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Inner Mongolia Travel Guide

  Inner Mongolia
Inner Mongolia (neimenggu Nèi Měng gǔ 内蒙古) is a Mongol autonomous region of the People's Republic of China, located in the northern side of the country. Its capital is Hohhot (hū hé hào tè 呼和浩特) and the largest city is Baotou (bāo tóu 包头).

Inner Mongolia borders, from east to west, the provinces of Heilongjiang (hēi lóng jiāng 黑龙江), Jilin (jí lín 吉林), Liaoning (liáo níng 辽宁), Hebei (hé běi 河北), Shanxi (shǎn xī 陕西), Shaanxi (xī ān 西安), Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region (níng xià huí zì zhì qū 宁夏回自治区), and Gansu (gān sù 甘肃), while to the north it borders the Republic of Mongolia and Russia. It is the third-largest subdivision of China spanning about 1,200,000 km² (463,000 sq mi) or 12% of China's total land area. map


Name
Inner MongIn Chinese, the region is known as "Inner Mongolia", where the terms of "Inner/Outer" are derived from Manchu dorgi/tulergi. Inner Mongolia is distinct from Outer Mongolia, which was a term used by the Republic of China and previous governments to refer to what is now the independent state of Mongolia plus the Republic of Tuva in Russia. In Mongolian, the region is known as öbür mongγol where öbör can mean south, inner, front, bosom, breast. Some Mongolians use the name "Southern Mongolia" in English as well.


Administrative Divisions
Inner Mongolia is divided into 12 prefecture-level divisions. Until the late 1990s, most of Inner Mongolia's prefectural regions were known as Leagues (Chinese: méng 盟), a usage retained from Mongol divisions of the Qing Dynasty. Similarly, county-level divisions are often known as Banners (Chinese: qí 旗). Since the 1990s, numerous Leagues have converted into prefecture-level cities, although Banners remain. The restructuring led to the conversion of primate cities in most leagues to convert to districts administratively 【Hailar (hǎi lā ěr 海拉尔), Jining (jí níng 集宁), and Dongsheng (dōng shèng 东胜)】. Some newly founded prefecture-level cities have chosen to retain the original name of League (Hulun Buir, Bayannur, and Ulanqab), some have adopted the Chinese name of their primate city (Chifeng, Tongliao), and one League, Ikh Juu, simply renamed itself Ordos. map

Alashan
(ā lā shàn 阿拉善)
Banyannur
(bā yàn nàoěr 巴彦淖尔)
Baotou
(bāo tóu 包头)
Chifeng
(chì fēng 赤峰)
Hohhot
(hū hé hào tè 呼和浩特)
Hulun Buir
(hū lún bèi ěr 呼伦贝尔)
Ordos
(è ěr duō sī 鄂尔多斯)
Tongliao
(tōng liáo 通辽)
Wuhai
(wū hǎi 乌海)
Wulanchabu
(wū lán chá bù 乌兰察布)
Xilin Gol
(xī lín guō lè 锡林郭勒)
Xing'an
(xīng ān 兴安)



Language
Mongolian The Han people of Inner Mongolia speak a variety of dialects, depending on the region. The eastern parts tend to speak Northeastern Mandarin, which belong to the Mandarin group of dialects; those in the central parts speak varieties of Jin (jìn 晋), another subdivision of Chinese, due to its proximity to other Jin-speaking areas in China such as the Shanxi province. Cities such as Hohhot and Baotou both have their unique brand of Jin Chinese which are sometimes incomprehensible with dialects spoken in northeastern regions such as Hailar.

Mongols in Inner Mongolia speak a variety of dialects of the Mongolian language, including Chahar (chá hā ěr 察哈尔), Bairin (bā lín 巴林), Ordos, Ejin-Alxa (ā lā shàn é jì nà 阿拉善额济纳), Barghu-Buryat (bù lǐ yà tè 布里亚特), etc.; the standard pronunciation of Mongolian in China is based on the Chahar dialect of the Plain Blue Banner, located in central Inner Mongolia. This is different from independent Mongolia, where the standard pronunciation is based on the Khalkha dialect (kā ěr kā yǔ 喀尔喀语). The Daur, Evenks, and Oroqin speak their own respective languages.
 

History & Culture
DayaoAs early as the Old Stone Age, humans had inhabited the area of present-day Inner Mongolia. A number of historical sources has borne out this claim. For example, excavations at the site of Dayao (dà yáo 大窑) show that the area was an ancient stone-producing site for early humans. Moreover, the archeological site of Dayao provides strong evidence that suggests that Inner Mongolia was a cradle of ancient Chinese civilization.

