Inner Mongolia - The Land off The Beaten Path

If you are looking for an entire area that is off the beaten path, come to Inner Mongolia. The grasslands of this part of China offer some of the most tranquil, undeveloped landscapes in the whole country.

The Mongolians are the descendants of the armies of Genghis Khan who once ruled half of the entire world. Many of them today still live the way their forefathers did, following herds of cattle, sheep, goats and camels and using as home the tents which we call yurts.

During the reign of Kublai Khan, the grandson of Genghis Khan, Tibetan Lamaism (a form of Buddhism) gained popularity among the Mogol Aristocracy, and the Mongols remain loyal followers of this religion till this day. Buddhism is reflected in every aspect of Mongolian way of life.

The immigration of Han Chinese has greatly diluted the Mongolian population in Mongolia. Ethnic Mongolian now only account for less than 15 percent.
Inner Mongolia City Ratings
** The following ratings are based on a scale of 1-10, 10 being the best.
History(5 ) Art(6) Local Culture/Unique Tour(7)
Nature/Scenic(9)     Food/Shopping(5) Night Life(3)
Religion(7) Adventure/Sports(7) Reasonable Cost(8)
Recommended Days of Stay: 2 Hohhot City Map

Quick Facts
Area - 1,100,000 square km
Population - 22.89 million
People - Mongolian, Han
When to go
Tourist Seasons - June to September
Coldest Months - January and February with temperature as low as - 32C; Hottest Months - July and August, with temperature as high as 30C;
Annual Precipitation - 50 - 450 millimeters (mainly in May through September)

History


Hohhot is the capital of Mongolia. It has a population of 800,000.

Hohhot dates from the Ming dynasty, at least 400 years ago. It was found by a group of nomads known as Tumet. It was called Guisui under the Nationalists. After the communists took over, it was renamed to Hohhot, which means Blue City in Mongolian.


Tomb of Wang Zhaojun * *
Wang Zhaojun was a Han dynasty princess who, in the first century, was married off to a Mongolian king to seal an alliance. She brought with her many skilled craftsmen and made great contribution to the advancement of Mongolian civilization.

Wudang Lamasery * *
Built in the latter half of the 17th century, Wudang Lamasery located 70 km to the south of Baotou (Baotou is about 144 km from Hohhot) in Wudang Mountains. It is the largest and best preserved Lama monastery in Inner Mongolia. It contains six temple halls, three mansions for living Buddhas, and an altar hall, covering a total area of 20 acres. Constructed on mountain slopes, terrace above terrace, the magnificent lamasery overlooks the clusters of small lamasery at the foot of the mountain.

Tomb of Genghis Khan * *
It contains ashes, said to be Genghis Khan's. Pilgrims gather here to pay homage for one day in the third, fifth, ninth, and tenth lunar month.

Art
Provincial Museum
Wanbuhuayanjing Pagoda * * *
There is a rare piece of architectural history, standing in the eastern suburbs of Hohhot. The Pagoda dated from the tenth century and has survived with little change, despite a series of renovations over the centuries. The pagoda is a beautiful brick and wood structure in seven stories.

Local Culture/Unique Tour
The Mongolian Art Performing School* *
Mongolian people are famous for their artistic talent. They are great singers and dancers. The Mongolian Art Performing School is a great place to sample its long history and legacy.
Horse Rodeo School * *
Mongolian people are the "People on the Horses' Backs". A trip to Mongolia would not be complete without a trip to the Horse Rodeo School to observe this form of art.

Nadamu Festival * * * * *
This is Mongolian people's Olympics. This festival was originated to celebrate harvest during which time Mongolian people gather to compete in their traditional sports such as wrestling, horse racing, and archery.

Yurt Trip* * * * *
Mongolian yurts or tents are made of compressed sheep's wool with no windows. During summer, visitors can take trips in the beautiful sparsely settled grasslands in these charming yet smelly yurts. Live like Mongolian's nomadic ancestors and be closer to nature than you can image -- you basically sleep on the ground.

If you are tough enough you can participate in killing the sheep for dinner. For more weak-stomached, milking cows might be a better way to have a taste of daily Mongolian life.

The food will be barely edible as Mongolian diet consists mainly of meat and milk products. The bugs, especially mosquitos, will constantly bother you. But the endless grassland and the warm-hearted Mongolian people will make up for the discomfort. This will be an experience of your life.

Nature/Scenic
Xilamuren Steppe
Xilamuren Steppe is a summer resort where the air is fresh and redolent of lush grass, and a midsummer night is as cool as autumn. The yurt-hotels are complete with all the necessary modern facilities. Tourists can participate in horse and camel riding, watch Mongolian singing and dancing performances and wrestling competitions, and join campfire parties.

Religion
Dazhao Temple * * *
Dazhao Temple was founded in the 16th century. It has a rare silver Buddha and many musical instruments.

The Great Mosque * *
Hohhot has a large population of Chinese Muslims. Their Great Mosque was built in the 17th century. Like all late mosques built in China, it has no minaret. In imperial times, there was an order for minarets to be replaced by pavilions, in which were placed inscriptions reminding the Muslims of their loyalty to the emperor.

Wu Ta (Five Pagoda) Temple *
The tallest of its five pagodas is 6.26 meters and all are made of glazed bricks carved with Buddhist symbols and inscribed in three languages: Mongolian, Sanskrit, and Tibetan. Inside stands what is said to be China's oldest star map (actually in Mongolian), carved in stone.

Adventure/Sports
Noisy Sand Bay (Baotou) * * * *
The middle section of the undulating Kubuqi Desert, is 1,150 meters above sea level and known as the Xiangshawan, or Noisy Sand Bay. It is actually a small sand slope measuring 60 by 40 meters at an angle of about 45 degrees. On a sunny day, when a person slides down the slope from the top, hands stirring the sand on the way down, the sand thrums like a plane flying overhead. Five kms to the northwest of the Noisy Sand Bay is a stretch of dense forest where yurt-hotels accommodate tourists.

 

 

 
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