希拉穆仁草原 Xilamuren Grassland Experience at 蒙古人圣地度假村- Mongolian Yurts and Horse-Riding

20 September, 2013

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On 20 September, 2013
Last modified:20 September, 2013

Summary:

Guests on the Shangri-La Grassland Experience package are guaranteed accommodation in one of the Deluxe yurts. The Deluxe yurts for Shangri-La Grassland Experience package guests will be slightly different as Shangri-La staff will arrive at 蒙古人圣地度假村 earlier to setup these Deluxe yurt with Shangri-La mattresses, bedsheets, blankets, towels and linens so that you can continue the "Shangri-La experience" despite staying in a Mongolian yurt. Shangri-La Huhhot will also send a culinary team to 蒙古人圣地度假村 during your stay at the resort and they will prepare a set dinner in the yurt VIP dining room just for you! This is truly a exclusive Shangri-La VIP experience and this also explains the price tag of RMB 11,888 plus 15% service charge for two people for a 3D2N Shangri-La Grassland Experience package.

Most tourists come to Inner Mongolia for the grassland experience and 呼和浩特市 Huhehaote (also known as Hohhot or Huhhot), the capital of 内蒙古 Neimenggu (Inner Mongolia) is typically the base from which tourists will depart for these grassland experiences. There are a number of grasslands around Huhhot e.g. Gegentala Grassland, Xilamuren Grassland, Huitengxile Grassland. Our Shangri-La Huhhot Grassland Experience was at the Xilamuren Grassland – Xilamuren is the most popular grassland for tourists due to its proximity to Huhhot (2 hours drive away) and the number of grassland yurt resorts.

Xilamuren, which means “yellow water” in Mongolian, is also known as ZhaoHe because of a old Lama Temple (also known as a Zhao in local language) along the Xilamuren riverside.  The temple was built in 1769 in the Qing Dynasty.  Xilamuren Grassland is located about 80 kilometres from Huhhot (about a 2-hour drive)

希拉穆仁,蒙古语意为“黄色的河”,希拉穆仁又称“召河”,因在希拉穆仁河畔有一座清代喇嘛召庙“普会寺”而得名。达茂旗希拉穆仁镇属包头市,距呼和浩特市大约80公里,约2个小时的车程。

The best time to visit the Xilamuren Grassland is in summer and early autumn. In fact, there is no point in visiting the area during spring and winter – the yurt resorts will be closed and most importantly, there will be no green tall grasses!  The average temperature in summer season is about 18℃-21℃. This is the period when the grassland is at its greenest with lush green grass.  Do check with Shangri-La Huhhot on the state of the grassland when planning your trip for the Shangri-La Grassland Experience  Sometimes the rains during spring season might arrive towards the end of the season and this might resulted in a yellowish grassland with short grass if you come in during early summer season.

Xilamuren Grassland 希拉穆仁草原 2 hours Drive to grassland from Huhhot Shangri-La Grassland Experience 蒙古人圣地度假村

The entire 2-hour drive was a pleasant one – the roads were well-maintained (not the typical pothole-ridden roads in the countryside). While the Shangri-La limousine comes with onboard Wi-Fi, cell reception out of Huhhot is quite bad so no internet surfing during most part of the drive (the onboard Wi-Fi comes from a mobile broadband plan transmitted via a mobile router). So bring a book or magazine to keep yourself occupied during the drive

There is a toilet break at a hotel just before we drive into the countryside; the toilets are modern and quite clean and that’s the reason why almost every car driving to Xilamuren Grassland is using this hotel as a pitstop for toilet break. The hotel cleaners/attendants had even started a mini-business sideline from charging for the use of the hotel toilets – expect to pay abut RMB 1.

Along the 2-hour drive, we drove by fields of sunflowers – we just had to make a quick pitstop to take some pictures with these sunflowers. :-p There are also different fields of crops and wildflowers that are scattered in different plots along the way.

Xilamuren Grassland 希拉穆仁草原 Drive from Huhhot Shangri-La Sunflower Field

As we entered into Xilamuren Grassland Tourist area, we saw a number of Mongolian yurts spread out across the grasslands and with every photostop e.g. at the entrance to Xilamuren Grassland area, there were touts offering resort stays and various grassland experience package. Even along the drive, touts (as a pillion rider) on motorcycles will try to get your attention and harass you to take up their offers. This only shows how competitive the Mongolian yurt resort market is at Xilamuren Grassland!

