When mentioning the boundless prairie, vast forests, adventurous snow and ice, and bubbling hot springs, you may soon think of Inner Mongolia, the Greater Hinggan Mountains, Harbin separately... But you know what? There is such a magical place in the northern border city: the 4 famous grasslands converge here, the majestic Greater Hinggan Mountains stand here, the country's leading ice and snow resources accumulate here, and the world's largest hot spring group has flowed here for centuries. This is Arxan (阿尔山), Inner Mongolia, which lies on the border between China and Mongolia.
Located in the middle section and near the main ridge line of the beautiful Great Khingan Mountains, Arxan Mountain is dominated by middle-high mountain landforms and presents a landscape of steep mountain slopes and criss-crossing ravines. The ground is covered with dense forests, which provide good natural conditions for the survival of wildlife. In May 2017, at the 201th Session of the UNESCO Executive Board, the Arxan China National Forest Park was officially approved to join the World Geopark Network, making it the 34th UNESCO Global Geopark in China.
The Arxan UNESCO Global Geopark (阿尔山联合国教科文组织世界地质公园) is mainly characterized by volcanic relics, hot spring landforms, granite landforms, alpine lakes and plateau meandering rivers. According to the genetic types, geographical distribution characteristics and preservation methods of the geological relics, the Arxan Geopark is divided into 5 (4) geo-regions: the Tianchi Geo-region, the Hot Springs Geo-region, the Meigui Peak Geo-region, the Port Geo-region (the Meigui Peak Geo-region and the Port Geo-region are collectively called Halahar Geo-region) and the Haosengou Geo-region. The highlights of the geological relics in each region are different and each park has its own charm.
The Tianchi Geo-region (天池园区) is the most characteristic and representative Geo-region in Arxan UNESCO Global Geopark. Due to the multiple volcanic activities in the Quaternary period, the volcanic landform landscape with spectacular scale, complete structure and extremely representative was formed here. Rich geological relics, such as crater lakes, volcanic cones, volcanic barrier lakes, volcanic lava, accumulation profiles formed by volcanic vapor eruption, turtleback lava, and beautiful natural scenery constitute the unique Tianchi Geo-region.
Covering an area of 1191.74 km2 and primary consists of spring landscape, the Hot Springs Geo-region (温泉园区) is a mixed group spring of 4 mineral springs (radioactive radon spring, metasilicic acid spring, fluorine spring, bicarbonate spring) and four kinds of temperature spring (high temperature hot springs, middle temperature hot springs, low temperature hot springs and cold springs). They not only have high health care value, but also high quality mineral water can be drunk directly.
Halaha Geo-region (哈拉哈园区), covering an area of 827.07km2, is mainly composed of river landform and granite landform landscape, combined with natural and cultural landscapes such as the Arxan Port, Arxan National Gate, and wetlands near the port, etc.
The main geological relics in Haosengou Geo-region (好森沟园区) are granite stone forests and
Arxan National Forest Park has the first peak of the Great Khingan Mountains - Termei Mountain and the first lake - Darbin Lake, as well as the Shitang Forest and Tianchi Lake with unique Asian characteristics. The park has a unique northern scenery, mineral springs cluster drinking, bathing, treatment in one, known as the world’s miraculous spring. It has the sunshine, air and greenery that urbanites yearn for.
At the turn of spring and summer, the water and vapour condense in the mountains. The clouds are dense, the hills are misty. White clouds sometimes rise along the mountain, sometimes rolling down, lush birches surrounding the pool, overflowing and shaking green, forming a unique natural landscape of Tianchi Lake (阿尔山天池).
Shitang Forest (石塘林) is formed by the flow of magma after a volcanic eruption. The shape of stones is strange, some like swords pointed directly into the sky, some like brave warriors carrying halberds, some like mighty lions lightning rush, and some like weather-beaten old men.
This section of the river, where snow and ice still remain in June, is known as the "Summer Glacier" and consists of three deep pools, the Yingsong Pool, the Yingbi Pool and Longfeng Pool. Volcanic rocks covered the valley, people can walk on the rocks in the river. With azaleas strewn on both sides, walking into the Santan Gorge (三潭峡) gives you a sense of fairyland.
Dujuan Lake (Azalea Lake, 杜鹃湖) is a flowing water lake with beautiful scenery in all four seasons. Visiting here in spring, you can enjoy the azaleas in full bloom; In summer, the lake is decorated with dispersed duckweed. The beautiful scenery is comparable to the beauty of the south of the Yangtze River; Gold waves ripple in autumn; In winter, the lake is frozen, forming a natural skating rink.
Tuofengling Tianchi (驼峰岭天池) is about 37km away from the gate of the Arxan National Forest Park. It’s a little remote but definitely worth taking a car to visit. Standing by the lake, the breeze is gentle, the reflection is exquisite, as if taking you far away from the real world.
