Hohhot

Hohhot (呼和浩特; Hūhéhàotè) is the capital of Inner Mongolia, and part of a metropolitan area with a population of around 2.5 million.

Understand

Although Hohhot has only been the capital of Inner Mongolia since 1947, it has taken on the role with ease and with a rapidly growing population (currently at around 1.6 million) it has begun to challenge Baotou as the region's industrial and economic powerhouse. Despite the fact that only around 11% of the city's population are indigenous Mongols, Mongolian Buddhism (an offshoot of Tibetan Buddhism) continues to thrive and Mongolian culture is actively preserved. As a new capital, the city lacks an abundance of historical and tourist sites. However, it is still definitely worth visiting if in the area. The city is at its greenest and most pleasant in Spring and early Summer.

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.

Get in

By plane

Hohhot Baita International Airport (IATA: HET) is Inner Mongolia's main airport. Located 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 train

Hohhot is connected to the following cities by rail: Baotou (2 hrs), Beijing (6-11 hrs), Datong (4 hrs), Erenhot (9 hrs), Yinchuan (9 hrs), 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 hours). 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 between ~$11USD for a hard sleeper).

By bus

The 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 hrs), Beijing (8-11 hrs), Datong (4 hrs), Erlian (6-7 hrs, ¥88) and Dongsheng (3 hours).

Get around

By taxi

Taxis 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 bus

Busses run until 20:30 during the winter. English schedules are difficult to find.

By bicycle

Bicycles 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.

By foot

Depending 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.

See

Do

Eat

Drink


Sleep

Budget

Mid range

Splurge

Go next

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 itself 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.

Routes through Hohhot

Irkutsk UlaanbaatarErlian  N  S  Beijing


This article is issued from Wikivoyage - version of the Tuesday, September 08, 2015. The text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike but additional terms may apply for the media files.