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Inner Mongolia Travel Guide

Inner Mongolia Overview

Inner Mongolia is in the northern part of China, is a narrow-long province bordered with Mongolia and Russia in its northern direction. Capital of Inner Mongolia is Hohhot while major cities are Ordos, Baotou and Chifeng.

With an area about 1.2 million square kilometers, Inner Mongolia is the third largest province in China following Tibet and Xinjiang. Typically inhabited by nomadic Mongolian tribesmen who dwelled in gers (round tents also referred to as yurts), Inner Mongolia is actually a destitute area with extremely hot summer months, chilly winter seasons and large, early spring sand storms. The grasslands were residence to wild camels and group of horses, but these are mostly gone. Nowadays the Han Chinese surpasses the ethnic Mongolians 6 to 1 and a lot people reside in houses with tile roofs and mud-walls.

Based on 1 aged expressing, Inner Mongolia is really unwelcoming, that if you desire to hang yourself you need to go a hundred kilometers to find a tree. Desertification brought on by overgrazing, cultivation of the region's minor farming area and erosion of ground by wind and rain has turned several areas of the province much more destitute than it might otherwise be.

Inner Mongolia Facts

Chinese Name: 内蒙古

Location: Inner Mongolia is in the northern China, its great stretch means that parts of it belong to Northeast China and Northwest China as well

Provincial capital: Hohhot

Area: 1,183,000 km2 (457,000 sq mi)

Famous Cities: Hohhot, Ordos, Hunlun Buir

Population: Inner Mongolia is a multi-minority province. Mainly dwelling with Han (Chinese) group. The largest minority lived in this province is the Mongols. Other minorities include the Hui (Chinese Muslims), Manchu, Daur (Dawo’er) Mongols, Evenk (Ewenki, or Ewenke), Koreans, and Oroqen (Elunchun) peoples.

Inner Mongolia Location MapThe population is unevenly distributed, with most people concentrated in the agricultural belt south of the Daqing Mountains escarpment of the Mongolian Plateau (near the Huang He) and on the eastern slopes of the Da Hinggan Range.

Geography: Besides hills, plains, deserts, rivers and lakes, Inner Mongolia has plateau landforms, mostly over 1,000 meters (about 13,780 feet) above sea level, including the Inner Mongolia Plateau, the second largest among the four major plateaus in the country.

Administrative Division: Officially Inner Mongolia is classified as one of the provincial-level divisions of North China, but its great stretch means that parts of it belong to Northeast China and Northwest China as well.

By 2013, Inner Mongolia autonomous region set up cities of Hohhot, Baotou, Wuhai, Chifeng, Tongliao, Ordos, Hulun Buir, Wulanchabu and Bayannur of nine cities; Xing’an, Alax, Xilingol three leagues; In addition, there are the Manchurian, Erlianhot 2 cities under separate state planning; 52 banners (including the Oroqen, Ewenki, Molidawa Daur autonomous banner three minority autonomous banners), 17 counties, 11 counties under leagues (city) administration, 21 districts.

Inner Mongolia Culture

Ethnic Custom

Grassland event—Nadam Fair: namely, recreational, get-togethers, originated from seven hundred years ago. During the Nadam Fair, merchants storyteller and performer gathered here, where is really bustling, the most gripping is horse racing, wrestling and archery. And usually it is held in August.

Mongolian Ger: the word ger comes from the Manchus when they called Mongolian residence, which is the product of nomadic life. Generally it is seven or eight feet high, several zhang, a unit of length (= 3 and 1 / 3 meters) wide.