Ever since the Qin (BCE 221-207) Dynasty (qín cháo 秦朝), Central China has controlled, or tried to control, the area corresponding to Inner Mongolia. Han Chinese prefectures were set up and Chinese peoples of all nationalities were encouraged to relocate there, with some ethnic preference present, depending upon which ethnic group was ruling the country at the time.

Kublia KhanGenghis Khan It was first during the Song (CE 960-1279) Dynasty (sòng cháo 宋朝) that a large Mongol tribe appeared in the area. Earlier, i.e., from the Tang (CE 618-907) Dynasty (táng cháo 唐朝) down to the arrival of Genghis Khan (chéng jí sī hán 成吉思汗) and his Mongol hordes, the territory called Inner Mongolia was inhabited primarily by Turkic tribes. With the rise of the Yuan (CE 1279-1368) Dynasty (yuán cháo 元朝), the area came under strong central government rule, which in fact was Mongolian rule 【the first emperor of the Yuan Dynasty, it will be remembered, was Kublia Khan (hū bì liè 忽必烈), the grandson of Genghis Khan – one who fought campaigns all across Asia and into Europe, having established the largest contiguous empire in the world by the time of his death.】

Under the Ming (CE 1368-1644) Dynasty (míng cháo 明朝), which had overthrown the Mongol Chinese Yuan Dynasty, Inner Mongolia itself was divided into two separate administrative regions, Dada and Wala. "Northern" and "southern" Mongolia, corresponding to present-day Outer and Inner Mongolia, respectively, were always somewhat divided. During the Manchu Qing Dynasty (qīng cháo 清朝), Inner Mongolia was re-unified (the Dada and Wala administrative regions were disbanded), though the areas corresponding to present-day Inner and Outer Mongolia remained separate - both administratively and to some extent culturally - with Inner Mongolia becoming more ethnically mixed than Outer Mongolia.

When the Republic of China gave way to the People's Republic of China, the territory corresponding to "southern" Mongolia had become an integral part of China, it was designated as Inner Mongolia and was soon thereafter - on May 1st, 1947 - made into an autonomous region, the first such ethnic region within the PRC.


Climate
climateInner Mongolia, with a temperate continental monsoonal climate, has a cold, long winter with frequent blizzards and a warm, short summer. Except for the relatively humid Greater Hinggan Mountain Area, the greater part of Inner Mongolia is arid, semi-arid and semi-humid from west to east. It has a mean annual temperature of -1℃-15℃ -- the hottest month, July, averaging 15-25℃ and the coldest month, January, -30-10℃ -- and a mean annual precipitation of 100-500 mm. The difference of temperature between day and night is great.
 

Tourist Resources
Inner Mongolia has beautiful lakes and pastures, thick ancient forests, the Gobi desert as well as a centuries long history and culture, with the minority customs and special ways of life, all these have made Inner Mongolia an ideal resort which is attracting more and more domestic and foreign tourists.

Hohhot Hohhot (hū hé hào tè 呼和浩特) is the capital of Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region and it's no doubt also the regional center of politics, economy, science, culture and education. Hohhot is an ideal place to relax thanks to the magnificent natural beauty of the Gegentala Grassland (gé gēn tǎ lā cǎo yuán 格根塔拉草原), and Xilamuren Grassland (xī lā mù rén cǎo yuán 希拉穆仁草原) as well as fantastic cultural sites such as the Dazhao Temple (dà zhāo sì 大昭寺), Zhaojun Tomb (zhāo jūn mù 昭君墓), Five-Pagoda Temple (wǔ tǎi sì 五塔寺), Xilitu Zhao (xí lì tú zhào 席力图召), Great Mosque of Hohhot (qīng zhēn dà sì 清真大寺), Wanbu Huanyanjing Pagoda (wàn bù huá yán jīng tǎ 万部华严经塔). Travelers can enjoy a wide variety of activities including horse riding, or maybe visiting the home of a herdsman's family or roaming over the vast grassland and of course there is the thrilling Nadam Fair.

