As the earliest ethnic autonomous region established in China, our first impression of Inner Mongolia is its endless grasslands, exotic ethnic customs, vast territory and and hospitable people. Inner Mongolia lies northwest of the capital of China and it is the only provincial region bordering on the three major regions of Northeast China, North China and Northwest China.
From the primitive dense forest of the Great Khingan Mountains to the best preserved grassland in China - Hulunbuir Grassland; From the fertile and vast land of Hetao Plain to the magical Badain Jaran Desert; From the sapphire volcanic Tianchi Lakes to the meandering Selamuren River. There are also amazing wetlands, magnificent volcanic landforms, imposing mountains, rolling alpine meadows and vigorous gobis covering the land. Inner Mongolia fully displays the richness and beauty of this land endowed by God.
Besides the stunning natural scenery, Inner Mongolia is also one of the birthplaces of ethnic minorities and nomads in northern China. Here you can explore the development of the Mengyuan culture (Mongolia Culture in the Yuan Dynasty), learn about the life journey of Genghis Khan. For those who are interested in religious culture, you are recommended to visit some of the famous monasteries of Inner Mongolia to discover the “Zhaomiao” culture. If you happen to catch up with Mongolian festivals such as Naadam Festival and Obo Festival during your trip, join in the bonfire party, sing and dance with locals, taste delicious dairy food and whole-mutton banquet and enjoy unique Mongolian customs and festival events.
Where to go in Inner Mongolia? The Inner Mongolia Region covers vast land from northeast to northwest of China, and boasts diverse landscapes and scenery. There are a lot of interesting and beautiful places for your memorable exploration: For first-time visitors, Hohhot and Hulunbuir must be your top choices. If you're especially looking for grasslands, then the vast and primitive “Grassland Kingdom” - Hulunbuir should be your first choice. But if you want a more relaxed and rich travel experience, you can start your journey in Hohhot, the capital of Inner Mongolia, and extend to two other central cities in Inner Mongolia - Baotou and Ordos, spend 3~6 days exploring the local history and culture as well as enjoying the exquisite scenery of the surrounding grasslands and deserts. Desert enthusiasts and adventurers can head straight to the Badain Jaran Desert, the marvelous desert landscape and scenery that will make all the hardship of the trip worthwhile. If you are travelling in autumn, don't forget to visit the Ejin Banner, which has the most beautiful golden autumn scenery in China. It is a paradise for photography lovers. Besides must-visit destinations mentioned above, there are also world geoparks in Arxan and Chifeng, emerald grasslands in Xilingol, Ulanqab and Tongliao... All will give you an amazing trip memory! Check more about Best 12 Inner Mongolia Destinations >>
Arxan (Hinggan League)
With emerald grasslands, golden deserts, advantageous landform, rich history, prosperous nomadic and Mongolia culture, Inner Mongolia has rich types and a large number of tourist attractions for your great discover, including Hulunbuir Grassland, Badain Jaran Desert, Huitengxile Grassland, Xilamuren Grassland, Inner Mongolia Museum, Mausoleum of Genghis Khan, Dazhao Temple, Wudangzhao Monastery, etc., and the splendid wetland and World Geopark in Arxan city and Hexigten Banner... Below are the top tourist attractions in Inner Mongolia. For more detailed information, please check Top 20 Tourist Attractions & Points of Interest in Inner Mongolia | Top Hohhot Attractions & Things to Do | Top Hulunbuir Attractions & Things to Do | Top Badain Jaran Desert Things to Do | Top Baotou Things to Do | Top Chifeng Attractions | Top Xilingol Attractions | Top Ejina Banner Attractions >>
Hulunbuir Grassland is the most abundant grassland pasture in China, with the purest blue sky, white clouds and the best quality grazing. It is also the cradle of nomadic people in northern China.
Dotted with numerous natural lakes, windmills and yellow flowers, Huitengxile Grassland, with an average altitude of 2100m, is one of the best preserved typical alpine meadows in the world.
With good infrastructure and near Hohhot, Xilamuren Grassland is a good place for families to have a leisure holiday and escape summer heat. Riding horses, living in yurts are all highlights you may experience here.
As the third largest desert in China, Badain Jaran Desert is known for its multiple colorful lakes and the highest sand dune in the world. The spectacular desert scenery attracts visitors and photographers worldwide.
