Inner Mongolia Travel Guide
Inner Mongolia is an autonomous region located in northern China that shares borders with Mongolia and Russia. It spans an extensive area of 1.18 million square kilometers (457,000 square miles) and stretches for approximately 2,400 kilometers (1,490 miles). The region has a population of around 24 million, with 17.7% of the population being ethnic Mongols.
Inner Mongolia boasts a diverse range of landscapes, including mountains, grasslands, deserts, forests, and lakes, making it a unique travel destination. The region is renowned for its rich cultural heritage, with numerous historical and religious sites that showcase its unique blend of influences. Inner Mongolia is also famous for its nomadic culture, horse riding, archery, wrestling, and delicious dairy products. As a result, it is a popular destination for tourists looking to immerse themselves in the Mongolian lifestyle and experience the region’s breathtaking scenery.
Chinese: 内蒙古 nèi měng gǔ
Location: Northern Border Region of China
Population (urban area): 24,012,000
Why Visit Inner Mongolia
- Embrace the Natural Landscapes: Inner Mongolia is a vast region that has diverse landscapes ranging from the picturesque grasslands, photogenic deserts, forests, and lakes, which offer unparalleled scenery and diverse wildlife. It’s a paradise for nature lovers.
- Experience the Ethnic Culture and Traditional Festivals: Inner Mongolia is a place where you can immerse yourself in the Mongolian culture and learn about the nomadic lifestyle, horse riding, archery, wrestling, dairy products, and the famous Naadam Festival, which is celebrated with great enthusiasm and joy.
- Explore the Rich History and Legacy of Genghis Khan: Inner Mongolia is the birthplace of Genghis Khan, the founder of the Mongol Empire. Visitors can explore his mausoleum, temples, palaces, and other relics related to his life and achievements to learn more about his legacy.
- Savor the Local Cuisine and Specialty Products: Inner Mongolia is famous for its delicious dairy products, such as milk tea, cheese, yogurt, and kumis (fermented mare’s milk), as well as its mouth-watering roasted lamb, hand-pulled noodles, oatmeal pancakes, and Mongolian hot pot. Visitors can taste these local delicacies and enjoy a unique culinary experience.
Experience Mongolian Culture and Lifestyle at Hulunbuir Grassland:
The Hulunbuir Grassland is one of the most beautiful grasslands in China and an excellent place to experience Mongolian culture and lifestyle. Visitors can stay in a traditional yurt, taste Mongolian cuisine, watch horse racing and wrestling shows, and join the Naadam Festival to immerse themselves in the local culture.
Learn about the History and Legacy of Genghis Khan:
Inner Mongolia is the birthplace of Genghis Khan, the founder of the Mongol Empire. Visitors can learn more about his legacy by visiting Genghis Khan mausoleum, a sacred place for Mongols that contains his clothing and accessories, as well as other historical sites related to him, such as his birthplace, palace, and statue.
Enjoy the Natural Beauty and Biodiversity of Wudangzhao Monastery:
The Wudangzhao Monastery is a Tibetan Buddhist temple surrounded by mountains, forests, and lakes. Visitors can admire the architecture and art of the temple, as well as observe the diverse wildlife and plants in the area.
Explore the Badain Jaran Desert:
The Badain Jaran Desert is the third-largest desert in China and home to the highest sand dunes in the world. Visitors can enjoy the stunning scenery of desert lakes, temples, and oases, as well as experience camel riding, sand sliding, and camping for an unforgettable adventure.
Admire the Ejina Populus Euphratica Forest:
The Ejina Populus Euphratica Forest is one of the largest and best-preserved poplar forests in the world. Visitors can admire the golden autumn colors of the trees, take photos of the reflections on the water, and learn about the local culture and history.
Witness the Naadam Festival:
The Naadam Festival is a traditional Mongolian festival celebrated in Inner Mongolia. It features horse racing, wrestling, and archery competitions, as well as traditional performances and local food.