希拉穆仁草原蒙古人圣地度假村 Xilamuren Grassland “Mongolian Sacred Land” Resort

Thankfully, we came here with the Shangri-La Huhhot Grassland Package so we didn’t have to bother with bargaining with touts for resorts of unknown quality or have to take long rides on crowded tour buses (bus rides take longer – about 3+ hours from Huhhot). The resort that Shangri-La Huhhot had partnered with – 蒙古人圣地度假村 Meng Gu Ren Sheng Di is known for its eco-friendly and sustainable tourism destination.

蒙古人圣地度假村 (roughly translated to mean “Mongolian Sacred Land Resort” is located about 10 kilometres north of Xilamuren town, much further away than the various yurt resorts around town.  Upon arrival at 蒙古人圣地度假村, you will have to get off your car for a simple Mongolian tradition which involved drinking a cup of very very strong alcohol and the resort staff (dressed in Mongolian traditional costumes) blessing your arrival.

蒙古人圣地旅游度假村位于希拉穆仁镇北部10公里,红格尔敖包正西,景区坐北朝南于半坡之上,周边环境优美、草场资源条件较好,空气清新自然,没有工业污染,加之独一无二的自然景观,可使游人享受到草原夏季凉爽的气温,新鲜的空气,远离喧闹的城镇,是很好的避暑休闲、娱乐、草原体育、享受阳光浴的好地方。度假村归旗政府、旅游局行业管理,于2008年开业,经过从小到大,由弱到强的发展,已拥有同时接待600人的接待能力。

蒙古人圣地旅游度假村以“建设精品景区、弘扬民族文化”为主导思想。充分利用达茂旗旅游资源丰富、类型多样,草原风情、民族文化、北国风光、口岸边境等旅游资源特点,积极创新,突出特色,塑造名牌。在开发旅游产品时,充分利用当地的旅游资源,突出民族特色和地方风格,充分展示达茂旗原始、辽阔、浩瀚、雄浑的自然景观和粗犷、豪爽、多姿、淳朴的民族风情以及千百年来形成的文化底蕴,达到与当地风土人情、文化氛围相融合的境界。蒙古人圣地始终坚持产业联动原则 在开发旅游产品的过程中,注重与接待服务设施等相关配套设施的建设,形成完整体系,推动度假村旅游购物、食品加工、娱乐业、传统手工艺等全面发展,力争打造一个达茂旗乃至包头市上档次、有特色、上规模、品位高的草原旅游接待中心。

Xilamuren Grassland 希拉穆仁草原 Inner Mongolia Grassland Meng Gu Ren Sheng Di Mongolian Sacred Land Resort 蒙古人圣地度假村

By the time we have arrived at 蒙古人圣地度假村, it is about 11am, we settled into the main yurt (which is a big dining hall) at the resort for lunch.  The dining hall is decorated with lots of traditional Mongolian items e.g horse head guitar (see bottom right picture) – a musical instrument which produces sound similar to that of an erhu and Genghis Khan paintings as well as maps of his conquests of the Mongolian plains.  Occasionally, there might be traditional Mongolian song and dance performances during lunch and dinner.

Xilamuren Grassland 希拉穆仁草原 Inner Mongolia Grassland Meng Gu Ren Sheng Di Mongolian Sacred Land Resort Common Dining Area Restaurant 蒙古人圣地度假村

Mongolian dishes typically comprises lamb and beef cooked in different styles but if you are a vegetarian, there are vegetable dishes in the menu too.  Some notable dishes at 蒙古人圣地度假村 include 草原风格情 (RMB 35) – a kind of sweet dessert made with Mongolian goat milk and tasted a bit like cereal-wheat mix (see top right picture).  The 小土豆烤排骨 (RMB 68) (bottommost left picture) is also worth trying – the potato is very well-cooked and tasty – do note that there are soft bones with the pork meat so you will need to chew hard but it is a slight inconveniences as the crispiness and tastiness of the meat will make the dish quite addictive.

Guests on the Shangri-La Grassland Experience package will enjoy a set lunch at the front row reserved VIP table of the dining hall where you can enjoy traditional Mongolian performances.

