Inner Mongolia is a beautiful place in the north of China with vast grasslands, massive flocks and herds, photogenic deserts, and diamond-like lakes. It was also the home of the great Genghis Khan — it's a Mongol ethnic region that is rich in history.
Scroll down to read the top things to do in Inner Mongolia by city and some featured activities to brighten your Inner Mongolia tour. Or contact our Inner Mongolia experts right away for travel suggestions tailored to your interests.
Popular Tourist Cities in Inner Mongolia: Attractions Map
The popular tourist cities (prefectures) in Inner Mongolia are:
- 5-Day Inner Mongolia Grass & Sand
- 6-Day Inner Mongolia Wild Heartlands
- 8-Day Hohhot, Baotou and Ordos Tour
3 Top Things to Do in Hohhot — Trace Inner Mongolia's History
1. Appreciate Royal Dazhao Temple
Dazhao Temple, revitalized by imperial decree, is the earliest Gelugpa Buddhist monastery in Inner Mongolia and one of the few temples without a living Buddha. The temple is known for its silver Buddha, golden dragon sculptures and exquisite murals.
More on Dazhao Lamasery>>>
2. Trace Mongol Culture and History at Inner Mongolia Museum
The museum is a good place to explore the history of the Mongols and their grassland culture. There's also a breathtaking display of dinosaurs and other paleontology exhibits.
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3. Learn about a Royal Mongol-China Marriage at Zhaojun Tomb
Zhaojun Tomb immortalizes and exhibits the marriage between a great beauty of ancient China, Wang Zhaojun, and the King of the Xiongnu tribe, Chanyu, and its great contribution towards the communication between their peoples in terms of economy, culture, technology, agriculture, and animal husbandry.
This is also a nice place to take a stroll with beautiful scenery. A legend says that each year, when it turned cold and the grass became yellow, only this tomb remained green, hence its other name: 'Green Tomb'.
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2 Top Things to Do in Baotou — Explore Plateau Grasslands and Buddhism
1. Enjoy a Plateau Grassland: Xilamuren Grassland
With an altitude of 1,700 meters (5,600 feet), Xilamuren Grassland is a typical plateau grassland with a chain of undulating hills.
It is only 1½ hours' drive from Hohhot and people normally visit it in combination with a Hohhot city tour. Here, you can not only experience grassland actives like horse riding, a bonfire party, and Mongol singing and dancing, but you can also attend the Naadam Grassland Fair, which is normally held in July or August.
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2. Visit "the Little Potala" — Wudangzhao Monastery
Known as "the little Potala", it is the biggest and the best-preserved Gelugpa Buddhist monastery in Inner Mongolia. It is a special monastery, which had roles in both politics and religion: it has its own jail, court, and armory.
There are some 1,500 Buddhist statues and abundant fine murals, which depict historical characters, customs, myths, and beautiful landscapes.
2 Top Things to Do in Ordos — Revel in Desert Scenery and the History of Genghis Khan
1. Admire the Mongolian Hero's Exploits at the Mausoleum of Genghis Khan
The milky white walls, the red windows and doors, the golden top, and the blue cloud pictures all form a traditional Mongolian 'Eight White' Palace: the Mausoleum of Genghis Khan. A sacred place for Mongolian people, it is "like a flying eagle", showing you the vigor of the prairie emperor.
The present Mausoleum of Genghis Khan was built in 1954. It is not really where he was actually buried, but it holds his clothing, which was buried in his memory. Actually, nobody really knows where he was buried, so it serves as a gathering place for Mongolians to offer sacrifices in memory of the great leader.
More on The Mausoleum of Genghis Khan>>>
2. Go on Desert Adventures at Resonant Sand Gorge
The sandy slopes of Resonant Sand Gorge can make a hum not dissimilar to the (distant) roar of an aircraft on sunny days. The gorge is about 400 meters wide, with slopes of 45 degrees, and the sand there is fine and smooth.
