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Inner Mongolia (Mandarin: 内蒙古, Nèi Měnggǔ; Mongolian: , Övör Mongol), officially known as Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region, is an autonomous region in northern China and is the main home of China's ethnic Mongol population. The region surrounds much of Mongolia to the south and a small portion of the region borders Russia to the north.


Regions of Inner Mongolia

  Western Inner Mongolia (Hohhot, Baotou, Bayan Nur, Ordos City, Wuhai, Alxa prefecture)
  Central Inner Mongolia (Ulanqab, Xilin Gol, Chifeng, Tongliao)
  Eastern Inner Mongolia (Hulunbuir prefecture, Hinggan prefecture)


  • 1 Hohhot - the largest city in the region and the main entry point for the traveller. It serves as the capital of the region and is often dubbed as the "Dairy Capital" of China.
  • 2 Baotou - on the Yellow River (Huang He)
  • 3 Chifeng - the location of Arshihaty Stone Forest in the Hexigten UNESCO Global Geopark
  • 4 Ordos City - Dongsheng is the home of cashmere sweaters produced in the Erdos Grasslands
  • 5 Erlian - border town on the Trans-Siberian railway
  • 6 Hailar - in the North
  • 7 Manzhouli - northern gateway to Russia
  • 8 Wuhai - on the Yellow River

Other destinations[edit]

  • Zalantun National Park
  • Dalai Lake or Lake Hulin (Dalai nuur) - One of the five largest freshwater lakes in China, covering approximately 2,339 km². A popular summer tourist area.


The hustles and bustles of Hohhot, the capital of Inner Mongolia

Politics and government[edit]

Inner Mongolia is officially known as the Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region. It is one of five autonomous regions within the People's Republic of China.

Under Chinese law, autonomous regions are entitled to more rights and privileges — such as implementing their own economic policies, and declaring additional official languages — but they have no legal right to secede.

Name transcriptions[edit]

  • Mandarin: 内蒙古自治区, Nèi Měnggǔ Zìzhìqū
  • Mongolian: ᠥᠪᠥᠷᠮᠣᠩᠭᠣᠯᠥᠪᠡᠷᠲᠡᠭᠨᠵᠠᠰᠠᠬᠤᠣᠷᠣᠨ, Öbür mongüol-un öbertegen zasaqu orun


Inner Mongolia is a large region stretched across the northern edge of China. It has a relatively low population density the majority of which are Han Chinese. About 17% of the population is ethnic Mongolian. The region is officially an Autonomous Region for the Mongolian people within China. The east of Inner Mongolia consists of wide grass meadowlands, forests, and mountains. The west of the region is made up of scorching hot deserts. Traditional Mongolian nomadic lifestyles can still be seen in the region and gers (Mongolian tents) are not an uncommon sight in the wide spaces between the cities. Even though ethnic Mongols form a minority in the region, the number of ethnic Mongols holding Chinese citizenship is almost twice the population of the independent country of Mongolia.

The main religion in the area practiced by the Mongol minority is Vajrayana Buddhism, similar to that found in Tibet, Bhutan and the Republic of Mongolia. Lama temples are common throughout the region.

Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center (JSLC) (酒泉卫星发射中心) is in Inner Mongolia and is the site of most of China's rocket launches. It is in a remote area and not open to the public. (The city of Jiuquan lies over 100 km away in the neighboring province of Gansu.)

Throughout much of the 2000s, the region saw the highest economic growth in all of China.


There is great diversity in Inner Mongolia and the region is home to multiple ethnic groups, with Mongols and Han Chinese being the largest ethnic groups in the region.

Han Chinese are the largest ethnic group in the region and make up 79% of the population in the region. When the autonomous region was established in the 1940s, Han Chinese made up 80-85% of the population.

Mongols are the second largest ethnic group in the region and make up 18% of the population. Since 1990, the Mongol population has been on the rise.

Evenks are mainly concentrated in the eastern part of the province, near the Russian border, and speak a language that is distantly related to Manchu. They are the only ethnic group in China that traditionally herds reindeer for a living.

