Is it Safe to Travel to Xinjiang? Q&A #2
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Is it Safe to Travel to Xinjiang? Q&A #2

Xinjiang Q&A, episode 2! Is it safe to travel to Xinjiang? I completely
understand why you’re asking that question. The funny thing is, when I arrived in 2006,
that question wasn’t even relevant. It wasn’t until 2008 coming up to the Olympics and 2009
when we had incidents here in Urumqi that that question became something that was commonly
asked by travelers heading out to this region. So let me go ahead and answer that question
quickly: Is it safe to travel to Xinjiang. YES! Ok…I guess I can’t say that with 100% certainty
and I’m sure there’s some liability involved in there so let me qualify that statement
just a little bit. Over the past 10 years I have not heard of
a single incident where a traveler – whether directly or indirectly – has been involved
and harmed in any of the ethnic conflict that has occurred here in Xinjiang. And that even
includes the Han Chinese tourists. One of the questions I get a lot is: “I look Han
Chinese. Is it safe for me to travel around the southern part of Xinjiang?” And again,
I don’t know of anybody that has been harmed and one little tip for you: smile! It’s surprisingly disarming for people, especially
in southern Xinjiang where people are incredibly friendly and a smile is just one small gesture
that really makes a big difference. So let me walk you through a couple of things
that you’re going to notice differently when traveling here in Xinjiang and things that
you can do in order to make sure that doesn’t hamper or change your plans here as you’re
traveling. The first is this: you’re gonna notice more
military and security personnel here all across the region. Whether that’s at transportation
hubs; whether that’s on the streets; you’re going to see a lot of military. And really,
for the most part, it’s not going to affect you at all. The biggest thing you should remember,
especially if you have a camera, is don’t take a picture of the security and military
personnel. I don’t know any other way to say it. If you want to get your camera confiscated
or if you want to get your memory card wiped, please by all means go ahead and take pictures
of the security but you’re going to notice the moment that your camera even comes near
to them they’re going to notice and they’re going to let you know they’re not happy about
that. The second thing is that you’re going to notice
a lot of metal detectors that you’re going to have to go through. You’re going to notice
a LOT of cameras all over the place and you’re going to notice bag checks everywhere you
go. This is just part of life here in Xinjiang and it’s something you need to get used to. The next thing is security checkpoints. This
is particularly around the southern part of Xinjiang. I remember going from Kashgar on
a bus down to Hotan and probably got stopped and had to leave the bus 6-7 times where everybody
had to exit, show their passports and prove that they were there legally. That’s just
common and again, it’s part of traveling around in the southern part of Xinjiang. My advice to you is this: 1) ALWAYS have your
passport along with you and 2) this is key – have a copy of your passport kept in another
place. So if you have your bag let’s say under the bus, keep your passport on you and keep
a copy of your passport in your bag. That way, if something happens, if you lose your
passport, you have a copy of your passport and – excuse me, let me qualify that – passport
and visa, a copy of your passport and valid visa in another place with you. Next is, you’re going to notice a lot of longer
lines in places like the airport, the train station, the bus station; all of those places
are going to have longer lines. For instance, at the Urumqi International Airport, before
you even get into the airport you have to pass your bags through a scanner and security
check, and that’s not to mention the security that you’re gonna have to go through before
you get to the gate. So expect that what you would normally think the time that you need,
lengthen that by at least 50%-100% more in order to give yourself enough time to get
through the different transportation hubs that you’re going to be going through…excuse
me, going through. The next is that you should expect unexpected
delays and restrictions, ok. Whether that’s flight delays, whether that’s delays due to
security checks; it happens all the time and I have a number of people who tell me “I was
planning to go here…” or they ask me “Is it possible to go to this village” or “Is
it possible to go here”. And my answer is usually the same: “Well, it should be!” Whether
it actually is or not is dependent upon the security official that day or maybe the government
official for that particular region. I can’t tell you for certain that where you want to
go is going to be open for foreigners at the time you want to go, so just, you know, be
flexible about it. That’s one of the two things that I would
really say for those that are thinking and worried about the safety situation here in
Xinjiang. The first is this: use common sense. The biggest thing that you’re gonna have to
really worry about here is pickpockets and that’s the same all over China. That is my
biggest concern here in Xinjiang as regards to safety, not that anything else is going
to happen to me. So use common sense and the second thing is to be flexible. Be flexible with your itinerary; be flexible
with your time, because the more you’re going to be rigid about it the less you’re going
to enjoy your experience here in Xinjiang. Because things happen that are out of your
control, they’re out of my control, they ALWAYS happen, so as long as you expect it, you can
have a good time while you’re here. I’m Josh. This is FarWestChina. If you have
any other questions about traveling in this western region of Xinjiang, look at the rest
of the FAQ videos I have here or, if you don’t find your answer there, email me at [email protected]
That’s all. Peace!


  • Travel Xinjiang: Far West China

    Thank you for watching! I hope that this puts your mind at east when it comes to traveling around Xinjiang.
    Don't forget, if you're planning a trip to Xinjiang, you're going to want to get a copy of the FarWestChina Xinjiang travel guide. You can download a free planning chapter or purchase the entire guide on Amazon or as a PDF using these links below:

    **Free Planning Chapter:
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  • Raul Raul

    Great video…thanks! I have been living in Jiangxi province for three years now. I have been to Beijing, Shanghai and major other cities. I am planing in going to Urumqi before I head back to Mexico. My question is…are prices about the same as the rest of China? Like street food, hotel, etc..?