Xilamuren Grassland 希拉穆仁草原 Inner Mongolia Grassland Meng Gu Ren Sheng Di Mongolian Sacred Land Resort Lunch Food 蒙古人圣地度假村

Part of the Shangri-la Grassland Experience package include spending a night out at Xilamuren Grassland in a Mongolian traditional tent (yurt). The traditional yurts are made of compressed sheep wool and are shaped rather like a squat native American teepee, windowless, sheep-smelling and snug. The yurts are supported by latticed wood frames and have thick carpeted floors and the bed is usually furnished with many blankets, quilts, pillows and hot water flasks to protect against the cold nights out in the grasslands. The traditional Mongolian yurts are meant to be mobile and can be folded up and carried by camel to the next destination.  Yurts of great warriors e.g. Genghis Khan were permanent structures built atop carts pulled by 20-30 oxes or horses – these are called warrior yurts.  Interestingly, the exterior of the Deluxe Yurts (the luxury class yurt in the resort) at 蒙古人圣地度假村 is designed like a warrior yurt (they looked like they are mounted on a cart – see picture below).

Xilamuren Grassland 希拉穆仁草原 Inner Mongolia Grassland Meng Gu Ren Sheng Di Mongolian Sacred Land Resort Shangri-La Huhhot Grassland Experience Mongolian yurt 蒙古人圣地度假村

There are 2 classes of yurts – the Deluxe and Basic yurts at 蒙古人圣地度假村.  Both have ensuite facilities – the Deluxe Yurts are concrete structures with modern facilities e.g. air-conditioning, lighting and water heater (you don’t have to worry about cold showers in the dark out in the grassland).  I think the main thing that distinguishes the Deluxe and Basic class yurt is the spaciousness of the yurts – the Deluxe yurt are considerably more spacious.  Complimentary Wi-Fi is also available throughout the resort.

Guests on the Shangri-La Grassland Experience package are guaranteed accommodation in one of the Deluxe yurts.  The Deluxe yurts for Shangri-La Grassland Experience package guests will be slightly different as Shangri-La staff will arrive at 蒙古人圣地度假村 earlier to setup these Deluxe yurt with Shangri-La mattresses, bedsheets, blankets, towels and linens so that you can continue the “Shangri-La experience” despite staying in a Mongolian yurt.

Shangri-La Huhhot will also send a culinary team to 蒙古人圣地度假村 during your stay at the resort and they will prepare a set dinner in the yurt VIP dining room just for you!  This is truly a exclusive Shangri-La VIP experience and this also explains the price tag of RMB 11,888 plus 15% service charge for two people for a 3D2N Shangri-La Grassland Experience package.

Xilamuren Grassland 希拉穆仁草原 蒙古人圣地度假村 Inner Mongolia Grassland Meng Gu Ren Sheng Di Mongolian Sacred Land Resort Shangri-La Huhhot Grassland Experience Mongolian Ensuite Bathroom Air-conditioning Yurt Stay

For a quick preview of what the Deluxe Yurts looked like and what the experience at 蒙古人圣地度假村 and Xilamuren Grassland is generally like, check out our Youtube video compilation below.

The same video in Youku version for our friends in China:

A day out in the Grasslands is just about enjoying the beautiful sunrise and sunset over the plains and taking in the views of the natural scenery (with yurts dotting the green landscape).

Xilamuren Grassland 希拉穆仁草原 蒙古人圣地度假村 Inner Mongolia Grassland Meng Gu Ren Sheng Di Mongolian Sacred Land Resort Shangri-La Huhhot Grassland Experience Mongolian yurt

Xilamuren Grassland 希拉穆仁草原 蒙古人圣地度假村 Inner Mongolia Grassland Meng Gu Ren Sheng Di Mongolian Sacred Land Resort Shangri-La Huhhot Grassland Experience Mongolian grassland scenery

The Shangri-La Grassland Experience package includes visits to the Xilamuren Grassland, Mongolian outdoor activities and an evening campfire gathering.  You can choose to take an All Terrain Vehicle (ATV) ride around the grasslands (for about 20 minutes) or…

Xilamuren Grassland 希拉穆仁草原 蒙古人圣地度假村 Inner Mongolia Grassland Meng Gu Ren Sheng Di Mongolian Sacred Land Resort Shangri-La Huhhot Grassland Experience ATV Ride

ride a horse around the grasslands – the more authentic grassland experience.  Before the trip to Huhhot, I did some research online on what the grassland experience would be like – there were quite a number of complaints about horses running wild and the risk of falling off these wild horses.  Naturally I was a bit apprehensive about riding a horse out to the grasslands.