Kubuqi Desert is a new rising star in “Desert Adventure Circle”. With superior shape and location, most scenic areas in Kubuqi Desert have complete infrastractural facilities. It’s a great place for vacation and having fun.
The Inner Mongolia Museum is the earliest museum established in ethnic minority areas in China. With more than 100,000 sets of collections, it’s the best place to have a quick glimpse of the culture and history of Inner Mongolia.
The Mausoleum of Genghis Khan in Ordos is the cenotaph for Genghis Khan - the first great Khan of the Mongolia Empire. It’s a good place to explore the life of the great king and see the unique sacrifice ceremonies.
It is No.1 wetland in whole Asia and is especially favored for its worthy scenery of the fascinating birch forest clipped by the large and graceful “S” shaped winding Ergun River. The great viewing place lets you catch the amazing overview!
Dazhao Temple, also known as Wuliang Temple, is the earliest Gelugpa temple built in Hohhot. Silver Buddha, dragon carvings and murals are the "three treasures" of Dazhao Temple, which are of high craftsmanship level and ornamental.
Wudangzhao is the largest temple of the Gelug sect of Tibetan Buddhism in the Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region. Being praised as the “little Potala Palace”, it’s one of the top four monasteries in China.
Ejina Populus Euphratica Forest shows the most beautiful scene of golden autumn from late September to middle October. The vast golden forest, amazing desert landscape and exciting desert activities are all things you can enjoy here.
Located at the southwest ridge of the Greater Khingan Mountains, Arxan UNESCO Global Geopark not only has the first peak but also the first lake of Greater Khingan. It is a natural oxygen bar in summer and colorful fairyland in autumn.
Shiwei Russian Village
Former home for the Xianbei tribe and now an exotic Russian village. The abundant Mukeden houses with cuspidal rooftop and over 1,000 Russian people living for over a century make you confused whether it’s China or Russia.
Manzhouli Matryoshka Square
The giant 30-meter tall Matryoshka doll statue is the landmark of Manzhouli City. Dozens of exotic big and small colorful Matryoshka statues, Mongolian yurts, etc. show the mixed culture there and make it a joyous theme park for appreciation and fun.
Aoluguya Reindeer Village
It is the residence of mysterious the Ewenki ethnic tribe and where to encounter the rarely seen reindeer with large horns. Take a simple walk in the forest and hear the story of China’s last group for hunting!
Xilingol Grassland is one of the four major grasslands in China. It’s not only one of the birthplaces of the Mongolian nationality, but also the place where Genghis Khan started his conquest and went towards the Central Plains of China and the world.
As the only UNESCO World Cultural Heritage site in Inner Mongolia, the Site of Xanadu is the birthplace of the Yuan Dynasty (1271 AD ~ 1368 AD) and the Mengyuan culture (Mongolia Culture in the Yuan Dynasty).
Kangbashi District is the first 4A scenic spot named after an urban landscape in China. With a beautiful environment and architecture, Kangbashi is a new type of northern grassland tourism city that has won the China Environmental Art Award.
Ulan Butong Grassland is a part of the Mulan Paddock (木兰围场) in the Qing Dynasty. It’s the nearest grassland to Beijing in Inner Mongolia. The stunning summer and autumn scenery in Ulan Butong makes it a paradise for photographers and directors.
Numerous sand dunes, mountains and plains intersect each other in “4th largest desert in China”, forming breathtaking desert landscapes and creating wonderful possibilities to do adventurous desert hiking, camping and camel riding.
Hexigten UNESCO World Geopark
Hexigten UNESCO World Geopark is the largest, most completed and best preserved Quaternary glacial landforms in eastern China. It also has the only “Stone Forest” - Arshihaty Stone Forest in Inner Mongolia.
Hulun Lake is the largest lake in Inner Mongolia and the fifth largest inland lake in China. It is a sister lake with Beier Lake. The water area of Hulun Lake is extensive with continuous swamps and wetlands surrounded.
The park covers an area of over 65 square kilometers, gathering diverse landscapes like grassland volcanoes, lava landform and dammed lakes. As one of the youngest volcano groups in China, it is praised as "The Natural Volcano Museum" in China.
Zhaojun Tomb has a long history of over 2,000 years. It is one of the largest Han tombs in China. It mainly commemorates Zhaojun, the queen of the Western Han Dynasty, for the unity of Manchu and Han nationality married far away out to the border area.
