Inner Mongolia: To tour or not to tour
Tourists get the opportunity to sleep in Inner Mongolian yurts in the Xilamuren Grasslands.[Photo by Meghan Horihan/chinadaily.com.cn]
Inner Mongolia autonomous region enchants people as a natural escape with sprawling landscapes, captivating culture and fresh air that city dwellers rarely experience. However, its gargantuan size also makes some travelers feel so overwhelmed by the spanning options they struggle to decide where to even begin in the region.
At least that's how I felt when trying to plan a trip to this destination. I’ve wanted to travel to Inner Mongolia autonomous region pretty much since I first arrived to China, and when I finally got the opportunity, there seemed to be two viable options: hop on a preplanned tour or try to figure out an alternative route by hiring a driver.
Commercial tours have opened the door for many who otherwise may be too intimidated to take on the vast region. Over 9.4 million tourists visited Ulanqab from January to August alone and 7.6 billion yuan ($1.14 billion) was spent on tourism, which is an increase of 11.1 percent from the year before, China Daily reported.
Inner Mongolia autonomous region also saw about 8.54 million tourists over the National Day holiday, an increase of 21.5 percent from last year. And those numbers are set to increase as more money is pumped into the tourism industry.