Jonell Peckham

Jonell Peckham

Modified & Updated: 08 Sep 2023


Xi’ning, the capital city of China’s Qinghai Province, is a hidden gem nestled in the heart of the Tibetan Plateau. With its picturesque landscapes, rich cultural heritage, and fascinating history, Xi’ning has become a popular destination for travelers seeking a unique and off-the-beaten-path experience. In this article, we will delve into 32 fascinating facts about Xi’ning that will reveal the city’s rich tapestry of traditions, natural wonders, and vibrant city life. From its breathtaking landscapes, such as the Qinghai Lake and the Kunlun Mountains, to its historical sites like the Ta’er Monastery and Laji Mountain, Xi’ning offers a harmonious blend of natural beauty and cultural intrigue. So, let’s embark on a journey to uncover the hidden treasures and lesser-known facts about Xi’ning, a city that is sure to captivate your heart and leave you with unforgettable memories.

Table of Contents

Xi’ning is the capital city of Qinghai province in China.

Located on the eastern edge of the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau, Xi’ning is a picturesque city surrounded by mountains and beautiful natural landscapes.

The name “Xi’ning” means “peace in the west.”

Derived from the Chinese characters “Xi” (west) and “Ning” (peace), the name reflects the city’s geographical position in the western part of China.

Xi’ning has a rich historical and cultural heritage.

As one of China’s oldest cities, Xi’ning has a history dating back over 2,100 years. It has been an important center for trade and cultural exchange along the ancient Silk Road.

The city is famous for its Tibetan Buddhist culture.

With a significant Tibetan population, Xi’ning is home to numerous Tibetan Buddhist monasteries, temples, and cultural festivals. The influence of Tibetan culture can be seen throughout the city.

Xi’ning has a diverse ethnic makeup.

Besides the dominant Han Chinese population, Xi’ning is home to various ethnic minority groups, including Tibetans, Hui Muslims, Tu, and Salar people. This diversity adds to the vibrant cultural experience of the city.

It is known as the “Summer Capital” of China.

Due to its high altitude and pleasant climate, Xi’ning serves as a popular summer retreat for residents of other Chinese cities, offering respite from the heat and humidity.

The city is surrounded by stunning natural beauty.

Xi’ning is situated in close proximity to the majestic Qinghai Lake, the largest saltwater lake in China, and the stunning Qilian Mountains, offering breathtaking views and outdoor recreational opportunities.

Xi’ning is a major transportation hub.

With well-developed transportation networks, including an international airport, railway connections, and highways, Xi’ning serves as a vital transportation hub in western China.

The local cuisine of Xi’ning is diverse and flavorful.

Known for its mutton-based dishes, such as “hand-pulled lamb noodles” and “mutton skewers,” Xi’ning offers a wide range of delicious culinary delights that reflect the region’s unique flavors.

The city hosts the annual Qinghai Lake International Cycling Race.

Considered one of the toughest cycling races in the world, the Qinghai Lake International Cycling Race attracts professional cyclists from around the globe to compete in the challenging high-altitude terrain.

Xi’ning is home to the Qinghai-Tibet Railway.

As the starting point of the world’s highest railway, the Qinghai-Tibet Railway, Xi’ning offers travelers a remarkable journey through awe-inspiring landscapes, including the famous Golmud-Lhasa stretch.

The Dongguan Mosque in Xi’ning is one of the largest mosques in China.

With its distinct Islamic architecture and rich cultural significance, the Dongguan Mosque is a must-visit attraction for those interested in exploring the Islamic heritage of Xi’ning.

Xi’ning experiences a semi-arid climate.

The city has dry, cold winters and cool summers, with an average annual temperature of around 7.3 degrees Celsius.

The colorful Huzhu Tu Nationality Traditional Torch Festival is celebrated in Xi’ning.

This vibrant festival, held by the Tu ethnic minority, features traditional dances, horse racing, and the lighting of torches to drive away evil spirits and pray for a good harvest.

Xi’ning is known for its traditional handcrafts.

Skilled artisans in Xi’ning produce a wide variety of traditional crafts, including thangka paintings, Tibetan carpets, wooden carvings, and intricate silverware.

The Ta’er Monastery is one of the most important Tibetan Buddhist monasteries in China.

Located about 25 kilometers from Xi’ning, Ta’er Monastery attracts pilgrims and tourists alike with its stunning architecture, vibrant religious ceremonies, and serene surroundings.

Xi’ning is a gateway to the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau.

As a starting point for many travelers venturing into the vast and mesmerizing Qinghai-Tibet Plateau, Xi’ning offers a convenient base for explorations of this unique and remote region.

The Qinghai-Tibet Plateau is often referred to as the “Roof of the World.”

With its average elevation above 4,000 meters, the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau is the highest and largest plateau on Earth, encompassing diverse ecosystems and breathtaking landscapes.

The Nanshan Pasture in Xi’ning is a popular summer grazing area.

Cattle and sheep are brought to the Nanshan Pasture during the summer months, allowing nomadic herdsmen to tend to their livestock amidst the picturesque natural scenery.

