check out these hostels when traveling in China!

Each of these hostels, including Ba Fu Guest House in Hohhot, is offering a special deal to stay one night for the low price of 10 yuan plus a book! Each of the places has restrictions for when the deal applies (not usually on national holidays). 10 yuan is a great deal if your travel location and time line up with one of these deals! There are some great locations on the list: Xishuangbana, Xining, Wuhan, Taiyuan, and others!

Error: Embedded data could not be displayed.

If the page doesn’t load correctly, try this link.

I like the things that don’t change

Even if you only stay in Hohhot a short time, you’re bound to have the experience of some place you love (a gym, a restaurant, a road side park, a store, etc) closing, being torn down, moving, or changing locations. 
I think because things change so quickly and without notice here, I feel more nostalgic about the (few) things that are still the same as when I first moved here. I was re-acquainted with one of those things recently.

My daughters collectively had seven (yes, seven) pairs of jeans with holes in the knees like these pictured below. 

 webwxgetmsgimg (82) webwxgetmsgimg (85)

Years ago when I moved here there were some older ladies who would sit outside the west entrance of Man Da and repair clothing. I’m rarely in that part of town, but even when I had been there in recent years, I hadn’t seen the ladies. I assumed they, too, were gone due to changes in Hohhot. Then not too long ago I was somewhere farther north on that street (贝尔路商业街)and I saw the ladies! But, even that had been quite awhile ago so I wasn’t sure if they were still there. Since I had seven pairs needing repair, I decided to go on a hunt and see if they were still there. 

webwxgetmsgimg (84)

YES! They have moved north of Man Da’s west entrance and now sit outside the 永和豆浆大王 restaurant. There work is still as good, and inflation hasn’t changed their prices all that much. 

webwxgetmsgimg (83)

These ladies don’t just sew a patch, they actually re-thread the jeans. It’s about 25-30 yuan per garment depending on how many garments, how many holes, the size of the holes, etc. If you only have one, they’ll do it while you wait. If you have more, leave them and come back in a few days.

webwxgetmsgimg (86)

From father away, you can hardly see they’ve been stitched. For my seven pairs of jeans it was 200 yuan. For me that was worth the drive and wait because little sisters can keep wearing them and I can’t replace new ones for that price. 


I like keeping my old things and I love the few things in Hohhot that aren’t changing. Help me keep these ladies in business! 


I’ve also written some about how to repair other items (not just clothing) in this post. 


Do you have any suggestions about repairing items here? 


Bei Shan Park

Another cool (new to me) place I found was Bei Shan Park. North Mountain Park? I’m going with pin yin instead of English translation. 

I saw this park on the map, but had never heard of it or been there, so we went as a family today to check it out. Here’s the name and address if you want to check it out too. 



It was just a typical Chinese park in the sense of concrete paths to walk on with grassy areas you can’t walk on. No playground or attractions, but lots of scenic areas and statues to take pictures with.

It’s also newly constructed (I can’t find an exact date, but it seems it was finished at end of 2016) and on the northeast edge of town, so it’s not very crowded (or at least it wasn’t on a beautiful Saturday in May). 

Other good points: lots of public bathrooms, well-kept (or at least new enough that nothing is falling apart yet), and good views.

The main gate. Faces east, just south of the North Second Ring Road on Wan Tong Road.

The main gate. Faces east, just south of the North Second Ring Road on Wan Tong Road.

If you enter at this gate, there’s a bit of a hike up the hill/mountain. It’s nothing. Unless you have to carry the stroller and a 25 pound kid up there. Instead of going up the hill first, if you turn back toward the gate, there are stairs where you can climb to the top of the wall that makes the gate.

Both gates face east, the one is a little farther south than the main gate. Take this gate if you are pushing a stroller or carrying stuff. This gate can be identified by the fact that the gate itself is a giant abacus.

Both gates face east, the one is a little farther south than the main gate. Take this gate if you are pushing a stroller or carrying stuff. This gate can be identified by the fact that the gate itself is a giant abacus.

The park trail/road simply goes up the hill, makes a loop around a circular area at the top, and back down.

large plaza at the top

large plaza at the top

another view of the plaza at the top

another view of the plaza at the top

webwxgetmsgimg (92)

webwxgetmsgimg (96)

webwxgetmsgimg (94)

scenes from the park

scenes from the park

The park overlooks a church and a water park.

The park overlooks a church and a water park.

The park overlooks a church and a water park.

The park overlooks a church and a water park.

My over-all recommendations for the park is that it sort of feels like you’re getting out of the city, even though you’re not. If you’re a runner, I feel like it would be a great place to run. My best guess is that the loop is about a mile (1.6 km) with really good inclines. (I did not actual measuring, just guessing!)

Have you been there already? What were your thoughts? Let us know in the comments!

Tibetan Restaurant

Hohhot has been good to me the last two days. (last week, not so much!) I’ve had good experiences at new places and hope you’ll enjoy these places too!

 I’ll break them in to separate posts so they’re easier to search.

The subject of today’s post:

Zhuo Ma Tibetan Restaurant




I’ve passed this restaurant multiple times when I’m in the vacinity but never had an opportunity to try it until Friday. I think part of my hesitation about not going before was also not wanting to be disappointed. My very first trip to China was spent in Tibetan areas and I’ve always had a soft spot for them. Years ago there was another Tibetan restaurant near the square but it was disappointing not only in service, availability of menu items, but also in that it was owned and staffed by Mongolians. I like Mongolians too, but one would hope Tibetans would run a better Tibetan restaurant than Mongolians. 

Anyway, the place above was fantastic. It’s decor makes you feel like you’ve left Hohhot for Amdo lands. The staff, cooks, owners are Amdo Tibetan, and the food was delicious. 