Unlike the Tibetans and Uyghurs, the Mongols by and large have peaceful relations with the Han Chinese, and separatist sentiments are almost non-existent. Inter-ethnic marriages in the region are very common. Nevertheless, the ethnic Mongols are fiercely protective of their cultural identity and traditions.


See also: Mongolian phrasebook
A KFC outlet with signs in Mongolian and Mandarin Chinese

Mongolian is co-official with Mandarin in Inner Mongolia.

There are different dialects of both spoken throughout the region. The north east 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 from the dialect used in independent Mongolia, though still largely mutually intelligible. The Mongolian language and population is primarily located in the northern and border regions of the province with the neighboring Republic of Mongolia to the north. Most ethnic Mongols are bilingual in Mongolian and Mandarin. Writing on signs, menus and other documents is usually bilingual in Mongolian and Chinese.

The ethnic Mongols here use the traditional Mongolian script to write their language, and the Cyrillic alphabet that is used in independent Mongolia is nearly unknown. The script is unusual in that it is written from top to bottom.

Get in[edit]

By plane[edit]

There are nine public airports in Inner Mongolia. Most only receive domestic flights so requiring foreign visitors to transfer at one of the major cities of China before reaching Inner Mongolia. There are international flights form Hohhot (HET IATA)to Ulaanbaatar in Mongolia run by MIAT Mongolian Airlines.

Other airports are Baotou Airport (BAV IATA), Chifeng Airport (CIF IATA), Hailar Dongshan Airport (HLD IATA), Manzhouli Airport (NZH IATA), Tongliao Airport (TGO IATA), Ulanhot Airport (HLH IATA), Wuhai Airport (WUA IATA), Xilinhot Airport (XIL IATA).

By train[edit]

Many cities of Inner Mongolia are connected to the Chinese rail network giving access to the region from neighbouring provinces. The Trans-Mongolian railway connects from Beijing via Datong in Shanxi province to the city of Jining in Inner Mongolia and north through Erenhot, in north central Inner Mongolia, to Ulaanbaatar in Outer Mongolia and onwards to Siberia in Russia. The north Eastern end of Inner Mongolia is traversed by rail routes connecting Russian Siberia to Harbin in Heilongjiang Province and through to the Russian Far East.

Get around[edit]

The central area of Inner Mongolia is connected to a rail route that spans form Liaoning and Jilin provinces through Tongliao city in the east of Inner Mongolia, on across the Trans-Mongolian railway at Jining (Inner Mongolia), to Hohhot. Then the line runs westward again until Wuhai city where the route exits Inner Mongolia, running just south of the border in the neighbouring provinces before turning north again and terminating in Ejin Qi in Western Inner Mongolia. Several branches run off of this to other cities. The north east of Inner Mongolia is not connected directly to the other cities of Inner Mongolia but is crossed by railways originating in Liaoning, Jilin and Heilongjiang provinces.

The international airport in Hohhot has connections to the other eight airports in Inner Mongolia. All Inner Mongolian airports also connect to Beijing. Thus it is possible to travel from one end of the region to the other by air. However, the frequency of flights to these small airports is low.


