Matt Andrews
Software engineer making apps – that aren’t apps – and more at the FT. 会说汉语.

Inner Mongolia

The web really does open up a wide variety of opportunities to bore people with your travel photos in all sorts of creative ways. The following is pure shameless self promotion.


But first – “Where is Inner Mongolia?”

  • Mongolia is a country to the north of China.
  • Inner Mongolia is an autonomous region of the People’s Republic of China (like Tibet, but doesn’t require special visa to visit).
  • Outer Mongolia is an old name for what is now roughly Mongolia, the country.

After a recent business trip to FT Chinese, my employer’s brand in China, I took a few days off for a long weekend in Inner Mongolia with an old university classmate who lives in Beijing.

Hohhot (the capital Inner Mongolia) was our first stop, where we stayed at Anda Guest House and then signed up for their 3 day 2 night tour, which was actually really fun as well as being cheap and super easy to get arranged. Everyone on the tour was foreign but all apart from me seemed to be in China on a somewhat long term basis so it didn’t feel touristy at all. Everyone could at least speak my level of broken Mandarin, although that was not really necessary – the English of the tour guides / hostel was fine (for some of the locals Mandarin as much as a foreign language as English is).

Me on a camel

Hohhot International Airport

We then travelled lots of miles, through many police check points to… well, nowhere.

The Hotel

Inside the Yurt


Wasn’t so sure of the locals though.

They told us that if we woke up at 5.30am we could see the sunrise. This was the view from the Yurt at 5.40am

But after waiting for an hour in sub zero degree temperatures, we finally gave up at 6.30am since the sun still hadn’t risen and went back to sleep.

Somewhat disconcertingly it was our driver’s first time in deep Inner Mongolia too and we got lost a lot. These are some villagers he exchanged cigarettes for directions.

Sand at the Gobi Desert

More sand

We then went here, the Museum of Inner Mongolia.

The world according to China