It is more like a desert amusement park, with various activities: horseback and camel riding, sand sliding, zip lines... It would also be a great enjoyment to simply listen to the susurrations of the desert's shifting sands.
More on Resonant Sand Gorge>>>
4 Top Things to Do in Hulunbuir — Discover a Kingdom of Pastures and Diverse Ethnic Culture
1. Explore the Birthplace of Genghis Khan — the Hulunbuir Grassland
Known as the "Kingdom of Pastures", the Hulunbuir Grassland is the best-preserved prairie in China, covering an area of 9,900 square kilometers (3,800 square miles). It is also the birthplace of Genghis Khan.
In the summer, visitors can go horse riding, view horse racing, and attend wrestling matches. Bonfire parties featuring whole-sheep feasts are popular. The flocks and herds, together with the Mongolian yurts, make the prairie far more charming.
More on Hulunbuir Grasslands>>>
2. Enjoy Diamond-Like Lakes: Hulun and Buir
Hulunbuir was named after two lakes: Hulun and Buir. The lakes are teeming with fish and shrimp, and wildflowers are everywhere in the spring/summer.
3. Have an Authentic Russian Experience at Enhe and Manzhouli
Enhe, one of the few Russian ethnic townships in China, and Manzhouli, bordering Russia, are places where you can experience a very strong Russian cultural atmosphere.
You will find traditional Russian-style wooden houses and fences, Matryoshka dolls, etc., as well as local people who have Russian faces but speak northeastern Mandarin.
4. Feed the Reindeers of the Mysterious Aoluguya Tribe
Aoluguya reindeer tribe is the last hunting tribe in China and is the only tribe in China who raise reindeer. There, you can get close to the reindeer and feed them with unpolluted moss.
You will also get close to one of the oldest and most mysterious ethnicities in the world — the Ewenki. Ewenki means 'people walking down the mountain'. Now they live in the outskirts of Genhe City, but they have kept their simple and traditional lifestyle: their hunting, birch skin shelters, animal skin clothes, and Shamanist culture.
3 Featured Activities to Brighten Your Inner Mongolia Tour
1. Attend the Naadam Grassland Fair
Naadam, which means 'entertainment' or 'games' in Mongolian, also celebrates the joy of harvest, and is regarded as a great celebration among Mongolian people in Inner Mongolia, Gansu, Qinghai, and Xinjiang. It is held in summer (July or August), when the livestock are fat and strong.
The festival usually lasts for 5 to 10 days, and during the fair, men and women, old and young wear their holiday costumes and take part in the activities.
The main activities at a Naadam fair include horse racing, wrestling, archery, polo, playing Mongolian chess, martial arts, and other competitions as well as performances. Folk dancing and singing are performed during the fair, and Mongolians are good at both of them!
There is also trade at the fair. Many kinds of products, such as local products and animal products from different places, are exchanged there.
Note: The venues and dates for holding the festival vary each year and it is advisable to have a travel agency assist with the arrangements. Contact our travel consultants for assistance.
2. Stay in a Mongolian Yurt
The best way to experience Mongolian traditional customs is to stay in a Mongolian yurt for a night. During the daytime, you may ride a camel in the vast desert or grassland. While at night, you can join in a bonfire party with Mongolian singing and dancing.
3. Taste the Local Mongolian Cuisine
Lamb, milk, wild vegetables, and wheat feature highly in Mongolians' daily dishes. Their cooking methods are relatively simple, among which roasting is most used.
When traveling Inner Mongolia, the following dishes/snacks are something you cannot miss: roasted whole sheep, roast lamb, mutton hot pot, hand-grab mutton, ghee (clarified butter), kumis (fermented equine milk), etc.
China Highlights is keen to use the best local restaurants for our clients. Contact us for an authentic Inner Mongolia food experience.
Touring Inner Mongolia with China Highlights
Want a taste of the true Inner Mongolia? Contact our travel experts for a tailor-made Inner Mongolia tour.
Here are our most popular Inner Mongolia tours for inspiration: