Archive for the ‘Alxa League Travel’ Category

Badain Jaran Desert (Tips, Photos & Map)

Friday, October 8th, 2021
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Plan your Inner Mongolia tour? Inner Mongolia is large and extensive, covering an area of 1.183 million square kilometers , three times the size of Japan. So, basically it is difficult to travel the major sites on a single trip. If you are interested in history and unique landscape, a trip to Western Inner Mongolia is highly recommended.

Hohhot to Ejin Banner (Dalaihubuzhen) 2000km round trip

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.

Check out my another article Top 10 Attractions in Alxa League, Inner Mongolia for more travel information on Alxa League.

We (together with other 6 travellers) made a round trip drive from Hohhot to Ejina Qi ( Ejin Banner), an over-2000 km crazy drive, passing by Yinshan Mountains(阴山山脉) 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).

The 2000km round trip from Hohhot to Ejin Banner and back to Hohhot (Google)

Our starting city is Hohhot, the capital city of Inner Mongolia. We first drive to the west along the four-lane Expressway No.06, a national freeway.

Drive along the four-lane Expressway No.06 starting from Hohhot

Now we are driving through Ulan Buh Desert ( 乌兰布和沙漠). Ulan Buh Desert is located between Alxa League and Bayannur League in Inner Mongolia. “Ulan Buhe” in Mongolian means “red bull”.

Now we are driving through Ulan Buhe Desert ( 乌兰布和沙漠)
“Ulan Buhe” in Mongolian means “red bull”.

Ulan Buh Desert reaches to Langshan Mountain in the north, the Yellow River in the east, the foot of Helan Mountain in the south and jilantai Salt Pond in the west, covering an area of about 10,000 square kilometers . It is the northeastern part of the Alxa Desert, at the northeastern bottom of the Yinye Basin.

ABC of Badain Jaran Desert

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 largest desert in China with an area of over 49,000 sq.kilometers.

Badain Jaran Desert boasts the highest stationary dunes in the world

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.

Badain Jaran Desert Tourism Area (Google Map)

The desert officially open to the public tourism is called Badain Jaran Desert Tourism Area. It is located about 150km northeast of Badan Jilin Zhen ( the seat of Alxa Right Banner) and 450km west of Bayanhaotezhen, or Bayanhao Town ( the seat of Alxa Left Banner )

Drive on the north edge of Badain Jaran

Driving along the provincial highway No.312 allows people to have a  glimpse of the north edge of Badain Jaran Desert.  

Driving along the provincial highway No.312

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.

Passing by the barren desert rife with red willows
The wild red willows with the soft-silk like sand dunes in a distance
Meet a group of motorcar riders

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

Run into a group of grazing camels

Run into a group of grazing camles

Driving through Gobi ( solid bedrock, loose gravel)

Driving through Gobi ( solid bedrock, loose gravel)

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

Tip:  Hassle-free Inner Mongolia  Guided Tours

If you don’t want to go the do-it-yourself route and prefer the hassle-free escorted tours,  here are some options for guided tours to Inner Mongolia:

Inner Mongolia Tour
Mid-Inner Mongolia Tour (Hohhot, Baotou, Ordos)
East Inner Mongolia Tour (Xanadu,Wulan Butong, Xilinhot, Chifeng)
Northeast Inner Mongolia Tour (Hulunbuir)
West Inner Mongolia Tour (Alashan “Alxa” League)
Hohhot Tour

Further Readings


Top 10 Attractions in Hohhot
The Best Time to Visit Hohhot
Meidaizhao Temple
How to go to Hohhot from Beijing
Top Souvenirs in Hohhot
Hohhot Taxi: Hohhot Taxi Fares, Tips and Phones
Baotou Taxi: Baotou Taxi Fares, Tips and Phones
Ordos Taxi: Ordos taxi Fares, Tips and Phones
What to see in Hohhot, what to do in Hohhot

Top 10 Attractions in Alxa League
Heicheng Historic Site in Ejin Banner (Tips, Photos & Map)
Guai Shu Lin in Ejin Banner, Inner Mongolia (Tips, Photos & Map)
Populus Forest in Ejin Banner (Tips, Photos & Map)
Badain Jaran Desert (Tips, Photos & Map)

