The largest city in Inner Mongolia, Baotou used to be an arid region inhabited by Mongolian herders and their sheep. The town that has since grown up has four main parts
- Donghe — the old part of town and lies to the east
- Qingshan — part of the new city with a small and depressing walking street
- Kunqu (Kandulun) — major part of the new city and is the main shopping and entertainment area with all the western restaurants near Baobaidalou (a large walking street and shopping area)
The new city is bisected by Gangtie St, a large road that goes from the east in Qingshan to the west in Kunqu.
- 1 Baotou Donghe Airport (Baotou Erliban Airport, Baotou Hailanbu Airport, 包头东河机场, 包头二里半机场, 包头海兰泡机场, BAV IATA) (Despite being across the tracks from the east railway station, it's a 4km walk. Airport "buses" (white vans) will take you anywhere in Baotou for ¥22, but if you're going to Donghe a taxi will be cheaper. This airport is planned to be the terminus of a metro line that will reach the east railway station in two stops before turning west to reach the rest of the urban area.), ☏ . Has flights from major Chinese cities, including Beijing, Guangzhou, Shanghai, Wuhan, Xi'an, and Yulin, as well as Ulaan Bataar and a few other international destinations.
There are two main train stations. There is high-speed rail but only inside Inner Mongolia (1hr to Hohhot). A night train to Beijing takes about 12 hours and ¥110-150 (seat) or ¥300-450 (soft sleeper).
- 2 Baotou East station (包头东站). Main station for Donghe.
- 3 Baotou Station (包头站). Main station for the western part of town.
- 4 Baotou Long Distance Bus Station (包头长途客运总站). Destinations include Beijing (about 10 hours), Dongsheng (about 3 hours), and Hohhot (about 3 hours)
- 1 Wudangzhao Lamasery (五当召; Wǔdāngzhào) (50 km northeast of Baotou, buses from the East Bus Station will take you there in two hours, or it's a 75 minute drive. You may also find minibuses in front of the east railway station around 08:00, or you can take bus 7 to Shiguai (石拐), then take a minibus or taxi the rest of the way for ¥30.). 08:00-18:00. Largest and best preserved Tibetan Buddhist lamasery in Inner Mongolia. ¥60.
- Resonant Sand Bay (50 km south of Baotou). Sand dune that emits sounds when someone rides down the side or the wind blows across.
- Guyang County Section of the Great Wall (50 km northeast of Baotou in Guyang County (固阳县; Gùyángxiàn)).
- Shiguai District Section of the Great Wall (30 km east of Baotou in Shiguai District (石拐区; Shíguǎiqū)). Claimed to be the oldest remaining part of the Great Wall.
- 2 Nanhai National Wetland Park (南海湿地景区, 包头黄河国家湿地公园). 08:00-21:00. A protected wetland, scenic area, amusement park, and final approach route for the airport. ¥20, no ticket sales after 18:30.
Try Mongolian hot pot with mutton, especially in the winter. Any mutton dish is worth trying as they raise sheep up in the mountains.
- Little Sheep Restaurant (小肥羊大厦; Xiǎoféiyáng Dàshà), 9 Wulandao, Kun District (昆区乌兰道9号; Kūnqū Wūlándào) (near Baotou Hotel), ☏ , fax: . This is the flagship restaurant of this world wide hot pot chain.
- Baotou Golden Snail Hotel (包头金蜗牛酒店; Bāotóu Jīnwōniú Jiǔdiàn), D1 Pedestrian St, Jiuyuan District (九原区步行街D1; Jiǔyuánqū Bùxíngjiē). Small rooms with free internet. No breakfast available. Listed rates for doubles from ¥159, discounted from ¥95.
- Hengwei Holiday (Qingshan Branch) (包头恒为假日酒店 (青山分店); Bāotóu Héngwéijiàrì Jiǔdiàn (Qīngshān Fēndiàn)), 8 Gangtie Ave, Qingshan District (青山区钢铁大街8号; Qīngshānqū Gāngtiědàjiē), ☏ . Rooms with free internet. Restaurant and cafe available. Listed rates for doubles from ¥168, discounted from ¥113, including breakfast.
- Qingshan Hotel Baotou, 1 Yingbin Rd, Qingshan District, ☏ , fax: .
- Tianwaitian Hotel Baotou, 50 Hudemulin Avenue, Qingshan District, ☏ , fax: .
- Shangri-La Hotel Baotou (包头香格里拉大酒店; Bāotóu Xiānggélǐlā Dàjiǔdiàn), 66 Minzu East Rd, Qingshan District (青山区民族东路66号; Qīngshānqū Mínzúdōnglù), ☏ , fax: , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. Large rooms with free internet, satellite tv, minibar, coffee equipment, safe, bathrobes and hair dryer. Business center, currency exchange, ticket office, night club and indoor swimming pool available. Chinese and Western restaurants as well as room service. Listed rates ¥1,688-2,286, breakfast ¥101 but included for more expensive rooms.