The Jakarta Post
The sun shines on the Kubuqi Desert in the Inner Mongolia autonomous region. (China Daily/Meghan Horihan)
Inner Mongolia, which sits at the southern border of both Mongolia and Russia, is an autonomous region with Hohhot as its capital.
Currently, China is intensively introducing tourist destinations in Mongolia to Indonesian tourists, including through the recently held 2018 China-Hohhot Tourism Promotion in Jakarta, as reported by kompas.com.
One of the travel agencies that often takes Indonesian tourists to Inner Mongolia is Grand China Travel.
Khoe Ting Tjen, director of Grand China Travel, said currently the company uses chartered flight service Citilink from Jakarta to Ordos every Friday with a stopover in Batam to refuel. The total flight length from Jakarta to Mongolia is around seven and a half hours.
"This is a second year of our flight charter. We charter for a year but can only use it for six to seven months. Mongolia cannot be visited at the end of the year because it is very cold. Indonesian guests are happy with Ordos and Hohhot," he said.
Inner Mongolia is not for tourists who love shopping or even a suitable destination for children, he added.
"What is seen is scenery and deserts; it's not a city nor a shopping destination. It's a different [experience] for tourists than visiting Shanghai and Beijing [for example]. In Mongolia, tourists can see life in the desert and the green of grasslands filled with cows and sheep," he said.
Jakarta tourists who tend to visit Inner Mongolia are those who like history and deserts, he added.
"Throughout Inner Mongolia, almost all the views are of the desert. Here there are camels. Camels in Mongolia have two humps. In Dubai they have one. Tourists really like riding camels in the Mongolian desert. At night they stay in tents," he said.
The best time to visit Mongolia is is from June to August during the summer, he said, adding that a Chinese visa is needed to enter the autonomous region.
"The currency in Inner Mongolia is the yuan, the same as in China," he said.
Khoe Ting Tjen added that the main requirement to visit Mongolia is physical preparation.
"Moreover, when visiting in October, the temperature there is around 3 to 5 degrees Celsius. For shoes, use comfortable ones," he suggested.
At the event, four Indonesian travel agencies also signed a partnership with tour operators from Inner Mongolia.
Osean A. Untung, executive vice president of Ayowisata, one of the travel agents that participated, explained that the cooperation focused on making tour packages to Mongolia.
"We want to sell Mongolian tour packages to Indonesian tourists who like deserts and grassland, not to go shopping. Mongolia is suitable for those with a sense of adventure and young adults," Osean said. (liz/kes)