6

Is Inner Mongolia significantly safer compared to Mongolia itself with regards to crime? I'm wondering whether to go to Inner Mongolia instead of Mongolia for safety reasons.

I don't use any fancy cameras, and I can leave my laptop at home. I plan to spend some time in both major cities and in rural areas, with a hired guide.

Wikivoyage has some information on safety of Mongolia, mentioning theft, late night violence, neo-nazi gangs allegedly targeting foreigners who date Mongolian women, dogs, and the lack of manhole covers. At least it doesn't have the terrorism problems that other countries have! However, I can't find much information about the safety of Inner Mongolia.

  • 3
    I'm quite sure that the issues surrounding crime in Mongolia are related to the capital, not to the country in general. (I lived in Mongolia a decade ago and have had occasional updates on the security situation over the last few years.) Inner Mongolia probably sees less crime, but also isn't Mongolia. :) – MastaBaba Mar 31 '16 at 12:50
  • 1
    Are you referring to the autonomous area in China or literally, the inner country of Mongolia itself ? – blackbird Mar 31 '16 at 13:00
  • 1
    @MastaBaba is Inner Mongolia not very Mongolian? – Andrew Grimm Mar 31 '16 at 21:52
  • 1
    @AndrewGrimm Well, not as much. Like with Xinjiang and Tibet, China has 'taken over' inner Mongolia by making it more 'Chinese', while at the same time trying to appropriate a Mongolian heritage. This friction does not exist in Mongolia. – MastaBaba Mar 31 '16 at 23:16
  • 3
    Inner Mongolia is more Mongolian than, say, New Mexico is Mexican, but not by very much. Inner Mongolia has been under Chinese control longer than NM has been part of the US. – Kenny LJ Apr 15 '16 at 6:35
14

I'm from Inner Mongolia. What people are saying in the comments are basically true. China has been making Inner Mongolia more Chinese for a while. Most people in Inner Mongolia don't speak Mongolian, like they have zero knowledge even though there are Mongolian words on every sign on the street. You can probably experience some Mongolian Culture there, but it's pretty mild compare to Mongolia the country. You still can get authentic cultural stuff on the grassland but not anywhere near the major cities. Normally it takes 3 hours ish to go to places that still keeps the original culture from major cities.

Crime rate wise, you don't need to worry too much, Inner Mongolian people are pretty rich. You can see a lot of BMW, Mercedes, Porsche and even Lamborghini in cities like Hohhot, Baotou, and especially Erdos. There are crimes granted, but since China doesn't allow citizens to own or carry firearms, nothing big can happen. If you are a somehow muscular guy, most crime will stay away from you. After all, they have to be able to communicate with you to rob you. If you don't speak Chinese or just pretend not able to, no one would bother taking the time to rob you, there are bigger and easier fish in the pond. Just be sure don't get fake married on the grassland, they charge a lot....

I cannot speak for Mongolia because I haven't been there. But rumors suggested that your worries are somewhat not unnecessary.

Edit: To reply some of the comments. You surely can find some of the cultural stuff in the cities. However, tourist scam in China is a real thing, they normally would get you into a temple, say your life is unfortunate, but if you spend 500 dollars on this candle and light it up, your life will be turned around. If you don't pay they would just keep saying bad things. It was really really sick. But I have been out of there for 7-8 years, I can't really say that's still the truth. But one thing for sure, if you are looking for authentic cultural experience, you have to find a local person to take you to the grassland, where tourism isn't their main source of income.

  • 1
    I found authentic stuff in the cities. I stayed in a hostel run by Mongolians who spoke and read and wrote Mongolian. The daughter was reading a novel in Mongolian and watching music videos with Mongolian lyric text. I bought dictionaries in Mongolian and went to Mongolian markets. Some cities have a Mongolian area. In Hohhot it was near my hostel. But it depends what you're looking for or expecting to find. I was interested in modern urban culture as much as traditional culture. – hippietrail Sep 24 '16 at 0:45
  • @hippietrail did you go out of your way to find Mongolian culture in Inner Mongolia, or did it just "happen" that way? – Andrew Grimm Sep 24 '16 at 0:46
  • "Just be sure don't get fake married on the grassland, they charge a lot...." - what's fake marriage in the countryside? Is this some sort of tourist "experience", or just a mail order bride thing? – Andrew Grimm Sep 24 '16 at 0:47
  • 1
    @AndrewGrimm: I never heard of that scam until it was mentioned here. But try "scam" or just ask a new question "In a comment or answer on another question of mine on the site a contributor from Inner Mongolia mentioned fake marriages in the grasslands. I can't find anything by Googling in English, so does anybody know if this is a real scam and where can I find out more about it?" – hippietrail Sep 25 '16 at 1:41
  • 2
    Don't worry about it, I heard it like 20 years ago. Basically they advertise you can experience a Mongolian marriage ceremony, like just the ceremony, nothing else. But if you do something like hold the bride's hand they can morally kidnap you and charge you for it, at that point you have to pay whatever they ask you for. – Anton Sep 25 '16 at 15:40
7

I never encountered anything unsafe in Mongolia but a friend who taught in UB for a year confirmed theft is a problem.

Inner Mongolia is very different but you can sense some similarities but china is super safe for travellers.

I don't recall ever seeing a stray dog there and public drunkenness is not common.

You can still get beat up for hitting on somebody's girlfriend in a bar anywhere though. The only time in China I met a tourist who'd been in a fight was an Aussie backpacker in Guangzhou, which would generally be safer than Inner Mongolia.

  • 1
    To clarify, Wikivoyage is talking about neonazis harassing foreigners picking up any Mongolian women, not just someone's girlfriend. "There are small bands of Mongolian ultra-nationalist thugs that style themselves as neo-Nazis and have assaulted foreigners including whites, blacks, and particularly Chinese. They are especially provoked by foreigner interaction with Mongolian women. They are mostly found in the capital, especially in the cheaper bars and night clubs." – Andrew Grimm Sep 24 '16 at 0:42
  • 1
    I don't know if those bands are still around. It was well below zero the entire time I was in UB. There are videos on Youtube or vice but they are from a few years ago. I would exercise caution in that regard. But the problem is... Mongolian women are exceptionally hot! (-: But my policy in most places is not to get into local nightlife. I'll drink in restaurants, hostel, with people I know. I don't go clubbing. But I'm a boring old fart (-: – hippietrail Sep 24 '16 at 0:48
  • 1
    Mongolian women are not just beautiful, but also intelligent and kind. BTW, are hostels a thing in Mongolia? – Andrew Grimm Sep 24 '16 at 0:51
  • Yep there are hostels in UB. The only other "cities" I stayed in were in the Gobi so no hostels. The border town with China on the Mongolian side has a place that's not really a hostel but has a dorm just near the train station. I've heard in the spring and summer many UB hostels are not keen on guests who are not signing up for any of their tours. I had no such problem in the winter when they don't really expect any tourists. – hippietrail Sep 24 '16 at 0:54
  • 1
    ah yes. The business model question: travel.stackexchange.com/questions/22252/… – Andrew Grimm Sep 24 '16 at 0:56

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.