Bayanhot (阿拉善左旗; Ālāshàn Zuǒqí) is not actually in Níngxià; it’s across the border in Inner Mongolia. But the most convenient way to access Bayanhot is from Yínchuān, and a visit here is a good introduction to both Mongol culture and the vast deserts and high blue skies of far western Inner Mongolia.
South of Zhōngwèi, the Han Chinese–dominated cities of northern Níngxià give way to the Hui heartland. Journeying here takes you deep into rural Níngxià, through villages of mud-brick houses where the minarets of the numerous mosques tower over the endless cornfields. Tóngxīn (同心) has a very strong Muslim feel.