It goes without saying that the Mongolian grasslands are quite remote. The base for the Genghis Khan Festival is a town of 60,000 residents named Xiwuqi (西乌旗), which is short for Xiwuzhumuqin Qi 西乌珠穆沁旗). It is located about 140 km from Xilinhot (锡林浩特), where the nearest airport is located.
From Beijing: Air China has daily flights to Xilinhot from Beijing, which is the easiest option for air travel. Air China flies in the early morning. NOTE 2015: Air China flights to Xilinhot have become more irregular of late, and we recommend to take the second flight option departing from Beijing Nanyuan (South) airport. China United Airlines, co-shared with China Eastern, takes off from there also in the early morning.
From Shanghai: There are also daily flights from Shanghai via Hohhot with China Eastern (departure around noon). Participants from Shanghai are recommended to check this China Eastern connection via Hohhot first, rather than transitting in Beijing.
From Guangzhou: China Southern flies to Xilinhot on Thursdays (departure around noon), which is the better option for participants coming from the southern regions of China.
Alternative: Tianjin Airlines also has connections to Xilinhot via Hohhot, which may be worthwile checking out
We do heavily recommend Grassland Marathon runners to consider flying in at the latest on Friday morning. Evening flights, if available, can be delayed and please note that from Xilinhot airport, it is a two-hour busride to Xiwuqi on the new highway (opened autumn 2011). Nordic Ways provides an airport shuttle service in cooperation with the local tourism bureau.
A good source for travel info is Elong.com or Ctrip.com
How to carry your bicycle onto the airplane?
- How to wrap the bike?
- If you use a box to wrap it, disassemble it as much as you can：at least the front wheel shall be dismounted; seat, peddle, handlebar shall be dismounted and bound onto the bike. You may ask the staff in your bike shop to help you with that.
- If you will not use a box, the handle bar shall be rotated 90 degree and fixed. The wheels shall be dismounted and flattened and bound onto the bicycle. Refer to the picture below to the right.
No matter which way, the tires should be flattened (20% to 50% air left in the tires) because the low pressure in the high sky may cause the tires blow.
2. Get to the airport at least 2 hours before the flight (if your bike is not yet packed, much earlier is suggested), because you may have to go through some weighing process.
3. Normally, you may go straightly to the airport counter to check in and have your bike and other packages carried onto the airplane, and no surcharge is demanded.
4. However, if your bike is bigger or heavier than the free-carry policy, you will at times be asked to pay for the extra weight, which is normally 1.5% of the ticket fee of economy class per kilogram (accustomed to most airplane company fly to Xilinhot).
5. Regulations seem a little vague, and are not always followed. In 2012 bikers in some airports were asked to pay a surcharge, others were not. More details about policy of different airplane company, please consult the airplane company.
Xilinhot also has a train and bus station that is well-connected within the region, and with Beijing. There are daily public busses between Beijing -mainly from Liuliqiao station- and Xilinhot.
RECOMMENDED: Nordic Ways organises bus services from Beijing to Xiwuqi and back, on Thursday and Friday morning . Please see the Optional Services section for more details.
Finally, Xilinhot also has a railway station, so - even though slightly more cumbersome - you could also get there by train.