Luming lake (鹿鸣湖) is wide, calm and horseshoe-shaped. The lake is lush with grass and surrounded by mountains on three sides. It is a quiet place to enjoy a pleasant break. Deer are often seen and played by the lake, so it is called "Luming (Deer Bleat) Lake".
Wusu Langzi Lake
Early in the morning, the morning glow shines upon the lake, reflecting thousands of golden light rays, which is a unique scene of Wusu Lake. Fishermen drive small boats, back and forth on the lake, casting nets to catch fish; Boating in the Wusu Langzi Lake (乌苏浪子胡) is popular with anglers.
Every spring, Haosengou is drought and short of water, therefore got the name - Haosen Ditch. There are Kylin Peak, Hunter Peak, Tianhe Canyon, Fairy Cave, Rain Stone and many other landscapes in the scenic area, with strange peaks and bizarre stones. In the meantime, you feel relaxed and happy. It is a rare forest tourism scenery.
Kylin Peak (麒麟峰) is the main peak of the Hausengou Scenic Area. It gets its name because its shape resembles a kylin looking into the distance with head held high. The base of the peak body is thick, about 15 meters in diameter, and it tapers toward the upper peak body.
The Hunter Peak (猎人峰) looks like a hunter wearing a cape, holding a gun, looking into the distance and contemplating.
During the rainy season, the water flows down the Tianhe Canyon (天河峡谷) and forms a magnificent waterfall.
Jiguan Mountain (鸡冠山) is an independent mountain in Arxan city, all of which are composed of bare rock, shaped like a rooster's comb, so it is called Jiguan Mountain. The birch tree coverage rate is high in this place, every summer and autumn, the forest has a wide variety of wild animals, and plant resources. It is the ideal place for forest tourism and indulges in wild pleasures.
White Wolf Peak (白狼峰) rises from the ground on the ridge, north-south, towering tall and straight. The "sea of fog" weather is the highlight of Bailang Peak, attracting countless visitors to come every year, enjoying the unique beautiful scenery of Bailang Peak after rain.
Going up from the middle stone steps of the Rose Peak, the peak on the left is almost 90 degrees steep. Standing at the top of the Rose Peak overlooking the fields, the undulating mountains bear a riot of colors. The wheat fields are as vast as the sea and the Halahar River is like a silver chain running around the peak.
The Halaha River is a good place for fishing and rafting. The valley where the Haraha River meets the Wulun River is a paradise for photography lovers and is known as the most beautiful part of the Halaha River. Abnormal beautiful scenery, good vegetation on both sides of the river, towering ancient trees and crystal clear river, etc. are all reasons why you can't miss the Halaha River.
Arxan Railway Station can be called one of the most beautiful small train stations in China. It is a two-story Japanese-style building with low eaves and a pointed roof in the Oriental style, a little bit like small train stations in Switzerland. Sitting on the wooden chair outside the station and watching the setting sun at dusk is very impressive.
This tourist resort is famous for the hot springs of Arxan. It is a famous tourist sanatorium in China. Every year, it attracts many visitors to come here for sightseeing and enjoying the natural and healthy hot spring.
Because of the vast land, sparse population and scattered scenic spots, the tourist routes in Arxan are relatively long and generally radiate from Arxan downtown to the surrounding areas.
Recommended Visiting Time of Highlights in Arxan:
Arxan National Forest Park is a must visit sight in Arxan city, it condense the best scenery (lakes, volcano landform, forest sea, wild animals...) of the area. Before or after spending 1~2 days immersing yourself in nature, you may take 0.5~1 day to get around the downtown area of Arxan, visit Arxan Train Station, the Arxan National Gate and relax by taking a bath in natural hot springs. If you have more time and would like to spend more days here, you may rent a car to visit Bailang Peak and Bailang Forest Village in Bailang Scenic Area (2~3 hours), peculiar peaks and landscapes in Haosengou Scenic Area (3~4 hours) or the Rose Peak and Halaha River in the north (0.5~1 Day).
• Day 1 (Manzhouli-Arxan): Manzhouli Matryoshka Plaza - Arxan City - Arxan Railway Station
• Day 2 (Arxan National Forest Park): Heavenly Lake (Tianchi) - Three Lakes Gorge - Shitang Forest
• Day 3 (Arxan - Hailar): Azalea Lake - Hulunbuir City (Hailar District)
• Day 1 (Arxan National Forest Park - Yiershi City): Heavenly Lake (Tianchi) - Three Lakes Gorge - Shitang Forest - Azalea Lake ( - Luming Lake - Halaha River Rafting)
• Day 2 (Yiershi City - Arxan City): Arxan Railway Station - Arxan Haishen Holy Spring Tourist Resort
• Day 1 (Ulanhot-Arxan): Ulanhot City - Charlson Reservoir - Horqin Grassland - Bailang Forest Village - Arxan City ( - Halaha River Rafting - Arxan Hot Spring)
• Day 2 (Arxan - Hulunbuir): Arxan National Forest Park - Honghuarki National Forest Park
Spring, summer, autumn and winter, Arxan has no lack of picturesque scenery in any season. In spring, everything revives and azaleas bloom like brocades; In summer, it is a real summer resort with eyeful green. After the autumn frost, the forest is dyed and photography enthusiasts flock to Arxan; There are natural ski resorts and hot springs in Arxan in winter. Each season has their its charm, visitors can choose the visiting time according to their personal preferences. However, in spring, autumn and winter, it is relatively cold in Arxan, especially in winter. It can drop to -40℃. In spring and autumn, the average temperature in Arxan is about -10℃~0℃. In summer, the weather is pleasant, between 15℃ and 25℃.
