Being the capital city of Qinghai province, it is the hub for many travellers from its history as part of the Silk Road, and also right now being the starting point of the famous Qinghai-Tibet (青藏鐵路) railway. It also has the second worst air quality in all of China……. even worst than Beijing!
In our hostel, we met a lot of travellers, most of them here in season to see Lake Kokonor (青海湖) and the 油菜花田 in full bloom. One thing I learned today is that, 油菜 is not actually used for eating with wonton noodles! In most parts of the world, it is also known as rapeseed or more specifically, CANOLA!!! ….. Who woulda thunk?
The city of Xining itself is rather uninspiring, but it has an interesting mix of several main ethnic groups. The city has the largest Muslim mosque in China, and also a sacred Buddhist temple in the outskirts. Being in the northwest part of China for the first time, it is definitely an interesting sight.