Alshan is a city of the Chinese province of Inner Mongolia and is located in the far northeastern part of the country near the Russian and Mongolian borders. The name "Alshan" is the Mongolian word for "hot spring," and the town is blessed with an abundant supply of springs, cold, warm, and hot.
Alshan brings many tourists every year to experience its refreshing mineral waters that bubble up from the ground and is also famous for its natural beauty and conduciveness to winter sports and activities. One will meet here as well with a mix of cultures — for Alshan is a "blending zone" between Mongolia, Korea, and China proper.
A large expanse of territory in the vicinity of Alshan is scattered with 48 natural hot springs with their lakes or pools. A nearby well-known resort, Haishensheng Hot Spring Resort, caters to spring-seeking tourists, but there are also many opportunities outside the resort to find these springs that rank among the best in all of China. Bathing or dipping oneself in the mineral rich waters is both relaxing and therapeutic.
These springs contain significant amounts of magnesium, silicon, sulfur, and other elements brought up with the water that rises from the deep in the earth's crust. A number of health conditions and diseases are cured or improved by contact with the beneficial minerals dissolved in the spring water, including skin diseases, breathing difficulties, anemia, arthritis, and an over-stressed nervous system.
Rocks deep inside the earth heat and cause to rise the water while infusing them with doses of calcium, chloride, sulfur, etc. and causing these springs to resemble boiling pots of water with hot steam lingering over them. The hot springs of Alshan have never been known to have gone dry even in the worst droughts of Chinese history and have long been sought out for their pleasurable and healthful effects.
China has more than 3,000 hot springs within its borders, and they have been in the past the "bath tubs of kings" who resorted to them for cleansing and for romance. The populous also has long enjoyed the presence of these springs in their land.
Alshan's location in the remote grasslands of the Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region by the edges of Mongolia requires that one spend a number of hours to travel to it. The town is 254 km (182 mi) from Ulanhot from which town one can catch a bus to Alshan. It is also possible to fly in to Ulun Buir and drive, bus, or taxi from that somewhat closer point.
Being positioned by the mountains of Mongolia and not incredibly far south of Siberia, one can understand that Alshan's climate is quite cold. This means for the tourist that summer or early fall is the best time to come to avoid freezing weather and snow storms. However, those whose purpose in traveling is to engage in winter sports such as skiing will want to arrive between November and April. The monsoons still reach here, despite the far northerly location, making July and August too rainy to be an ideal sight seeing time.
First and foremost, many will want to visit one of the best ski resorts in all China — Alshan Ski Resort. It offers much winter enjoyment among the forested, snowy hills.
Also of note are the Mount Arxan Hot Spring Museum, the Hailaer National Forest Park which is frequented by scientists as well as tourists, the Ewenki Museum, Hulun Lake, the Hulunbuir Grassland and the Daxinganling Forest, numerous mountaintop lakes, and the Hulunbuir Ice and Snow Folklore Garden.
Finally, one should consider heading over to the Russian border to see the quaint boundary city of Manzhouli along with its War of Nuomenhan Museum.