Archive for the ‘Inner Mongolia Travel’ Category

Heicheng Ruins in Ejina Qi, Inner Mongolia

Thursday, July 26th, 2018
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Heicheng Ruins (黑城遗址) has multiple names – Heishui City Ruins, Black City Ruins, Black Water City Ruins, the formerly Khar Khot (Mongolian) and Eji Nai City (Tangut language).

Heicheng Ruins is located 35km southeast of Dalaihubu Town, Ejina Banner (Qi) in Alxa (Alashan) League, in the west of Inner Mongolia. It is an ancient fortress that was first built in 1032 and later became a trade center of Tangut Empire (1038 – 1227). The current Ejina is named after the Eji Nai City (Black Water City) in Tangut language.

The Heicheng City was an important northern fortress on the northwest of the former Tangut Empire. Now It lies on the arid desert bank of the lower reaches of Heishui River, the largest existent fortress along the ancient Silk Road.

The walled military town was first attacked and taken by Genghis Khan in 1226. The ancient town continued to develop and flourish under Mongol Empire. In Yuan Dynasty (1271 – 1368), the city was expanded.

In 1372, the last general of Yuan Dynasty named Khara Bator was surrounded to the armies of Ming Dynasty ( 1368 1644). After the defeat, the city was abandoned and left in ruins.

Heicheng Ruins is now a major Historical and Cultural Site protected at the National Level, a tourist destination in Ejina Qi. Basically a visit to Heicheng Ruins is often combined with a visit to “Guaishulin” – the Dead Euphrates Poplar Forest.

To visit Heicheng Ruins, you may first go to the main entrance to Guaishulin and Heicheng Ruins Scenic Area (黑城怪树林景区), 28km southwest of Dalaihubu Town, where you line up for the shuttle bus that brings you to the Heicheng Ruins, 15km to the northeast of Guaishulin (Dead Euphrates Poplar Forest and 35km southeast of Dalaihubu Town. We suggest you first go visit Heicheng Ruins, then come back for viewing Guaishulin ( Dead Euphrates Poplar Forest).

If you are going to visit the West Inner Mongolia on your Inner Mongolia Tour, Heicheng Ruins is an interesting draw you should not miss, especially if you are interested in Chinese history.

Now follow me to have a glimpse of Heicheng Ruins. First go from Dalaihubu Town to the main entrance to a joint two-site area of Guaishulin and Heicheng Ruins. Take the shuttle bus to visit Heicheng Ruins first, 15 km to the northeast of the entrance. By the entrance is Guaishulin – Dead Euphrates Poplar Forest.

Line up for the shuttle bus that brings you to Heicheng Ruins, 15km to the northeast of the entrance.

Line up for the shuttle bus

Line up for the shuttle bus

Get off at the shuttle bus, you need to walk another 15 minutes before you get close to the ruined city. The ancient fortress is exposed on the wild, arid desert, you should be well armed to protect yourself against the scorching sun, wearing sun glasses, sun creams, umbrella and scarf. A signboard carved in stone with the name of the site stands on the way to the city.

A signboard carved in stone with the name of the site

A signboard carved in stone with the name of the site

Still a 15-minute walk from the bus station to the site of the ancient city. You are kindly reminded to be ready for hats, sun glassed, sun cream against the hot weather.

Still a 15-minute walk from the bus station to the site of the ancient city

Still a 15-minute walk from the bus station to the site of the ancient city

Still a 15-minute walk from the bus station to the site of the ancient city

The old fortress is rectangle in shape with two gates on the west and east. The outer wall has a perimeter of 1600 meters, east to west 434 meters, north to south 384 and 10 meters in height. On the northwest of the corner wall, there are several Buddhist Pagoda atop the wall. Inside the wall, you still can discern the original houses, offices, streets and so on.

The outer wall is surrounded by the desert on all sides, threatening to cover the whole city.

The outer wall is surrounded by the desert on all sides

The outer wall is surrounded by the desert on all sides

We enter the outer wall of the city through its west gate which includes an inner city. A wooden path is set up on the major area within the rammed city wall. You may walk along the board walks to visit the major areas inside.

