The sheer desolation of Xanadu is exactly its attraction. This is one of the attractions in China/ Inner Mongolia that is least visited by foreign tourists. Xanadu, otherwise known as Yuanshangdu, today is less an eternal world than a set of dilapidated stone walls and towers buried in centuries of dirt and weeds, very different from what Marco Polo has described what it used to be. This is now the ruins of what was the riches and grandest places on earth in 1275.
The easiest way to get to this place is to take a flight from Beijing to Xilinhot, and from there, hire a private vehicle/ driver to take you there. We arrived at Xilinhot at about 9am and started our journey to Xanadu, breaking for a half hour lunch in between. We got to Xanadu at about 3pm, and by the time we got back to Xilinhot town again, it was past 9pm. All the better hotels in Xilinhot are quite far away from Xanadu, the ones near Xanadu are catered mainly to truck drivers that pass the highways. There is a huge statue of Kublai Khan near the entrance of the site as well as a large stone sign, both look great on photos. There are mini buggies to take tourists into the site for a small fee and private guides in the area can be organised at one of the 2 gers located near the entrance. The other small ger is a small souvenir shops - quite a small dusty little shop but the lady within is very polite and the items very reasonably priced. I went at the end of August and we were the only foreign tourists there.
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