A traditional ger (Mongolian) is a portable, round tent covered with skins or felt used as a dwelling by nomads in the steppes of Central Asia. The structure comprises an angled assembly or latticework of pieces of wood or bamboo for walls, a door frame, ribs (poles, rafters), and a wheel (crown, compression ring) possibly steam bent. The roof structure is often self supporting but large yurts may have interior posts supporting the crown. The top of the wall of self supporting yurts is prevented from spreading by means of a tension band which opposes the force of the roof ribs. Modern yurts may be permanently built on a wooden platform and use modern materials such as steam bent wooden framing or metal framing, canvas or tarpaulin, Plexiglas dome, wire rope, or radiant insulation.—From Wikipedia

Mutton eaten with hands: it is simple and affordable food for treating guests in the prairie by the Mongolian nationality. The method is choosing good parts of lamb, then put them into pot with water to boil. Lamb eat five herbs from the grasslands, so do not need to add any seasoning its taste is also complete, as long as people can boil it suitable then can make very delicious mutton. When you eat it, do not need to use tableware, just eat with your hands.

Mongolian toast: Mongolian toast to the guest is the most fastidious. Good liquor is the essence of food and grain, is the most precious food that can express the loyalty to friends. Master will pour liquor in a silver bowl or golden ware with the pure white hada, and sing a moving toasting song to express their sincere and feelings. At this time the guest should receive the liquor, people who can drink then drink up, but if can't drink just taste a little and then to return the liquor to master, don't decline, pull and push to master toast, otherwise he will think that you look down on him so that you don't want to make friends with him and you are not honest with each other.

Folk Culture

Andai dance: Andai dance is popular in Inner Mongolia, originated in Kulun banner. Traditional Andai is given priority to with singing, accompanied by dance movements, is a way of curative of Khorchin, which color with superstition. Since 1949 years later, it gradually became folk dance for recreation. After developing and perfecting, it entered into the theatre and became a popular ethnic art form.

Inner Mongolia folk song: "Gada Meilin"《嘎达梅林》, "Dana Bala"《达那巴拉》, "the song of labor"《劳工之歌》, etc.; the song praise hometown and conveyed the feeling for missing families, and the loved ones, such as "Nuoenjiya" 《诺恩吉雅》, "the Mother's Kindness"《母亲的恩情》, "Sister Jin"《金姐》; mournful songs, maxim songs, lullabies, satire, such as "Dujiya"《都吉娅》, "Dingell Lama"《丁格尔大喇嘛》; ritual songs including sacrificial songs, wedding songs, feast songs, toasting songs, etc., such as "Four Seasons", "Bonfire Song" and so on; the songs reflect the women's life, such as "Miss Gao" 《高小姐》, "Deligeerma" 《德力格尔玛》 and so on; Love songs such as "Han Xiuying" 《韩秀英》, "Dagura" 《达古拉》, etc.

Ordos wedding: the Mongolian wedding popular in Ordos prairie has a long history. Through its unique national characteristics, rich flavor of life, melodious song and dance form and warmly and grand scene, it expressed the industrious, brave and wisdom of Ordos Mongolian people's passion seeking for a better life, and bold, generous and kind personality. Therefore, Ordos wedding is very famous.

Language and Dialect

Mongolian mainly use Mongolian dialect (Inner Mongolia), including
(1) the local dialect that used in Chahar Mongolian Balin, Ordos, Khorchin, Harchin, and Turmot etc. in central Inner Mongolia autonomous region
(2) Barag – Buriyad dialect, including Hulun Buir old Barag and new Barag, Buriyad local dialect, etc.
(3) Oirad dialect, including places such Alxa, Torghut, Oriat, Chahar local dialects that Mongolian used.

Han and other ethnic groups mainly use Mandarin, and it is inconsistent across the whole Inner Mongolia. The eastern region (East Fourth League and eastern Xilingol league area) used mostly in the northeast mandarin; The Midwest (from Bayinnaoer to western Xilingol league area) use mostly Jin; Alxa league was influenced by the Gansu, Ningxia, so there mainly use Lan-Yin Mandarin.