You may walk along the board walks to visit the major areas inside

You may walk along the board walks to visit the major areas inside

On the northwest corner, several pagodas atop the wall.

several pagodas atop the wall.

several pagodas atop the wall.

Walking within rammed city of Heicheng, people are feeling the history. Some houses, offices and streets are still clearly discerned.

Some houses, offices and streets are still clearly discerned.

Some houses, offices and streets are still clearly discerned.

06611Tip:  Hassle-free Inner Mongolia  Guided Tours
If you don’t want to go the do-it-yourself route and prefer the hassle-free escorted tours,  here are some options for guided tours to Inner Mongolia:

Beijing Hulunbuir Classic Loop 6 Day Tour from US$959 P/P 
 Beijing Hulunbeier Folk Culture 4 Day Tour  from US$845 P/P

Beijing Yinchuan Alxa Highlight 7 Day Tour

3 Day Beijing Shangdu (Xanadu) Tour from US$ 305 p/p.
4-Day Beijing Xilinglo Glassland Shangdu Mongolia Culture Tour   from US$ 399 p/p.

Further Readings


Heicheng Ruins in Ejina Qi, Inner Mongolia

Sunset over Guaishulin
Euphrates Poplar Forests at Ejina Qi

Any questions, just drop a line.

Euphrates Poplar Forests at Ejina Banner

Wednesday, July 25th, 2018
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Euphrates poplar (Populus euphratica), or Desert Poplar, is an ancient species of poplar tree in the willow family. The poplar trees change colors with seasons – green in spring and summer, yellow and golden on autumn, and red in winter. The Euphrates Poplar trees (Also known as Diversifolius Poplar) turning yellow in the deep summer offer a great photograph opportunity, very often attracting crowds of visitors.

The Euphrates Poplar trees in Ejina Banner ( Ejina Qi in Chinese ) of Alxa League ( Alashan ) in the west of Inner Mongolia in China is one of the three remaining natural Euphrates Poplar Forests (Also known as Diversifolius Poplar) in the world with a total forest area of 30,000 hectares. The other two huge areas of Euphrates Poplar Forests are Sahara Desert and Taklamakan Desert in Uygur Autonomous Region of Xinjiang of China .

The whole area becomes a sea of golden leaves, enticing a consistent flow of tourists to enjoy the amazing scenery each year. In 1992, the Ejna Banner Euphrates Poplar Forest Nature Reserve was established there.

Recently years the local governments at all levels have made great efforts building a tourist-friendly Euphrates Poplar Sightseeing District. Now it has become a hot tourist destination for tourists and photographers who flock here to view the magnificent golden fairyland. When you plan your Inner Mongolia Tour, or especially the West Inner Mongolia Tour, Ejina Euphrates Poplar Forests is a big draw that you should not miss.

The Best Time to Go
While plan your trip to Ejina Banner for viewing Euphrates Poplar, you should understand the best time for the fall foliage. Basically the half month from October 01 through October 15 is the most ideal period for seeing the yellow and golden leaves of the Euphrates Poplar trees in Ejina.

How to Get There
Located far west of Inner Mongolia and bordering Mongolia, Ejina Banner is a bit tricky to reach by taking public transport. Self-drive is the most popular mode of travel visiting the poplar forests. It is a scenic drive that allows you to see the massive and mesmerizing Badain Jaran Desert. You may drive to Ejina from Bayanhot (650km), Jiayuguan (37okm), and Hohhot (1600km).

Entrance Fee and Where to Stay
The Euphrates Poplar Sightseeing District is just located on the east of Dalaihubu Town (达来呼布镇) , the seat of the Ejina Banner Government. So you may book a hotel , or put up in a tent in the town of Dalaihubu. Homestay is also a good alternative.

Entrance fee: RMB 170 ( including the shuttle bus service inside the scenic area).

How to Visit the Ejina Euphrates Poplar Sightseeing District
The paid sightseeing area is located on the east of Dalaihubu Town ( the seat of Ejinan Banner). The whole area is about 20 km long, 15 km wide at the widest and one km at the narrowest. The whole belt is peppered with Euphrates poplar trees, red willow frees and desert bushes.