Inner Mongolia is mainly dominated by temperate continental monsoon climate. The northeastern part of Inner Mongolia, like Ergun and Genhe, etc. belongs to the cold temperate continental monsoon climate, and the region west of Bayanhot, like in Badain Jaran Desert and Ejina Banner, etc. belongs to the temperate continental climate. The annual average temperature in Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region ranges from -3.7°C (Turi River) to 11.2°C (Ejina Banner). The total precipitation in Inner Mongolia is much less than in the eastern coastal areas of China, around 200~300 mm and most rainfall is concentrated in summer. Spring in Inner Mongolia is dry and windy, sandstorms and other extreme weather might occur. Check the real-time weather forecast before your travel.
The best time to visit grasslands in Inner Mongolia is summer from June to August. Autumn is the best time to have fun in deserts like Kubuqi Desert and Badain Jaran Desret, etc. and enjoy the oil-paint-like forest in Ejina Populus Euphratica Forest, etc. You can enjoy the winter scenery of ice, snow and rime in Hulunbuir, Ergun and Xing’an League. Although the weather is not good in spring, the temperature is still nice and you can take some historical routes and explore local culture, such as exploring Mengyuan Culture at the Site of Xanadu, learning the legend of the Great Mongolia King by visiting Genghis Khan Mausoleum, etc.
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Check more about Inner Mongolia Weather & Best Time to Visit | Hohhot Weather & Best Time | Hulunbuir Weather & Best Time | Badain Jaran Desert Weather & Best Time | Baotou Weather & Best Time | Ordos Weather & Best Time | Ejina Banner Weather & Best Time >> | Chifeng Weather & Best Time >> | Xilingol Weather & Best Time >>
You can get to Inner Mongolia by air, train and highway, etc. Hohhot is a major transportation hub, conveniently connected with most cities in the central area (such as Baotou, Ordos and Ulanqab, etc.). Other popular tourist destinations in Inner Mongolia including Hulunbuir and Badain Jaran Desert, etc.
Get to Hohhot - Flight & Train
Flights to Hohhot: Hohhot Baita International Airport is the most frequently used airport in Inner Mongolia, well linked with over 80 domestic cities including Shanghai (2.5 hrs), Beijing (1.5 hrs), Xian (2 hrs), Chengdu (2.5 hrs), Guangzhou (3 hrs), Kunming, Xiamen, Harbin, Urumqi, Fuzhou, Sanya, Qingdao, Shenzhen, Hulunbuir (2 hrs), etc.
(High-speed/Bullet) Trains to Hohhot: Hohhot is well connected with Beijing (2~3 hrs) - the capital of China and nearby cities like Baotou (1~1.5 hrs), Ordos (1.5~2 hrs), Ulanqab (0.5~1 hr), Zhangjiakou (1.5 hrs), Datong (2.5~3 hrs), Taiyuan (around 5 hrs), Zhengzhou (8.5 hrs), etc. by high-speed train. Besides, there are also normal trains connects Hohhot with other popular destinations in China, such as Xi’an, Chengdu and Shanghai, etc. Check more about How to Get to/around Hohhot>>
Hohhot to Baotou: The distance between Baotou and Hohhot is about 170 km, which usually takes about 2~2.5 hours to go by car and 1~1.5 hours by (D/G) bullet train. Check more about Hohhot to Baotou >>
Hohhot to Ordos: Ordos is about 270 km west from Hohhot, takes around 3.5 hours by car, 1.5~2 hours by bullet train and 3.5~4.5 hours by normal train. Check more about Hohhot to Ordos >>
Hohhot to Hulunbuir: Hulunbuir is about 1120 km away from Hohhot. There are nearly 20 flights from Hohhot Baita International Airport to Hulunbuir Dongshan International Airport and the flight journey takes about 2 hours. The only one normal train runs between Hohhot and Hulunbuir takes more than 30 hours. Check more about Hohhot to Hulunbuir Flight Scedule >>
Get to Hulunbuir - Flight, Train & Car
Flights to Hulunbuir: There are two airports in Hulunbuir. Hailar Dongshan International Airport, located in the central city of Hulunbuir, is a more frequently used one. The airport now offers flights to/from Beijing (2.5 hours), Hohhot (2.5 hours) and Harbin (1.5 hours), etc.