Inner Mongolia Festival

Nadam Fair

"Nadam Fair" is the Mongolian traditional festival with a long history, occupies an important position in the Mongolian people's life. Every year on June 4th of lunar calendar (mostly in July or August of solar calendar), Nadam Fair was held to celebrate the harvest and it is a way of entertainment. The meaning of "Nadam" in Mongolian is entertainment or game. There is adventure racing, wrestling, admirable archery, chess competition, and fascinating song and dance. Horse racing is one of the important activities in the Nadam Fair. The rider all dressed with color belt and color headcloth, permeated with vigor. The beginning and end of the race were inserted a variety of colorful flags, after horn is blew, riders will fly to get on the saddle of horseback and ride rapidly to the end. People who are the first to reach the finish line will become the most praised athletes of a prairie. And archery also attract many nomads.

Aobao Festival

This is the Mongolian traditional religious activiy; Aobao is made by stone, clod, or wicker on the slope, grasslands, or sand dune. "Aobao" was a sign established in the vast boundless prairie to identify the direction, road, or boundary at the early beginning, later it became the place of sacrifice to god of mountain and god of the road. Aobao festival mostly held in July and August. When offering sacrifice, people stick the mock in the Aobao, and above the mock was hung the colorful cloth or paper flags. In the Mongolian people's mind, Aobao is holy ground.

Inner Mongolia Transportation


As of December 16, 2011, Inner Mongolia highway total mileage of 157000 kilometers. In the beginning of the Inner Mongolia autonomous region was established in 1947, there was only nearly thousand kilometers of ancient post road for camels and lele cart. 64 years later, a road network was initial shaping that cut-through Russia and Mongolia and link up north and south, east and west. During “the Twelfth Five-Year" project, the country would focus on supporting the construction of highway in Inner Mongolia and establishing Inner Mongolia integrated transport system construction conducive to the development of comprehensive transport hub. By 2015, Inner Mongolia highway mileage would reach 170000 km.


The railway lines in Inner Mongolia have governed by three railway bureaus under Ministry of Railways.
1. Haribin Railway Bureau
Administrative parts: All areas in Hulun Buir city
Department: Harbin Railway Bureau Hailar Railway Office
Rail tracks: 2 trunk lines—Binzhou line (Harbin to Manzhouli), Yalin line (Yakeshi to Mangui)
7 branch lines—Bolin line (Boketu to Taerqi), Yijia line (Yitulihe to Jiagedaqi), Yimin line (Hailar east to Yimin ), Chaowu line (Chaozhong to Moerdaoga), Yi’a line (Yimin to Ilxie ), Azha line (A Rong Banner to Zhalantun).

2. Shenyang Railway Bureau
Administrative parts: all areas in Xing’an League, Tongliao city, Chifeng city
Department: Shengyang Railway Bureau Tongliao Railway Office
Rail tracks: 4 trunk lines—Pingqi line (Siping to Tsitsihar), Jingtong line (Beijing north to Tongliao west), Tonghuo line (Tongliao north to Holingol), Dazheng linge (Dahushan Island to Zhengjiatun).
6 branch lines: Tongrang line (Tongliao east to Ranghu road), Yechi line (Yeboshou to Chifeng), Chijin line (Chifeng to Jinzhou), Chidabai line (Chifeng-Daban-Baiyinhua), Zhuzhu line (Zhusihua to Hesigewula), Huobai line (Holingol to Baiyinhua)

3. Hohhot Railway Bureau
Administrative parts: middle and west of Inner Mongolia like Hohhot, Baotou, Wuhai, Ordos, Bayannur, Ulanqab, Alxa, Xilingol, Chifeng north.
Rail tracks: 7 trunk lines—Jingbao line (Beijing north to Baotou), Baolan line (Baotou west to Lanzhou east), Ji’er line (Jining to Erenhot), Jitong line (Jining to Tongliao north), Baoxi line (Baotou to Xian), Jizhang line (Jining south to Zhangjiakou south), Jibao line (Jining south to Baotou)
8 branch lines (including one loop line)—Baobai line, Baoshi line, Baohuan line, Wuji line, Haigong line, Guocha line, Baoshen line, Lince line
1 high-speed train line (under construction, up to 2012)—Zhanghu Passenger Railway line, Hu-Zhun-E line (Hohhot-Jungar- Ordos)

