A’ershan, also spelled “Alshan” or “Arxan”, means ‘hot holy water’ in Mongolian. A’ershan is a volcanic area with dense forests and hot springs. It also has some of China’s best ski resorts, offering diverse views and exotic travel experiences in all four seasons.
Scroll down to find out interesting facts about A’ershan, the best times to visit, top things to do, and other travel tips.
A’ershan Basic Facts
A’ershan is a county-level city in the northwest of the Hinggan League prefecture in Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region. It covers an area of 7,400 square kilometers (2,900 square miles) and borders Hulunbuir to the northeast and Mongolia in the west.
Alshan’s landscape features great grasslands, towering mountains, and mineral-rich hot springs.
It lies in the middle of four great grasslands of the vast Mongolian-Manchurian Steppe: the Xilingol Grassland and a portion of Mongolia’s grassland are west; Horqin Grassland is south; and Hulunbuir Grassland is north.
A’ershan also lies in the middle of the Greater Khingan Range, which stretches north-south through Inner Mongolia.
A’ershan prefecture has a population of 68,000 made up of Mongol, Han, Hui, Korean, and Xibo ethnic groups.
A’ershan Weather — the Best Times to Visit
A’ershan is in an alpine continental region in Eurasia’s sub-arctic zone. It has a short and cool summer and a severely cold and long winter. It’s generally dry with rainfall only getting to moderate levels in July.
The annual average temperature is around 3°C (37°F). Snow falls from early October to April and the depth of snow can reach as high as 37 millimeters (1.5 inches). During its 7 months of snow and ice, A’ershan is silver-coated, like a beautiful frozen paradise.
The Best Times to Visit
A’ershan is suitable for a year-round visit, but the best time to visit is from June to Mid-September when the weather is most comfortable at around 6–21°C (44–71°F). Its grasslands are lush in summer, while in autumn, leaves turn golden in the forests.
The period from November to March is the best period to ski in Alshan Ski Resort and soak in a hot spring, when temperatures stay well below freezing, with an overall average range of -30–-5°C (-23–22°F).
There is a big temperature difference between day and night, and usually thunderstorms come in summer, please bring long-sleeved clothes, and raincoats or umbrellas.
In the spring, autumn and winter, it is necessary to bring enough warm clothing, such as down jackets, sweaters, hat and gloves, and walking/snow boots.
4 Top Things to Do in A’ershan
A’ershan is an area that integrates the sightseeing of volcanoes, glaciers, grasslands, hot springs, forests, skiing, and cultural monuments. Among them all, the following 4 things are the ones you cannot miss.
1. Explore the Magnificent Arxan National Forest Park
A’ershan boasts the best-preserved volcanic landforms in China and at Arxan National Forest Park, you can enjoy spectacular volcanic lakes, dense forests, undulating grasslands, deep valleys, meltwater rivers, and hot springs. It’s a place for hiking and leisure.
It is extremely popular among visitors from late August to September when the leaves turn red and golden.
2. Soak in Mineral Hot Springs
A’ershan Hot Spring is said to have around 48 mineral springs formed by volcanic activity. The springs gush naturally with many therapeutic and health care benefits.
If you are coming in winter, soaking in the hot springs will bring you a geothermal experience of “ice and fire”.
3. Have Fun at the Alpine A’ershan Ski Resort
Thanks to its advantageous location in Asia’s sub-arctic latitudes, A’ershan amasses its moderate quantities of snow each winter, making it as one of China’s top ski resort areas.
Alshan Ski Resort lies on both sides of the hot spring area, consisting of two main sections: Western Hill for training and competition and Eastern Hill — the ski playground for tourists.
The Eastern Hill area offers trails of different levels, and it is an ideal place for beginners. In additional, the snowmobile and snow UFO sites there provide entertainment options.
4. Appreciate the Pretty A’ershan Railway Station
A’ershan Railway Station is one of the most beautiful railway stations in China, which has witnessed wars and the changing times of the world.
It is a three-story Japanese-style building with a spire, built by the Japanese in the Manchukuo period (1932–45) with bricks, wood, granite, and reinforced concrete. The other side of the station retains a bunker in the shape of a semi-circular spire, which looks like a typical grain storage bin in the countryside of northeast China from a distance.
Over 80 years has past, but A’ershan Railway Station is still well preserved and in normal operating order.
Getting to A’ershan
Arxan Yi'ershi Airport is about 27 kilometers (17 miles) north of downtown A’ershan, connecting A’ershan to Hohhot and Harbin.
Airport shuttle buses are available, but only run twice a day between A’ershan bus station and the airport, one in the morning and the other in the afternoon without a fixed departure time. You can take a taxi or our private airport transfer with English-speaking guide service for convenience.
The pretty A’ershan Railway Station is a small station with limited train routes and train timetables differ in summer and winter.
You can take a normal-speed train from Shenyang (~11½ hours, overnight), Ulanhot (~4 hours), or Baicheng (~5 hours) to reach A’ershan in summer. Additional trains from Changchun (~9 hours) and Hailar (~4½ hours) operate in winter.
There’s not much choice of hotels in A’ershan. In winter, many hotels are closed due to the lack of travelers. The best hotels in A’ershan are:
- Shengbidebao Hotel, a Russian-style 4-star-standard hotel in the city, costing from CN¥550
- Haishen Hot Spring Hotel, a 3-star-standard hotel close to Hot Spring Museum of China, costing from CN¥500
Others are mostly hostel or homestay options with a comparatively cheaper rate of around CN¥150–200. Facilities and service are quite basic.
Having problems booking a suitable hotel? Contact us for assistance.
Planning an A’ershan Tour?
An A’ershan tour takes around 3 days and is normally combined with Manzhouli or Hailar of Hulunbuir Prefecture, making a tour with grassland ethnic culture, exotic Russian charm, and natural beauty.
Here are our most popular Inner Mongolia tours for inspiration:
- 5-Day Inner Mongolia Grass & Sand with Nomadic Life Experience
- 6-Day Inner Mongolia Wild Heartlands with Hiking and Camping
- 8-Day Hohhot–Ordos Tour with Hiking, Camping, and Culture
Contact our A’ershan expert for a worry-free customized tour that covers the main highlights of Inner Mongolia.