Trains to Hulunbuir: The whole Hulunbuir City is not accessible by bullet train. There are normal trains to Hailar from Harbin (9~24.5 hrs), Beijing (30 hrs), Zhengzhou (40.5 hrs), etc.
Get around Hulunbuir by Car: Due to the poor constructions of public transport, the best way to explore Hulunbuir is by car. You may book a private car service to explore Hulunbuir Grassland, Ergun Wetland, Russian villages like Shiwei and Enhe, and the most highlighted part of Great Khingan Mountains (Arxan World Geopark and Moerdaga National Forest Park, etc.). Check more about How to Get to/around Hulunbuir>>
Get to Badain Jaran Desert/Ejina Banner - Transfer from Gansu Province
Although the Badain Jaran Desert is located in Inner Mongolia, it is far from the central part of Inner Mongolia (840 km away from Baotou and 1,015 km away from Hohhot) which has a convenient transportation system. It is closer to some cities in the eastern part of Gansu (125 km away from Jinchang and 215 km away from Zhangye), so most tourists will choose to get to Badain Jaran Desert from Gansu. Ejina is a banner located on the north edge of Alxa League, near Badain Jaran Desert. To get to the poplar forest, you need to get to Dalaihob Town first, which is only 2.5 km from the scenic area. You are more recommended to get to Zhangye, Jinchang or Lanzhou by fight or train and transfer to a car to reach the desert or Ejina populus euphratica forest. Check more about How to Get to/around Badain Jaran Desert | How to Get to/around Ejina Banner
The major cities in central Inner Mongolia, Hohhot, Baotou, Ordos and Ulanqab, etc. are well connected with high-speed/normal trains. However, for other parts, like grasslands and deserts around Hohhot (Xilamuren Grassland, Huitengxile Grassland, Kubuqi Desert, etc.), areas around Hulunbuir, the west desert and gobi area (Badain Jaran Desert, Tengger Desert, Ejina Banner) and other famous destinations in Inner Mongolia (Xilingol Grassland, Site of Xanadu, Ulan Butong Grassland, etc.). can only be reached by taking a car.
To get rid of hustle and bustle of public transportation and time-consuming tickets booking, it is strongly recommended to travel Inner Mongolia with our packaged tour which not only includes tour guide, hotels, meals, attractions, etc., but also takes care of all the transfers during your trip, from airport/train stations to hotels, from city centers to grasslands, deserts and other popular attractions, so that you can focus all your time and energy on enjoying Mongolian culture and diverse landscapes of Inner Mongolia.
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Inner Mongolia covers vast land, central cities of Inner Mongolia (Hohhot, Baotou, Ordos) and hot tourist destinations - Hulunbuir (Hailar) has multiple types of accommodation for you to choose from, from 5 star luxury hotels to 3 star budget hotels. For those who plan a deep tour in Hulunbuir, you may also find many comfortable hotels in Manzhoulicity and Ergun city or special inns and folk houses in Russian border towns like Shiwei and Enhe. Top grasslands like Xilamuren Grassland, Huitengxile and Hulunbuir Grassland have grassland resorts with typical Mongolian yurts at different levels for your worry-free stay. Kubuqi Desert and Badain Jaran Desert provide advanced sightseeing resorts, themed hotels based on your various budgets. You may also have the chance to try camping in the desert hinterlands. Ejina is a remote county in western Inner Mongolia, but there are still several star-rated hotels and some homestays for you to stay overnight.
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Check more about Inner Mongolia Accommodation & Where to Stay | Hohhot Accommodation | Hulunbuir Accommodation | Badain Jaran Accommodation | Ordos Accommodation | Baotou Accommodation | Chifeng Accommodation | Xilingol Accommodation | Ejina Accommodation >>
To help you learn about Inner Mongolia’s location, transportation, attractions, etc. and plan your Inner Mongolia trip easily, we here collect some useful Inner Mongolia travel maps including Inner Mongolia China Map, Inner Mongolia Attractions Map, and Inner Mongolia Provincial Map, etc. Check more about Inner Mongolia Maps | Hohhot Maps | Hulunbuir Maps | Badain Jaran Desert Maps | Ordos Maps | Baotou Maps | Chifeng Maps | Xilingol Maps | Ejina Banner Maps >>
Around Inner Mongolia, there are many other beautiful and amazing destinations popular among travelers, such as Beijing, Shanxi, Gansu, Hebei, etc. in northern China. Check the travel guide of each destination to extend your Inner Mongolia trip with more wonderful memories!
