For our second episode, we travel to Ningxia province, a lesser-visited region, home to prehistoric petroglyphs, the Tengger desert, the Hui ethnic minority group, and, China’s burgeoning wine industry.
If you’re looking to broaden your China travel horizons beyond the usual sightseeing and outdoor activities, then make sure you put Ningxia on your list. This small province in western-central China is one of the world’s most exciting up-and-coming wine regions, making for a host of experiences you won’t find in many other places in China.
Bordering Shaanxi, Gansu, and Inner Mongolia, Ningxia is one of the country’s least populated areas and isn’t well-visited by local or international tourists, so you’ll have plenty of space to explore. Ningxia is an autonomous region, the homeland of the Muslim Hui ethnic minority, who make up around 30% of the population.
Although it is one of China’s newest provinces (it was separated from Gansu province in 1958), its recorded history dates back to 200 BC and beyond.
While Ningxia’s cultural sights and stunning scenery alone make it worth a visit, what really sets the province apart is the local wine industry. Ningxia has a long historical legacy of viticulture, introduced by travelers on the Silk Road, and this was bolstered by preferential government policies designed to stimulate agriculture and the economy in the region.
Now, on the fertile loess plains of the Yellow River, sheltered by the Helan Mountain range, wineries such as Silver Heights, Kanaan, and Helan Qingxue are producing vintages that give Old World wines a run for their money. You can enjoy these bottles in cities all over China, but there is no better place to try them than at the vineyards themselves.
- 00:48 – Where is Ningxia
- 03:10 – What makes Ningxia is a must-see
- 04:45 – What is Ningxia’s travel draw
- 09:15 – Best wineries to visit
- 15:16 – What to eat in Ningxia
- 16:33 – Best places to stay in Ningxia
- 20:08 – Mei’s top local tips
You can also listen to The China Travel Podcast Episode 2 on:
Wineries to visit
What to eat
- Hand-pulled Mutton (手抓羊肉)
- Chopped Stewed Chicken (红烧鸡块)
Where to stay
- The River Collection (黄河宿集) – Chinese language services only, best to follow them on WeChat: 宿集营造社
- Silver Heights on-site guesthouse
Top local tips
- Ningxia petroglyphs
- The River Collection outdoor dinner(黄河宿集) – Chinese language services only, best to follow them on WeChat: 宿集营造社
- Solar panels along the Yellow River and the Tengger Desert Solar Park (currently the largest in the world)