  • Wudangzhao Monastery - 70 km (43 mi) northeast of Baotou.
  • Dazhao Temple - In Hohhot
  • Xilituzhao Palace - In Hohhot.
  • Zhaojun Tomb - beside the Da Hi River nine kilometers south of Hohhot.
  • Wanbu Huayanjin Pagoda - In Hohhot.
  • Xiaozhao Temple (also called Chongfu temple) - In Hohhot.
  • Five-towers Temple (Wuta Si) - In Hohhot.
  • Qingzhen Da Si Mosque - In Hohhot.
  • Inner Mongolia Museum (内蒙古博物馆 Nèiměnggǔ Bówùguǎn) - The museum has over 44,000 items and is particularly noted for its dinosaur collection. In Hohhot.
  • Mausoleum of Genghis Khan (成吉思汗陵 Chéngjísīhán Líng) - Located within Ordos Prefecture. This isn't the real site of Genghis Khan's burial, but rather a shrine in his memory.
  • Xilamuren Grassland - 90 km (about 56 miles) north of Hohhot.
  • Gegentala Grassland - in Siziwang Banner, 145 km north of Hohhot.
  • Huitengxile Grassland - 135 km east of Hohhot, and 80 km from the city of Jining.
  • Bashang Grasslands - On the regions southern border near to Beijing.
  • Badain Jaran Desert (巴丹吉林沙漠 Bādān Jílín Shāmò) - Western Inner Mongolia and extending into neighbouring Gansu and Ningxia provinces.
  • Tengger Desert (腾格里沙漠 Tēnggélǐ Shāmò) - Bordering with Ningxia Province.
  • Kubuqi Desert - South of the Yellow river near to Baotou.
  • Hexigten National Geopark - This is a UNESCO designated Geopark. It contains eight scenic areas: Arshihaty granite forest area, Qingshan granite mortar area, Dali Nur volcanic land form area, Huanggangliang Quaternary glacial vestige area, Reshuitang thermal spring area, Pingdingshan scenic Quaternary cirque group area, Xilamulun River valley area and Hunshandak sand land area. The geopark covers an area of 1750 km2. See Chifeng.
  • Arxan National Geopark - South west of the Greater Hinggan Mountains in Xiang'an League.
  • Alxa Desert National Geopark - In Alxa League (also known as Alashan League) of Western Inner Mongolia.


  • Scenic Grasslands - Definitely plan on visiting a scenic grassland near Hohhot, Baotou, Erenhot, Ulanhot or Hailar where visitors may go for the Mongolian Experience, such as horseback riding, attending folk singing and dancing, and tasting roast whole lamb.
  • Nadam Festival - Wrestling, horse racing and archery are the three traditional sports for Nadam (meaning entertainment or frolicking), the foremost traditional festival for Mongol nomads taking place in July or August.
  • Mongol Homestay - Trying an authentic Mongol homestay, staying in a yurt in the grasslands. "Staying in a yurt" can mean almost anything in Inner Mongolia but if you do some research you will probably manage to find a nice one.


Inner Mongolia is known for its Mongolian carpets, a tradition shared with their counterparts in independent Mongolia. The city of Baotou has been a major trade hub for Mongolian carpets for centuries, having been a gathering spot for carpet weavers from the surrounding rural areas to sell their wares.


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. As in many other areas of China, 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.

Stay safe[edit]

Inner Mongolia, by and large, is a safe place. You're unlikely to face any major dangers.

Stay healthy[edit]

There have been reports of isolated cases of bubonic plague in Inner Mongolia. Here are some advice for prevention:

  • Stay clear from marmot holes to prevent flea bites.
  • Do not contact, skin or cook possible sick or dead wild animals.
  • Use insect repellent containing DEET to prevent flea bites.
  • Keep fleas off of your pets by applying flea control products. If your pet becomes sick, seek care from a veterinarian as soon as possible.
  • Do not allow stray dogs or cats that roam free in endemic areas to sleep on your bed.
  • Stay clear from possible patients, as bubonic plague can transmit through air.
  • If you have sudden onset of fever, headache, chills, and weakness and one or more swollen, tender and painful lymph nodes (also known as buboes), visit your nearest local hospital. Plague is curable if discovered early.


See also: China#Respect

Although Inner Mongolia has a lot in common with Mongolia, don't treat Inner Mongolia as a part of Mongolia; it can be rude to do that.

When dealing with ethnic Mongols, try to refer to the various respect tips in the Mongolia article.

Go next[edit]

It is possible to travel to the Republic of Mongolia (Outer Mongolia) and Russia from here by road or rail. There are good connections into the southern neighbouring provinces of China.

This region travel guide to Inner Mongolia is a usable article. It gives a good overview of the region, its sights, and how to get in, as well as links to the main destinations, whose articles are similarly well developed. An adventurous person could use this article, but please feel free to improve it by editing the page.