Erlian (二连; Èrlián) is a city in Inner Mongolia. It is also variously known as Ereen or Eriyen in Mongolia, and Erenhot or Erlianhaote (二连浩特; Èrliánhàotè) in China. It appears as Erlian on Chinese railway timetables, and Ereen on Monglian railway timetables.
There is a direct flight Beijing-Erlian (Erenhot Shi, code ERL) via Capital Airlines, China.
There are now daily trains from Beijing to Erlian, departing at 8:05 am from the main Beijing Railway Station located on subway line 2 and arriving in Erlian at 8:37 pm. (July 2013)
Trains to Beijing only run a few days a week. If you are doing a visa run from Beijing, find out when trains will be comming back before going to Erlian. Train tickets can typically be purchased at the train station five days before the train is scheduled to leave, ten days during Chinese New Year (2010). If you are traveling from Beijing to renew a visa, return tickets can not be purchased in Beijing.
There are sleeper buses from Beijing. (¥200, 2011) The long-distance bus station is nearby, about one block west and 2-3 blocks north of the train station.
The bus station was closed for Chinese New Year until Feb. 19th (2010)
You can take a bus from Hohhot. There are several buses each day. Cost as of 4/2011 is 88RMB. Depending on the traffic the trip is about 6 hours and 30 minutes. Bus stops for the driver to eat, but there is not much choice so bring some snacks.
May 2012: Liuliqiao bus station has no sleeper bus going to Erlian. Found an English speaking Chinese there who told me to check at Muxiyuan bus station. Open only until seven, so it was too late for today. However at the entrance there were people trying to sell me a bus to Erenhot/ Erlian. There definetely is some kind of bus connection available, even if it's not the comfortable sleeper option. The receptionist of the hostel just called a booking office and they say that there is no night sleeper bus going to Mongolia. Will try again tomorrow morning and keep you posted. Extra info: Muxiyuan Long-Distance Bus Station Chinese name: 木樨园客运站（mù xī yuán kè yùn zhàn） Location: No.199, Haihutun, Fengtai District Bus Route: 2, 17, 324, 341, 366, 40 (get off at MuxiYuan Stop) Hours: 05:00 – 19:00
You can get from Zamiin-Uud in Mongolia by jeep, which costs around ¥60 per person (August 2012) Russian-made jeeps driven by Mongolian drivers start at the market where Mongolians buy goods to take back to Mongolia. The same jeeps also pick up passengers at the first border checkpoint with Chinese guards if they have room. At the border a jeep will arrive every few minutes. A Chinese taxi can take you to this checkpoint for ¥5-10. The jeeps are allowed to carry 5 passengers; however, some drivers ask the Chinese guards for exceptions and carry up to 7 passengers. If taking a jeep, expect to be very crowded and to either sit on someone's lap or have someone sit on your lap. Get out of the jeep at the Chinese and Mongolian entry points and walk through. Be sure to remember which jeep is yours as they come in only two colors (grey and green) and look nearly identical to each other. Many Mongolians cross the border on a daily basis so they are familiar with the process and can help out. Many speak at least some English.
You are not allowed to walk between the Chinese and Mongolian border posts though they are within walking distance. You will need to pay a ¥5 exit tax. The whole process takes around 1 1/2 hours.
Immediately after entering Mongolia there is a building that looks like a customs office where there are banks where you can obtain tugrik. There's an ATM in the Mongolian entry point building but it didn't work in August 2012.
Be prepared that on some holidays (e. g. June 1st, childrens day), the border is closed and you may be forced to stay a day longer than prepared. It may happen that a driver still offers you a lift, then notices at the border that it isn't possible and still wants to charge you for it.
Taxis, pedicabs and rickshaws are everywhere. A taxi around town costs ¥5 flat rate or ¥10 to the border from town (February 2010). The number one bus also will take you from town to the border for ¥1.
