Shihezi (石河子; Shíhézǐ) is a city in Xinjiang Province in China. Built in the Junggar desert from 1954, it has more trees per acre than any other city in China. It is a quiet little city with friendly people that rarely sees tourists.
Take the train west from Urumqi, it runs every 20min from about 8am to 10pm at night, you can pay from ¥30-36, but there is no real speed difference, mostly its just how much leg room you want on the bus. It takes from 2.5 to 3 hours depending on traffic. There is now also a train line, fast train (a little over 2 hours) is ¥24 for a hard seat, slow train (about 3 hours) is ¥12 but they leave far less frequently.
Local busses cost ¥1 per ride, taxis start at ¥5 and you should be able to get to most places in town for less than ¥10. It's quite beautiful to walk around any time but the winter, when temperatures stay between -20 and 0C.
Peoples square at night, mountains behind the city rise to 16,000 feet. Mushroom lake
Visit the university and the medical college, look for english students to talk to.
The finest watermelon in Xinjiang.
Try to stay at the university hotel.
Take a bus to NanShan (南山) - part of the TianShan 天山 that you can see from town and go hiking. It's about 2 hours outside of town. There are quite a few camp sites if you want to stay the night.