Having been in Urumqi for more than 8 years now, I thought it would be time that there is a real Urumqi expat website. that helps other expats/travelers to get some information on good restaurants, bars, hospital, schools and all other basic information to suvive the first period.
As from own expierence I know that the first place people start to look for is a nice western bar or restaurant and try to meet other expats and then get to know more about this interesting city. Looking back on the past six years there have been lots of improvements that will make your life easier here, and there start to be more facilities where you can find western food products, western restaurants and even a international hospital However, we are still miles away from a starbucks.
And I will assure you that there always will be things you can't find or get in Urumqi, but maybe that's the beauty of living in a place so remote. Urumqi has many other things to offer that you might not find at home or even in Cities like Beijing or Shanghai. After more then six years I can really say that I love the City, I love the different cultures you are in a developing city but if I drive 30 minutes out south we are at the beautiful southern pastures which you can even ski on in winter. another two hours from here you can reach the Oasis town of Turpan enjoy a day of sightseeing or just have a lunch in the grape gardens.
As for now most information on the site is from own experience, and hope to receive any updates from other fellow expats or travelers that pass through Urumqi, Xinjiang.