Hohhot, capital of Inner Mongolia, is a great getaway from the metropolitan cities and introduces visitors to a more traditional way of life. The Mongolian meaning of Hohhot is ‘Blue City’, translated as sky and purity within the culture, rather synonymous with the purity in which one can describe the life they support. The surrounding land is one of wide expanses of green grass and natural beauty.
Many venture here for a break from modern pressures, to enjoy the historical sights and nature’s activities. There have been huge developments here since China’s reform with a manmade lake and stadium just some of the additions to the area. Fortunately these developments have not dampened the charm of the Mongolian culture and lifestyle too much. Folk songs, horse riding and wrestling still picture amongst the top Hohhot activities encompassing the essence of the Mongolian lifestyle.
For a historical introduction to Hohhot, there are temples, tombs, shrines and museums to immerse in. The Inner Mongolia Museum is a great place to start to gain an insight into Mongolian traditions and history. In particular look out for the tribal artefacts and dinosaur skeletons on display and be sure to visit the top floor which is dedicated to Genghis Khan.
The Old City of Hohhot is where both the Dazhao Temple and the Xilitu Zhao Temple are found. The Dazhao Temple dates back over 400years housing a silver Buddha statue. Xilitu Zhao on the other hand was once a small Ming Dynasty temple, today converted into the spiritual home of the eleventh Grand Living Buddha and the continued home of his successive reincarnations. As one of Hohhot’s oldest shrines, it is a popular attraction for visitors.
Just 9km out of Hohhot is another attraction to add to your list, the Zhaojun Tomb. Zhaojun married for the Emperors political gain to the King of Hun. Her tomb can be found close to the Hei He River by way of a statue upon a concrete tomb.
Lastly, but perhaps the main reason people come to Hohhot, is the grasslands. In particular make sure you get out to the Gegentala Grassland located 145km out of Hohhot’s city centre. The greenery will be a welcome change from the city landscapes with the chance to get involved in many outdoor activities. Take a camel ride or try your hand at archery or horse racing, all available while restaurants and accommodation lie in wait for the day’s end.
Summer is the best time to travel to Hohhot as it gives you the chance to really enjoy the outdoors. Therefore the months between June and August provide prime travelling dates while November to March is the thick of winter and can get very cold.
Guide to Hohhot Hotels
Budget/Mid Range: Hohhot Holiday Inn (city centre)