"Bring Earplugs" Top 5 Page for this destination Hohhot by John195123

Hohhot Travel Guide: 57 reviews and 139 photos

Hohhot ho!

We visited Hohhot three times on this trip, using it as a base for other travel. We flew in from Harbin, took a taxi to the hotel, the train to Baotou, bus to Daqi (which I'll write about in Baotou), a taxi to the Resonant Sand Gorge, a taxi back to Daqi, bus to Baotou, train to Hohhot, bus to Jhaohe, bus back to Hohhot and plane to Harbin.

All of the places mentioned, I'll write about. The image is from the Xilitu Zhao Lamaserie in Hohhot.

The Streets of Hu-hua-hau-te

I am dubbing Hohhot the squeakiest city in China, though I may yet be surprised. Two words: preventative maintenance... change your brake pads! More than anywhere else I've been, the blaring, shrill nature of the bi-wheeled vehicles' brakes was horrendous. It gave me headaches on more than one occasion, and natually became worse after the rain.

Bikes in the US and the west have a tendancy to squeak as well, but it isn't anywhere near as loud or high pitched as here in Hohhot. The city itself is not as full of bikes, scooters and motorcycles as many other cities, but... ay!

Aside from that, the city itself is worthy of a day's visit. A day should be all you need, even on foot. Walk from the train or bus station, (close together) to the sights. It will take a few hours, but the city isn't that big or crowded.

There are a few main attractions, but I recommend taking the side streets just to get a feel for the place. Foreigners, get used to the disconcerting stares of the locals, primarily the middle-aged to older men, who look like they've been drawn from the Grapes of Wrath. Very interesting, but there is an odd tendency for them to stare, and it's different from the youth's "hey, it's a foreigner" look and more akin to a child's staring... just disconcerting at times. And when you stare back at them, some of them act as if they were just looking around. It's an interesting thing. I am used, as a blonde/blue white guy, to being stared at by locals and have no problems with it. Just here in Inner Mongolia, it was more intense, and a bit odd.

As soon as I get Photoshop on this computer, I'll post images.

Jhaohe

Since Jhaohe hasn't made it into VT, I'll write about it here. Jhaohe is a town of supposedly about 10,000 people. Most of those people either work at the ger camps (yurt camps) as hosts/cooks or horse riding guides, or in town at various stores. I think there was one cop. The ger camps were, at least where we stayed, arranged like baby chicks around the mother kitchen, each run by a different family, it seemed. Each mother kitchen runs it's own horse tours.

The place we stayed was within the first camp just before town. The bus stopped to let the few tourists off, some Chinese and us, and we were naturally greeted by people trying to get us to come to their place. We decided to walk into town and see what we could find, planning on returning. When we did return, another woman took us to her camp and offered us accommodation for, I believe 60 yuan a night for the yurt. Food was fairly expensive, considering that it was mainly lanolin with noodles or rice. But you can get other dishes as well, including internal organ stir-fry. These tasted a bit like formaldehyde...

There is little to do here, aside from riding horses and eating greasy yet hot and very welcome, filling, good food.
They served beer, for 10 yuan or so a bottle, tea (with heavy sheep's milk/cream) for 15 yuan for a large, efficient thermos (quite good) and they brought the food to the table inside the yurt.

Horse riding cost 300 yuan for two people for two hours. It was quite embarassing, as we were tied on to the guides horse the whole time, even though we both have ample riding experience. We couldn't quite convince him to let us go, so it made for a dull ride across a barren and overgrazed stretch of grassland, over which we had walked the day before, getting a warning from a local that we should be careful or we might get lost.

Us, get lost... when there are ger camps as far as the eye can see. What kind of tourists do they usually have there? I assume the kind that get lost in a clear plastic bag. We didn't heed the warnings and didn't get lost, and took an even longer walk the next day, out of town and around the hills.

There is a lot of fecal matter all over, mostly from horses and sheep. Mostly.
The bathroom facility is fairly clean and is run by an older gentleman who charges 1 yuan. We couldn't figure out if it was per visit, per diem, or what, but he kept the place clean and that's worth at least a yuan a day. Just don't have to do anything serious at night, as it's locked up. Unless you want an audience, if the bathroom is closed, go when it's still dark out. Watch out for Hepatitis.

I have a lot to say about the destructive nature of tour-group tourism, but that's for another day. Don't take the tours.

Pros and Cons
  • Pros:Not a bad place to visit, stopping by on a train.
  • Cons:Shrill brakes
  • Last visit to Hohhot: Oct 2007
  • Intro Updated Apr 7, 2008
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John195123

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