Thankfully, the tour operator that partnered with 蒙古人圣地度假村 is quite a professional one – tell your guide about your horse-riding experience and how you want the pace to be like and they will make the necessary adjustments.  My horse was relatively tame and followed the guide’s instructions strictly so no risk of wild horses galloping around 🙂

The horse-riding excursions to the grasslands goes by the number of scenic destinations you are going to.  The price starts from RMB 300 for 2 destinations; RMB 380 for 3; RMB 450 for 4 and RMB 580 for 5.  The destinations include a visit to an Aobao (more on that below), a Mongolian nomad’s house, small swamp in the grasslands and a lake.  To visit 2 destinations (the minimum) will take you about 40 minutes to 1 hour and 5 destinations will take you about 4 hours in total.

在草原上骑马。这里,骑马明码标价:游2个景点300元、3个景点380元、4个景点450元、5个景点580元。2个景点大约40分钟到1个小时,5个景点大约4个小时左右。

Xilamuren Grassland 希拉穆仁草原 蒙古人圣地度假村 Inner Mongolia Grassland Meng Gu Ren Sheng Di Mongolian Sacred Land Resort Shangri-La Huhhot Grassland Experience Mongolian Horse Riding across Mongolian Steppes

If you are fearful of horse-riding or have back injuries, you can take the horse-cart to the destinations instead.  The ride can be quite bumpy too so watch your head (because of the low roof).

Xilamuren Grassland 希拉穆仁草原 蒙古人圣地度假村 Inner Mongolia Grassland Meng Gu Ren Sheng Di Mongolian Sacred Land Resort Shangri-La Huhhot Grassland Experience Mongolian horse carriage

The first destination typically refers to the general grassland (so there isn’t a stop for it); there is a stop at the second destination – the Aobao 敖包 – rock mounds decorated with prayer flags.  Aobao serves as a landmark in the grassland region.  It is also a place of worship for the Mongolian nomads during certain festivals – it is during such gatherings and celebrations that young people can meet and date – thus inspiring the story of 敖包相会 (of 2 lovers who agreed to meet at an Aobao to elope).

It is said that if you pick up a stone and walk around aobao three times in a clockwise direction, make a wish, and then put the stone back at aobao, your wish will be fulfilled.  So if you are here, why not try that out – you will also be contributing to the buildup of the aobao!  Don’t worry about bringing stones – there are plenty around the aobao. 🙂

Xilamuren Grassland 希拉穆仁草原 Inner Mongolia Grassland Meng Gu Ren Sheng Di Mongolian Sacred Land Resort Shangri-La Huhhot Grassland Experience Mongolian Ao Bao Blessing 蒙古人圣地度假村

What is a trip to the Xilamuren Grasslands without being dressed up in the traditional Mongolian costume and taking a picture with the great warrior – Genghis Khan inside a traditional Mongolian yurt.  So there you have it – we did all 3 in one picture! 🙂

Xilamuren Grassland 希拉穆仁草原 Inner Mongolia Grassland Meng Gu Ren Sheng Di Mongolian Sacred Land Resort Shangri-La Huhhot Grassland Experience Mongolian Traditional Costumes 蒙古人圣地度假村

The Grassland Experience packages are valid from 15 June to 15 September each year for two people sharing one room. It includes all accommodation, meals, transportation and admission fees. Reservations are subject to room availability. For more information and for reservations, please contact the Shangri-La hotel’s travel specialist at (86 471) 332 8888 or visit www.shangri-la.com.

The three-day/two-night Shangri-La Grassland Package costs RMB 11,888 plus 15% service charge for two people and includes:

  • One night’s accommodation in a Horizon Deluxe Room (see picture below for what a Horizon Deluxe Room looks like) and one night in a Deluxe Mongolian Yurt, including breakfast
  • Hotel limousine transfer to Huhhot Baita International Airport
  • Round-trip chauffeured hotel limousine to either one of the following destinations:
    • Cashmere Market / Muslim Cultural Street / Antique Market / Xiaozhao Temple or Caishen Temple(Day 1 or 3)
  • International buffet dinner at Xin Café on Day 1
  • Two signature cocktails in the hotel’s Lobby Lounge on Day 1
  • Set lunch at the front row reserved VIP table on Day 2
  • Set dinner in the yurt VIP dining room prepared by Shangri-La’s culinary team on Day 2
  • Visits to the Xilamuren Grassland, Mongolian outdoor activities and an evening campfire gathering

