Alashan Museum

Top choice in Inner Mongolia

This superb museum affords a fascinating insight into Alashan and Mongolian culture. English captions are sporadic, which is a shame, but there's a wealth of objects to explore. The Dinosaur Gallery on the 1st floor is very professional, but the upstairs galleries are exemplary, with displays of Mongolian clothing, saddles and Buddhist instruments, as well as a range of sacred masks and a thangka. There's also a gallery on ancient stone carvings and a model of Khara Khoto in its heyday.

There's also an aerial photo of today's Khara Khoto, for comparison The museum itself is a recent, very forward-thinking construction, in keeping with the very modern-looking concert hall next door, and the library, sports centre and Science and Technology Museum up the road, in a newly developed area that was clearly designed to put the town on the map. The museum has free wi-fi. Taxis from the long-distance bus station will take you here for around ¥5.