The first thing that comes to mind when you visit Hohhot, is its grassland life. That has its own appeal and is definitely what attracts most people. Unfortunately all those interesting photos from travel agents posters and magazine about  grassland, ONLY HAPPEN throughout  August, during the Grassland Cultural Festival. That's when they perform all those horse show, mongolian wrestling, camel & horseback riding, cow milking, mongolian archery, dinner and show by a bonfire every night. You could just book these activities with the concierge from your hotel in Hohhot - or through travel agents.

But if you miss the big month, don't expect to see any of those activities. Most places and tourist spots would be closed, many yurts are even taken down. The grassland would still be there though. You can still do a grassland picnic - or go visit the herdsman yurt for lunch/dinner or just a sip of mongolian tea. The trip can be arranged through the concierge of the hotel, or rent a chauffered car, that would be the preference unless you're familiar with the road. The scenic drive takes about 2 hour or so into the grassland and feel free to stop the car by the small farmer villages along the way to capture the village life. They're usually very friendly and would try to chat with you.

A little bit further from Gegentala Grassland Hotel, which is a large hotel complex built with yurt-like villas, about 5 minutes drive, take a right turn into a dirt path that will lead you to a herdsman house. This particular herdsman family take visitors during the festival, but apparently keep their house open for public during off season as well. A mongolian tea welcome would be prepared and they would proudly show their unique way of life - kitchen, bedrooms, the yurts outside, barns, a corner of traditional mongolian costumes that you can borrow and take photos in. Get ready to be invited to join the family for lunch or dinner if you come just in time. Usually they won't let you pay, but you may give some 'money offering' to the Genghis Khan altar if you wish.


 

By the herdsman house

 

Sipping Mongolian Tea