Village Hopping in Inner Mongolia
And the journey goes to… Inner Mongolia. The destination is the city of Hulunbuir in around 500 kilometers. This is the first part of the long way.
Between Mangui and the small city of Genhe there is a lot of forest and some smaller towns connected by a hilly road leading up and down the landscape. If you decide doing it on a bike it’s exhausting but certainly an amazing experience. It took me 3 days to complete. Better come here in July and August. Then all the trees are green and lush. That is what all the locals say and wonder why I came there in May.
I cross the border to Inner Mongolia on the way. And reach the village of Mangui in the early evening. As I arrive, a steep hill with stairs is waiting for me. The village of Mangui is rather small and somehow reminds me how every small farm villages must have looked like some decades ago. I took a small room nearby the bus station for 20 Yuan. Apparently there is also a youth hostel called Beierci Youth Hostel for 25 per bed.
After a sunny ride through the beautiful landscape I arrive in Alongshan. On the way I meet a guy who is about to go fishing in the river. I don’t know much about fishing but Alongshan seems to be a good spot. In the town of Alongshan people are as friendly as in all the other towns in the northeast. I talk with the locals who are farming a local herb, talk with the butcher and the hotel owners (where you can find rooms for 20 Yuan everywhere).
This is the story of a German guy (YueGe, my Chinese alter ego) that takes a nap on the roadside. Suddenly a guy on a motorbike comes along waking him to ask for a lighter. The guy takes Yuege’s bagpack and puts it on his motorbike. Together the two ride the last 10 kilometers to the town of Jinhe where Yuege meets a friend of Qin who actually is a chef and runs his own restaurant in the town. YueGe changes his bicycle for a real motorbike and rides around the town for giggles.
Qin, the lighter guy, cooks a lot of food while more and more friends are appearing. We eat, talk and start to drink Baijiu. This is where our fairytale turns into a tragedy. The evening ends drunk. (Yuege can’t remember the price of the hotel room but it can’t be more than 20 Yuan). As I get to know later when sober again, also Jinhe has a new opened Backpacker hostel.
I pass the coldest point in China. The lowest temperature ever went down to -58 degrees Celsius before the thermometer bursted. The local even tell me that last year it even went down to -60 degrees. Despite the freezing cold the people here are one of the most warmhearted people I met so far. The place has home stays with little restaurants so it is well prepared for visitors. Anybody wants to go here in winter? It is May and as I ride across the area it snowed heavily. So bring a warm sweater if you ever come here.
Finally, I arrive in the small city of Genhe, home of a almost vanished minority.The story goes on.
Your village hopper,