The whole poplar area is mainly composed of four sectons – Erdaoqiao (二道桥), Sidaoqiao(四道桥), Qidaoqiao(七道桥) and Badaoqiao (八道桥). The Erdaoqiao Section is close to the west entrance ( adjacent to the town of Dalaihubu) and Badaqiao is the east end of the sightseeing belt on the east entrance to the sightseeing belt.

Euphrates Poplar Sightseeing Tips

1. See Sunrise at Badaqiao (八道桥)
Badaqiao Sightseeing Area is actually the northern edge of Badain Jaran Desert, one of the best places to see the sunrise over sand dunes and play on the desert. This section is the furthest from the Town of Dalaihuba. I recommend you get up early to catch the early shuttle bus from the west gate and go to the furthest section of Badaoqiao to see the sunrise, then come back to visit Qidaoqiao, Sidaoqiao and Erdaoqiao on a return trip.

When we get to Badaqiao, we see many tourist standing on the sand dunes and waiting for the sunrise, busy shooting the rising sun with their cameras and mobiles.

Busy shooting the rising sun, cameras and mobiles

Busy shooting the rising sun with their cameras and mobiles

The camel man riding a camel on a high dune is going back and forth to pose for the tourists on the scene.

Sunrise over the sand dunes with camels on the top

Sunrise over the sand dunes with camels on the sand dune top

2. See Euphrates Poplar at Qidaoqiao (七道桥)
After seeing the sunrise at Badaqiao and simple breakfast at the foot of the sand dunes, we continue to get on a shuttle bus for the next section of Qidaoqiao. Qidaoqiao is home to the youngest poplar trees in Ejina Euphrates Poplar Forest. They are the first poplar trees to turn yellow and golden.

A wooden path winds through the Qidaqiao Area and you don’t have to retrace. Both entrances at Qidaoqiao have shuttle bus stations that brings you to the next destination.

People stroll on the board walkway, enjoying the scenery on the both sides.

People stroll on the board walkway, enjoying the scenery on the both sides.

People stroll on the board walkway, enjoying the scenery on the both sides.

Feeling as if you were in a wonderland of the golden world.

Feeling as if you were in a wonderland of the golden world.

Feeling as if you were in a wonderland of the golden world.

 

3. Amazed by the “Heroic Euphrates Poplar” at Sidaoqiao (四道桥)
The Euphrates Polar trees at Sidaoqiao are old and massive, telling us a story of “audacity” in the face of the arid and hard land for centuries. Euphrates Poplar trees are said to “exist for three thousand years – live for one thousand years, dead for one thousand years and rotten for one thousand years”. Here you are able to feel the “Heroism” of the old poplar trees.

Take the shuttle bus from Qidaoqiao to Sidaoqiao.

Take the shuttle bus from Qidaoqiao to Sidaoqiao.

Take the shuttle bus from Qidaoqiao to Sidaoqiao.

Fallen, but not collapsed

Fallen, but not collapsed

Fallen, but not collapsed

Collapsed, but not rotten.

Collapsed, but not rotten.

Collapsed, but not rotten.

 

4. Enjoy the reflections of Poplar Trees on water at Erdaoqiao (二道桥)
Erdaoqiao is my favorite section to view the Euphrates Poplar trees. Here you are able to catch the wonderful views of Euphrates Poplar mirrored on water.

A row or Euphrates Poplar Trees are mirrored on the water, an amazing spectacle.

A row or Euphrates Poplar Trees are mirrored on the water, an amazing spectacle.

A row or Euphrates Poplar Trees are mirrored on the water, an amazing spectacle.

Golden Poplar trees, drying river bed and wooden bridge.

Golden Poplar trees, drying river bed and wooden bridge.

Golden Poplar trees, drying river bed and wooden bridge.

Posed in front of an old Euphrates Poplar tree by the river.

Posed in front of an old Euphrates Poplar tree by the river.

Posed in front of an old Euphrates Poplar tree by the river.

The West Entrance to Ejina Euphrates Poplar Sightseeing Area.

The West Entrance to Ejina Euphrates Poplar Sightseeing Area.

The West Entrance to Ejina Euphrates Poplar Sightseeing Area.

