Ordos City (Mongolian: ᠣᠷᠳᠣᠰ ᠬᠣᠲᠠ Ordos qota; Chinese: 鄂尔多斯市) is a city and prefecture level administrative division in Inner Mongolia Province in China. Its most populous municipality is Dongsheng (东胜; Dōngshèng). The prefecture's government center is located in the new city of Ordos (Kangbashi), which is 30 km from Dongsheng. The town of Altan Xire in Ejin Horo Banner and Ordos (Kangbashi) form an urban conglomeration.
Ordos is described by western media as the poster child of excess modern Chinese city planning. Monumental architectures line the center axis flanked by identical apartment blocks built by the dozens. Ordos is referred to internationally as a "Ghost City" as the new city was almost without any human activity when first built in 2010. Several years later there is a population of 100,000 and life on the streets during the day but still quiet at night, in contrast to Dongsheng, a still bustling 4th tier Chinese city.
Ordos (Kangbashi) is bounded by the Wulan Mulun River to its south. On the opposite bank of this river is the town of Altan Xire (阿勒腾席热镇), the county seat of Ejin Horo Banner and the central business district extension of Kangbashi. While the architecture in Altan Xire is not as sleek as the futuristic civic buildings in Kangbashi, the highly urbanized town hosts an impressive complex of skyscrapers along the river and several other tall commercial and residential high rises throughout the town. These tall buildings all emanate a flashing electric light show at night, as do the buildings in Kangbashi.
Since the name "Ordos" can refer to both the new city and the prefecture whose centre is actually the old city, Dongsheng, things can get really confusing. The new city of Ordos is also referred to as Kangbashi New Area 康巴什新区. Mentioning Kangbashi can remove a lot of the ambiguity when communicating with locals.
- 1 Ordos Ejin Horo Airport ((鄂尔多斯机场) DSN IATA) (is located in Ejin Horo Banner). has daily connections with Beijing (5x) and Shanghai (2x) and several other cities including Xi'an (4x).
Two other airports that are relatively close by are Baotou Airport (142 km to the north) and Yulin Yuyang Airport (169 km to the south).
There is a shuttle from the airport that runs at least once every hour, dropping passengers off at Altan Xire town (¥10), Ordos (Kangbashi) (¥15), and Dongsheng.
For getting to the airport, from the south bus station of Dongsheng, the first shuttle starts at 05:00 and takes 1 hour. The next shuttle departs at 06:00 and thereafter departures leave in 45-minute intervals until the last one at 20:15.
A new railway station opened in 2016, massively increasing accessibility by train. There are several trains from nearby Baotou (2 hours) and the regional capital Hohot (2-5 h depending on which train) as well as an overnight service from Beijing (15 h). Notice that the train from Beijing, as well as several other services, only stops in nearby Dongsheng, requiring a short transfer by bus or train.
- 2 Ordos railway station (鄂尔多斯站) (8 km east of city centre).
- Baotou - takes about 3 hours.
- Hohhot - takes about 5 hours.
- Yulin - takes about 6 hours.
Bus line K22 runs between the center of Ordos (Kangbashi) to the center of Dongsheng. In Ordos first K22 bus from 06:30 to last departure at 18:50. Bus service between cities ends early so civil servants aren't too comfortable commuting from Dongsheng, dealing a gentle reminder by city planners for them to move to Ordos (Kangbashi).
Taxis are numerous in Dongsheng, Ordos (Kangbashi), and Altan Xire town. Flag drop is ¥7 but fares accumulate fast for long distance rides. It costs over ¥80 to go from Ordos (Kangbashi) to Dongsheng.
- 1 Xiangshawan (响沙湾). Biggest draw for tourism in the region as one of the four AAAAA rated tourist sites in the province (only other 5A site in Ordos prefecture is the Mausoleum of Genghis Khan) and the most popular desert sightseeing destination in Inner Mongolia. The sand dune scenery is nice and the lotus shaped hotel set in the desert is eye catching but the grounds have been turned into an amusement park and family entertainment complex including bumper cars for the kids, camel rides for the whole family to the next stage, a lot of live performances, etc. It might be tempting to book a day long tour package just for the hotel pickup and direct transportation but spending the entire day at this amusement park without kids will be underwhelming.
- Yinkentala (银肯塔垃). Another desert resort but cheaper than Xiangshawan. Preferred option for those who want to see the desert and can dispense with family entertainment options.
- Kangbashi Tourist Area. The flashy city center of Ordos (Kangbashi) is a ceremonial mall bounded by the parallel Wenhua West Road and Wenhua East Road. There are Genghis Khan and Mongol warrior monuments, civic art, and beautiful contemporary architecture including most notably the Ordos Museum. This ceremonial mall is about 3km in length, bound in the south by the Wulan Mulun River and terminates in the north at the Ordos People's Government. It can be covered on foot in a single day.
- Ordos Museum. The architectural showpiece of Ordos. Three well done exhibits: paleontological history of the area; a collection of contemporary art inspired by the area's scenery; and the local area's connections to Genghis Khan and history through the dynasties. Free.
- 2 Mausoleum of Genghis Khan (成吉思汗陵; Chéngjísīhànlíng) (Located in the community of Ejan Horo Banner 55 km south of Dongsheng). This is not the actual tomb of Genghis Khan, as he was buried in an unmarked grave in a secret location. Rather, it is a temple dedicated to Genghis Khan, and a major place of worship for the ethnic Mongols. ¥25.
- 1 Ordos International Circuit.
- Hu Neng Commercial Mall, Adjacent to the Kangbashi Food Plaza. Largely empty mall; on the first floor there is a souvenir shop selling provincial jewelry, ethnic dresses, etc.
- Cashmere. This is the wholesale center of the cashmere business in China and the world, so prices should be cheap.
- Kangbashi Food Plaza (Adjacent to the Ordos Cultural Arts Center). Several floors of restaurants and a second floor mall-style food court. A shop on the first floor sells provincial goodies including goat milk powder and spirits infused with milk. US$5 (food court stalls).
- Tractor Club, 2/F, Ordos Tieniu Phoenix Hotel. Cigar lounge and bar. Maybe some coal mining barons hang out here.
Most hotels are located in the Dongsheng District. Despite the drastic buildup, Ordos (Kangbashi) has only about 4 business class hotels. Altan Xire town has several large business class hotels, which can be 30% cheaper than the options in Ordos (Kangbashi) or Dongsheng.
- Tianjiao Hotel, 102 South Dalate Road, Dongsheng District, ☏ +86 477 8333888, fax: +86 477 8324348.
- Ordos Tieniu Phoenix Hotel (鄂尔多斯铁牛大酒店), Yingbin Road (Yingbin Lu), ☏ +86 477 8311111. Check-in: 14:00, check-out: 14:00. Located right in the center of Dongsheng District; near the airport shuttle ¥400 (standard room).
- Hengxin Hotel, North of 7th Xiwei Road, Kangbashi District, ☏ +86 477 8398888. Check-out: 14:00. Located in the city center of Ordos (Kangbashi); rated as a 4-star but quality worthy of only 3 stars. ¥400 (standard room).
- Longkai International Hotel, Intersection of Tonggelang North Road and Zhasake Street, Altan Xire, Ejin Horo Banner, ☏ +86 477 2235888. Check-in: 12:00, check-out: 14:00. Away from river bank but good value, cheaper than comparable options in Ordos (Kangbashi) or Dongsheng; major appeal is close distance to airport, only 20 minutes away. ¥270 (standard room).