HohhotInner Mongolia, and part of a metropolitan area with a population of around 2.5 million.
Because of the large Hui Muslim population, restaurants with a green or yellow sign are generally Halal and will not serve pork. Mentioning pork to the owner is considered a grave insult and should be avoided. Take the opportunity to sample the mutton dishes instead.
Hohhot Baita International AirportInner Mongolia's main airport. It is one hour outside of Hohhot; regular flights are available to Beijing, Chifeng, Guangzhou, Hailar, Shanghai, Shenzhen, Shijiazhuang, Tianjin,Wuhan, Xi'an, and Xilinhot. International flights are available to Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia.
By trainHohhot is connected to the following cities by rail: Baotou (2 hr), Beijing (6-11 hr), Datong (4 hr), Erenhot (9 hr), Yinchuan (9 hr), Moscow and Ulaanbaatar.
There are two train stations in Hohhot: Hohhot (Huhehaote), and the newer Hohhot East (Huhehaotedong).
The Beijing to Hohhot overnight train is K89. K89 departs at 21:00 and arrives at 07:20 (9 hr). The K90 from Hohhot to Beijing departs at 21:23 and arrives at 07:20 (cost is ~US$24 for a hard sleeper).
Trains 4652 and 4653 run between Hohhot and Erlian. The train leaving from Hohhot departs at 22:00 and arrives at 06:08 (cost is about US$11 for a hard sleeper).
By busThe long distance bus station is located next to main train station. Facing the station, it is on the left side of the square.
There are regular bus services to the following cities: Baotou (2 hr), Beijing (8-11 hr), Datong (4 hr), Erlian (6-7 hr, ¥88) and Dongsheng (3 hr).
By taxiTaxis start at ¥6 during the day (¥7.50 at night?) and are highly available throughout the day. Taxis are difficult to flag 14:00-15:00 as people go back to work as well as during early evening, or with foul weather. Many streets have regular traffic jams so be prepared to sit and watch the meter.
By busBusses run until 20:30 during the winter. English schedules are difficult to find.
By bicycleBicycles are by far the most convenient and common in the city. Be careful with the new/foreign traffic patterns. Left turns occur after straight traffic, typically bicycles turn left from the bicycle lane with auto traffic through intersections. Following local traffic is often the safest way to ride and will orient you to traffic patterns, customs, and flow. During peak hours, traffic police will dictate crossing times. Parking your bicycle is easy and convenient in the 'corral' spaces. Attendants will issue you and your bicycle matching 'sticks' and your bicycle will be generally safe while you shop or go to work. Rates are ¥0.5-2/day. Hours may vary.
There are now several apps for smart phones that can be used to hire bicycles, in particular (once linked to a bank card) the social media app Wechat or the wallet app Alipay can be used to hire many public bicycles.
By footDepending on construction levels, walking the city is very easy and common and is perhaps the best way to interact with locals. During peak hours, traffic police will dictate crossing times. Theft and molestation is generally not high in the city, however prudence should always be practiced. As a city spectacle, a smile will often turn obvious bewilderment of the passing people into delight. Try it out! ¥0.5-1 is a reasonable amount to offer beggars and the homeless, as well as empty plastic bottles.
Da Zhao TempleThe oldest Buddhist monastery in the city constructed in 1579. A 2.5-meter silver statue of Sakyamuni Buddha is among the temples most precious treasures.
Inner Mongolia MuseumExhibitions of the flora and fauna and history of (Inner) Mongolia from the stone age until modern times, as well as on minerals and mining, space exploration, and dinosaurs. Although not all captions are in English there is still a lot of information available and it's not difficult to understand the exhibitions.
Temple of the Five PagodasAn Indian style temple constructed in 1732. Famous for its frescos of 1,500 carved figures of Buddha, the inscription of the Diamond Sutra and an engraved Mongolian star chart.
The Great MosqueThe oldest and largest mosque in the city built in 1693 in Chinese style.
Xilitu Zhaoaddress: 112 Danan Street, Yuquan DistrictThe largest Buddhist temple in the city and main seat of Buddhism in Inner Mongolia.
Dazhao Temple FestivalsSongjing Da Fahui (8th-15th of the 1st and 6th lunar months), Songbalin (14th day of the 1st and 6th lunar months), Liang Dafo (15th day of the 1st and 6th lunar months), and Mani Hui (14th-17th day of eighth lunar month).
