What better time to experience a ghost city than during the midst of the frantic Spring Festival in China? Join us for full-on urban exploration in the ghost city of Kangbashi!
If you’ve ever spent any time in a Chinese city you’ll be well used to the throng, walking the night markets where it seems like every conceivable snack is on offer or pushing your way through people trying to sell you things outside train stations. Kangbashi is different, and it is almost a welcome novelty having almost a whole city square, a hospital, train station or apartment complex to ourselves.
You can explore half finished mansion complexes and residential buildings, empty hospitals and museums as well as the huge 80,000-seater stadium with not a soul inside. You can climb the sand dunes with empty apartment blocks looming behind and go from an actual yurt where we have a Mongolian style lunch to the huge yurt-like airport which connects to Beijing.
Kangbashi is not an abandoned city but a new city waiting for people to come, and you can have the freedom to explore the city as you like, with our YPT guide and local driver ready to check out any new places that catch the eye.
The tour begins and concludes at Yijinhuoluo Airport in Ordos city, Inner Mongolia which is easily accessible by most of China.
Group meets at Yijinhuoluo Airport in Ordos city, Inner Mongolia.
On the drive to Wulan International Hotel we catch our first glimpse of Kangbashi ghost city and pass numerous vacant residential blocks.
Check into the hotel and go for some food and night-time exploration, grabbing a few beers in an empty bar
Friday 19th February – Ordos/Kangbashi
After an early breakfast we go out for a walking tour of Kangbashi city centre, from Genghis Khan Square with its giant Mongol statues past the museum built in the shape of a beret and the library built to resemble three books on a shelf and on to the skyscrapers on the riverfront.
Visit the 80,000-seater Kangbashi stadium, gymnasium and swimming pool on the way from Ordos, built to hold the 2015 Chinese Ethnic Minority Olympic Games but usually empty.
Check out the ‘Athletes Village’ from the Ethnic Olympics – this huge residential area was built specially for the athletes and now lies completely empty in the middle of nowhere
Grab a quick lunch and drive out to Dongsheng People’s Hospital – a newly built but incredibly empty hospital where you wouldn’t want to be going to in an emergency!
Swing past the mosque – built for three local Muslim families and with the idea that more Muslims might come in the future
Head over to a huge abandoned mansion complex – this would have been a gated area for millionaires, but the money ran out half way through the project and the mansions stand as hollow shells in a development gone wrong
Dinner at the bizarre North Korean restaurant – mainly bizarre for the North Koreans who end up working here, but who are happy to supply Taedonggang and soju (when a new shipment has come in), chat with us and on occasion sing a few songs!
Head back to the hotel or find a drinking spot/karaoke house
Overnight in Kangbashi
Saturday 20th Februrary – Ordos
Get up slightly later but still head out early to the giant sand dune to the southeast of the city with a great view of the whole city, unfinished residential tower blocks and a family of camels roaming around!
Head out to the area around the Genghis Khan Mausoleum. The mausoleum is an optional extra at 150RMB, but the area around it is full of riches. We pass by the Mongol Yuan Dynasty film set before exploring the seemingly random abandoned buildings dotted around the countryside.
Head for a late lunch at a traditional Mongolian yurt camp in the countryside where we can do some archery, ride a horse or a camel (extra charge) or enjoy the views as our Mongolian feast is prepared – if we’re lucky the main owner will be around to welcome us with a traditional Mongolian ‘nada’ ceremony where we will be presented with a scarf, serenaded and given a shot of milk alcohol!
Make our way to Yijinhuoluo Airport, the departures floor is built to resemble a Mongol yurt and the ceiling is decorated with ethnic murals.