 

06611Tip:  Hassle-free Inner Mongolia  Guided Tours
If you don’t want to go the do-it-yourself route and prefer the hassle-free escorted tours,  here are some options for guided tours to Inner Mongolia:

Beijing Hulunbuir Classic Loop 6 Day Tour from US$959 P/P 
 Beijing Hulunbeier Folk Culture 4 Day Tour  from US$845 P/P

Beijing Yinchuan Alxa Highlight 7 Day Tour

3 Day Beijing Shangdu (Xanadu) Tour from US$ 305 p/p.
4-Day Beijing Xilinglo Glassland Shangdu Mongolia Culture Tour   from US$ 399 p/p.

Further Readings


Heicheng Ruins in Ejina Qi, Inner Mongolia

Sunset over Guaishulin
Euphrates Poplar Forests at Ejina Qi

Any questions, just drop a line.

Sunrise Glow over Hulunbuir Grasslands

Tuesday, July 24th, 2018
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Plan your Inner Mongolia tour? Located in northeastern Inner Mongolia, the Hulunbuir Grasslands are often billed as the “most unsullied grasslands” in China.  Named after the two lakes –  Hulun and Buir,  Hulunbuir Grasslands feature the expansive grasslands, forests, lakes and rivers.

40 km to the northeast of Hailar ( the city center of Hulunbuir ), the Golden Horde Tribes ( Jin Zhang Han) are located in the heartland of Hulunbuir Grasslands, the only place developed and open to tourists.

In the Golden Horde Tribes, there are plenty of yurts for you to choose, ranging from multi-people yurts to standard two-sharing yurts. They also offer basic food service and other recreational activities like horseback riding, horse racing and wrestling, and evening bon-fire party.

Among other  things to do in the Golden Horde Tribes, getting up early in the morning for the sunrise glow over the expansive grasslands is one of my favorites on my recent photography trip to Hulunbuir Grasslands.

Below are some of the pictures taken on the early morning July 29, 2016, of the sunrise glow over Hulunbuir Grasslands.

Sunrise over Golden Horde Tripes in Hulunbuir

Sunrise over Golden Horde Tribes in Hulunbuir

 

Sunrise Glow over Golden Horde Tripes in Hulunbuir

Sunrise Glow over Golden Horde Tribes in Hulunbuir

 

The Yurts under the Golden lights of the sunrise

The Yurts under the golden lights of the sunrise

 

Thick Fog over the Grassland under the sunrise glow.

Thick Fog over the Grassland in the sunrise glow.

 

Hulunbuir Grassland under the Sunrise Glow

Sunrise Glow over Hulunbuir Grassland

 

Grazing Sheep in the sunrise glow

Grazing Sheep in the sunrise glow

 

Grazing under the Sunrise Glow.

Grazing in the Sunrise Glow.

 

Early Birds in the sunrise glow

Early Birds in the sunrise glow

 

My Working - Taking Photos on Hulunbuir GRasslands

My Working – Taking Photos on Hulunbuir GRasslands

certificate with no address. The real of this company can be found on the credit card receipt.

06611Tip:  Hassle-free Hulunbuir  Guided Tours
If you don’t want to go the do-it-yourself route and prefer the hassle-free escorted tours,  here are some options for guided tours to Hulunbuir Grassland, Inner Mongolia:

Beijing Hulunbuir Classic Loop 6 Day Tour from US$959 P/P 
 Beijing Hulunbeier Folk Culture 4 Day Tour  from US$845 P/P

Beijing Yinchuan Alxa Highlight 7 Day Tour

3 Day Beijing Shangdu (Xanadu) Tour from US$ 305 p/p.
4-Day Beijing Xilinglo Glassland Shangdu Mongolia Culture Tour   from US$ 399 p/p.

 

Further Readings


Sunrise Glow over Hulunbuir Grasslands.
Top 10 Attractions in Hulunbuir.
Road Trip from Ergun to Linjiang Village

Sunrise Glow over Hulunbuir Grasslands.
Top 10 Attractions in Hulunbuir.
Road Trip from Ergun to Linjiang Village

Any questions, just drop a line.