Civil Aviation Transport

There are Hohhot Baita Airport, Baotou Erliban Airport, Wuhai Airport, Ordos Airport, Ulanhot Airport, Chifeng Yulong Airport, Tongliao Airport, Xilinhot Airport, Hailar Dongshan Airport, Manzhouli Xijiao Airport and so on large airports, and Banyanur airport and other airports were under construction.

After 50 years of development, the airport infrastructure of Inner Mongolia air group have been improved greatly, whose comprehensive coverage ability and service level have stepped forward, and most airports were reach 4C standard. Hohhot airport aircraft movement area reference code reached 4E, and Baotou, Hulun Buir, Xilinhot airport reached 4D.

By 2010, Inner Mongolia air group has operated 141 air lines (8 international lines, and 1 region line). The cities that open to air traffic are 55, and there are 24 airlines.

Inner Mongolia Climate & Weather

The seasons in Inner Mongolia are marked by sharp fluctuations in the climate. Spring arrives in May and lasts for two months. Summer temperatures are relatively uniform. The July average is about 72 °F (22 °C) at Hohhot in the west-central part of the region; the yearly variation, however, is about 63 °F (35 °C). The two hottest months are July and August, when almost three-fifths of the annual precipitation occurs. Winter, which arrives after mid-September and lasts until March, is bitterly cold, with strong, icy winds blowing out of Siberia. Precipitation is meagre. In the Gobi areas the yearly total is less than 2 inches (50 mm), the plateau area receives only about 12 inches (300 mm), while about 20 inches (500 mm) fall in the eastern mountains. The development of farming is handicapped by a frost-free period that lasts only from 60 to 160 days and by droughts, which occur almost annually.

Tips for Inner Mongolia Weather

Best season to visit Inner Mongolia
The best time to travel in Inner Mongolia grassland areas is in summer, especially from July to September, while the best time to travel in Inner Mongolia desert areas is in autumn. In spring, in the Inner Mongolia desert areas, dust storms appear frequently; while in grassland areas, the grass and trees are flourishing; and flocks and herds are in groups. Summer in Inner Mongolia grassland areas is relatively cool and warm. However, in desert areas, people will feel the intense summer heat. Autumn in Inner Mongolia desert regions is bright; tourists can enjoy fantasy beauty like the desert wind and sea oasis, even a mirage in the desert. In winter, the desert areas of Inner Mongolia will have an icy cold weather. Grassland areas are also a world of ice and snow.

Clothes for travelling
If you choose to have your Inner Mongolia Tours in summer, remember to put on trousers as the grass is flourishing on the grasslands. Also, raincoat is needed, because the weather in the grassland areas changes a lot. The temperature is too different in day and night, travelers should prepare enough cloths like thin coat, to get rid of cold. Autumn is cool, people need to wear cashmere sweater or long-sleeved coat.

Avoid Peak Holidays
It is not a good idea to travel in China during Chinese holidays when huge numbers of Chinese people are travelling around. The busiest three national holidays in China are Chinese Spring Festival (usually in late Jan or early Feb.), International Labor Day (May 01 to 03) and National Day (Oct 01-07). Spring Festival is an especially crowded time to travel. The advantage of being in China at this time is that you will get the opportunity to experience "first hand" the significance of these celebrations in Chinese culture.

Other Tips
The air is dry and the sunshine is strong in Inner Mongolia; tourists need to bring sunbonnet, sunglasses, and sunscreen.

Medicines of sunstroke treatment and clearing heat and detoxicating must be taken with you, as the desert areas are too hot with strong sunshine.

Inner Mongolia Tours & Tings to Do