  • hipsonsogbo

    how about the oppressed the people getting murdered and intimidated by ccp, something you need to get use to? so you are saying its ok for the ccp to be there destroying tradition like they do in tibet

  • Alex Shi

    Han Chinese are pretty racist toward their Muslim neighbors in the west. Not going to lie. If I was to ask my mother if I could go and travel to Xinjiang, she probably wouldn't let me.

  • KK Foodies

    Hey buddy, how about buying gas from local gas station if you are driving your own vehicle from other places in China?

  • Benkalfate Yasmine

    I’m currently studying‘ in China and I decided that Xinjiang would be my last stop, so I booked my flight ticket back to Paris from Urumqi. However, I heard people telling me that I wouldn’t be allowed to go to Xinjiang since it’s a special zone. I doubted a lot about such words, but now I am getting stressed. Could you please confirm that I can do so if I have a valid Chinese visa and my passport up to date?
    Thanks in advance for your response

  • Classic Music For All

    There is an old Chinese said " you will have 30% risk when taking a boat or walking on the street". So it can be dangerous anywhere in this world if you're unlucky or uncareful. Hope the majority Han and Uyghur can respect each others, integrate and live in harmony. Besides their own native language, Uyghur should learn Chinese language to better understand the Chinese culture, avoid unnecessary misunderstanding and integrate with them. Actress Dilraba Dilmurat / 迪丽热巴 who has ranked as the " most beautiful women in China" is the best example. To be frank, only China government has the ability and financial power to bring Xinjang/them to the next level.

  • Kay M

    So in summary…TONS of security checks…more security check with a side of security check along with a cold glass of security check. What’s for dessert you ask? Yup more security check.

    For a place that is suppose to be safe, there is quite a bit of security check going on.

  • duowei Wong

    Your advice basically is correct. When I traveled in Xinjiang, I felt good with the local people (different tribe). I am a Han people from southern China.

  • kzim56

    My wife and I just returned from more than a week traveling through Xinjiang, visiting Tulufan, Hetian, Kashgar, Minfong, Luntai, Kucha, Nalati grassland, Ili and Ulumuqi. What we saw was not security but rather a Chinese police state. Especially in the southern cities there were armed police on every street corner, police stations on every block and barbed wire barricades outside most sizable buildings. Even small businesses had metal detectors at the entrance manned by flak jacket clad security guards, often elderly, asleep or inattentive.
    Traveling by hired car we faced as many as six police checks in one day where our movements were recorded while my US passport was scrutinized and photographed by surly officers. We will not forget the joyless faces of the Uyghur people who are being treated like enemies in their own country. There were plenty of Chinese tourists in Xinjiang. Clearly outsiders are not welcome there.

  • mo yuan


  • Moon Ori

    You don’t get it though the danger is the police who will beat people of certain races. With my skin colour I can’t travel there as my friends warned me about being labeled a terrorist and that the police would hurt me. Maybe even jail me and take my organs. Im going to trust my anti-commie friends and never go there. So I don’t end up in a labour camp.

  • amannisa oigur

    Eastern Turkistan aka Xinjiang is Uighur ancient and historical land, in 1995 there were 95% Uighurs, today chinese migrated more than 20M chinese invaders and made Uighurs stranges in their own home. Today there are 60% chinese occupants-unwelcomed immigrants, who took Uighur's land,
    schools,jobs, farms and brutally looting Uighur national resources.
    To have this invasion process go smooth and well planned, chinese government made up false story about "terrorism" to justify chinese crime and quick invasion policy into Xinjiang.Chinese gathered the whole Uighur population into chinese concentration camps, where torture, rape and death is everyday routine. More than 5M Uighur male are taken away age 14-50 and they are potential victims of organ harvesting and after all bodies throuwn away into crematoria.
    All Uighur women forced to marry to chinese man, otherwise, they would send them too to organ harvesting process.
    Today many Uighur ancient cities are empty from the Uighur population, this is like a horror movie, but instead chinese invaders are coming and taking Uighur homes and wives with and live like landowners
    Uighur kids taken away too into inner China for sale or to orphanages to remake them chinese.
    All Uighurs who outside the concentration camps must speak ONLY chinese, eat all shit like chinese, behave like chinese and be chinese, if Uighur refuses they would take their organs alive for sale.
    The Uighur genocide is taken place in China.The whole world standing still!
    Tibet is having the same problem, chinese chauvinism and fascism has no borders!.

  • amannisa oigur

    save Uighur from genocide! save Uighur land from chinese invasion! help Uighurs, chinese demons are menace to the whole world!

  • amannisa oigur

    More than 5 million Uighurs in chinese concentration camps!
    All Uighur men age 14-50 are vanished, NO ONE KNOWS WHERE ARE THEY!
    all Uighur women forced to marry chinese to save other members of the family!
    Why the world stay silent!

  • Sadullah Cetinkaya

    You might trouble as a Chinese person Definitely But you can't not trouble if you are weaker person

  • Olive Sue

    I like how you describe the regulations and check points. It's different from those media demonizing such things that are set to ensure the security.

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