Bayan Nur (巴彦淖尔, Bāyàn Nào'ěr, Mongolian: Bayannaɣur) is a prefecture level city in western Inner Mongolia.
Bayan Nur is subdivided as follows
- Linhe District (临河区; Línhéqū) — 186,000 inhabitants, situated at the northern loop of the Yellow River
- Wuyuan District (五原区; Wǔyuánqū) — 280,000 inhabitants, with administrative centre in Lóngxìngchāng (隆兴昌)
- Dengkou District (磴口区; Dèngkǒuqū) — 120,000 inhabitants, mostly residential, not geared towards travellers
- Urat Front District (乌拉特前区; Wūlātèqiánqū) — 340,000 inhabitants, formerly a banner and situated on the northern bank of the Yellow River
- Urat Middle District (乌拉特中区; Wūlātèzhōngqū) — 140,000 inhabitants, administrative centre in Haliut (海流图)
- Urat Rear District (乌拉特后区; Wūlātèhòuqū) — 60,000 inhabitants, the smallest district in population but the largest in area. Administrative centre is in Bayan Bolig (巴音宝力格)
- Hanggin Rear District (杭锦后区; Hángjǐnhòuqū) — 300,000 inhabitants, administrative centre in Shanba (陕坝)
Mongolian and Mandarin Chinese are the two official languages in the area. There are different dialects of both spoken throughout the region. The northeast of the province speak with a Dongbei accent that is very similar to standard Mandarin Chinese. Central areas speak the Jin dialect of Chinese. The two dialects are mutually unintelligible. The official dialect of Mongolian is Chahar and is distinct form the dialect used in the Republic of Mongolia. The Mongolian language and population is primarily in the northern and border regions of Inner Mongolia with the neighboring Republic of Mongolia to the north.
Writing on signs, menus and other documents is usually in both Mongolian and Chinese Hanzi scripts. The Mongolian script here follows the traditional style (vertical), in contrast with the Republic of Mongolia which adopted the Cyrillic script due to previous Russian/Soviet influences.
Flights from Beijing (PEK) to Bayan Nur (RLK) leave most weekday mornings at about 8am.
The main train station in Bayan Nur is Linhe Station, which is well connected to other parts of China, but no high-speed trains pass through this region yet. A ride to Baotou takes about two and a half hours and costs ¥32.5 (as of 2019).
Traditional Mongolian food is found throughout Inner Mongolia. This is typically high in dairy produce such as milk, yoghurt and cheese. The traditional Mongolian milk tea is exceptionally good. Meats, especially lamb, form most meals. The meat is usually roasted with a coating of spices to give a strong distinctive flavour. Similar with many areas of China, the hotpot is a popular style of cooking. Mongolian hotpot usually has a well flavoured soup but without the hot spices of central China.
Mongolian milk tea is distinctive to this region and frequently served in hotels along with breakfast. Some brands of Mongolian bottle water are known for their purity or special mineral content.
It is possible to travel to the Republic of Mongolia, (Outer Mongolia) and Russia from here by both road and rail. There are good connections into the southern neighbouring provinces of China.