I continued my journey to go from Ordos to Yinchuan, which is in another province called Ningxia. Ningxia Province is a province in the north of China, which is full of dry land, mountains and landscape. It is also home to the Hui Chinese, a Muslim ethnic minority in China. Ningxia was the borderline between the Mongols and the Han Chinese, thus you can still see parts of the Chinese Wall in this beautiful province.
I decided to take the night train from Ordos to Yinchuan, which took me about 8 hours.
I arrived very early in the morning, so I needed to take a Uber-taxi (dididache) and that’s how I met the happiest taxi driver ever. He asked me to take a selfie together, so that’s why I have evidence for the happiness.
Do you remember Xiao Li? I met this awesome 19-year old Chinese guy several days before in Baotou. We had a super interesting discussion about our travel experiences. Furthermore he showed me a super convenient App for booking hostels in China (Qunar). We also exchanged phone numbers, so we had the chance to meet another time. This time in Yinchuan. He already waited at the Hostel for me (which we booked via the cool App), I dropped my luggage and we went out to visit the tombs of the Western Xia.
Do you remember Genghis Khan? I already mentioned that he was most likely killed by the Western Xia, another kingdom in China in the earlier time. So after visiting his wife and himself, now I visited his killers. Turns out my travel route is some kind of hunting the milestones of Genghis Khan’s life.
The Western Xia Tombs look like giant beehives and are 33 km west of the city. The first tombs were built a millennium ago by Li Yuanhao, the founder of the Western Xia dynasty. There are nine imperial tombs plus 200 lesser tombs in an area of 50 Sq meters.
Xiao Li and me had lots of fun that day and decided to enjoy some Ningxia-typical noodles in the afternoon.
In the evening, Xiao Li and me enjoyed a super delicious all you can eat hot pot and barbecue. (For Hot Pot you throw all kinds of food like vegetables, meat and fish into cooking flavored water and eat it as soon as it’s well cooked).
The next day, Xiao Li decided to relax in the hostel, so I went out for a hike in the Helanshan, a beautiful mountain in the west of the city. There were several spots of interest, that’s why I decided to go there. The first spot was the twin pagodas of Baisikou: 13 and 14 storeys high and decorated with intricate animal faces and Buddha statues.
On the way to the next sight, there was a museum, which was included in the park ticket, so I took a short look into the museum of paintings and statues of an obviously famous artist in China (Unfortunately I didn’t remember the name). I’m not super interested in this kind of arts so the most remarkable situation for me was when the security guards started to talk to me and we had a super informative talk about arts and the mountain scenic area. As usual, we finished the conversation with a selfie:
By far the most significant sight at Helanshan are the ancient rock carvings, which are dated back 10,000 years. There are more than 2,000 poctographs depicting animals, hunting scenes and faces, including one of an alien, and they are the last remnants of the early nomadic tribes who lied in the steppes of North of China.
The last day in Yinchuan, I decided to go to Shuidonggou, an archeological site 25 km East of Yinchuan, right at the boarder with Inner Mongolia.
The first part of that site is a museum of the archeological findings there.
The next part was visiting an unrestored section of the Great Wall dating back to the Ming dynasty. This wall today divides the Inner Mongolia from the Ningxia Province.
The last part of the daytrip was visiting a fortress with an elaborate network of underground tunnels once used by Chinese soldiers defending the Great Wall. The tunnel system contains two doors and fake passages to mislead the attackers.
After a nice daytrip in the archeological site, I came back to the hostel and Xiao Li already waited for me in the hostel with bread and refreshing drinks. My next destination was Lanzhou in Gansu Province and Xiao Li decided to join me! How lucky I was! We took the night train again and started the next chapter of the journey.
Stay tuned, the next chapter, even more people will join the adventure!