The four-day/three-night Shangri-La Grassland Package costs RMB 16,888 plus 15% service charge for two people and includes:

  • Two night’s accommodation in a Horizon Deluxe Room and one night in a Deluxe Mongolian Yurt, including breakfast
  • Hotel limousine transfer to Huhhot Baita International Airport
  • Round-trip chauffeured hotel limousine to two of the following destinations:
    • Cashmere Market / Muslim Cultural Street / Antique Market / Zhaojun Tomb / Caishen Temple / Dazhao Temple or Xiaozhao Temple (Day 1 or 4)
  • International buffet dinner at Xin Café on Day 1
  • Two signature cocktails in the hotel’s Lobby Lounge on Day 1
  • Two pre-set take-out lunch boxes prepared by Shangri-La to take along for the journey on Day 2
  • Set lunch at the front row reserved VIP table on Day 3
  • Set dinner in the yurt VIP dining room prepared by Shangri-La’s culinary team on Day 3
  • Visits to Xiangshawan, Xilamuren Grassland, desert outdoor activities, Mongolian outdoor activities and an evening campfire gathering

A joint promotion with Shangri-la Hotel, Baotou, the five-day/four-night Shangri-La Grassland Package costs RMB 20,888 plus 15% service charge for two people and includes:

  • One night’s accommodation in a Shangri-la Hotel, Huhhot Horizon Deluxe Room, two nights in a Shangri-la Hotel, Baotou Horizon Deluxe Room and one night in a Deluxe Mongolian Yurt, including breakfast
  • Hotel limousine transfer to Huhhot Baita International Airport
  • Round-trip chauffeured hotel limousine to two of the following destinations:
    • Cashmere Market / Muslim Cultural Street / Antique Market /Dazhao Temple or Zhaojun Tomb (Day 1)
  • International buffet dinner at Shangri-la Hotel, Huhhot’s Xin Café and two signature cocktails at Lobby Lounge on Day 1
  • Set lunch at the front row reserved VIP table on Day 2
  • Set dinner in the yurt VIP dining room prepared by Shangri-La’s culinary team on Day 2
  • Two pre-set take-out lunch boxes prepared by Shangri-La Hotel, Baotou to take along for the journey on Days 3 and 4
  • Traditional Chinese dinner at Shang Palace, Shangri-La Hotel, Baotou on Day 3
  • International buffet dinner at Shangri-La Hotel, Baotou’s Xin Café on Day 4
  • Visits to Xiangshawan, Xilamuren Grassland and Genghis Khan’s Mausoleum, desert outdoor activities, Mongolian outdoor activities and an evening campfire gathering

Zhiqiang & Tingyi

Comments (8)

  • wenlinReply

    22 September, 2013 at 8:35 am

    Wow, it looks like a really interesting trip! Do you reckon it’s possible to do a self-drive trip instead of a package?

    • Zhiqiang & TingyiReply

      22 September, 2013 at 9:41 am

      Hi wenlin

      Yes it is possible but there are a few things you need to take note:
      – be used to driving on the left side of the road and adjust to the driving practices in China quickly – the Huhhot to Xilamuren route is a busy one with lots of trucks (initially) and then lots of tour buses and vans (the road becomes narrower nearer the grasslands)
      – get very clear directions on where your yurt resort is located because out there in the grasslands, there are no road signs and there are a lot of similar yurt resorts + touts (you might not get useful info when you ask for info or worse, even misdirected by the touts to their resorts so they can earn a commission)

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    24 September, 2013 at 4:52 pm

    […] 希拉穆仁草原 Xilamuren Grassland Experience at 蒙古人圣地度假村- Mongolian Yurts and H… […]

  • Exploring Xiangshawan Desert 响沙湾 (Singing Sand Ravine) with Shangri-La Baotou | Singapore Travel BlogReply

    30 September, 2013 at 1:16 pm

    […] – the Grasslands and the Desert.  While there are a number of Grassland options e.g. Xilamuren Grassland, the key desert attraction in Inner Mongolia is 响沙湾 Xiangshawan Desert.  Xiangshawan Desert […]

  • ColeReply

    10 October, 2013 at 8:30 am

    Thank you for your blog.Much thanks again. Awesome.

  • ventoReply

    15 October, 2013 at 4:18 am

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  • chinReply

    15 October, 2013 at 1:08 pm

    Excellent article.

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