenient to reach Xining by trains. Xining has many high-speed and national highways connecting with the surrounding cities, and major cities in the west have long-distance buses to Xining.

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Things to Do in Xining

There are many things for you to try for entertainment in Xining, such as visiting top Xining attractions, cycling around Qinghai Lake, try horse-riding or pay a family visit to Tibetan houses, ect.

Top Attractions in Xining

Though many travellers use Xining as a stopover to the Qinghai–Tibet Tours, it’s also a wonderful place to encounter the province’s varied cultures and impressive scenery. Traveling in Xining and around is all about experiencing Tibetan and Muslim culture and enjoy superb plateau landscape. The most famous and popular attractions inlcude Qinghai LakeTaer MonasteryDongguan Great Mosque, etc.

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Festival & Activities

With the exception of Chinese traditional festivals, every place has its own festival to show their special places, culture, or specialties, so does Xining.  The festivals in Xining are influenced by a lot of things, such as their spiritual beliefs and the culture of the people. Because of the closeness of Xining to Tibet, some minorities have also built their homes here. There are also several Muslim families currently living here. Therefore, local festivals and acitivities feature in religion culture. Major festivals and activities in Xining include: Four Assemblies in the Ta'er Monastery, Corban Festival and Nadun Festival of Tu Ethnic GroupChina·Qinghai Tulip Festival, and Qinghai Lake International Road Cycling Race, etc. 

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In 2018, Xining's GDP reached 128.641 billion yuan, up 9.0%. Of which, the added value of the primary industry reached 4.608 billion yuan, up 4.2%, contributing 1.44% to GDP, driving GDP growth by 0.13 percentage points. The added value of the secondary industry was 46.799 billion yuan, up 8.8%, contributing 48.31% to GDP, driving GDP growth by 4.35 percentage points. The added value of industry increased by 8.0%, contributing 34.92% to GDP, driving GDP growth by 3.14 percentage points. The added value of the tertiary industry was 77.234 billion yuan, up 9.4%, contributing 50.25% to GDP, driving GDP growth by 4.52 percentage points. The ratio of three industrial structures is 3.6:36.4:60.0. In 2018, Xining's per capita GDP reached 54,400 yuan, an actual increase of 8.1% after deducting price factors. The equivalent to USD is USD 8227 (the average exchange rate of RMB for the whole year is USD 1 to RMB 6.6174).

In 2018, the total consumer price of Xining residents rose 2.7% year-on-year, with food, alcohol and tobacco rising 1.9% year-on-year.  Xining realized a local public budget revenue of 9.294 billion yuan, up 17.4%, of which 7.758 billion yuan was tax revenue, up 20.3%. In the whole year, public budget expenditure reached 29.748 billion yuan, an increase of 3.2%. General public service expenditure increased by 4.4%, public security expenditure increased by 4.8%, education expenditure increased by 13.5%, science and technology expenditure increased by 50.2%, social security and employment expenditure increased by 7.3%, medical care and family planning expenditure increased by 9.1%, energy conservation and environmental protection expenditure increased by 15.4%, and urban and rural community expenditure decreased by 8.3%.

In 2018, Xining's investment in fixed assets increased by 9.0%. Investment in municipal fixed assets increased by 6.8%. By industry, investment in the primary industry increased by 20.3%. Investment in the secondary industry increased by 5.6%, of which industrial investment increased by 18.0%. Investment in the tertiary industry increased by 9.7%. Infrastructure investment increased by 38.9%. Private investment fell 2.6%.

Natural Resources

Water Resource

Qinghai is located at the headwaters of the Yellow River, Yangtze River and Lancang River, with various tributaries, steep riverbeds and narrow river valleys. It is rich in hydropower resources, especially the Yellow River and Yangtze River, which have the most concentrated hydropower resources and great development potential. According to exploration, the province has 108 main and tributaries with hydropower resources above 10,000 kilowatts, with a total reserves of 23.3746 million kilowatts, accounting for 3.3% and 27.8% of the total in the whole country and the northwest region respectively. The total installed capacity of large and medium-sized hydropower stations that can be developed is 20.99 million kilowatts. Xining is also rich in surface water and groundwater. Huangshui River runs through the urban area, with annual runoff of 1.894 billion cubic meters, self-produced surface water resources of 701 million cubic meters, groundwater resources of 698 million cubic meters and water resources of 1.399 billion cubic meters.

Plant Resource

Located in the cold temperate zone, Qinghai is endowed with abundant plant species. There are 947 species of economic plants in 75 families, 331 genera, of which about one third are seed plants. There are about 680 kinds of medicinal plants and more than 50 kinds of famous traditional Chinese medicines, such as Xining rhubarb, cordyceps sinensis, snow lotus, fritillary bulb, licorice, Tibetan wormwood, astragalus root, ephedra, medlar, etc. which are sold well at home and abroad. In addition, there are hundreds of kinds of fiber, oil and spice, edible and ornamental plants, of which bracken, bracken, seabuckthorn and so on are the most famous. Most plants have yet to be developed and utilized.

Animal Resource

There are 103 species of wild animials and 294 species of birds in Qinghai, accounting for 1/3 and 1/4 of the whole country respectively. As of 2012, more than 250 species of economically valuable animals have been identified. Animal Husbandry in Qinghai is one of China's five major pastoral areas and an important animal husbandry production base. The grassland area of the whole province is 36.4494 million hectares, accounting for 53.6% of the whole province. The grassland feeds 23 million animals (only). Each year 130,000 tons of beef and mutton and over 4 million pieces of cattle and sheep skins are produced. Among them, there are more than 5 million yaks called "boats of snowy mountains", nearly half of the country's total. More than 14 million sheep.

Mineral Resource

As of 2012, 123 kinds of minerals have been discovered and 97 of them have been proven reserves. Of the country's total reserves, 51 are in the top 10 and 11 are in the top 10. There are more than 70 kinds of minerals that have been approved by the state, with the potential value of retained reserves reaching 820 billion yuan. A total of 16 oil fields and 6 gas fields have been discovered. Oil resources reached more than 1.2 billion tons and 208 million tons have been proved. Natural gas resources prove to be 293.7 billion cubic meters, of which 66.329 billion cubic meters have been proved.