Been and done or still a pipeline dream in planning, you’ll already know of the two major attractions for visiting the narrow northern province that is China’s, Inner Mongolia. Deserts and grasslands. Arranging a trip to visit one of the several deserts is simple enough even for the amateur traveller. With most visitors first stop being the capital city, Hohhot, you’ll be hard pressed to find a hotel or hostel not offering some kind of reasonably priced package tour to take in all the most popular attractions.
It should be noted that the time of year you go will have an impact upon your desert trip. If wishing to spend the night camping amongst the dunes then summer is your only option as whilst the winter days can still bring warm temperatures the evenings are deemed too cold for anyone to stay longer than a short day. Arriving at the beginning of a desert is a strange experience. Of course, in hindsight, the sand has to start somewhere, so the border must exist, though stepping over it is odd nonetheless.
You and your companions for the day will typically be taken aboard a huge, high up military style off road vehicle. Over the first dunes you’ll dance until arriving at your particular isolated tourist station. Said tourist station providing go-karts, mini-motorbikes and of course the long preferred method of desert transportation, the camel.
The camel trek will more oft than not be included within your desert excursion package so climb aboard. Adorn your sand shoe sacks, sunglasses and face mask (all of which are essential for a comfortable desert experience) and put the horseback adventures of the grasslands behind you. You’re in the desert now soldier. The camel-cade, whilst being a wonderful experience in itself, will serve to bring you further into the desert until the golden acres reach to horizons in all directions. If the glaring sun doesn’t leave you squinting then the rogue sand will as the wind rips and riles the dunes causing bother yet also becoming a welcome guest for relief from the heat.
You’ll be given plenty of time to stretch your legs playing frisbee, volleyball and sledding down dunes on dinner trays. For an extra charge you can enjoy short stints of fast paced quad bike racing. Once bored with the rather haphazard attempts at activities to keep the tourists occupied, which won’t take long, you can still stand rooted to your spot and soak in your surroundings. Bring your best camera and your largest memory card. Knowing that for most people one journey to the desert is more than enough for a life time, don't do yourself the disservice of not documenting this wonder for your scrapbook.
Go to the desert. Go to the grasslands. Go to Inner Mongolia.