The Tibetan New Year, also known as Losar, is celebrated with great enthusiasm in Xi’ning.

During this festive period, locals engage in traditional rituals, colorful dances, and religious ceremonies to welcome the New Year and pray for good fortune.

Xi’ning is home to the Qinghai Provincial Museum.

This museum showcases the rich history, culture, and natural heritage of Qinghai Province through its collections of artifacts, exhibitions, and interactive displays.

The Dongguan Ancient City in Xi’ning is a well-preserved historical site.

With its ancient city walls, traditional buildings, and narrow alleys, Dongguan Ancient City offers visitors a glimpse into Xi’ning’s past and its unique architectural charms.

Xi’ning is the gateway to the Three Gorges of the Yellow River.

Located just a short distance from Xi’ning, the magnificent Three Gorges offer stunning views of the Yellow River, breathtaking canyons, and pristine natural landscapes.

The Qinghai-Henan Highway starts in Xi’ning.

Stretching over 2,400 kilometers, the Qinghai-Henan Highway connects Xi’ning with Henan Province, serving as an important transportation route for goods and travelers.

Xi’ning is known for its traditional Tibetan medicine.

The city is home to several renowned Tibetan medicine hospitals and clinics, where visitors can learn about traditional healing practices and undergo treatments.

The Datong Hui and Tu Autonomous County in Xi’ning is famous for its hot springs.

Visitors can relax and rejuvenate in the natural hot springs of Datong County, known for their healing properties and tranquil atmosphere.

Xi’ning is home to the Qinghai Folk Art Museum.

This museum showcases a diverse range of traditional folk arts, including pottery, wood carving, paper cutting, and embroidery, providing insights into the local culture and craftsmanship.

The annual Qinghai Lake Birdwatching Festival attracts bird enthusiasts from around the world.

Qinghai Lake is a vital habitat for numerous bird species, and the festival offers opportunities to observe migratory birds, such as black-necked cranes, swans, and gulls.

Xi’ning is a center for traditional Tibetan thangka painting.

Thangka painting is a unique art form that combines intricate brushwork, vibrant colors, and religious symbolism. Xi’ning is renowned for its skilled thangka painters and workshops.

The Qaidam Basin, located near Xi’ning, is rich in mineral resources.

The Qaidam Basin is known for its abundant reserves of natural resources, including petroleum, natural gas, salt, potassium, and lithium.

Xi’ning is a city of cultural festivals.

Throughout the year, Xi’ning hosts various festivals celebrating local traditions, including the Tibetan New Year, Lantern Festival, and the Qinghai Lake Cycling Race Festival.

Xi’ning is a vibrant center for higher education and research.

The city is home to several prestigious universities and research institutions, attracting scholars and students from across China and around the world.


Xi’ning is a city rich in history, culture, and natural beauty. From its breathtaking landscapes to its vibrant cultural heritage, there is no shortage of fascinating facts about this remarkable destination. Whether you are interested in exploring its ancient ruins, tasting its delicious cuisine, or immersing yourself in its local traditions, Xi’ning has something to offer to every traveler. So, pack your bags and get ready to experience the wonders of Xi’ning firsthand!


1. What is the best time to visit Xi’ning?

Generally, the best time to visit Xi’ning is from May to October when the weather is pleasant and the landscapes are at their most scenic.

2. How can I get to Xi’ning?

Xi’ning has a well-connected transportation network, and you can reach the city by air, train, or bus. The Xining Caojiabao Airport offers regular flights to major cities in China.

3. What are the must-visit attractions in Xi’ning?

Some of the must-visit attractions in Xi’ning include Kumbum Monastery, Qinghai Lake, Ta’er Monastery, and Dongguan Mosque.

4. Is Xi’ning a safe city for tourists?

Yes, Xi’ning is generally considered a safe destination for tourists. However, it’s always advisable to take standard safety precautions and stay aware of your surroundings.

5. What are some local dishes I must try in Xi’ning?

Some local dishes to try in Xi’ning include hand-pulled noodles, mutton soup, dried yak meat, and Qinghai-style yogurt.

6. Can I experience the Tibetan culture in Xi’ning?

Yes, Xi’ning offers a unique opportunity to experience Tibetan culture. You can visit monasteries, participate in traditional Tibetan festivals, and explore Tibetan markets in the city.

7. Are there any outdoor activities in Xi’ning?

Yes, Xi’ning is a paradise for outdoor enthusiasts. You can go hiking in the surrounding mountains, explore the grasslands, or enjoy water activities at Qinghai Lake.

8. Can I explore Xi’ning on a budget?

Yes, Xi’ning offers a range of budget-friendly accommodation options, and there are plenty of inexpensive local eateries where you can enjoy delicious meals without breaking the bank.

9. Is English widely spoken in Xi’ning?

While English may not be widely spoken, you can still manage to communicate with basic English and the help of translation apps or phrasebooks.

10. Are there any local customs or etiquette I should be aware of in Xi’ning?

Respecting local customs and traditions is important in Xi’ning. It’s advisable to dress modestly, remove your shoes before entering religious sites, and ask for permission before taking photos of locals.