BaotouBaotou (bāo tóu 包头) is the largest city in Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region in China and the largest industrial city as well. It enjoys the fame of "the Deer City" and "the Steel City". It is located on the edge of the desert. Resonant Sand Bay is the best desert-style place where people can enjoy in sand tobogganing. Moreover, the Enkhsaikhan Tara (sài hán tǎ lā 塞汗塔拉), located in downtown of Baotou, is the only city grassland in China. Genghis Khan is very famous here. There is the magnificent Mausoleum of Genghis Khan (chéng jí sī hán líng 成吉思汗陵) which is situated more than one hundred kilometers away from Baotou. Through the mausoleum, people can still feel the spirit of "Genghis Khan". Besides, the Mongolian temples, such as Wudang Zhao (wǔ dāng zhào 五当召) and Meidai Zhao (měi dài zhào 美岱召), and the Great Wall of Qin Dynasty are also wonderful.

ChifengChifeng (chì fēng 赤峰) is a picturesque city, which is known as "the business card of autonomous region" and "epitome of Inner Mongolia". It owns lots of natural resources, such as mountains, forests, deserts, grasslands, stone forest, hot springs, lakes etc and besides these, there are 6 National Natural Reserves, 6 National Forest Parks and 1 World Geopark. Chifeng has always paid attention to the ecological construction and protection and the related research has achieved good results. In addition, the historic interest, cultural relics, rare animals and plants also can be found in Chifeng city.

Xilin Gol LeagueXilin Gol League (xī lín guō lè méng 锡林郭勒盟) lies in the center of Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region, with Xilinhot (xī lín hào tè 锡林浩特) serving as its government seat. "Xilin” in Mongolian means the Champaign on the plateau while Gol means the river. The name of Xilin Gol League origins from the Xilin River (Gol) where ten banners in Qing Dynasty formed a union.

OrdosOrdos (è ěr duō sī 鄂尔多斯) is situated in the southwest part of Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region. Ordos city, Hohhot city and Baotou city in Inner Mongolia constitute the most dynamic area of "Golden Triangle" in Inner Mongolia. “Ordos” is Mongolian which means “numbers of palaces”, and it is also the tomb protection tribal name of Genghis Khan.

Hulun Buir GrasslandHulun Buir Grassland (hū lún bèi ěr cǎo yuán 呼伦贝尔草原) is the most beautiful landscape of all the Inner Mongolia Grassland, possessing a meadow of more than 100,000,000 acres and a forest of over 200,000,000 acres, upwards of 500 lakes and some 3,000 rivers. The vast stretch of prairie seems to be a vast green blanket woven by Mother Nature as far as the eye can see. Stepping on it, the feeling of the soft and bouncy quality is breath-taking. Its title is well-deserved as one of the most beautiful, largest and unpolluted grasslands in the world.

Alxa Alxa or Alashan (ā lā shàn 阿拉善) is located at the west end of Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region. It is adjacent to Mongolia in the north, adjoins the Great Wall in the south, neighbors on the Yellow River in the east, and leans against the Hexi Corridor (hé xī zǒu láng 河西走廊) in the west. Alxa is abundant in two-humped camel and the white down producing goat. The mysterious land is also a tourist paradise, attracting visitors by its brilliant ethnic culture, unique desert landscape and plentiful historical relics.

A'ershanOther Unmissable Sights
Inner Mongolia abounds in beautiful sceneries. Its rich natural resources, the beautiful landscapes, and the unique folklore make Inner Mongolia a quite special place to go.
 

Shopping in Inner Mongolia
Hohhot displays special local products from all over Inner Mongolia. These products can be bought at both fair and market, whilst special products can be bought from shopping centers. If you are interested in handicrafts such as calligraphy, chinaware, jade ware, bamboo, and woodcarvings, Inner Mongolia Antique Shop on Xilin North Road may give you some surprises.

Specialties
Silverware: As early as in Yuan Dynasty, Mongolian have been famous for their use of silvereares. Silverwares include bowl, knife, pot and wine vessel. The silverware is finely crafted, vivid in color and traditional ethnic designs. The Mongolian bowl is a jewel among them.

Inner Mongolian carpet: Inner Mongolia carpet is made of local wool, colored with mineral and plant biased dyes and hand woven. The main categories include natural-colored, archaized, Han Dynasty (hàn cháo 汉朝), and artistic tapestry. In addition, there are various cushions.

Cashmere: Cashmere is a rare raw material for textile. Cashmere from Inner Mongolia is world famous. So is camel hair, which can be made into woolen cloth and carpet.

Mongolian knife: Mongolian knife is a daily article and a status symbol as well. All will look down on a man without his knife. The blade is made of steel while the handle is made of ox horn and red wood. The Camel-shaped Mongolian knife is particularly worth mentioning. The camel body is made of redwood or birch while the handle is made from ox horn and camel bone. However, before your purchase any knife, consult with your airline as to whether knife is allowed packed in your luggage.

