Archive for June 20, 2014

health care in Hohhot (and beyond)

I wrote a post last year about getting medical care in Hohhot. (Click link to read it)

Unfortunately, we’ve had to access the Chinese medical system even more since then, so this post is to update some of our thoughts and opinions.

This is what we’ve learned about the medical system in Hohhot. This post just represents our opinion and experience so if you have other suggestions or experiences please leave a comment.

  • It seems to us that very few locals just walk in and see a doctor that they have no prior relationship with. They call friends until they know someone who knows someone who is the kind of doctor they need. You too, should use relationship when possible. Ask a local friend who they know and that will go a long way toward having a better experience.
  • Find out what each hospital specializes in or is known for being good at. For example, we’ve recently learned that the 356 Hospital (Wu Jing Yi Yuan) supposedly has the best doctors and equipment for treating kidney stones using ESWL. And the 253 Hospital is known for good cosmetic surgery. (No, I didn’t have cosmetic surgery, but my daughter did get stitches in her face. 🙁 We were recommended to go there to lessen the chance of a scar). We have found that many times once you get to a doctor, they will generally tell you clearly if you are at the right place or not. If you chose the wrong department, they’ll tell you. If they don’t have the skill to diagnose or treat your condition, they will tell you and refer you to someone/somewhere who can. It is frustrating to have to go to more than one place, but it’s better in the end to get better, more skillful care.
  • In our experience, getting any test (blood work, MRI, CT, etc) is easy and cheap. Getting the proper diagnosis and/or treatment plan is more difficult. (especially if you’re not interested in Chinese or Mongolian medicine) We’ve had good experience with getting the test here then sending the the results to a doctor we trust in Beijing or at home in the US to make a diagnosis or make a treatment plan.
  • Overuse of antibiotics is a big deal. They pass out IV antibiotics before any tests are run, before it’s known if the condition is even caused by a bacteria in the first place. Here are some articles that address this problem’s causes and solutions for improvement better than I could. My simple advice is don’t take them until you are certain they are necessary.,8599,2103733,00.html
  • My basic advice about getting medical attention in Hohhot is this: Avoid it when possible. Eat healthy foods, exercise, and avoid high-risk behaviors. Next, if you must seek medical care, the system here is adequate for routine tests, minor illnesses, or situations that need to be addressed quickly (the stitches in my daughter’s face, for example). For anything else, my advice is to get to Beijing or another large city.

If you are in the situation where you have an issue that needs to be addressed with a greater standard of care, I highly recommend OASIS INTERNATIONAL HOSPITAL in Beijing.  Oasis opened in 2012 and they were so great to us when we were there in February. They provide an international level of care in an English-speaking environment, for prices lower than Beijing United in most cases. (And much more willing to work with us on prices than BJU ever was). They’re also been great to let us send results and provide consults via the phone and we’re grateful for the care they’ve given us.

I hope you don’t need to use it, but here is their contact information if you do:

No. 9 Jiuxianqiao Bei Lu
Chaoyang District, Beijing 100015 China


Telephone 400 UR OASIS (876 2747)
Office (+86 10) 5985 0361 | Mobile (+86) 138 10700199
24-Hour Emergency Service (+86 10) 5985 0333

looking for a house (apartment) in Hohhot

Our family is considering a move in the coming months. I wrote a lengthy post on finding a house in Hohhot last year. It’s no fun process, and I can’t imagine trying it without Chinese, so my post today is an offer of help.

If anyone else happens to be looking for a new place right now, leave your desired qualities in the comments and as I scour internet ads, get hounded by realtors, and view homes that aren’t right for us, I can pass those along to you.

Please remember, I’m a mom of two small girls first, so I’m not offering to be your realtor, but if I see something that fits what you’re looking for as we search, I’m happy to pass the contact information to you.

Also, I think that in a year’s time since I wrote the linked post above, rental prices have probably risen 5-10%. I don’t have any official statistics, just my guess from what we’ve already seen.


View of Hohhot, Inner Mongolia Today

Today three things happened simultaneously to result in the photos below.
First, it was the clearest day we’ve had in a long time. (Thanks to the rain, I suppose).
Second, both me and handsome hubs were home with not too many pressing things to do.
And third, the door to the roof of our apartment was unlocked. By “unlocked” I mean that the lock had been previously broken my someone else.

Anyway, here’s what Hohhot looked like today from just east of city center, 27 floors up.


Looking northeast:

hohhot northeast 2

You can see Inner Mongolia Museum in the center and Wanda just to the right.
Hohhot northeast

Looking southeast:
hohhot south east

Looking south:

Bolton Plaza under construction on left, International Mongolia Medicine Hospital just to the left of center


hohhot south south east

Looking west:
hohhot west 2

Hohhot west

vote on your favorite design for the new airport

I wrote back in November about the plans for Hohhot’s new airport. You can read that post here.

You can click on this link to see a few design options for the new airport. If you’re using wechat, you can vote for your favorite design. It was posted by a news service you can follow using WeChat ID: hushixinwen.

Leave a comment telling us which one you like.

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Buying Import Items: Dong Wa Yao

This is an update to a previous post about the locations of import items.

Here is more information about the fourth listing on that post called Dong Wa Yao. It is a wholesale market on the south of Erdos Road, west of Zhao Wu Da and across the street from the Hai Hang Da Jiu Dian.

