Archive for Hohhot weather

What does Hohhot do best?

CNN recently published this article about the ten things China does best. I thought it was a very fair and accurate list. For your reading pleasure, James and I quickly brainstormed the ten things we think Hohhot does best.

What Hohhot Does Best:

1. Mutton. I mean, this is the grasslands, right? This isn’t something we frequently ate back home, but I don’t think you can live here too long without it becoming an endearing part of the cuisine.

2. Bad English. For a provincial capital, it’s my humble opinion that our English rendering of public signs and such is still far enough from accurate to give us our daily chuckle. I think other cities across China are becoming more international and losing this humorous aspect to their day.

3. Cold Weather. Has anything in Hohhot ever shut down due to snow or bad weather? I can’t remember anything. I can however, remember a time (2002, I believe) that the official temperature was reported as -29 for a number of days so that they wouldn’t have to close schools and offices. (I hear at -30 schools should close). I can also remember numerous time boasting the coldest temps in China. brrrr.

4. Taxi Sharing. This wasn’t a thing ten years ago, but I’m quite impressed at the drivers’ ability to know so quickly what locations are generally in the same direction as their current passenger and to make the snap decision to pick up a second (or third) fare or not. And passengers generally seem to be cordial enough to one another when sharing.

5. Hospitality. If you don’t have your own collection of blue scarves (hadas) yet, you haven’t been properly welcomed. If you haven’t left every social gathering stuffed until you feel sick, well, them my experience has been vastly different than yours.

6. Local Food. We may not have the best selection of Western food, but when it comes to local food, we have a wide variety of deliciousness to choose from. And, as far as “local specialties” go, we could be doing a lot worse than hot pot and mutton. We all have friends in other places in China that have to endure way more gastric torture than we do, yes?

7. Traffic Jams. I think the following picture, courtesy of a local friend’s wechat account, says enough.


8. Bike Theft. They really are genius, right? And not just bicycles, but has anyone held on to an electric bike and its original battery for any length of time. I’m always amazed at the boldness of the thieves in both their choosing of the location of what the thefts occur as well as their tenacity to somehow get through all the locks we use!

9. Museums. The museums truly are great, and getting better. And I don’t just mean the provincial level ones, either. Even small counties are building more museums with truly interesting displays. The English is still terrible, but the displays themselves are great.

10. Arts/Mongolian Culture. Sure other big cities may have a more lively band/music scene for foreigners, but here there are still plenty of locals performing for locals. Traditional Mongolian singers, instrumentalists and dancers can be found at many restaurants and every tourist trap across the province. Local bars also have a lively music scene.

Tell us in the comments what you would add or what items you disagree with.

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Beijing air quality: a photo a day

365 photos of Beijing air quality

The photographer in the linked article, Zou Yi, took a picture a day at the same time and location to show 365’s of BJ’s air pollution. He’s encouraging others to do the same in other cities. There’s a link in the article to follow his weibo account.

Who’s taking on Hohhot? I’m not in town now, but our previous 18th floor apartment would have had the perfect view.

Have you done this or similar projects in Hohhot? Do you want to share them with us? If so, leave us the link in the comments below.

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a couple days early…

My husband and I are going “off the grid” for a few days so I won’t be at a computer on Wednesday to wish you all a “Happy Heat Turns On Day!”

May you enjoy sleeping warmly through the night, faster drying laundry, and not seeing your breath while indoors!

And just think, roughly only 6 more months until warm weather!


Baotou-Xilamuren Grasslands-Singing Sands-Kangbashi-Genghis Khan Mausoleum travel experience

Here’s another travel experience from a reader to share with you. This reader recently returned to China after studying in the US. Her trip included visiting Baotou, Singing Sands Desert, the Genghis Khan Mausoleum, and Xilamuren Grasslands.

by Sidi Zhu

I had such a great experience in Inner Mongolia, and I really want to visit again and again.

Whenever Inner Mongolia is mentioned, the first thing that comes to my mind is the grassland with horses and sheep running around. I met a friend from Inner Mongolia six years ago while we were studying for TOEFL in a language school in Beijing, and I promised her that I will visit her because I had longed for the grassland since I was a kid. I didn’t expect that this promise would take me so long to turn into truth, but I finally visited Baotou, where my friend grows up, in the first year that I start to work.

Baotou Airport is a little discouraging as it is a not well-equipped small one, but we definitely changed our mind on the ride to our hotel. We stopped at Wanda Plaza, which is near our hotel for some snacks and found the city is very modern compared to what we have imagined: grasslands, animals and Mongolian tents!

The night view from our hotel room



Since we had a really short vacation, my friend suggested three must-visit places: the Xilamuren Grassland (also called Zhao He), Xiangshawan Desert (also called Singing Sands), and the Tomb of Genghis Khan (also called Genghis Khan Mausoleum)

The first day was freezing, and it took three hours to arrive Xilamuren Grassland. On the way to the grassland, there are lots of sunflower fields for tourism. Even though we were a little late for the best season of the sunflowers, we were still impressed by the beautiful landscape, which reminded me of the U.S. country roads.