Antiques (of suspect age), as well as touristy nicknacks, at the alleys of gift shops at the north-east corner of 新华街 (mislabeled as Xinghua Street) and 前进路 (Qianjin Road).
The mongolian restaurant in the bus station complex (on the left side) has excellent food with reasonable prices and a picture menu. they also have some imported items from mongolia and 1 kuai lockers if you dont want to lug your bag around. most of the clientele are mongolians and many of the waitstaff don't speak mandarin so you know it's authentic!
Near Yiwu Market(义乌商城) and Wenzhou Market(温州商城）to the west of Dinosaur Square(恐龙广场), there are also many Mongolian restaurants dotting the alleys. Menus usually come in Mongolian and Chinese, along with pictures showing the food. A large number of Mongolians congregate here as this is where most traders import their commodities.
There are many smaller hotels around the train station costing around ¥80 for a double.
Get a Mongolian visa either from:
The visa will last for 30 days. You will need one passport photo and to pay with cash. Note that the prices above apply to most, but not all nationalities. For a full list see the Embassy in China.
Directions to both from the train station: Walk straight ahead along the road that runs directly in front of the clock outside the train station until you reach the second junction. The CITS will be on the left hand corner. Turn right here, then walk straight ahead for about five minutes. When you get to Chichaer St you will see the beige bus station down the street on the left, but continue walking straight ahead for a about another ten minutes until you see the blue, red and yellow Mongolian flag on the left. Do not worry if it seems like you have walked a bit outside town, you are meant to. Go to the small office at the gate.
During Chinese new year, the border (18 Feb) and the Mongolian Consulate (22 Feb) were both closed. (2010)
One Australian was able to obtain a visa at the border while the consulate in town was closed during Chinese New Year but this process did not seem encouraged and may not be typically available.
For residents of Beijing, a trip to Erlian is the cheapest way to leave the country and renew a multiple entry visa (a visa run) but is less straight forward than a trip to Hong Kong or Seoul Korea. Most people in town and at the border do not speak any English so some basic Chinese is very helpful.
Going to Erlian is the most economical way for people living in Beijing to do visa runs. Round trip flights (if purchased in advance through sites like Qunar or xiecheng) from Beijing to Erlian can cost as little as 500 RMB.
From the airport take a taxi to GuoMen （国门）, you will usually share a cab with 3 other people and you will be the last stop. Don't pay more than 20 yuan (per person).
Where the cab driver drops you off you can find a Mongolian car (usually an old, Soviet era jeep), negotiate with him for a trip to the Mongolian immigration station, about 50 Yuan a person.
The driver will take you across the gates and stop while he registers vehicle information. Go to the window at the right and purchase an entrance ticket for 5 RMB. Walk to your left (near the rainbow) and enter immigration control. Receive your stamp which declares you have exited china, if you have time buy some duty free items.
In the past travelers from here would enter the door at their left and re-enter china, without having entered Mongolia. This is no longer possible and they check every single stamp in your passport to make sure travelers have corresponding Mongolia stamps.
Go outside, hop in the same car and the driver will take you across to the Mongolian checkpoint (about a 5-8 minute drive). This is the end of you're trip with that driver. Pay him the agreed upon amount.
Go through Mongolian Immigration, forms are in English and Mongolian. Border patrol personnel on the Mongolian side speak minimal English and no Chinese. You are now in Mongolia.
Go out the door in the back, and loop around to your left. Enter the building. Fill out your departure forms and walk back out side to a line of cars. You have now left Mongolia.
Find one of those cars to take you back to the Chinese Border. Enter Chinese immigration, fill out your arrival card and get your stamp. You may be asked to open your bag along the way. You are now back in China.
Find a Mongolian car to take you across the border. They drop you off at some Mongolian area with many different 3 wheeled cars, all of whom will try to ask you if you are interested in finding a prostitute. Kindly reply no and tell them your destination.
Your Visa run is over.