A Glimpse of Badain Jaran Desert

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A visit to West Inner Mongolia, or specifically Alashan (Alxa) League, has long been one of my dreams. This beautiful dream has come true this October. We (together with other 6 travelers) made a round trip drive from Hohhot to Ejina Qi ( Ejina Banner), an over-2000 km crazy drive, passing by Yinshan Mountains and Kubuqi Desert 库布齐沙漠 , through Ulan Buh Desert 乌兰布和沙漠 and Badain Jaran Desert (巴丹吉林沙漠).

Badain Jaran Desert is definitely the highlight of the adventurous drive. Badain Jaran Desert boasts the highest stationary dunes in the world (the tallest dune over 450 meters, extending over 5 km in length) and the third the largest desert in China with an area of over 49,000 sq.kilometers.

Badain Jaran literally means ” mysterious lakes” in Mongolian. As its name suggest,  Badain Jaran Desert is dotted with over spring-fed 140 lakes. All  the lakes reside among the gigantic sand dunes, creating the most mesmerizing desert landscapes in the world.

In addition to the megadunes and lakes, Badain Jaran Desert is mainly composed of barren and sandy desert, a combination of solid bedrock, loose gravel and  a few oases with limited vegetation growing.

Driving along the provincial highway No.312 allows people to have a  glimpse of the north edge of Badain Jaran Desert.  Though unable to enter the heartland of Badain Jaran Desert, a visit to its northern rim does give us a real feel of the mysterious and beautiful desert.

Driving through the barren and sandy desert with limited vegetation

Driving through the barren and sandy desert with limited vegetation

Driving through the barren and sandy desert with limited vegetation

Come across a group of grazing sheep with a backdrop of the soft-silk like sand dunes

Come across a group of grazing sheep with a backdrop of the soft-silk like sand dunes

Come across a group of grazing sheep with a backdrop of the soft-silk like sand dunes

Run into a group of grazing camels

Run into a group of grazing camles

Run into a group of grazing camles

Driving through Gobi ( solid bedrock, loose gravel)

Driving through Gobi ( solid bedrock, loose gravel)

Driving through Gobi ( solid bedrock, loose gravel)

Soft dunes with beautiful water reflections

Soft dunes with beautiful water reflections

Soft dunes with beautiful water reflections

Sand dunes with limited vegetation

Sand dunes with limited vegetation

Sand dunes with limited vegetation

Golden poplar trees on the desert and lake

Golden poplar trees on the desert and lake

Golden poplar trees on the desert and lake

Dead poplar trees on the desert due to the lack of water

Dead poplar trees on the desert due to the lack of water

Dead poplar trees on the desert due to the lack of water

Get up early to catch the sunrise over the desert

Get up early to catch the sunrise over the desert

Get up early to catch the sunrise over the desert

Sunrise over the sand dunes with camels on the top

Sunrise over the sand dunes with camels on the top

Sunrise over the sand dunes with camels on the top

Any questions, just drop a line.

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