Ningxia Travel Guide, How to plan a Ningxia trip

Morgen Mo
1359 Words/6 Minutes, By Morgen Mo, Updated March 05, 2023

Ningxia is a province located in the northwest region of China. It is known for its natural beauty, including the Helan Mountains and the Yellow River. The province is also home to the Hui people, a Muslim ethnic group in China. The capital of Ningxia is Yinchuan. The economy of the province is primarily based on agriculture and mining.

Ningxia s bordered by the Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region to the north and west, Gansu Province to the south and Shaanxi Province(Xian) to the east. To the north and west of Ningxia is the vast Gobi desert Alxa League, which stretches across northern China and southern Mongolia. The Gobi desert including Badain Jaran Desert is known for its arid landscapes and extreme temperature fluctuations.

  • Chinese name: 宁夏 / níng xià
  • Area: 66,400 square kilometers
  • Population: 6.8 million people as of 2021
  • Capital: the capital and largest city is Yinchuan
  • Nationalities: home to the Hui people, a Muslim ethnic group in China
  • History: can be traced back to the Western Xia dynasty, which existed from the 10th to 13th centuries.
  • Famous for: wine industry, carpets and embroidery.

Brief History

Ningxia has a rich history dating back to the Han dynasty, which ruled from 206 BCE to 220 CE. During this period, Ningxia was part of the Hexi Corridor, which was an important route for trade and communication between China and Central Asia.

In the Tang dynasty (618-907 CE), Ningxia was known as the Ning Prefecture and was an important military stronghold for the Chinese empire. It was also a center for Buddhism, with many temples and monasteries being built in the area.

During the Ming dynasty (1368-1644 CE), Ningxia became part of the Ningxia Garrison, which was responsible for defending the region against Mongol raids. It was also during this period that the Yellow River shifted its course, causing widespread flooding and devastation in the area.

In 1929, Ningxia became a province of China, but it was later merged with the neighboring province of Gansu in 1954. In 1958, it became an autonomous region, with the capital city of Yinchuan.

Since the 1980s, Ningxia has undergone significant economic development, with a focus on agriculture, mining, and energy. It is also known for its wine industry, with several wineries producing high-quality wines using grapes grown in the region.

Today, Ningxia is home to several ethnic groups, including the Hui, Han, and Mongol people. It is also known for its scenic natural beauty, including the Helan Mountains, the Yellow River, and the Shapotou Desert.

Why Ningxia

Traveling to Ningxia offers a unique and off-the-beaten-path experience in China, as it is a region that is still relatively unknown to many oversea travelers. Ningxia is home to a rich history and culture, with sites such as the Western Xia Tombs and the Nanguan Mosque showcasing the region's Islamic heritage. The stunning landscape of the Helan Mountains and the Tengger Desert also offer opportunities for outdoor activities such as hiking and sandboarding.

Additionally, Ningxia is known for its delicious halal cuisine, which is influenced by the region's Hui ethnic minority. The local dishes, such as hand-pulled noodles and lamb skewers, are a must-try for foodies.

Traveling to Ningxia provides a unique opportunity to discover a lesser-known part of China, immerse oneself in the region's culture and history, and enjoy its natural beauty and cuisine.

Attractions, what to visit

Nestled in the heart of northwestern China, Ningxia boasts a plethora of stunning attractions that showcase the region's rich cultural heritage, including ancient historical sites such as the Western Xia Tombs, the awe-inspiring beauty of the Yellow River and Helan Mountains, the fascinating museums like the Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region Museum and the Chinese Islamic Cultural Museum, and the unique cultural experiences of the Hui ethnic minority group, all of which combine to create an unforgettable and enriching travel destination.

Top attractions in Ningxia >>

Food and restaurants, what and where to eat

Ningxia's cuisine is characterized by its unique blend of Halal Muslim and traditional Chinese flavors, featuring a variety of lamb and beef dishes, hand-pulled noodles, stuffed buns, and local specialties such as Liangfen (a jelly-like dish made from mung bean starch) and Suanmiao (fermented vegetables).

Food in Ningxia >>

Hotels, where to stay in Ningxia

Ningxia, is home to a variety of hotels ranging from luxury resorts to budget-friendly accommodations, offering travelers comfortable and convenient options to explore the region's natural beauty, cultural heritage, and delicious cuisine.

Shangri-La Hotel, Yinchuan: This five-star hotel is located in the heart of Yinchuan and offers luxurious rooms and suites, an indoor pool, a fitness center, and multiple dining options, including a Chinese restaurant and a rooftop bar.

Kempinski Hotel Yinchuan: This elegant hotel features spacious rooms and suites, a spa, an indoor pool, and a variety of dining options, including a Chinese restaurant and a steakhouse.

Ningxia Plaza Hotel: This five-star hotel is located in the center of Yinchuan and features stylish rooms and suites, a spa, an indoor pool, and multiple dining options, including a Chinese restaurant and a Japanese restaurant.

Zhongwei Shapotou Yellow River Hotel: This luxurious hotel is located in Zhongwei, on the banks of the Yellow River, and offers spacious rooms and suites with river views, a spa, an indoor pool, and a variety of dining options, including a Chinese restaurant and a Western restaurant.

Hyatt Regency Jinghua: This newly opened hotel is located in the city of Jingyuan and offers luxurious rooms and suites, a spa, an indoor pool, and multiple dining options, including a Chinese restaurant and a rooftop bar with panoramic views.

Weather, the best time to visit Ningxi

It is best to visit in Spring and Autumn for its mild temperature and beautiful scenery.

The best time to visit Ningxia would be from late September to early October, as this is when the weather is mild and the region's famous grape harvest is taking place. This is also the time when the region's vineyards are at their most beautiful, with the grape leaves turning golden and red. Additionally, the region's annual Wine Festival is held during this time, providing visitors with a chance to sample the local wines and experience the local culture.

When visiting Ningxia, it's best to plan your trip in advance, as some of the sights and activities can be quite remote. Additionally, be sure to check the weather and dress appropriately, as the province can be quite hot in the summer and cold in the winter.

Ningxia weather >>

Itineraries, how to plan a Ningxia trip

A trip to Ningxia could include exploring the stunning landscape of the Helan Mountains, visiting the ancient capital of the Western Xia Dynasty at the Xixia Tombs, experiencing the unique culture and customs of the Hui ethnic minority in the city of Yinchuan, tasting the region's delicious halal cuisine, marveling at the intricate craftsmanship of the Shapotou Scenic Area's sand dunes and viewing platforms, and ending with a peaceful retreat to the serene beauty of the Qingtongxia Reservoir.

Day 1: Arrive in Yinchuan, Western Xia Tombs, the Nanguan Mosque, Old Town of Yinchuan

Day 2: Helan Mountains, Hike in the stunning Helan Mountains, Helan Mountain Rock Art

Day 3: Zhongwei, Tengger Desert, Experience the thrill of sandboarding and camel riding at Shapotou Scenic Area, Zhongwei Gao Temple

Day 4: Qingtongxia Reservoir, Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region Museum

Day 5: Departure, Say goodbye to Ningxia and depart for your next destination

Ningxia travel itineraries >>

Morgen Mo

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