Hulunbuir Grasslands, Inner Mongolia
Fresh air and the endless green grasslands of the best preserved prairie in China, with hiking and visits to border towns that contain a curious mix of Chinese and Russian culture.
|Day One main activities||Meet up in Hailar, hiking, overnight in E’erguna|
|Day Two main activities||Hiking and touring around Enhe, a town where the influence of Russian culture can be seen|
|Day Three main activities||Hiking and touring around Manzhouli.|
|Day Four main activities||More touring in the Manzhouli area, back to Hailar to finish the trip.|
The Hulunbuir Prairie is located at the western foot of the Greater Xing’anling Mountains, near China’s border with Russia and Mongolia. Natural grassland occupies 80% of the whole area, making it the richest big prairie in China. The area is home to Hulun Lake, one of China’s largest freshwater lakes.
Hulunbuir is the main area for rearing livestock in Inner Mongolia. Except for the Greater Xing’anling and the Greater Green Mountains, most of the area is flat. The prairie stretches without end for mile after green mile, dotted by thousands of lakes.
The biodiversity of Hulunbuir makes it a natural treasure, and it’s a vital habitat for dozens of species of mammals and hundreds of different kinds of birds.
Being so close to the border, there is a strong Russian influence in the area. Visitors will find that there is not very much traditional Chinese architecture in many of the surrounding counties, which are instead influenced more by Russian culture.
The history of the Hulunbuir League, in northern Inner Mongolia, can be traced back to when the Xiongnu united the grassland territories in North China. Today there are people of many different ethnic groups living here, including Han Chinese, Mongolians, Manchurians, Daurs and others. Hulunbuir boasts vast natural grasslands, natural woodlands, and more than 3,000 rivers and 500 lakes. The Greater Xing’anling mountain range stretches through Hulunbuir from north to south. The chief natural attractions in Hulunbuir are the forests of the Greater Xing’anling Mountains and the famous grasslands. The area is cool and pleasant in summer and is snowy and icy in winter.
The Hulunbuir Prairie is the largest in China. People living in the grassland engage primarily in farming, livestock breeding, and aquaculture. With fresh air, unique culture and landscapes, the Hulunbuir Prairie enjoys a reputation for its idyllic country scenery.
The area gets its name from a legend that long ago, there lived a handsome young man called Hulun and a beautiful young lady called Buir. The two were deeply in love, but were forced to separate and later turned into two lakes, the Hulun and Buir lakes. The grassland is nurtured by hundreds of rivers that have made this area highly popular with nomads and herders. This paradise is China's largest pollution-free food resource for animals.
E’erguna is surrounded by grasslands and the E’erguna River and sees a fair amount of domestic tourism in the summer. There is nice hiking and horseback riding around the river and wetlands, as well as gorgeous views from the hills outside the city.
Not quite as close to the China-Russia border as Shiwei, but less commercialized, Enhe is a town where we can see the influence of Russian culture. Quite a few of the residents are of Russian descent, but speak Chinese as their first language.
Manzhouli sits directly on the border between China and Russia, just north of China’s fifth largest freshwater lake and 80 kilometers west of China’s border with Mongolia. This border city between China and Russia is China’s largest land port of entry.
In ancient times the area was inhabited by many different groups that lived in the region, including the Donghu, Xiongnu, Xianbei, Khitan, Jurchen, and Mongols. From the early Qing Dynasty onwards the E’erguna River, which originates in this area, became the border between China and Russia.
In 1992, Manzhouli became one of the first land border crossings opened up by the People’s Republic of China. It has since experienced somewhat of a boom as a center of border trade between China and Russia.
Manzhouli’s Matryoshka Square features a very diverse range of authentic Russian souvenirs and crafts. This landmark attraction combines the characteristics and features from the three bordering countries: China, Russian and Mongolia. The centerpiece of the expansive square is a nesting doll that is 30 meters tall. Nearby the Matryoshka Square is the Manzhouli Museum.