ORT Tour Information Center

The ORT information center is designed to help you plan and prepare for a trip to Xinjiang, China.  We've included information about booking with our company, visas and paperwork, weather and climate, what to pack for your trip, cultural do's and don'ts and much more.

 Best time for tours

  • General Cultural and Historical Tours: From the beginning of April until the end of October are the best times to come. Outside those times, the weather can be very cold and limit you to only certain areas. To avoid the busiest travel times, we recommend traveling from April to the beginning of June, September, and the second week of October until the end of the month. July, August, and the first week of October will be the busiest travel times for Chinese tourists so best to avoid these times. 
  • Mountain Trekking: in general, from May to the beginning of October is the best time, but this can vary from area to area. 
  • Yurt Stays:
    • Karakul Lake: May to October 25th. March to November-Yurts are also possibly available.
    • Heavenly Lake: April to November 15th
    • Other Tours: Can be done year round, including desert treks, though may be cold in the winter!

Weather & Climate

We love to give you opportunities to interact with locals in Xinjiang. A home stay in a Uyghur home, Kyrgyz stone home, village homes near Karakul Lake or a Tajik home will give you a true look at life in Xinjiang - beyond the well-traveled tourist areas. We've included a variety of information to help you prepare for your home stay including etiquette, meal expectations, best times for home stays and much more.  

Read more: Home Stays / Camping

Time Differences:

You will want to be aware that all of China uses “Beijing Time”. However, in Xinjiang, minorities use “Local / Xinjiang / Urumqi Time”. There is a 2-hour difference. If you go based on BJ time, you would eat lunch at 2pm; based on local time you would eat lunch at 12:00pm. 

Also, train tickets and plane tickets use BJ time; so if you are using local time for your tour, be careful not to miss your train/plane! 

If arranging a meeting with a new local friend, make sure your clarify the time. Also be aware that this is not a time-oriented culture, your friend may not be on time to meet you. 

Altitude Sickness:

If traveling along the Karakorum Highway or trekking in the mountains, you should be aware of altitude sickness. Though it will not affect most people just traveling along the highway, you should be aware of its symptoms and what to do if someone in your group begins displaying symptoms of altitude sickness.

* ORT can have a special oxygen kit on-hand at your request for a small fee.