Hohhot, Inner Mongolia
Jun 2, 2013
|Notwithstanding that we had decided not to travel to Ulaanbaatar (UB) from Hohhot, we thought that as we were so near we might as well go and spend a few days there anyway. We booked tickets to go up Saturday morning returning Monday afternoon.
The trip itself was uneventful. After taking hard seats to Datong, the soft sleeper to Hohhot was positively luxurious. We had the cabin to ourselves and were able to spread out and relax. Same on the way back. Was even able to enjoy lunch of instant noodles in comfort.
Hohhot itself reminded us of Datong. Hot, dusty and full of roadworks. We had problems at the train station getting a taxi to our hotel as the road in front of the hotel was completely dug up. No one wanted to go near the place. We eventually persuaded a "tuk tuk" (local three wheeled motor cycle cart with an enclosed rear seat!) driver to take us. It was an interesting journey to say the least. U turns in the middle of main roads, going down one way streets the wrong way, short cuts through pedestrian malls etc. Anyway we got there safely in the end.
We saw the must see sights - Museum of Inner Mongolia and more temples, and more temples, and more temples. The museum took some finding. It was supposed to be within walking distance from the hotel but when we got there we found it had been moved to a brand new building some 6 km away. Some kind soul pointed out a local bus that went past the door so we hopped on and went exploring.
The new museum is both an impressive building and contains some wonderful exhibits. Well worth the visit if any of you happen by some day. The temples were more of the same. I think we've seen enough temples for the moment. Overall, not much to say about Hohhot but glad we took the time out to see it.
Dinner was good. We went local and tried Mongolian BBQ the first night. It was excellent, tasted good and very reasonably priced. Highlight was the ice-cold draught beer they had in the restaurant. Cold and delicious. Night two was Mongolian hot pot. Not quite as successful but interesting none the less. It wasn't what we were expecting but the locals seemed to like it. Also, the beer wasn't as cold.
Coming back today, the only challenge was getting a taxi to pick us up. They wanted RMB100 for a booking (taxi fare in only RMB10-15) so we took our luck on the streets. Couldn't get a taxi after 20 minutes so resorted to one of the tuk tuks again. Equally interesting return journey.
Now back to Datong to see if we have tickets to UB!
Brian & Katherine