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Baotou Travel Guide: How to Enjoy the City of Steel

Baotou City in the western part of Inner Mongolia is a charming destination where travelers can experience vast grasslands, historical culture and modern industry. This ultimate Baotou Travel Guide will cover all things to know about how to plan a lifetime Baotao trip during your Inner Mongolia travel. Read on to see which are the must-see attractions and top things to do in Baotou. Information on transportation, weather, tips, etc. are also included.

Xilamuren Grassland Horse Riding

Chinese: 包头 bāo tóu

Location: Midwest Inner Mongolia

Population (urban area): 2,740,000

Overview of Baotou

The city is situated at the intersection of the Tumochuan Plain and the Hetao Plain, with the Yinshan Mountains traversing through its midst. As the largest city in Inner Mongolia, it stands as one of the most important industrial bases in the region, and even in China.

Given its globally leading position in many industries and vast grassland areas, the city was given several nicknames, such as Lu City, Grassland Steel City, China’s Horse City, World Rare Earth Capital, and World Green Silicon Capital, etc.

The history of Baotou City can be traced back to the Neolithic Age. Throughout ancient Chinese history, Baotou was a frontier area in many dynasties and played roles as a military stronghold and a commercial hub. It stood as a witness to the cultural and economic interactions between northern nomadic tribes and the Han Chinese of the Central Plain. The interactions are especially flourishing during the Ming and Qing dynasties.

Entering modern times, thanks to its abundant mineral resources and rich history, the city developed into an industrial powerhouse that is endowed with rich historical relics and natural landscapes. Wudangzhao Temple, Xilamuren Grassland, and the Mausoleum of Genghis Khan are some of its most popular attractions.

Top Attractions in and around Baotou

Saikhantala Ecological Park
Saihan Tala Ecological Park is a unique pristine grassland nestled in the urban area. Spanning about 770-hectare, this grassland park is the largest one of its kind, featuring a harmonious blend of wetlands, grasslands, forests, and various wildlife species.
Meidaizhao Monastery
An over 400-year-old fortress monastery from the Ming Dynasty, Meidaizhao Monastery features a unique architectural style combining fortress and monastery elements. It is home to a rich collection of murals, sculptures, and many other precious Buddhist artifacts and historic relics, offering insights into Mongolian history, religious culture, and architectural art.
Northern Weapon City
This is a national AAAA-level tourist attraction where you can look into the development and achievements of China's weapons industry. Many retired weapons are displayed here, including armored vehicles, artillery, fighter jets, missiles, and more.

Top Things to Do in Baotou

Experience Nomadic Culture & Activities on Vast Grasslands

Xilamuren Grasslands is a typical plateau grassland with an average altitude of 1,700 meters. Upon arrival at the grassland, locals will welcome guests with horse milk liquor. This is a traditional Mongolian custom to show their warmth and hospitality.

Besides the breathtaking grassland views, many adventures and cultural activities are waiting to enrich your trip. If watching horse racing and wrestling can’t satisfy you, then try horseback riding under the guidance of professional equestrians. For more thrilling experiences, you can hop on an off-road vehicle to traverse the grassland.

In Baotou, it is also possible to enjoy grand grassland fun in the urban area. Saihan Tala Ecological Park, the largest natural grassland park in the urban area, offers both rich grassland culture and traditional activities like horse racing, archery, and wrestling.

Meet the Oldest Great Wall Ruins in China

The Zhao Great Wall Ruins in Baotou can be traced back to the 4th century BC, making it one of the oldest Great Walls in China. Stretching about 10 kilometers across the central part of Baotou City, this ancient ruin offers visitors a rare chance to see the characteristics of ancient military defense systems. Along the way, there are signposts and introductions showing visitors its historical background.

Enjoy Mongolian Cuisine in Baotou

Baotou food is dominated by Mongolian cuisine which blends the culinary techniques of Han and other ethnic groups. Generally, Baotou food features fresh and rich flavors and hearty textures.

Ingredients of most Baotou dishes mainly revolve around beef and mutton. Roasted lamb leg, milk tea, mutton soup, cumin lamb, hand-pulled meat, Mongolian pies, and air-dried beef are some of the most recommended dishes while traveling to Baotou. All these cuisines can be easily found in any local food streets, markets, or residential areas.

Baotou Zhao Greatwall Ruins
Zhao Greatwall Ruins

Baotou Weather and Best Time to Visit

The semi-arid temperate continental monsoon climate in Baotou characterizes this city with distinct seasons, low precipitation, large temperature variations, and strong winds, along with abundant sunshine.

The annual average temperature is around 7.2℃, with averages around -11.8°C in January (the coldest month), and around 20°C in July (the hottest month). The average annual rainfall ranges between 240 to 400 millimeters, and is mostly seen from July to September.

Most people choose to travel to Baotou from June to September when the grasslands are at their lushest and many traditional celebrations are held. Or you can also visit Baotou in the early autumn from September to October. In this period, the weather is still not very cold, and Baotou offers more clear days and vibrant autumn scenery.

Baotou Transportation: How to Get to and Travel around

How to Get to

The fastest way is to fly to Baotou through Baotou Donghe Airport (aka Erliban Airport). Currently the airport offers direct flights to/from majore cities like Shanghai, Xian, etc., and transfer flights to/from most cities in China. There are airport shuttle buses for travelers to reach Baotou city center area directly, with a ticket price of CNY 14 per person. Or, you can take a taxi to reach the city center by spending about CNY 50.

The comprehensive railway network makes it easy to take either high-speed trains or regular trains to reach Baotou from most cities like Beijing, Shanghai, Xian, etc. Baotou Station and Baotou East Station are the two main stations serving in Baotou City.

How to Travel around

Currently, there is still no metro lines in Baotou. While the well-developed bus system makes it easy to reach most areas in the city by bus. And taxis are also convenient in Baotou, with very affordable prices.

Baotou Railway Station
Baotou Railway Station

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