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Guides / Itineraries

Scenic summer drives in Inner Mongolia – middle touring route

By Jocelyn Yi

June 22

Drive on the northernmost road across Inner Mongolia from East to West, and discover the mysterious grasslands, forests, lakes, wetlands and deserts on a 6,600 km journey where you can enjoy stunning landscapes and historic towns.

Drive on the northernmost road across Inner Mongolia from East to West, and discover the mysterious grasslands, forests, lakes, wetlands and deserts on a 6,600 km journey where you can enjoy stunning landscapes and historic towns.

Drive on the northernmost road across Inner Mongolia from East to West, and discover the mysterious grasslands, forests, lakes, wetlands and deserts on a 6,600 km journey where you can enjoy stunning landscapes and historic towns.

Yu Long Sand Lake. [Image Credit: wnt.gov.cn/zjwq/]
Middle Touring Route

Wind your way along the 2,612 km middle-touring route, from Tongliao in the southeast across Chifeng, Xilingol and Ulaanqab to Hohhot on a seven-day drive.

Day one

Spend the morning in scenic spots in Daqinggou, 100 km from Tongliao. Follow the trail into the primeval forest full of arbors, bushes, herbs and flowers to explore the marvelous view where forests meet deserts. Dine on fresh local produce. Continue along the road on a 400 km drive to Yu Long Sand Lake in Ongniud Banner, check into the Desert & Hot Spring Resort to get a taste of popular food and wine, and swim while enjoying the starry night. Or, you can go camping and top off the day with BBQ.

Day two

400 km

If you’re the outdoorsy type, you’ll be spoiled by activities such as archery, sand surfing, sand climbing, camel rides and more. If you’re feeling energetic, tackle a challenging off-road vehicle ride to the summit for panoramic views of the surrounding redstones, sand hills and green lakes. Drive towards Holingol.

Arshihaty Stone Forest [Image Credit:northnews.cn/]
Day three

Set off to Xilingol and take the turn off to Wulagai steppe, an easy 100 km drive. Walking along the track to Bu Lin Spring, fill your bottle with sweet mineral water. Head to West Ujimqin Banner on a 200 km drive, and stay the night in Mengguhancheng area, an ancient royal architecture splendid at sunset .

Day four

Meet the nearby herdsman who will teach you how to fleece the sheep or make hurood (Mongolian dried milk cake), and invite you to watch the Ovoo worshipping ceremony or take part in the Nadam Fair. Then, the next 80 km drive will take you to Hexigten Banner and Arshihaty Stone Forest. A gentle walk allows participants to take in granite formation relics carved by glacier melt water in its plucking and melting process. Detour to Jingpeng Town, take road Dada, the most breathtaking road in the prairie.

Day five

200 km

Travel through Xilamulun Grand Canyon, down plunging Jinlianchuan Grassland (Xar Tala), into Xanadu Town in Xilingol League, and visit the Site of Xanadu, the capital of Yuan Dynasty (1206-1368), where related history and culture can be learned from the legend of Kublai Khan in the Xanadu Sites Museum.

Day six

After conquering a 500 km drive, it’s time to relax in Yellow Flowers Groove, a summer resort in Huitengxile in Ulaanqab, known for lush grazing fields. With vistas over the flower-filled grassland and towering cliffs, as well as fountains and cascades, this resort will quickly make an impression on all who visit.

Day seven

170 km

Take an easy drive from Ulaanqab to Hohhot, and come to the last stop at Dazhao Temple, the oldest lamasery completed in 1580 and a well-known Buddhist center. Of its abundant religious relics, the most notable are the silver Buddha, the carved dragons on the huge golden pillars on either side of the statue and the murals commemorating the Emperor’s visit.

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