10 Things to Do in Inner Mongolia That You Shouldn't Miss

December 23, 2017 Terina Blouin

Inner Mongolia, officially the Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region or Nei Mongol Autonomous Region, is one of the autonomous regions of China, located in the north of the country. Its border includes most of the length of China's border with Mongolia, and a small section of China's border with Russia. Its capital is Hohhot; other major cities include Baotou, Chifeng, and Ordos.

1. Hulun Buir Prairie

Haila'er District, Hulunbuir 021000, China
Excellent
72%
Good
26%
Satisfactory
2%
Poor
0%
Terrible
0%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 112 reviews

Hulun Buir Prairie

Reviewed By Siewkit - Ipoh, Malaysia

Vast grassland on gentle rolling hillocks stretching as far as eyes can see, pristine rivers snaking through virgin coniferous forest, unparalleled starry night sky, this trip had it all. We were a group of friends (6), and went around the northern region of Hulunbuir for 7 days. We hired a driver who doubled as the guide. We went during mid-June, the temperature was around 16-30 degrees, which was quite bearable. Unfortunately the flowers were not in full bloom, we were told that the flowers will cover entire hill slopes later in the season. Although the mosquitoes were still not in full force, all of us still got bitten. Our journey brought us to within 2 stone throws away from Russia (I tried, stone did not make it across the border river), and also the Mo'erdaoga, where the guide treated us to his personal stash of alcohol (Mo Mao). We also tried horse-riding and visited an elk farm.
The guide was very friendly and knowledgeable about the entire tour area. We were eating at similar price to locals thanks to him, and our accommodation every night is very affordable. A special mention to the lamb in Hulunbuir, where there is absolutely no foul smell that some people disliked. It was a fantastic experience and one can adjust the comfort level according to your own budget.

2. Inner Mongolia Museum

No.27 Xinhua East Street, Xincheng District, Hohhot 010010, China +86 471 461 4000
Excellent
46%
Good
36%
Satisfactory
17%
Poor
1%
Terrible
0%
Overall Ratings

4 based on 138 reviews

Inner Mongolia Museum

Reviewed By Suning C

This is a good place to see dinosaur bones and fossils from the area. There are some good exhibits on the human history from the PRC perspective. Not everything has English captions but certainly enough to get a good sense of what you are seeing. Take your passport to get free entry. If you spend ant time in Hohhot you should visit the museum.

3. Ming Dynasty Great Wall of Qingshui River Region

Kouzi Upper Village, Beibao Country, Qingshuihe County 011612, China
Excellent
56%
Good
35%
Satisfactory
9%
Poor
0%
Terrible
0%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 128 reviews

Ming Dynasty Great Wall of Qingshui River Region

Reviewed By A TripAdvisor China Member

只有一个字,累,爬长城可以磨练意志,建议不要去八达岭,门票贵,只要是人太多,人多就不好玩了,可以去水关长城去看看,那儿人特别少

4. Arxan National Forest Park

Wenquan Road, Aershan 137800, China
Excellent
54%
Good
32%
Satisfactory
14%
Poor
0%
Terrible
0%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 67 reviews

Arxan National Forest Park

Reviewed By syafiqa s - Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

The National Park is absolutely beautiful in summer. The view of the open grassland, the Mysterious Heavenly Lake, the ponds and the Halaha river are just breathtaking. The park is about 2-3 hours drive from the town of Aershan. The drive is quite bumpy...but upon reaching the location it is all worth it. Entrance to the park is 180yuan. Facilities such as toilets and restaurants are available around.

5. Genghis Khan's Mausoleum

Gande'er Grasslands, Yijinhuoluo Town, Baotou 017200, China +86 477 396 5599
Excellent
35%
Good
40%
Satisfactory
19%
Poor
5%
Terrible
1%
Overall Ratings

4 based on 67 reviews

Genghis Khan's Mausoleum

Reviewed By Pop P

we were here on a rainy day. not much english info had been provided at the info and ticket counter. communication was difficult. we had been told that we had to walk on and off in the rain to get to the actual mausoleum and the museum. we decided to wait and kill the time by driving around the area to see the sculptures and beautiful landscape. the mausoleum is surrounded by the scenic prairie and ethnic mongolian reserve where there are tourist activities like horse riding and visiting locals who lived in the yurt. of course, we could only look through the rain. after a few hours, the rain didn't seem to stop. we decided to return to the hotel. what a pity.

