Even though I am a month and a bit late in posting this, it’s been hard to find the time to sit down and just type away. As promised, here is the post about my trip to Inner Mongolia back in early October, during the Mid Autumn festival with CET Trip Beijing.
Warning: Long post ahead.
I wasn’t prepared for the long coach journey. It took around 12 hours to get to the first destination. We had a 4am meeting point outside a university in Beijing so I had decided to not sleep and attempt to sleep on the coach knowing it would take around 12 hours to arrive at the first destination.
Day 1 – Xilamuren Grassland (希拉穆仁草原)
Xilamuren Grassland was our first destination, just over 1.5 hours north of Hohhot. Arriving there, we were greeted by the locals and we had the opportunity to go horse riding in the grasslands. It was my first time horse riding and I can’t decide whether I had enjoyed it or not. We had watched a live action show about the historic battles and must I say, the horses were very, very well trained.
After horse riding, I was able to dress up in traditional Mongolian clothing and was treated to a Zhama feast and show. They love their lamb! We was able to enjoy the bonfire and had danced and drink in the evening with other tour groups.
I remember a friend telling me that his yurt was disgusting from the way he had described it so I was terrified thinking what have I gotten myself into. To my surprise, the yurt I was staying in was way beyond my expectations. Very modern so I suspect it was possibly refurbished as it was very modern. The heating had just stopped working and it was freezing temperatures.
Day 2 – Kubuqi Desert (库布齐沙漠)
Would you believe me that this was the view when we had stopped off at a service station on the way to the desert?
This Kubuqi Desert area was transformed into more of a tourist attraction, being able to join in various camel riding, quad biking, sand sliding, sand surfing, cable car and zip lining. It was a lovely way to spend a day in and could say I had enjoyed being in a desert despite it being a bit on the touristy side.
One the way back to Hohhot, we had stopped off at a restaurant for hotpot. Hotpot was absolutely beautiful and needed to keep warm.
Day 3 – Yungang Grottoes, Datong (大同市云冈石窟)
Yungang Grottoes had consisted of temples, buddhist cave art (which was remarkable) and many, many, many statues and caves. We had spent the day exploring the grottoes, head to toe admiring everything. There isn’t really much to say about it other than history is always interesting.
After dinner, our tour group were having a party and there was a lot of beer and drinking games.
Day 4 – Hanging Temple, Datong (大同市悬空寺)
The final day of this trip. We had spent 2-3 hours here and didn’t really have the opportunity to go up the hanging temple itself. I had overheard other tourists saying that there was 4 hour wait in the queue and we didn’t have that much time knowing we had to head back to Beijing. I didn’t mind not being able to go up there as it was a busy holiday.
From there, I had arrived back in Beijing at around 10pm and it was a good experience. You could say that I had enough of sitting on coaches. This whole trip had cost me 1850元 (around £207) which had included the coach journey, insurance, hotels, meals and tickets to the attractions, everything. I actually would recommend going on a trip to Inner Mongolia, getting away from the city life. Our tour guides were amazing and made the tour even more enjoyable. All tour guides from CET Trips are students from Beijing universities and as always, you meet new people in the tour groups. It’s not just for students to join the tours, there were families, expats on the trip.