For travellers, the classic illustration of Xinjiang’s remoteness from the rest of the country is in the fact that all parts of China set their clocks to Beijing time. The absurdity of this is at its most acute in Xinjiang, 3000–4000km from the capital – which means that in Kashgar, in the far west of the region, the summer sun rises at 9am or 10am and sets around midnight. Locally, unofficial “Xinjiang time” (新疆时间, xīnjiāng shíjiān), two hours behind Beijing time, is used more frequently the further west you travel; when buying bus, train or plane tickets, you should be absolutely clear about which time is being used. In general, Uyghurs are more likely to use Xinjiang time, while Han Chinese prefer Beijing time.

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