We ordered three dishes. All were so good. 

webwxgetmsgimg (79) webwxgetmsgimg (80) webwxgetmsgimg (81)

The left is some kind of bing 饼 with sweet cream/cheese like filling. The middle dish is called “Nepal Tofu” and the sauce was sort of like an Indian curry sauce. The dish on the right…..that, my friends, is a very close substitute for a chile relleno. It’s green chile peppers stuffed with seasoned yak meat and smothered in a tasty sauce. Pretend it’s enchilada sauce and your taste buds can be back in the southwest United States 🙂

They also have more traditional, standard Tibetan cuisine like tsampa and milk tea but we wanted to try some of the more unique dishes. 

I didn’t get pictures of the menu or the place itself, but below is the business card so you can stop in yourself.

 webwxgetmsgimg (77) Tibetan restaurant in Hohhot

The address is on the business card and written in Chinese above. It’s north of gong da, south of Genghis Khan Road, and east of Zhe Li Mu Road. 

cook like a local: hua juan(r)

A friend shared these handy photos and recipes on her wechat today and gave permission to share them. Maybe you’d like to try to make this Chinese classic?

They are a steamed bun shaped like flowers. 

Here are your instructions:


 Three full bowls of flour

 use one spoon of yeast and warm water until a soft dough is formed

cover with plastic wrap 

wait about 30 minutes and dough should look like the above picture

roll out the dough and spread butter on top 

roll up the dough and cut into triangles

They should look like this


turn the pieces over so the widest part is towards the bottom

press down the middle with a chopstick to make the flower-shaped pattern

From the bottom, pinch the middle together

now it looks like this

Put on a steaming tray for 15 minutes.
Enjoy the delicious results!


Instructions in Chinese:



Hohhot songs

Well friends, if you’ve wanted to increase your repertoire of songs to sing at Chinese banquets or KTV that will make your local friends swoon, this is one to try out! The post below is dated yesterday and there’s a song embedded in the wechat link. You can scroll down to read the lyrics (Chinese only) as it plays.

I’ll be honest, I don’t love the guy’s voice, and the song, while nostalgic, takes “cheesy” to a whole other level. That said, it mentions all the classic Hohhot icons and it would still win you friends to learn it 🙂

There are some great photos in the post, worth a scroll through even if you don’t listen to the whole song.

Error: Embedded data could not be displayed.

If the page doesn’t display correctly try this link.

If you’re interested in another Hohhot song, you can look up “Hohhot Night” 呼和浩特的夜晚. It’s available on xiaomi music and I’m assuming any Chinese music player app. I haven’t found the song above on player apps yet.

Also, after listening to both songs it seems there a list of things that must be included when writing a song about Hohhot. Here are some of them.

  • drinking alcohol
  • the grasslands
  • chi le chuan
  • the sky
  • evenings
  • romance (even better if it didn’t quite pan out)
  • ding xiang (lilac trees)
  • zhong shan lu, xin hua square, or other famous location
  • bei zi, hot pot, or other famous food. 

What else needs to be included to write a hit song about Hohhot? Leave your suggestions in the comments. Bonus points if you actually write song lyrics and leave them for us!

a Hohhot movie

I haven’t seen it yet, but recently saw this posting on wechat about a film about Hohhot, filmed in Hohhot, and even uses the local dialect as the language for the movie.
You can use a translation program for the details of the page embedded or linked below, but the basic plot is the story of a boy born in Hohhot in the early nineties, the struggles of his family, and the changes his family experiences as China (and Hohhot) change around them. The Chinese title is ba yue (August) and the English title is Summer is Over. 

Error: Embedded data could not be displayed.

If embedding does not display properly, try this link.


If you’ve seen the movie, leave us a comment with your thoughts.

Anda Union getting good press

If you haven’t heard of Anda Union, you should check them out! They are arguably the most internationally famous performers to come out of Inner Mongolia. 

This week they made international news again, being included in this list by the Huffington Post of the best albums of 2016 that the Grammy Awards missed. 

If you want to hear them, both links above have video! 

I haven’t heard this particular album yet, but I’m glad they’re getting some recognition. What do you think? Have you heard the album? Is it Grammy-worthy?

Leave us a comment!

iMoment Coffee Shop

If you still haven’t found your perfect hang out, we’re happy to introduce iMoment Coffee Shop. Connect with them on wechat using this QRcode.


For the coffee lover, finding a nice coffee shop must be the first thing you do in Hohhot! By recommendation we found iMoment Cafe, a mysterious cafe hiding in an office building.

Why is it called iMoment Cafe?


First, the English letter “i” shares the similar pronunciation with the word “love” in Chinese. You can tell the founder (a Taiwanese girl who speaks great English) loves coffee, wants everyone to enjoy their moment here in iMoment.


Second, iMoment Cafe is a reminder that people need to drink the premium specialty coffee. It’s not just a regular commodity, they treat every cup of coffee seriously. I am sure iMoment Cafe has high standard in its coffee. They use LOVERAMICS’s cups for the coffee, created using state of the art equipment by Lamarzocco and Victoria Arduino’s Mythos.


They also offer a selection of classic desserts to go with your morning coffee.


The other part of menu was equally impressive, king size panini with fresh garden vegetables, cuttlefish ink and other healthy ingredients on the dishes. Apart from the coffee, the food is definitely worthy trying.

iMoment Hohhot

They claim they are the furthest shop on Hohhot’s map of specialty coffee, but it’s definitely worth finding. From the warmth of the Taiwanese baristas to the food and drinks, it’s a spot to go! (and actually it’s not far at all )

4th Floor,No.15 Jinyushidaicheng,Chilechuan Avenue


photos by Hilary Lee photography, used with permission

« Older Entries