The highlight of the day must be the horse riding, which lasted around an hour and made our legs hurting for the rest of the vacation. However, I definitely will ride again when I visit the next time.


The day we visited the desert the weather was perfect! It was not hot, but sunny. It is definitely the best part of this trip. It has so many activities that you can play multiple times with one day pass ticket. I have tried the cable cart that I always wanted to try, the desert boat car, the amphibious car and the camel riding. There are plenty of activities for you to stay there a whole day without feeling bored, not to mention the great background of the desert! The landform is just amazing! You can see desert beside valleys which have small rivers flowing under.  We were so impressed by the gorgeous view of Xiangshawan.


The afternoon after we played a whole day in the desert we went to Kangbashi city, which is another beautiful modern city that has so many museums and theme squares while only having a very light population. We stayed there for a night, enjoyed the creative buildings and the music fountains. It was such a relaxing night.


For us, the visit of the tomb of Genghis Khan might be the least appealing because we were not very big on history and it is not the real place where Genghis Khan is buried. And the English translations in the museum really need some improvement, both of my foreign friends can’t understand most of the time.


On the last day, we went back Baotou and had a short visit of the city. Mainly Saihantala, the grassland in the middle of the city. It’s very impressive that they have deer raising inside with no fences, which is actually a petting zoo of deer! We all love deer and had lots of fun feeding and touching them, and we somewhat learned they are not as gentle animals as they seem to be.


All in all, we had so much fun traveling in Inner Mongolia, and found out how beautiful and wealthy this place is. I am surely planning my next trip there already!



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

April 15th!

Today is known for two things. For those of us from America, it’s tax day. Did you remember to file your taxes yet (if necessary)?

On this side of the world, however, it’s Public Heating Turns Off Day. This year, I’m ready for it. In years past, it has been a sad day when the temperature outside wasn’t yet ready for the change. But this year the weather has been great! I don’t remember any year previously having as many nice days in a row as we’ve had the past couple of weeks. Enjoy the pleasant sandstorm-free spring weather while you can! Who knows when Hohhot’s normal windy, sandy spring will return.

Enjoy Being Outside!

The weather is warming up! (But don’t get ready for full-on spring time just yet. There is still plenty of time for it to get cold again. And before it really gets nice, there are generally a few sandstorms). While it is nice, here’s an idea to get out and enjoy being outside. I think it’s especially a great idea for those with kiddos.

Pick your own fruit/vegetables!

There are a few places you can pick fresh strawberries and other items yourself. You pay for the price of the berries, plus a bit more for the experience. I don’t know an exact price.

I also don’t know an exact address, but following these directions will get you close to one of the places. I’m sure there’s more than one, so just ask a local friend if you’re interested, or use these directions:


From Jin Qiao 的istrict’s oil refinery go east toward Liang Cheng (a county in Ulaanqab) about 5 kilometers.

This place has strawberries, cucumbers, and small tomatoes and my friends who have been said they taste great.

Does anyone know of other places? If so, leave a comment.

Under Constuction: Pardon our (continuing) mess!

Well, welcome to the new-ish site. Moving servers was (of course) more trouble than anticipated, but we’re working hard at getting everything back to looking nice and functioning well. It will take us some time.  When moving, we lost all the previous comments and images. The images we’ll slowly get up. This new site, however, will allow us to have more content than before, which we hope will be useful to you.

We’re going out of town for a few days so the mess will be around for awhile. This will be our first road trip with James driving, so it’s sure to produce content for next week’s posts. 🙂

I’ll also try to get the weather and air quality reports back up soon. By the way, isn’t today the clearest day we’ve had in awhile???  We can even see the mountains south of the city from our apartment today!

Merry Christmas, Hohhot!

I hope all who wanted to found a way to celebrate today. I tried to perk up and celebrate despite the flu ravaging my body, but that’s a post for another day. Because of the flu I haven’t left the house (or my bed really) for a few days. But, I have looked out the window and I got to thinking….I don’t ever remember a Christmas in Hohhot that there wasn’t snow on the ground. Most years I remembering it actually snowing on Christmas Day, and others there was at least residual snow from earlier snows. This year, I can’t even see snow on the Da Qing Shan. What gives? I tried to ask google to help me find the weather for Hohhot on this date for the past ten or so years, but that was a fruitless search. However, I did find this site with the weather history for the past twelve months. In summary I think the temperatures have been milder and we had much more rain than normal. I’m sorry if you’re already freezing, but either the real winter isn’t here yet or we’re getting a bit of a break this year.

So other Hohhot long-timers…how is my memory? Isn’t it odd that we haven’t had a snow yet? Do you remember having White Christmases in Hohhot? Does this winter seem warmer than years past? Leave a comment with your thoughts.

Hohhot air quality


If you glance right you’ll notice I’ve added a widget for you to check out Hohhot’s air quality. Hohhot had multiple locations to choose from, but I chose the number 29 middle school.  If you want to check the other locations, you can do so here.

Hohhot seems to be doing better than many Chinese cities. Another reason I’m glad we live here: clean(er) air.
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