China is vast and diverse. You can choose your favorite destinations among more than 70 tourist destination and regions, like Shanghai, Xian, Guilin, Silk Road, etc. Following are popular destinations you may get interested in. Check all destinations in China
Chinese Name: 内蒙古
Chinese Pinyin: nèi měng gǔ
English IPA: /ˈɪnər mɑːŋˈɡoʊliə/
Population: 24 million
Language: Mandarin, Mongol
Climate: Temperate Continental Monsoon Climate
Area: 118,300,000 Hectare
Grasslands: Hulunbuir Grassland, Huitengxile Grassland, Xilamuren Grassland, Xilingol Grassland, Ulan Butong Grassland...
Deserts: Badain Jaran Desert, Kubuqi Desert, Tengger Desert...
Mountains: Great Khingan Mountains, Yinshan Mountains, Helan Mountain...
Highest Point: Main Peak of Helan Mountain (3556m)
Time Zone: (UTC+8)
Inner Mongolia is so large and abundant with diverse natural and cultural highlights, so, you can hardly discover all the bests in one single visit. It takes 3 days to more than 1 month for various needs. And your itinerary can be decided based on your trip length, interests and a major area.
Classic Inner Mongolia - Middle Part (Hohhot, Baotou, Ordos...)
A classic Inner Mongolia tour usually starts from the capital Hohhot. Planning 3 days is popular for Hohhot city highlights with nearby grassland (Huitengxile or Xilamuren). 1-2 days to Kubuqi Desert in Ordos is also favored. And a 5-6 days trip to Hohhot, a grassland, Baotou and Ordos are the favorite one among travelers to enjoy grassland, desert, Genghis Khan culture, Tibetan Buddhism and culture in one go.
Authentic Grassland & Forest Views - East Part (Hulunbuir, Arxan...)
Interested in the best grassland? Plan 4-5 days to Hulunbuir to catch Hulunbuir Grassland and all fabulous primitive nature and nomadic tribe culture bests in Hailar, Ergun, Genhe and Manzhouli. Adding 2 more days to Arxan Forest Park is hot. A middle and east Inner Mongolia trip to Hohhot, Baotou, Ordos and Hulunbuir takes about 6 days.
Wild Desert & Golden Populus - West Part (Badain Jaran, Ejina...)
If you want to discover China’s most beautiful desert, plan 2-4 days trip to Badain Jaran Desert! Besides, Ejina Populus Euphratica Forest is quite hot for a 2-3 days’ photography tour in autumn. If you want a longer vacation, plan as many other visitors to discover Badain Jaran with nearby hot and convenient places like Xining, Zhangye, Dunhuang, Jiayuguan... It usually needs 7 days for a Xining Zhangye Badain Jaran trip.
Besides, it is also a great idea to extend to more popular destinations in China to appreciate more wonderful nature, culture, history and food of this vast country, such as Beijing, Shanghai, Xian, Chengdu, Yunnan, etc.
Travel with China Discovery
We have helped many global travelers enjoy their memorable trips to Inner Mongolia for the past few years and received 4,050+ comments. All tours can be tailor-made according to your group size, time, physical condition, plan, interests, budget and any other special need! Please feel free to contact us to customize your own Inner Mongolia trip or if you need any help!
Hohhot / Huitengxile Grassland / Yemingsha of Kubuqi Desert / Hohhot
Zhangye - Badain Jaran Town - Badain Jaran Desert
Hohhot / Ulanqab / Huitengxile Grassland / Hohhot / Baotou / Yemingsha of Kubuqi Desert / Ordos
Hulunbuir / Erguna / Manzhouli / Hulunbuir
Hohhot / Huitengxile Grassland / Ordos
Hohhot / Huitengxile Grassland / Hohhot
Hohhot / Xilamuren Grassland / Hohhot
Hailar (Hulunbuir) - Erguna - Shiwei- Manzhouli - Arxan - Hailar (Hulunbuir)
Hohhot / Yemingsha of Kubuqi Desert / Ordos