Baotou, Inner Mongolia, Top 5 Reasons to Visit

BaoTou is the most populated city in Inner Mongolia and known to be booming.  The city has a few sweet spots to visit and an opportunity to see a bit of the local Mongol local ethnic minority group.  Outside of the local spots this is a great place to start exploring the local region with the history of the Genghis Khan Mausoleum and the deserts of XiangShaWan.  Explore and see what Inner Mongolia has to offer.

Top 5 Reasons to Visit BaoTou

1. The Genghis Khan Mausoleum

It’s a bit of a trek, but Baotou is one of the closest major cities and the starting point for travelers to get to the mysterious Genghis Khan Mausoleum.  Visitors come from all over the country and world to see the mausoleum a place to worship and pay respects to the greatest conquerer the world has every known.

Outside the Genghis Khan Mausoleum

Outside the Genghis Khan Mausoleum

Check out my previous post on the Darkhad, the protectors of the legend of Genghis Khan.  

Genghis Khan Statue, Inner Mongolia, China

Genghis Khan Statue, Inner Mongolia, China

To get there you have multiple options.  First you can take a bus from Baotou, it will take roughly 3 hours plus.  Go to the Baotou Bus station and ask for tickets.  Most buses leave in the morning, but check for a schedule as it changes.  The next option is to get a driver for the day.  If you are in a group it will cost around 400 to 500 for the whole day depending on your negotiating skills.  You can go to multiple locations with the car, it’s fast and convenient, but costly.

 

2. XiangShaWan, the desert resort

XiangShaWan is a desert resort located in the Kubuqi desert.  It offers stunning sand dunes with the Chinese tourist twist and a bit of a desert Disney land.  The park offers ‘islands’ you can visit in the desert, visitors need to purchase tickets, the more islands you visit the more it costs.  Prices start at 120RMB and for the whole loop it will cost 220RMB.

Walking the dunes in Xiangshawan

Walking the dunes in Xiangshawan

The first island is the entrance and the sand slide.  Second stop take the desert rovers to the adventure island with guided 4 wheeler rides and more.

Desert Rovers cruising the dunes in XiangShaWan

Desert Rovers cruising the dunes in XiangShaWan

From there take a camel ride to island three, the sand sculptures and local marriage ceremony island.

Camels traveling to the next spot in Xiangshawan

Camels traveling to the next spot in Xiangshawan

From there travel to the last island which is not complete, the state of the are desert hotel.  Check for updates, because the hotel does look impressive and I wanted to stay the night.

Desert Sports in Xiangshawan island 1

Desert Sports in Xiangshawan island 1

Tips on the ticket.  The chair lift across to the first island is worth it.  Climbing up the sand mountain is much more difficult than it looks, and takes some time.  If you stay there are hotels at the base of the valley, it will cost around 200RMB per night.  The food at the hotel sucks, so don’t expect great Inner Mongolian food.  check out the website for updates.  http://www.xiangsw.com/

 

3.  Saihan Tala Grasslands in Baotou

This is said to be the only grasslands surrounded by a city, Saihan Tala is the best place to visit while in Baotou.  When entering walk through the park past the first few sets of yurts and buildings until you come to a large group of yurts with a lake in the center.  This is actually a huge restaurant and the yurts are rooms. Grab a room and get the best grub in the city.  The Lamb ribs are the best I have ever had in my life, in Chinese ‘YangPai’, a must try.  At night they can light up huge bon fires in the center and have performances, these are only done if the restaurant is packed or if someone pays, it’s 620RMB to light the bonfire.  While there explore the grassland.  At night go for a walk or a bike ride through the grassland, very popular with the locals.

Saihan Tala Grasslands Yurts

Saihan Tala Grasslands Yurts

 

4. Mongol Ethnic Group

Inner Mongolia has a large percentage of Mongolian Ethnic people, many living in Yurts.  Near the Mausoleum, in the city and the grasslands you can visit and see the locals.  Try the Tea and if they have it try the horse milk fermented drink, see the clothes and local customs.

 

Yurt in the desert

Yurt in the desert

 

5. Mutton and Lamb – does not get better than this

Eat!  Try the YangPai, Lamb ribs, milk tea, and anything mutton.

'YangPai" the mutton ribs, best thing since sliced bread

‘YangPai” the mutton ribs, best thing since sliced bread

 

How to get there.  Trains go often from Beijing, it’s about 12 hours, get a hard sleeper for around 180 and soft sleeper for 280.  Remember, bottom bunk is best and see my post on how to pepare.  Very easy trip to do on a weekend.

 

Think you got a better top 5?  Well post it then!  Lets see what you got and let us know what the best is Baotou has to offer.  Any questions let me know.

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