There are at least three shops inside the market where imported items can be bought. If you’ve never been there, once you get there, you will think that I have surely directed you to the wrong place. It’s not the nicest place and on a rainy/muddy day it’s even worse.

The shop most foreigners seem to frequent is called Bai Xiang. From the north gate of the complex turn right (west) and the shop is a few stalls down on your right. They have freezers out front and a small shop with shelves of tasty things inside. Cream cheeses, mozzarella cheese, bacon, and other products are in the freezers outside.

Inside are all kinds of canned goods and other non-perishable items.

I don’t have a picture, but will add one next time I’m there.


Here are another two shops to try also located at/near dong wa yao.

This store is south of the east gate of the market on the west side of the street. Xi Can Yuan Liao Da Quan


This one is a McCormick spice distributor so they have a large selection of spices. But that’s not even the best part…..cheddar cheese. They have cheddar cheese, but it’s pricy at 40 RMB/jin and only sold in large blocks. All of  sudden I can’t remember if it was 5 or 10 kg. They also have some high quality fresh mozzarella, cereal, canned goods, and other stuff. Beware of the price tags….they are marked for buying in bulk so if you’re just buying a few things the price will be higher than what is written on the tag.


This one is located somewhere in the middle of the market. I have no idea how to explain the directions to get there. Just wander around until you find it???


This one caters mainly to the tea/smoothie/coffee drink shops in town so they have all the ingredients for making those specialty drinks, smoothies, etc. They also have some frozen chicken sandwiches, french fries, and other ready-to-eat products.

The last one isn’t at dong was yao, it’s on Wu Lan Cha Bu East Road, between Zhan Dong Lu and Zhan Xi Lu on the north side.


This store has products from Russia. And twix candy bars. who knew? There is a large selection of chocolates, waffles, some cereals, and gifts products from Russia.

What have I left out? Leave a comment if you have another recommendation.



recent (lack of) updates

Sorry not much new has been posted on the blog. I did add a page for the photo galleries and will work on getting more of my photos up. We’ve also added more products to our gift selections.


And while I’m writing…about the spring/summer field trips:

We had one planned for tomorrow June 6th, but my partner needed to cancel it and thought that most people wouldn’t want a big outing for their kids right after a big weekend with Duan Wu Jie and Children’s Day falling on the same weekend.

So, we still will have one more field trip towards the end of June. We’ll post the information here as it gets closer. It will be the last one for the season and we’ll go to Wu Yi Shui Ku. Hope you can join us! And sorry for any inconvenience with the schedule changes and cancellations.



Resources for learning Mongolian

If you are still pressing on in your study of Chinese, keep it up!

If you’re considering taking on another language, or just looking for a break from Chinese language study, today’s post is about some local resources for studying Mongolian.

A few basic facts that you may already know: Hohhot’s population is somewhere between 10-15% Mongolian, depending on which statistics you use. Not as many Mongols from Hohhot can speak Mongol, but most of them from the countryside can.

There are almost 6 million Mongols in China, less than 3 million in Mongolia, and another million plus in Russia and a smattering of other other countries. see wikipedia

The Mongolian spoken here and the Mongolian spoken in the country of Mongolia are different, but can they can communicate orally without many problems. However, in Inner Mongolia, the writing system uses the traditional Mongolian script. In the country of Mongolia, they use the Russia Cyrillic alphabet.

Most locals will tell you the most standard Mongolian is spoken in Xilingol, so if you get a tutor, get one from there.

And now, here’s some help if you decide to embark on the Mongolian study journey.

  1. First, there’s a great website to get your study started, also based right here in Hohhot. This will get you started on learning the Mongol that is spoken here.
  2. Next, for the summer months there is a group offering free classes every morning 9:30-11:00 from June 7 to August 14. The address is: 蒙元素文化艺术中心文化沙龙(乌兰察布东路园艺所院内)This is on the southeast corner of Zhan Dong Lu and Wu Lan Cha Bu Dong Lu. Here is the posting announcement (in Chinese).
  3. I’ve heard the Mongolian Nationality Experimental School (corner of Xing An Lu and Da Xue Lu) also has free classes, but I don’t have the specific information or contact information.
  4. There are a few services you can follow on wechat. One is the “Meng Yu Jiao” or Mongolian Corner. WeChat ID: mengguyujiao. Information is in Chinese, but they have useful tips and often hold Mongolian corners (time to practice and use Mongolian) throughout the city. Another is called “Mongolian Guide” (my translation of Meng Gu Zhi Nan). WeChat ID:tenuun2014. They have good stuff, but don’t post often.
  5. Apps. I was recently recommended three apps for learning Mongolian, but I haven’t yet been successful getting them on my android phone. I’ve heard with iphone if you search “Mongolian” they will come up easily. But with Android we haven’t found the right app store to download them. The app’s website is so try that too.
  6. Lastly, (at least for today) is another free class to study Khoomei (Hu Mai, homei, lots of spellings, who knows which one is right??). Khoomei is a traditional form of singing where two tones are produced simultaneously. The singing will be in Mongolian, so go give it a try! The free class in on June 12th. Here is the information. (in Chinese)
  7. Nei Da (and probably the other universities as well) have official programs to study if you’d like to take a formal class.

Do you have other resources? Leave us a comment about them!
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