Inner Mongolia Weather
Inner Mongolia is an autonomous region located in northern China, with a diverse range of landscapes and climates due to its vast size. The region has a continental climate, with cold, dry winters, and hot, humid summers.
The Best Time to Visit Inner Mongolia:
The best time to visit Inner Mongolia is during the months of May to October, when the temperature is mild, and the weather is comfortable for outdoor activities. During this time, visitors can enjoy the grasslands, forests, and deserts in Inner Mongolia without experiencing extreme temperatures.
Inner Mongolia Weather in Different Seasons:
Inner Mongolia has four distinct seasons. Spring (March to May) is dry and windy with occasional sandstorms, and the temperature starts to rise slowly. Summer (June to August) is the hottest and most humid season. Autumn (September to November) is the best season to visit Inner Mongolia, with mild and comfortable weather, golden grasslands, and colorful forests. Winter (December to February) is cold and dry, with temperatures dropping to as low as -30°C (-22°F) in some areas, making it the perfect season for winter sports.
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Getting to Inner Mongolia
By Air: There are several airports in Inner Mongolia, including Hohhot Baita International Airport, which is the largest airport in the region. Other airports include Manzhouli Xijiao Airport, Baotou Erliban Airport, and Ordos Ejin Horo Airport. These airports have flights to major cities in China, such as Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, and Chengdu.
By Train: Inner Mongolia is well-connected by train to other parts of China. The region has several major railway stations, including Hohhot Railway Station, Baotou Railway Station, and Ordos Railway Station. Visitors can take a high-speed train or regular train to Inner Mongolia from cities like Beijing, Shanghai, and Xi’an.
By Bus: Inner Mongolia has an extensive bus network that connects major cities and tourist attractions. Visitors can take long-distance buses from Hohhot to other cities like Baotou, Ordos, and Chifeng. Local buses are also available in cities and towns throughout the region.
By Taxi: Taxis are widely available in Inner Mongolia’s major cities, and fares are relatively low. Visitors should make sure to negotiate and agree on the fare with the driver before getting into the taxi.
By Car: Visitors can rent a car or hire a driver to explore Inner Mongolia’s scenic drives. However, visitors should note that driving conditions can be challenging, especially in rural areas where roads may be unpaved.
By Train: Inner Mongolia also has a well-developed railway network that connects major cities and tourist attractions. Visitors can take a train from Hohhot to other cities like Baotou, Ordos, and Chifeng.
Tips for Traveling in Inner Mongolia
Plan according to the season and region
To make the most of your trip to Inner Mongolia, it’s important to plan according to the season and region you want to visit. Inner Mongolia has a continental climate with four distinct seasons and a large temperature difference between day and night. The best time to visit is from July to September when the weather is comfortable and the grasslands are green. However, visitors should avoid public holidays and weekends when it can be crowded.
Respect the local culture and customs
It’s also essential to respect the local culture and customs of the Mongols, who are the main ethnic group in Inner Mongolia. Visitors should follow their etiquette and traditions when visiting their yurts, temples, or mausoleums, such as taking off your shoes, not touching their sacred objects, and accepting their hospitality.
Prepare for the outdoor activities and the desert environment
Inner Mongolia offers many opportunities for outdoor activities, such as horse riding, camel riding, sand sliding, camping, and hiking. Visitors should wear comfortable clothes and shoes, bring sunscreen, sunglasses, hat, water, and snacks, and protect themselves from sandstorms and insects. It’s also important to follow the safety instructions and guidance of your tour guide or staff.
Try the local cuisine and specialty products
Visitors should also try the local cuisine and specialty products when in Inner Mongolia. The region is famous for its dairy products such as milk tea, cheese, yogurt, and kumis (fermented mare’s milk), as well as its roasted lamb, hand-pulled noodles, oatmeal pancakes, and Mongolian hot pot. Visitors can also buy souvenirs such as Mongolian knives, silverware, carpets, cashmere, and paintings.
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