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Home Travel in Inner Mongolia Xilin Gol Grassland
Xilin Gol Grassland
Travel in Inner Mongolia

Xilin Gol Grassland
Xilin Gol Grassland (xī lín guō lè dà cǎo yuán 锡林郭勒大草原) in Xilin Hot City (xī lín hào tè shì 锡林浩特市), Xilin Gol Prefecture of Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region, about 600 km north of Beijing (běi jīng 北京). It was established as China’s first grassland biosphere reserve in 1987. ''Xilin Gol'' means ''river on the plateau'' in the Mongolian language. This grassland covers more than 200,000 square kilometers on the Mongolian Plateau.

Xilin Gol Grassland was established as China’s first grassland biosphere reserve in 1987 to protect the biodiversity of a typical steppe ecosystem and to develop models of sustainable grassland resource use for improved well-being of the local people. The area is extensively grazed by wild herbivores and domestic livestock managed mainly by sedentary herders.

Before 1950, the area was used by nomadic Mongols as pasture land. After the establishment of four state-run livestock farms for breeding fine-wool sheep, 13% of the inhabitants of the biosphere reserve (in total 125,850 people in 1999) live on these farms whereas 87% in the town of Xilin Hot. The population of this city has rapidly expanded with increased investments in mining and oil industry. People are mainly ethnic Han (hàn zú 汉族), but there are also about 28% Mongols in the biosphere reserve.

Several development projects have been set up to meet the multiple objectives of the biosphere reserve. For example, a demonstration farm, raising traditional animals of the grassland such as horses, sheep and goats, has been established to present alternative practices and means of animal husbandry to local herders.

Amazing LandscapeXilin River
To the east and north of Xilin Hot, the Ujimqin (wū zhū mù qìn 乌珠穆沁) Grassland stretches far away. The terrain is flat, with numerous rivers and small lakes. While the Xilin Gol Grassland is considered the best grassland in China and even Asia, Ujimqin is the best of Xilin Gol.
The most beautiful place on the prairie is the bend on the Xilin River (xī lín hé 锡林河), the soul of the grassland. The meandering river is like a silver ribbon conjuring up visions of the remote past. Originating in Chifeng City (chì fēng shì 赤峰市), the 270 kilometers river winds like a Hada (hǎ dá 哈达) (a long piece of silk used as a greeting gift among the Mongolian and Tibetan people) near Xilin Hot, a stunning attraction to people from far and near. Volcano lava is witness to the enormous geological changes, which have taken place on the Xilin Gol Grassland.

resourcesXilin Gol Grassland is the most representative temperate steppe for Stipa grass and Chinese wildrye. It is the most complete wild grassland in the grassland subzone of East Asia in the Eurasian steppe region. The type of ecological environment in the conservation district is special, having basic characteristics of coenosis in the grassland, and fully reflecting the structure and ecological processes of typical grassland ecosystems in the Inner Mongolian Plateau. At present, there are 74 families, 299 genera and 658 species of seed plants, 73 species of bryophyte and 46 species of macro-fungi, including 426 species of medicinal plant and 116 species of fine pasture. Wildlife distributed in conservation district reflects the features of the Inner Mongolian Plateau Flora, including 33 species of mammals, such as Mongolian gazelle, wolf and fox, and 76 species of birds. Five of the bird species are under first class national protection, namely, Red-crowned crane, stork, bustard, haliaeetus leucoryphus; and 21 species of wildlife are under second class national protection: including whooper swans and Aquila rapax. This district is currently the nation’s largest natural reserve of the types of grassland and meadow ecosystems and it plays an important role in the international movement to protect biodiversity conservation of grassland creature.    

The Best Time to Travel

In summer, especially from June to September. Xilin Gol Grassland belongs to the middle temperate and semi-arid continental climate zone. The climate in Xilin Gol Prefecture is gale, drought and cold. The average annual temperature is 32 F to 37.4 F, with the lowest temperature of -4 F in January and the highest 69.8 F in July. The different temperature between day and night is from 53.6 F to 60.8 F. It rained a lot in July, August and September. The cold days will last seven months and frozen days last five months. So DO NOT go in spring and autumn because of sandstorm.



The famous food of the grassland is still mainly Roasted Whole-lamb (kǎo quán yáng 烤全羊), Instant-Boiled Mutton (shuàn yáng ròu 涮羊肉), Milk Tea (nǎi chá 奶茶), etc.

Distance from Beijing
Beijing (180 km) Xilin Gol Grassland
Beijing (640 km) Xilin Hot City
Beijing (584 km) Huhhot City (661 km) Xilin Hot City


Xilin Hot Railway has been set-rail line with the official opening of convergence; the daily train to Hohhot starts at dusk and arrives in the dawn. Xilin Hot airport can take off and land the Boeing 737, flying directly to Beijing, Dalian (dà lián 大连) and Hohhot, the peak tourism season has daily flights. The 207, 208, 303 state roads and 101, 204, 304 provincial roads make the transportation in Xilin Hot city quite convenient.

How to Go from Beijing
By Airplane:
Beijing—Huhhot City (hū hé hào tè shì 呼和浩特市)—Beijing: eleven flights daily
Full Price (economy class): CNY 500+ CNY 70 (tax)
Discount: depend on tourist season
Flight time: 1 hours and 10 minutes one way
Beijing—Xilin Hot City—Beijing: only one flight daily
Full price (economy class): CNY 530+ CNY 70 (tax)
Discount: depend on tourist season
Flight time: 1 hour one way

By Train:
Beijing—Huhhot City—Beijing: 17 trains run daily from Beijing to Huhhot City.
Train No. K89 (21:00—07:20) / K90 (21:23—07:20)
Run Time: 10 hour 20 minutes one way
Price: lower hard sleeper (CNY 170) lower soft sleeper (CNY 254)
Huhhot City—Xilin Hot City—Huhhot City: open in high season
Train No. L7916/7917 (22:05—08:48) / L7918/7915 (10:32—21:28)
Run Time: 10 hour 43/56 minutes one way
Price: lower hard sleeper (CNY 159) lower soft sleeper (CNY 243)
Note: “K” means express train with air-conditioner; “L” means temporary train with air-conditioner between cities.

By Overland:
In Beijing, taking by bus to Xilin Gol Grassland is about CNY 140 lasting about 12 hours.
In Huhhot, taking by bus to Xilin Hot is from about CNY 70-100 lasting about 10 hours.

Admission Fee: Free

Favoring Telephones and Helpful Website
International SOS alarm centers in China: 86-10-64629100, 64629199
Complaint Telephone Numbers in China National Tourism Administration: 86-10-65275315
Complaint Telephone Numbers in Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region: 86- 471-6282653
Complaint Telephone Numbers in Xilin Gol Prefecture: 86-479-8263204

Travel Tips

In spring and autumn, there is sandstorm so stop to go grassland.
In winter the cold day last seven months and frozen will last five months.
Be sure to respect local ethical customs and traditions.
Please take enough water, sunbonnet, sunglass, and suntan oil in summer.
Bring warm clothes with you because weather is change to cold at night.
In summer, there are much mosquitoes and some bug so take something to keep it off.