Squeezed between Inner Mongolia, Gansu and Shanxi, Ningxia is the smallest of China’s provinces, and an autonomous region for the Hui minority. Geographically, the area is dominated by coalfields and the Yellow River, without which the hilly south of the province, green and extremely beautiful, would be barren and uninhabitable desert. In the west of the province, however, the river does actually run past desert dunes at Shapotou, near the city of Zhongwei – one of the most visually arresting sights in China. Other sights include the capital Yinchuan, which makes a pleasant stopover, and one relic from an obscure northern branch of the Silk Road, the delightful Xumi Shan Grottoes, located well away from the Yellow River in the southern hills.

Despite a certain degree of industrialization in modern times, Ningxia remains an underdeveloped area. For visitors, the rural scenes provide the charm of the place, but this province is one of the poorest in the country.

Book through Rough Guides’ trusted travel partners

China features

The latest articles, galleries, quizzes and videos.

20 picturesque Christmas destinations

20 picturesque Christmas destinations

Dreaming of a trip this Christmas? We're here to help. From glittering cities to a few snowy escapes, here are 20 classic destinations for a festive break. …

12 Dec 2017 • Rough Guides Editors camera_alt Gallery
An expert's guide: where to stay in Shanghai

An expert's guide: where to stay in Shanghai

Shanghai has to be a contender for the buzziest city in Asia, a thriving business hub that's brashly modern yet wears its history on its sleeve. Dense with glit…

23 Oct 2017 • Simon Lewis insert_drive_file Article
The best aerial views in the world

The best aerial views in the world

Got a head for heights? If you're craving a new perspective on your travels, the best thing to do is get up high. From mountain-top panoramas to cityscapes, her…

17 Oct 2017 • Olivia Rawes camera_alt Gallery
View more featureschevron_right