6. Badan Jaran Desert

Inside of Lashan Youqi, Alashanyou Qi 737300, China
Excellent
86%
Good
14%
Satisfactory
0%
Poor
0%
Terrible
0%
Overall Ratings

5 based on 28 reviews

Badan Jaran Desert

Reviewed By The_Sturms - Beijing, China

The Badain Jaran Desert was fantastic. Definitely do it if you get the chance!
TOUR PACKAGES
You can't go into the desert without going through the Zhufeng Travel Agency based in the Jinge Hotel. They seem to have a monopoly on the whole thing, unfortunately. They offer two different packages for riding in the desert: a 3,000 RMB "traditional" package (up from 2,000 RMB in early 2014) and the newly released 2,400 RMB "western route" package. The former takes you through the main gates of the desert, where you pay an additional 220 RMB/pax for an entry ticket. Then you do a big loop through the desert, where you pass various oases, a Mongolian temple, and the highest *stationary* sand dune in the world. The western route is cheaper because you don't go in through the main gate but rather through a break in the fence on the western side of the desert, thus avoiding the entry ticket. You also don't do the complete circuit, but rather ride around the western half of the desert, missing the temple and the highest dune, but still seeing all the oases and staying at the same accommodation.
I was on the fence about which package to go with, but eventually chose the western route because it wasn't worth paying over $100 USD more just to see some temple and the "highest dune". I was glad we made this decision. The pro of the western route is that it's more adventurous. For half of the drive into the desert, the driver literally made up the path on his own, watching the sun to gauge direction and driving over bare sand dunes. It was wild. He eventually joined up with a set jeep path that had been previously blazed, but if you're going on the traditional route you're on a set path the entire time.
Jeeps can hold up to four people, so remember to ask the agency if other travelers are looking to share a ride. The agency will charge a 100 RMB fee per party if they match you with other travelers, but it's a big money-saver overall.
ACTIVITIES & ACCOMMODATIONS
The drive into the desert takes about 4-5 hours depending on how often you stop to take pictures. You pass about three different oases in the Western route before reaching the place you'll sleep. We really enjoyed the accommodations in the Mongolian yurts, as it felt very rustic. A Mongolian man runs the small camp and his camels wear pants (!) to protect from mosquitoes. It's a quiet, peaceful place, right next to a salty oasis.
We spent the afternoon exploring the grounds and swimming in the oasis, which was a highlight for me. Because the water is naturally salty, there's a high degree of buoyancy, sort of like the Dead Sea but on a smaller scale. You just have to make sure and not get the water in your eyes and mouth. We floated around for a while, then washed off and slept for the hottest part of the afternoon. At night, we ate a tasty dinner that included camel meat, camel yoghurt, greens and milk tea. Then we played cards in the evening before bed. The next morning, we drove back to the hotel and arrived in time for the 3:30pm bus to Zhangye.
BRING
- If you're at all prone to carsickness, bring some type of Dramamine. You can buy a Chinese version for 2 RMB at the pharmacies in Alxa Youqi.
- Sunscreen. The desert sun will burn you like a shrimp.
- Insect repellant. We didn't run into any mosquitoes, but the experienced driver was so wary, he left to sleep in his jeep up on a dune, far from the oasis mosquitoes.
- Water, and lots of it. Recommend 2 liters per person.
GETTING THERE
Most folks either take the 3 hour bus up from Zhangye, or take the 8 hour bus over from Alashan Zuoqi. Note that as of February 2014, there's an airport in Alashan Youqi with daily flights to Zuoqi! We learned about this only after arriving at Youqi, otherwise I would have flown over and saved a ton of time.

