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Xilamuren Grasslands in Inner Mongolia

Some time ago (that time when I wasn’t travel blogging yet), I went to this verdant Xilamuren grasslands in Inner Mongolia, a two-hour drive from the capital, Hohhot. It was a chilly October day and the wide expanse of the open land could compete with that of the azure sky that hovered above us, adorned with clouds scattered sporadically. Half of the area was covered in brownish dirt and yellowish grass where herd of  horses, a mob of cows and a flock of domestic sheep were scantily scuffling their feet to the ground for food. At a distance, a riverbed was exposed, dry and barren.

Xilamuren Grasslands in Inner Mongolia

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The Chinese Mongolian family who invited me for a four-day stay in their beloved Baotou, the second biggest city in Inner Mongolia, was trying to haggle with the local horse caretaker for me to ride on and the other one who would accompany me to go around. When they both agreed with the price, they called and motioned me to select the horse I liked. Too shy to embarrass them, I picked one but guilt rushed inside me when I looked at the beasts’ eyes. I told my hosts that I’d be riding the horse for 15 minutes only because I’d like to explore the grasslands on foot—-to their surprise, of course! It was so silly of me to say that, knowing how enormous the place was. I had a good reason though—the horses looked dehydrated, tired, stressed (maybe from hunger or thirst?) and filthy. When we disembarked from our car, thirty minutes ago, I saw a caretaker beating a pony hard with its rope for refusing to stand. Nearby, a little girl was waiting and excited to get on that poor animal. My heart bled at such sight, my very first scene of the grasslands.

You can temporarily ignore what I just told you and enjoy the beauty of Xilamuren grasslands in Inner Mongolia!

This is the grasslands in early autumn. 

Xilamuren Grasslands in Inner Mongolia

And this is the river that runs dry. 

Xilamuren Grasslands in Inner Mongolia

Far away, a small thriving community of nomads live.

Xilamuren Grasslands in Inner Mongolia

Two roads diverged in a yellow land…

Xilamuren Grasslands in Inner Mongolia

…that lead to these Mongolian yurts. 

Grassland Inner Mongolia Xilamuren Hohot China 9

But they’re not just the yurts where the nomadic tribe lives…

Xilamuren Grasslands in Inner Mongolia

…they’re hotels for guests who wish to stay for a night under a galaxy of stars. 

Xilamuren Grasslands in Inner Mongolia

There are two hard, wooden beds inside. 

Inner Mongolia Grasslands Xilamuren Hohhot China

And a portrait of Genghis Khan, a revered Mongolian conqueror. 

Inner Mongolia Grasslands Xilamuren Hohhot China

They only have one W.C. a.k.a toilet. 

Inner Mongolia Grasslands Xilamuren Hohhot China

And they have a restaurant, too, covered in golden, flowing silk. 

Inner Mongolia Grasslands Xilamuren Hohhot China

And you can order this fried banana coated in flour and sugar. 

Inner Mongolia Grasslands Xilamuren Hohhot China

To explore the grasslands, you can pick a transport of your choice. 

Inner Mongolia Grasslands Xilamuren Hohhot China

But most tourists would opt for the tired horses…

Inner Mongolia Grasslands Xilamuren Hohhot China

…because they can run faster; they’re fun and practical. 

Inner Mongolia Grasslands Xilamuren Hohhot China

Above the rolling hills, this altar was built for prayer flags…

Inner Mongolia Grasslands Xilamuren Hohhot China

… and for other sorts of offerings.

Inner Mongolia Grasslands Xilamuren Hohhot China

Amen. 

Inner Mongolia Grasslands Xilamuren Hohhot China


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3 Responses to “Xilamuren Grasslands in Inner Mongolia”

  1. Zack
    December 13, 2013 at 4:28 PM #

    The first photo is poster material! Heavenly!

  2. Edith
    May 19, 2014 at 11:02 AM #

    Hi! I will travelling to Hohhot in late July and was wondering if you have any tips/ contacts to share for grassland visits, authentic yurt stays and a visit to the desert as well. Will be even better if there’s an opportunity to stay with a local family. I am a student on budget. Thank you!!

    • TheSojourner
      May 19, 2014 at 11:47 AM #

      Hello Edith,
      I can’t really recommend where to stay and how to get to the grasslands and desert because my trip was done with a local family/student who invited me to visit her hometown. Her father, who is a local politician, arranged everything from transport to hotel and yurt—and even our food. But, in one of the hotels we stayed in Hohot, they offer excursions to these places—and that would be your most convenient bet as these places aren’t exactly accessible to public transport. However, that was back in 2009, so there might have been changes nowadays.

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