An expanding but still small and historic city that dates to the 6th century, Gùyuán (固原) makes a convenient base for exploring little-visited southern Níngxià. Largely populated by easygoing Hui Muslims and a large Han community, the city sees few foreigners, so expect some attention from the locals.
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.