Located in Western Inner Mongolia, Baotou Prefecture covers an area of 27,768 square kilometers (10718 square miles), with a population of around 2.60 million. A 214-kilometer (133-mile) stretch of the Yellow River runs through the prefecture. Baotou is the largest city in Inner Mongolia, and one of the important industrial bases of the country. The city's name means 'place with deer' in the Mongolian language, hence the city has the nickname "Deer City".
Although Baotou's development as a city is of relatively short history, records of human settlement can be traced back to almost 5,000 years ago. In 1809, it was incorporated as a town, and it became a city in 1953, from which time Baotou has been known for its steel production.
Baotou is rich in ethnic and tourist resources. The best time to visit Baotou is during summer and autumn, when the weather is pleasant, and the grassland is in the best condition. Baotou has a convenient transportation network that links with many major cities in China.
The Mausoleum of Genghis Khan, 185 km (115 miles) south of Baotou City, is the most famous sight. This is a sacred place where Mongolian people gather to commemorate and offer sacrifices to the legendary hero, Genghis Khan, the establisher of the Mongol Empire.
Wudangzhao Lamasery, located 70 km (43.5 miles) northeast of Baotou, is the largest and best-preserved Tibetan Lamasery in Inner Mongolia. Meidaizhao Lamasery is unique in layout, as it is more like a walled city, with temples, royal palaces and city gates. Both are important centers for spreading Tibetan Buddhism in Inner Mongolia, and are of great importance for the study of the history, religion, and arts of Inner Mongolia.
Resonant Sand Bay offers you the unique experience of hearing sand sing! The reason for this natural phenomenon is still a mystery to the world. Muslims can visit and worship at Baotou Great Mosque in the city center.
The best way to experience Mongolian traditional customs is to ride a camel in the vast desert or grassland, visit or live in the Mongolian yurts, drink a bowl of hot milk tea, enjoy a meal of finger mutton, and listen to Mongolian folk songs. All these will get you closer to the life and culture of Mongolian herdsmen.
Baotou belongs to the semi-arid continental climate, with cool and favorable summers, and long cold winters. The annual average sunshine is around 2806 hours, and precipitation is 312 mm.
The annual average temperature is 8.5 °C (47.3 °F); the highest hit 36.5 °C (97.7 °F) in July, while the lowest is -20 °C (-4 °F) in January. The optimum time to visit is from summer to early autumn (June to October), when the weather is the most pleasant, and the grasslands are in the best condition.
Baotou's airport (Baotou Erliban Airport, BAV) is 23 km (14 miles) away from downtown areas. It has flights to Beijing, Shanghai, Xi'an, Guangzhou, Shenzhen, Chengdu, Nanjing, Wuhan, Taiyuan, Hohhot, Shenyang and Shijiazhuang.
There is no airport bus available. A taxi ride from the city center to the airport costs around 50 – 60 Yuan.
The two main railway stations in the city are: Baotou Railway Station (located in Kundulun District) and Baotou East Railway Station (located in Donghe District). Please make sure that you are going to the correct train station, since the two are quite far away (16 km / 10 miles) from each other.
You can get to numerous major cities from either of the stations, such as Beijing, Hohhot, Harbin, Xi’an, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Chengdu, Qingdao, Shijiazhuang, Shenyang, Jiayuguan, Datong, Zhangzhou, and many others.
For Baotou Railway Station, you can take bus #1, 2, 15, 22, 101 and 134;
For Baotou East Railway Station, you can take bus #5, 7, 10, 16, 34, 131 and 132.
There are two major bus stations for long-distance travel, located at Kunlundu District, and Donghe District. Both connect nearby cities and sights.
Baotou is only two hours away from Hohhot via expressway. The buses depart every eighteen or thirty minutes. Passengers can reach other cities within the Province, as well as many other cities in North China, such as Beijing, Xi’an, Changchun, Dalian, Datong, Taiyuan, Erdos, etc.
Tourist can also take buses to nearby sights, including Wudangzhao Lamasery, the Mausoleum of Genghis Khan, Resonant Sand Bay, etc.
Located at an altitude of 1,500 m, the weather here is dry with strong sun exposure. Please protect yourself from direct sunlight, wear hats, and drink lots of water.
The optimum time to visit is from summer to autumn (June to October). Temperatures vary a lot within a day, jackets and trousers are necessary at cool morning/evening hours of summer, and sweaters in spring or autumn. Since the rain comes with strong wind, raincoats are more practical than umbrellas.
At the vast grassland or desert, tourists should always follow a guide and move about within appointed areas. At night, it is better to bring a flashlight. In ethnic or religious areas, there are many customs and taboos, please follow the guide’s direction to avoid any unnecessary troubles.