   Inner Mongolian carpetcashmeremongolian knife

Embroidery: Mongolian women learn embroidery at an early age. At about 10, girls learn to make socks and pouches. In contrast to other famous embroideries in China, the Mongolian embroidery is made on woolen felt and leather boots as well as soft materials. The Mongolian embroidery distinguishes itself by its dignified and unimposing style and vivid color contrast.

Ox horn handicraft: Ox horn handicrafts are roughly divided into three categories: wall-decoration, ornaments and accessories. Altogether there are more than 100 types of products such as animals, bottles and cups, necklaces, rings, earrings, hairclips, belt and calligraphy series. Ancient nomads used ox horn to hold alcohol when they made an alliance. This ox horn is called alliance cup. A pair of ox horns is polished and then cups made of silver or copper are set into the horns. The ends are decorated with a metal flower pattern, silk knots, and fringes.

  embroidery snuff bottlebirch handicrafts

Snuff bottle: Mongolian men usually wear a refined snuff bottle on the left side of their belt. Snuff bottles are usually made of jade, emerald, agate, amber, tortoise, or fine porcelain. Both lid and bottle rims are plated with gold or silver, beset with ruby and corals. Connected to the lid is a small spoon made of bone. When two men meet, they will put their snuff bottle on the hand as a gift after greeting.

Birch handicraft: Birch handicrafts nclude boxes, cases, pail, bow and basins with ethnic patterns.

  milk tea potoleasterglossy ganoderma

Milk tea pot: Milk tea pot made of copper or silver. In the center of the silver pot is a dragon dotted with lotus or other flowers. The pot is a harmonious combination of art and design.

Oleaster: Oleaster, or Russian olive, is a popular fruit among children and women. In the Qing Dynasty, this fruit was a symbol of friendship; today, people still treat guests with it. Local children will pick the blossom for rare guests to enjoy the fragrance of the Oleaster flowers and then give you a brownish-red stick as rolling pin. The locals cluster bunches of Oleaster into a screen, an original decoration.

Glossy ganoderma: Glossy Ganoderma is a rare herb good for the immune system. It is very precious because as it cannot be cultivated. Jew's ear is tonic and delicious. It can be cultivated manually. Sunflower seeds grown in Inner Mongolia are famous all over China owing to their size and taste.
 

Transportation
Baita (White Tower) AirportThe transportation in Inner Mongolia is very convenient. With railway as the main transportation form, Inner Mongolia connects north China, northwest China and northeast China. Airways and expressways are also very convenient.

Airline
The main airport in Inner-Mongolia includes Hohhot Baita (White Tower) Airport, Baotou Airport, Chifeng Airport, Hailaer Airport, Xilinhaote Airport, Wulanhaote Airport, Tongliao Airport etc.

Railway Station
19 national railway lines, 12 branch lines, and 5 local lines make up the railway system of Inner-Mongolia. These lines connect with some bigger cities of China such as Beijing, Xian, Hailaer, Lanzhou, Yinchuan and so on.

Highway
Many national highways pass through Inner-Mongolia Six bus lines to Mongolia and Russia has been completed, meanwhile, lots of implosive borders and pasturing area also set up highway. The transportation is more convenient than before.

Urban Transportation
In Hohhot city, there are about 20 public bus routes around the downtown, leading to different places of the city, including the bus station and railway station. What's more, it is quite convenient to take a taxi, which can be found in every street corner.


Travel Tips
1. The difference of temperature between day and night is great, so tourists should wear layer of clothes when traveling here.
2. Inner Mongolia is a landlocked region with relatively dry climate, so get ready for some lipstick and skin care cream, and drink more daily water.
3. Inner Mongolia is about 1,500 meters above sea level with strong direct sunlight from June to September, take sunscreen and sunglasses.
4. There are many Inner Mongolia customs and taboos, please listen to your tour guide or your escort.
5. Due to the big temperature difference between day and night as well the changeable grassland weather; please bring your own long-sleeved clothing.
6. In Inner Mongolia, the main tourist attractions is the desert and grasslands, it is appropriate to wear a T-shirt tourists, trousers, shoes.
7. Inner Mongolia food belongs to the north cuisine with heavier taste, the restaurants will try their best to make the local food adaptable to you.
8. Please bring your own drugs for diarrhea, fever, skin allergy drugs just for emergency.
9. If you bring children with you on the driving tour, take plenty of drinking water and medicine in case they get carsick. The temperature varies greatly between day and night, so bring warm clothing.

 

Last Updated on Thursday, 09 September 2010 09:27
 

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