Like each and every excited bunch of graduates in the last year of university, me and my friends decided to embark on a journey of our own, aka the once in a lifetime Graduation Trip. There was a slight debate on where to go initially, and we finally came to a conclusion to go to an exotic and uncommon place that would hold dear memories – Inner Mongolia, China and an en route to Beijing.
So, a brief introduction to Inner Mongolia: it belongs to China and is situated in the far north, just above Beijing. It spans for around 1.18 million km² and is the second largest provincial level region in China. I get that people are sometimes confused between Mongolia and Inner Mongolia; apparently they are two different countries. Inner Mongolia is famous for their beautiful Hulunbeir grasslands and sandy dunes (but we didn’t go to the desert on this trip), and we were especially excited to experience living in traditional Mongolian yurts.
Another thing to take note is that the best time to travel there is probably summer time (June – September). The weather is relatively warmer around that time so it would be best for sightseeing. It is also advisable to bring some long-sleeved clothing due to the large temperature variation between day and night.
How to reach Inner Mongolia?
As there is no direct flight from Singapore to Inner Mongolia, we first booked return tickets for Malaysia Airlines (MAS) departing from Singapore – Kuala Lumpur – Beijing. From Beijing, we then booked a domestic flight from Air China (中国国际航空), departing from Beijing International Airport to Hailar Dongshan Airport (HLD).
Total cost of air tickets:
1. Return tickets for Malaysia Airlines (SG – KL – Beijing): S$398.70/person
2. One way ticket for Air China (Beijing – HDL): S$288.30/person
Do you need Visa?
Yes for Malaysians or all other nationalities who needs Visa for travelling into China. We applied for One Time Entry Visa for SGD90 in Singapore. Rates change every now and then so please do your surveys beforehand.
Mr. Yu Yong Fu (or we call him Yu Ge 于哥) is an experienced self-employed tour guide and was an excellent companion and photographer (his photography skills are awesome and he has his own set of DSLR cameras that he brings along the way) for entire journey. I must say, he is one of the best tour guides I have ever met.
Mr. Yu has actually written his own detailed itinerary in Chinese, so those who are interested can visit this link.
Our full tour (inclusive of travel and accommodation) was a total of RMB6000 for the total of 6 of us. This equals to around SGD200 per person for the entire trip. For current prices and enquiries on availability etc., you can go to the above link and contact Mr. Yu via WeChat, which he has provided in the webpage.
Itinerary adapted from our tour guide：
I shall use picture story method to make it easier to browse:
Day 1: Hailar→金帐汗→穿越草原→亚洲湿地→额尔古纳入住。
We brought along our graduation robes along for this trip, and had a mini photoshoot on the grasslands. It looked like those classic Windows XP desktop wallpaper, no joke. 😂
One of my favourite group photos in Hulunbeir, Inner Mongolia. Many thanks to our tour guide for helping us to take this photo.
We were very satisfied with the accommodation as all the hotels were clean and tidy. Given the price we paid for the tour, it was very worth the money.
Day 2: 额尔古纳→敖鲁古雅使鹿部落→得耳布尔→龙岩山→莫尔道嘎入住。
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Mr. Tour Guide insisted on bringing us here because apparently he loves these flowers. They have a name but I’m not a fan of plants and botanical stuff so their names don’t resonate well with my memory. Nevertheless they’re pretty haha
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Love the experience of riding horses on the grasslands! P.S. Horse-riding activities are not included in the tour package so we paid extra for this experience.
Our one and only night staying in Mongolian Yurt. We were completely disconnected from the outside world with no Wi-Fi, but it was a pleasant experience. Billions of stars could be seen at night just outside our tent and it was amazing.
In case you wanted to take a look of how the inside of the tent looks like. It’s actually very modernised and consists of an attached bathroom (but withour doors), and the facilities are well equipped.
Traditional Mongolian snacks and yoghurt. I really liked the original flavoured yoghurt and they claim it is made from fresh milk with no added preservatives. Healthy huh.
Another favourite part of the trip was to be able to try on their traditional Mongolian costumes. All complete with headgear and everything. It comes with extra charges though.
After that, it was time to leave the beloved Hulunbeir grasslands and proceed on to Manzhouli, another city which borders Russia.
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We didn’t get to go in because they were closed for renovation. But it was really pretty from the outside.
And finally, that’s the end of our 7 days trip in Inner Mongolia. We continued on our graduation trip to Beijing via train, but that’s another story. 😜
Budget wise, total expenditure for Inner Mongolia rounds up to around SGD1100 inclusive of flight tickets + private tour package + personal expenses. The most expensive part was the flight tickets, so if you could grab a deal that is cheaper, then you could probably save more.
Overall, I really loved the trip as it was one of the most memorable ones in my life. And huge thanks to my fellow travel mates who have came together and made this happen. May everyone strive well in their future careers and life. Cheers!