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Hebei Province | Population: 840,000
The city of Zhangjiakou has a unique location of being close to Beijing City and the provinces of Shanxi and Inner Mongolia. Located in Hebei Province of China, the city is a modern urban area with a superbly organized infrastructure. It has the distinction of being the venue for the Winter Olympics scheduled in 2022. Its snow-capped mountains, picturesque grasslands, ancient historical sites, ski resorts, and proximity to arterial air-transport routes makes it one of the most sought-after tourist destination in China.
Zhangjiakou City is well-known for the ancient ethnic minority settlements around the Great Wall section in the region. There are historical sites occupied by the Huns towards the north side of the Wall while the southern side was relics showing evidence of the Yan Kingdom.
Today’s Zhangjiakou City is popular with tourists from different parts of the world due to its scenic beauty and abundant ski resorts. The best slopes, resorts, and skiing facilities are in the Chongli County that lies under the city’s jurisdiction.
Great Wall in Zhangjiakou built during the Ming Dynasty reign consists of a Museum, the Mountain City Gate, and the Dajingmen Great Wall area. Gate number 1 is the starting point for the hike up the wall. The scenery around the wall is breathtaking and definitely worth photographing.
The Chongli County of Zhangjiakou City is like a snow paradise. The ski slopes are suitable for amateurs, middle-level skiers, as well as pros. The best slopes are the Yunding Skiing Park, Wanlong Ski Resort, and Changchengling Skiing Field. Whereas, the slopes in the Wanlong Ski Resort have the longest vertical drop of more than 1,800 meters but there are slopes for beginners as well as experts.
The Changchengling Skiing Field is located in the Heping Forest Park just 2Kms from the Great Wall. It has the most advanced facilities equal only to Harbin, like ropeways, excellent ski-slopes, advanced equipment and clothing on hire, a 5-star accommodation, and superb multi-cuisine restaurants.
The entire area around Zhangjiakou City is blessed with magnificent scenery of snow-capped mountains, fascinating deep valley filled with green alpine forests, clear blue skies, and pleasantly cold weather that attract tourists, naturalists, and photographers, and skiers. If not skiing, the region can also be explored by hiring snowboards, snowmobiles, and via cable cars.
There are other scenic spots near Zhangjiakou City besides the ski resorts. The Zhangbei Grassland is equidistant from Zhangjiakou City and Beijing and is a popular tourist attraction. The highlight of the grassland is the Qing Shu Dian or Summer Relieving Palace which is the world’s largest Mongolian yurt (ethnic tent) with a huge dining hall, performance hall, and meeting room. This resort is popular for its amusement park, horse racing activities, glider field, campfire parties, and the lovely tent accommodation under the starry skies.
Food and Dining
Zhangjiakou City offers a wide range of local food specialties. Being so close to Inner Mongolia, the city’s cuisine is naturally influenced by that of the Mongolian people. For example, oatmeal is a staple and is used to make noodles, pancakes, dumplings, wontons, balls, cakes, etc. Some of the local specialties are Chaigoubu bacon, bean curd sheets, boiled lamb, roasted whole lamb, Yiwosi cake, wild mushrooms, Gezha pancake, Shan Yao Yu (yam), etc. But the signature dish of the city is the Eight Big Bowls of Yuxian County which is a complete meal of cereal, meat, and vegetables.
Where To Stay
Being a city surrounded by upscale ski resorts, the city of Zhangjiakou has a wonderful choice of accommodation. Besides the ski resorts on the mountain slopes, the city accommodation includes boutique country-house-style hotels and upscale farmhouses. There are also many 2, 3, 4, and 5-star hotels in downtown Zhangjiakou, low-priced service-apartments, farm-stays, and guesthouses to choose from. The amenities they offer will depend on what kind of hotel one selects. The upscale hotels and resorts have their in-house restaurants where they serve International-style gourmet meals. The smaller places are conveniently located near public transport systems, smaller restaurants, and fast food takeaways.