Get to the mountains
People's parkaddress: Zhongshan west roadYou can drive a pedal boat (50 ¥/60 ¥ for 2/4 people) on one of the lakes, ride a giant wheel or just walk around in this very nice park. Parts are like an amusement park, other parts just like a normal park. No entrance fee for the park.
Bei Guo Zhi Chun (The Garden Restaurant)A greenhouse/warehouse turned into a massive eatery where plants are abundant as well as water features, indoor yurts, and private space. Great for parties or intimate dinners. The menu is very comprehensive. Tea is not free but is delicious. Wait staff is friendly and places orders via wireless PDAs so it may seem they are pushy.
Zang Can Bar (Tibet Food Bar)A small Tibetan restaurant. Great food, atmosphere & jewelry. Private room can sit a dozen people.
address: Chengjisihan Dajie, Xincheng DistrictA northwestern Chinese cuisine chain, which started in Inner Mongolia; one of the four stores in Hohhot. The menu is very comprehensive. Tea is not free. The menu is in Chinese and English and meals are delivered via roller skate. Maybe someday they'll re-label the noodle appetizer called "Panda-crusted noodles." Plenty of private rooms available. Wait staff is friendly and places orders via wireless PDAs so it may seem they are pushy.
Mongolian Food @ the Race TrackMeals served in traditional Mongolian style in your own private yurt.
Fengwei HuoguoSeafood hotpot. Busy every night, for good reason.
Shiao HotelBuffet overlooking all of Hohhot that rotates so you get the whole 360. Come early.
Vienna Pubaddress: Hulunbeier Nan Road (呼伦贝尔南路)Club with live bands playing Mongolian music all night long. Frequented by many ethnic Mongolians.
phone: +86 471 6918039address: Qiaokao West Street, Saihan District (赛罕区桥靠西街; Sàihǎnqū Qiáokàoxījiē)Electric hob available for cooking, tea & coffee (¥10), light breakfast, train station pick-up, DVDs, internet (¥20 per half hour) and hot showers available without surcharge. Towels for rent (¥5).
Pinnacle Hotelphone: +86 471 4316688address: Zhao Wu Da Road
Yunzhong Hotel Hohhotphone: +86 471 6968822address: 27 West Zhongshan Road
phone: +86 471 6605588address: 52 Zhaowuda Road, Saihan district
Inner Mongolia Hotelphone: +86 471 6964233address: West Wulanchabu Road
Inner Mongolia Jin Jiang International Hotelphone: +86 21 61226688 ext 7800address: 119 Hulun South Road, Saihan DistrictThis five-star hotel in Hohhot brings guests to a new level of luxury, offering almost 1000 rooms with relaxing amenities, event venues and catering services, and recreational facilities. Its website accepts online reservations.
- The Grasslands. Mongolia's history is linked to its grasslands. Recommended places near Hohhot are: Xilamuren (80 km north), Huitengxile (120 km west) and Gegentela (150 km north).
For Gegentela take a bus from Hohhot to Wu4lan2hua1 （乌兰花, 2 hours approx). You can take the bus (¥30) from the long distance bus station which is very close to the central train station in Hohhot. From here you can take a minibus (¥10 per person) or a taxi (¥60) to Gegentela (30 minutes). The place where you will arrive in Gegentala is the Inner Mongolian equivalent of a holiday park (targeting Chinese tourists). At the park, there are 3 classes of yurt available to stay in. The highest two classes (around ¥700 and ¥600 per night) are concrete structures containing a double bed, table and chairs and a shower (shared toilets are available in a separate building). The lowest class of yurt cost ¥380 per night and are more traditional fabric structures with bedding for at least four people to sleep on the floor and a small table but no showers. Cheaper sleeping options are offered by families living near to the park. Most of these families live in brick built houses but have traditional fabric yurts available to rent. These yurts are almost identical to the cheapest option at the park but are available from around ¥80 per night. Most of these small clusters of yurts can be seen from the main road between Wulanhua and Gegentela, some are located a little further along this road.
Horse riding and Mongolian martial art shows (25 minutes, ¥20 per person) and traditional Mongolian singing and dancing performances (1 hour, ¥30 per person) are available at the holiday park. Horse riding is offered at the holiday park and at many of the nearby families offering accommodation. Reasonably priced food (though more expensive than in Wulanhua itself) is available at the park's restaurants and is also offered by the neighbouring families.