Arxan’s natural scenery reaches its best in golden autumn. It seems to gather and burst out a year of brilliant. In this season, there are palette-like golden birch forest belt, green meadow, red azalea shrub, black volcanic lava, and azure lake. Place yourself in such a landscape and wander along the secluded Azalea Lake, the infinite scenery makes people enchanted and linger. If you have time, be sure to visit Arxan in autumn.
Dressing Tips: There is a big temperature difference between day and night in Arxan. Thunderstorms often occur in summer, don’t just take summer clothes like short-sleeved shirts, shorts or skirts, visitors should take some long-sleeved clothes, put on and take off at any time. Raincoats and umbrellas are essential in summer. Spring, autumn and winter are cold in Arxan, travelers should bring enough warm clothes, like down coats, cotton wadded jacket, sweater and thermal clothes, etc.
To get to Arxan UNESCO Global Geopark, you need to get to Arshan City first. Arxan City straddles the southwest foothills of the Greater Khingan Mountains. It’s about 300 km (4.5~5 hours by car) from Hulunbuir, about 1330 km from Hohhot, about 250 km (4~4.5 hours by car) from Ulanhot and 1320 km away from Beijing.
Cars, Flights and trains are 3 most common ways to get to Arxan City.
Get to Arxan by flight: Arxan Yiershi Airport (伊尔施机场) is the nearest airport to Arxan city, about 20 km away, which takes 30 minutes by car. At present, it has opened air routes with Manzhouli, Hailar (Hulunbuir City), Shenyang (Liaoning Province), Hohhot and Beijing.
Get to Arxan by Train: There are around 4 trains to and from Baicheng and Shenyang North every day. If it is inconvenient to take a train to Arxan Railway Station directly, you can also consider arriving at Ulanhot by train first and transferring to Arxan city from there. There are more choices. Besides, there are also highway buses running between Arxan and Ulanhot every day.
Get to Arxan by Bus from Ulanhot: The distance between Arxan and Ulanhot is around 250 km, and it takes 4~4.5 hours by car. There are 4-6 highway buses from Ulanhot to Arxan every day.
Attractions in Arxan are scattered and the public transportation in the city is imperfect. Therefore, it is highly suggested to book a private car with experienced local drivers in advance, which is usually also the hottest option for visitors touring this area. We China Discovery offer such a warm private car service. And all our Arxan Tour Packages include such a service too. If you are in need, please feel free to contact us!
Hottest Arxan, Hulunbuir Tour:
You may find family hotels, star hotels and hostels in downtown Arxan. Since the city is so small, it is easy to get around the downtown area. June to October is the peak tourist season, accommodation costs are higher than low season (from November to May). There are fewer upscale hotels. Haishen Hot Spring Hotel is the only local unlisted five-star hotel. Common accommodation. Accommodations are also available in the Yiershi area and the National Forest Park, but during the peak season, rooms can be doubled in price and are in short supply. If you plan to visit during the peak season, please book a hotel in advance. Contact us to learn more details about accommodation in Arxan & hotels booking.
An essence Arxan tour takes 2~3 days, visiting highlights in Arxan UNESCO Global Geopark, like Arshan National Forest Park, Arxan Railway Station and Halaha river, etc. If you would like to spend more days to explore the hidden fairyland, you can take another 1~2 days to visit Haosengou Scenic Area, Bailang Scenic Area and Arxan Hot Spring Museum, etc.
For people who have a long vacation and haven’t visit Hulunbuir before, you can take a car and head north, take 5~6 days to enjoy all highlight in Hulunbuir, such as Hulunbuir Grassland, Hulun Lake, Ergun Wetland, Heishantou, Manzhouli and Russian Towns, etc.
Besides, you can take a flight and visit the deserts near Hohhot, and thus you will get the best desert & grassland tour in Inner Mongolia!
Top 3 Inner Mongolia tours chosen by most customers to explore Inner Mongolia in the best way. Check the detailed itinerary, or tailor your own trip now with us.
Hohhot / Ulanqab / Huitengxile Grassland / Hohhot / Baotou / Yemingsha of Kubuqi Desert / Ordos
Hohhot / Baotou / Kubuqi Desert / Hulunbuir / Shiwei / Hulunbuir
Hailar (Hulunbuir) - Erguna - Shiwei- Manzhouli - Arxan - Hailar (Hulunbuir)
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