7. National Nature Reserve of Populus

E'ji Naqi, Alxa Zuoqi 735400, China
Excellent
54%
Good
40%
Satisfactory
3%
Poor
0%
Terrible
3%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 32 reviews

National Nature Reserve of Populus

Reviewed By 笨老头dwg

额济纳的胡杨林是一个神秘而美丽的地方。每到金秋,换了装的胡杨林呈现给人们梦幻般的美丽。你看那延绵舒缓的山坡上,一层层,一片片,娇嫩的黄,艳丽的黄,舒展的黄,深沉的黄。黄中泛红,红中泛黄,随山就势,有明有暗。明得亮丽,暗得厚重。那漫山遍野的黄色钩着人们的目光,扯着人们的思绪,让人痴,让人醉,让人狂,让人无法自拔。河边就更美了。静静的河水,倒映着岸边的胡杨林,那黄,那美,那幽深,一下子就翻了倍。不管天是否蓝,不管云是否白,在水中和岸边胡杨林的相伴下,人们沉浸在无限的遐想,无比的幸福之中。
走进胡杨林,另一种景象令人感动。在那娇美黄色的下面,有的是沧桑散发出的坚毅、顽强和那不屈不挠。“活着一千年不死,死后一千年不倒,倒后一千年不朽。”这是一种什么样的精神,这是一种什么样的力量。这种精神,体现在“英雄林”里蟠龙苍劲,鳞皱粗犷的树干上,或直,或盘,或旋,或断,枯也彰显着豪气。这种力量,体现在埋在沙地中那一段段的碎枝上,白白的,直直的,光光的,硬硬的。再细也很难折断。有片林子叫作怪树林,里面多为死去的胡杨。就在这怪木嶙峋的尸地里,仅有的几棵活着的树中竟有着“生离死别”和“生死相依”,把人间的悲欢离合表现得惟妙惟肖,情真意切。
胡杨林,有谁能像你一样在这风沙干旱的不毛之地上生机盎然,有谁能像你一样去面对三千年的风雪严寒,有谁像你这样有着冲天豪气,有谁像你这样有的是铁骨铜肩。
美哉,胡杨林。

8. Russia Taowa Square

North G301, Zhong'e Hushi Trade Area, Manzhouli 021400, China
Excellent
41%
Good
24%
Satisfactory
31%
Poor
2%
Terrible
2%
Overall Ratings

4 based on 45 reviews

Russia Taowa Square

Reviewed By NEV T - Dien Bien Phu, Vietnam

yes the gentleman who described this attraction as amazing is spot on ........ they have an incredible array of important and not so important people represented .... beautifully done ........and the dolls are cheap as ... to buy in the city.

9. Xilinguole Grassland Nature Reserve

Kebuer Town, Xilinhot 026000, China
Excellent
63%
Good
28%
Satisfactory
9%
Poor
0%
Terrible
0%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 21 reviews

Xilinguole Grassland Nature Reserve

Reviewed By Heinchina - Hai Phong, Vietnam

The wonderful grasslands around Xilinhot and the Xilinguole Grassland Nature Reseve remind me so much of my home country, South Africa. Blue sky, fresh air and the feeling of being in nature makes a visit to the reserve really worthwhile.Visiting it with my Mongolian friend, Nars made it even better because he could explain to me the history and a lot about the Mongolian culture. The best time to visit the grasslands is from May-September, the weather is great and you will have a wonderful time. You can also stay overnight in a traditional Mongolian yurt, enjoy Mongolian music, food and horse milk wine!

10. Kubuqi Desert

North of Hangjin Qi, Ordos 017400, China
Excellent
34%
Good
53%
Satisfactory
5%
Poor
0%
Terrible
8%
Overall Ratings

4 based on 35 reviews

Kubuqi Desert

Reviewed By Tyler D - Shanghai, China

This was the Disneyland of Deserts. You ride a cable car into the sand dune desert area and then take a ride on a "ship" to enter the attraction area where you can ride camels, take a zipline, ride in ATV's, ride a bike around a track, play golf, play volleyball and soccer, etc. Once you've finished there and returned via "ship" to the first area you can slide down the dune, which was fun, and then take a final cable car back to the entrance/parking area.
It was fairly busy, even on a Monday, and our guide informed us it is even busier on the weekends with long lines to do things.
We were hoping for a more "authentic" desert experience and definitely had to temper our expectations when this was what we arrived at, but if you can just enjoy what there is to do, you will probably have a good time.
Definitely bring water, sunscreen, and a hat as there is some shade, but a lot of walking outside between the different activities.

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