All Grasslands Overview
CCC offers two separate Inner Mongolia grassland tours. Both of them are good but offer differing features depending on what your objective is and what you expect from the tour. In order for you to choose the tour best meeting your needs, we provide some comments below for your reference:
The two different grasslands for retreat and horseback riding in China:
You can stay in a local home and
milk a cowin the morning in Xilingguole
1. Hulunbuir Grassland & Erguna River, Russian border town
This is no doubt the best grassland in Inner Mongolia, but it is far and takes at least three days by air and bus, so it is the most costly one. The Erguna River and forest are beautiful.
2. Xilinguole Homestay - Experience real life of herdsmen
This is a peaceful and authentic retreat compared to Huitengxile or Xilamuren resort tour. CCC has a special connection with one local Mongol horseman. So you can spend a weekend with a real Mongol family, without any other tourists nor entertainment facilities. You will stay in their spare yurts, which are clean but they do have some lingering smell of mutton and oil, just enough so that you will know it is authentic.
You can watch and even participate in their farm and housework such as milking a cow. You will share the meal with the family. You can ride their horses to roam on the grassland, no other tourists there, it is very peaceful.
So don't expect entertainment there like popular grassland resorts, such as ATV driving, horse-racing, wrestling, fireworks, hiking in the Yellow Blossom Valley. It is a 3-day retreat of quiet relaxation, reading or sleeping on the grassland.
Xilinguole provides similar landscapes and grass (even a bit more lush and green) to Huitengxile, without any of the distractions such as other tourists to disturb you. There is no direct train from Beijing so you can only fly to Xilinhot and then drive to the place.
Other grasslands coments
CCC does not offer any of the below grasslands because they are either too touristy or barely grow any lush grass.
1. Huitengxile Grassland
CCC once organized this for a few years. But it becomes more and more touristy and the landscape has been blocked by hundreds of electric wind generators. So CCC gives up this area.
The Yellow Blossom Valley
in Huitengxile Grassland
A tourist scenic spot and resort offering a variety of activities, such as horseback riding, ATV driving, night Karaoke and fireworks. You can take a hike or roam through the Yellow Blossom Valley on horseback, and a visit Hohhot, the capital of Inner Mongolia, for its old streets, temple and mosque.
This is a full two days program. You can take the overnight direct train or fly to Hohhot and then drive two hours along expressway to reach our destination.
Huitengxile has more than 5 different resorts run by locals or Taiwanese or Hong Kongers, and are scattered diversely across the grassland. They all offer fenced-in recreation areas and canvas or concrete yurts for their guests and other entertainment facilities.
The resort, hotel and restaurant conditions are very basic and minimum. It is getting worse and worse with thousands of tourists flocking to this area in summer. The concret yurts you stay overnight lack enough cleaning. They just don't have time to clean and repair the facilities in the yurts. It is only for the summer, the yurts are overused.
Grass & Landscape:
Blue sky and white clouds merge with the vast and open grasslands on the horizon. Wind generators on some parts of the grassland interrupt the view.
Deep grass covers parts of the landscape but is not everywhere. The grass is usually half-shoe high and not as lush as before because of a lack of rainfall, deforestation and erosion of desert. In contrast to other famous sites of Inner Mongolia grassland around Hohhot, Huitengxile grass grows full by the end of June.
The concrete yurts in Huitengxile Grassland
Visit a local home and sit in the yurt
You will stay in a resort with concrete yurts (Canvas yurts in the resort are not appropriate: small, dark, damp and no indoor bathrooms). It provides very basic facilities such as toilet and hot water shower (limited time for hot water). The rooms are not as clean as a 3 star hotel and there are strong sewage odors, especially after a rainfall. Because higher standard are simply not available. So you are welcome to bring your own pillow case for added comfort ,if you so wish. There are no "traditional” yurts(without indoor plumbing )available for rent from private families.
The resort has a public yurt restaurant, offering dishes with vegetables transported from the capital. You will encounter a lot of local diners who enjoy their meals with much enthusiasm. No private rooms or special menu are available.
CCC guides will help you negotiate your horseback riding charges in order that you are not taken advantage of. Most resorts offer horse-racing: performances or wrestling shows but often the shows are very brief with not much content.
Locals in the yurts
There is actually no any local residents living in traditional yurts there. Most of them have moved into brick buildings. The young people become migrant workers in the city. You can visit one or two traditional yurt homes arranged by a tourist agency. The owner offers some milk tea and butter, but you won’t see them milking the cow or making milk tea themselves.
2. Xilamuren & Xilinguole Grassland
Xilamuren and Xinlinguole are other two famous grassland spots near Hohhot in Inner Mongolia. They are similar to Huitengxile, but there will be more people and the grass doesn’t grow well enough to fully cover the ground as in Huitengxile. The yurts they provide are a bit cleaner and nicer and the horseracing show is better.
3. Beautiful grasslands in Xinjiang
Xinjiang has some beautiful grasslands with spectacular landscapes as well as the unique Uygur Muslims. But since it is located in the far northwest of China, it is a long trip combining other destinations. Few tourists from Beijing or Shanghai travel there just for horseback riding or weekend relaxation.
5. Grasslands near Beijing
Bashang grassland in Fengning, Hebei, is the closest to Beijing, about a six hours drive. It is an easy day or two-days trip. But it has no Mongolian atmosphere. The grass and open space can’t compare with the above-mentioned sites.
Kangxi grassland, north of Guangting reservoir in Yanqing County, an 80-kilometre drive north of Beijing. It is just a fun place for horseback riding on the grass.
All Grassland Details
Hulun Buier Grassland
Inside the concret yurts provided for tourists
Hohhot: Daytime: 27'c-34'c; Night: 18'c-21'c
Grassland: Daytime: 27'c; Night: 15'c with strong wind
Exposure to the burning sun should be expected.
* Winter clothing for the evening, or you can rent a big new green "army" coat for 30 yuan.
* Well-grasping sneakers; sunglasses; sunhat and sun-burn lotion
* A handy poncho
You will stay at the relatively "luxurious yurt" with a shower (hot water available at limited hours), toilet with flush. Bring your own shampoo, soap and towel. The bedding is clean but you may bring your own pillow cases to make it even more comfortable.
3. Other things to prepare:
Medicine, some cash