BAOTOU EAST (DONGHE)
There is little reason to stay in Baotou except if you arrive late in the evening or crave about gray buildings. If so, you can check in at two hotels near the Baotou East Train Station on Nanmenwai Dajie :
Hotels << Get precise info, book online and save money !
Note : To Datong, ordi or sleeper bus depending on the day
Trains << Check there
Going to Dongsheng is the reason to stop in Baotou and, fortunately, you have departures every 20 minutes or so. They advertise a trip of 2h30 but, as usual, you can add at least half an hour waiting time plus a visit to the petrol station... In the morning, you can avoid the sun by sitting on the right side.
On the way to or from Dongsheng, you could stop at Daqi to visit the Resonant Sand Gorge (Y10), about 10km away from Daqi. Be however aware that buses to or from the dunes may not materialize which mean you may have to take a taxi for around 50Y return. Ask before getting off the bus. As you have sand dunes in other parts of China, in particular at Zhongwei and Dunhuang (the most spectacular), it might not be worth the fuss...
See also trip from Yinchuan to Baotou East...