**This is a review of a tour conducted through this business, not the accommodation itself**
We chose to do a tour through Anda Guesthouse to visit the Yungang Grottoes as a day trip. We paid a steep price tag for a tour in China (740 RMB per person!), but expected the service to match. Sadly, we were incredibly disappointed.
When paying for a guided tour, there are two things I expect to meet a certain standard; the transportation and the guide.
Firstly- transportation... we three, full-grown adults, were squashed into the back seat of a sedan for the 3 hour drive from Hohhot to Datong. It made for an incredibly uncomfortable ride, as we had barely any room for our legs, and sat uncomfortably close to one another for an extended period of time. The car was also clearly not prepared for the trip, as one hour into the journey, we diverted for 25 minutes trying to find a place to fill up the car. Whilst I understand needing to stop on the way, the car's fuel light was on, and our driver and tour guide were desperately asking strangers where they could find a station. Surely if this tour was better organised, the car would have left Hohhot with a full tank of fuel?
Secondly- tour guide. After briefly introducing herself and giving an outline of the itinerary at the very beginning of the trip, our tour guide proceeded to ignore us for the next 3 hours as she talked to the driver in Chinese the entire drive. She didn't ask our names at any point, or offer any information about where we were going, what we might see during the drive, or the city we were currently in. During lunch, she barely made conversation with us and told us that we needed to pay the rest of the tour there and then (instead of when we returned to Hohhot), which convinced us that this tour was clearly not worth continuing.
After lunch, we cancelled the tour (after extended arguments), enjoyed the grottoes by ourselves, and returned to Hohhot via train. In hindsight, we should have just done this in the first place, but we were prepared to pay for a tour with the expectation that the tour would be up to scratch.
I was told by the lady who helped us organise the tour that her boss would be in contact with me in regards to the problems, but that didn't happen at all. The boss's attitude clearly reflects the company's overall treatment of people who use their service.
Avoid at all costs; there are plenty of cheaper and better tour services available elsewhere, or if you are able to, organise train tickets and didis/taxis by yourself. This company is not worth your money or time.
We did a quite pricy tour (~1300 rmb per person) inkluding a visit to the grassland plus riding horses and to a desert including camel riding.
The first day in the grasslands was really nice; bow shooting and mongolian food, riding horses ... i would really recommend, (though if you expect real riding you will be disapointed; the horses are quite tired they wont follow normal commands and you just go up the way and back the same way)
Sleeping in the mongolian yurt is a really cool experience and our guide explained a lot of interesting things to us:) she was really great!!!
The second day i would not recommed; they way to the ‚desert‘ is quite far; so you basically sit in the car the whole day and there the camelride was shorter than advertised plus you dont really go in the desert; you still see the factories and the nuclear power plant in the distance which ruins the experience for me. (Go in 15 min and out)
Camels also didnt look very well treated.
The guesthouse itself is quite nice; we liked the design and furniture; though the matrace in the second room was really thin^^
The stuff is really friendly and are origanally from inner mongolia.
The only thing that does not make sence is that we paid 160rmb via booking.com and 180rmb when we told them we want to prolong for one more night. In conclusion i would recommend you book via booking.com
Hope this helps; if you are in the area check it out its a good experience (the grasslands)
Inner mongolia • hohhot • grasslands
Upstairs room was quiet and clean. Plenty of nearby restaurants (breakfast is continental, but I could not figure out which continent). We took a overnight tour to Xilamuren Grassland and Kubuqi Desert. Way too much travel time on second day and the portions of Inner (Occupied) Mongolia we visited were very commercial except for the farm we stayed at. The overnight experience was very good and our guide, Nancy, was fluent in English and an excellent guide. The ponies we rode were literally ponied together for a dude-ranch style ride (at location away from our farm). The pony guides were heavy handed with the ponies and the ride was a little less exciting than the coin operated horses in front of grocery stores (I refused to ride, but my group was unanimous). The "desert" portion was a long, long drive to a small finger of the desert, surrounded by development. I reluctantly rode the camel and neither of us was very happy about the experience. The area was a ger (yurt) Chinese tourist catering, dude ranch, no where near the authenticity of the small farm we visited for the overnight. The farm portion was fine, but the camel and pony rides were disappointing.
Super friendly, helpful staff. The grasslands tour was amazing! Nice hot water, and they did my laundry for me 😃
The drivers were also pleasant to be with, both to/from the train station and on the tour we booked.
The rooms have table fans, but in the middle of summer with temperatures at 100 degrees F, you might want to bring a small second fan of your own (assuming you're in room and not a dorm).
Contrary to what some others have said, the bathroom was clean.
The hostel had no air conditioning at all, which meant that in the height of summer, room temperatures are in the high thirties, which is frankly dangerous. I understand that Inner Mongolia gets cold in the winter, but this was at the point that it was causing dehydration. Instead they do provide fans, however these did little to cool the bedroom and frequently broke.
When we first arrived there was no running water, this did return sporadically, and I understand that this was not the hostel's fault, but no apology was offered, and no alternative solutions were offered. When running water did return, there was no hot water for the duration of our stay, and when we asked about this again, no apology was offered, I don't know if there's ever hot water.
The staff speak good English, but they don't seem to have any kind of rota about who is working, which means that whenever you want to find a member of staff, to ask them to unlock the fridge for example, they always act extremely put upon that you're asking for anything. And we weren't asking for anything unreasonable, just things like getting our food out the fridge or buying a beer fairly early in the evening.
All that made our stay a bit miserable, but the absolutely worst thing about the hostel was that they kept two turtles an a tiny porcelain bowl, swimming in their own filth and endlessly trying to get out. I understand that there are cultural differences towards animal welfare in china, but this was beyond keeping turtles in a tank that was a bit small for them, like we saw in other places. There was no way you could look at this as a human and not feel ill at the cruelty of it, no matter your attitudes towards animals.
It's one saving grace was that the desert tour was fab, but that wasn't really the hostel, I think they just put us in touch with the tour company.