The Quiet Wusu Langzi Lake
Dujuan Lake in Aershan National Forest Park
Beihu Park Skyline at Night in Manzhouli
Architecture of Manzhouli

Sunrise Glow over Hulunbuir Grasslands.
Top 10 Places for Photography in Hulunbuir
Top 10 Attractions in Hulunbuir.
Road Trip from Ergun to Linjiang Village
Hulun Lake Travel Tips
World Anti-fascist War Hailar Memorial Park
Architecture of Manzhouli
Ergun Travel Guide
Aoluguya Travel Guide
Moerdaoga Travel Guide
Shiwei Travel Tips
How to visit Hulunbuir Grassland

Top 10 Attractions in Chifeng
Xanadu Sites Museum
Jinlianchuan Grassland
Wulan Butong Grassland
Asihatu Stone Forest
Gong Geer Grassland
Duolun Travel Guide
Xanadu Travel Guide – Shangdu Travel
How to visit Asihatu Stone Forest
Xi Wuzhumuqin Grassland

Any questions, just drop a line.

Populus Forest in Ejin Banner (Tips, Photos & Map)

Friday, October 8th, 2021
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Euphrates Poplar Trees

Euphrates poplar (Populus euphratica), or Desert Poplar, is an ancient species of poplar tree in the willow family. The poplar trees change colors with seasons – green in spring and summer, yellow and golden on autumn, and red in winter.

The Euphrates Poplar trees (Also known as Diversifolius Poplar and Populus ) turning yellow in the deep summer offers a great photograph opportunity, very often attracting crowds of visitors.

Desert Populus at Ejina Qi

Populus Forest Geo-Area in Ejin Banner, Alxa League ( Alashan ) in the west of Inner Mongolia (内蒙古阿拉善盟的额济纳旗胡杨林) in China is one of the three remaining natural Euphrates Poplar Forests (Also known as Diversifolius Poplar) in the world with a total forest area of 30,000 hectares.

The other two huge areas of Euphrates Poplar Forests are Sahara Desert and Taklamakan Desert in Uygur Autonomous Region of Xinjiang of China .

Ejina Populus Sightseeing District (Huyanglin Scenic Area)

The whole area becomes a sea of golden leaves, enticing a consistent flow of tourists to enjoy the amazing scenery each year. In 1992, the Ejna Banner Euphrates Poplar Forest Nature Reserve was established there.

Recently years the local governments at all levels have made great efforts building a tourist-friendly Euphrates Poplar Sightseeing District (Huyanglin Scenic Area 内蒙古阿拉善盟的额济纳旗胡杨林 in Chinese ). Now it has become a hot tourist destination for tourists and photographers who flock here to view the magnificent golden fairyland.

When you plan your Inner Mongolia Tour, or especially the West Inner Mongolia Tour, Ejina Euphrates Poplar Forests is a big draw that you should not miss.

The Best Time to Go

While plan your trip to Ejina Banner for viewing Euphrates Populus , you should understand the best time for the fall foliage.

Basically the half month from October 01 through October 15 is the most ideal period for seeing the yellow and golden leaves of the Euphrates desert Populus trees in Ejina.

How to Get There

Located far west of Inner Mongolia and bordering Mongolia, Ejina Banner is a bit tricky to reach by taking public transport. Self-drive is the most popular mode of travel visiting the poplar forests.

The location of Ejina Banner ( Google Map)

It is a scenic drive that allows you to see the massive and mesmerizing Badain Jaran Desert (巴丹吉林沙漠). You may drive to Ejina from Bayanhot (650km), Jiuquan (400km), and Hohhot (1062km) and Beijing (1540km).

Entrance Fee and Where to Stay

The Euphrates Desert Poplar Sightseeing District (Huyanglin Scenic Area) is just located on the east of Dalaihubuzhen Town (达来呼布镇) , the seat of the Ejina Banner Government. So you may book a hotel , or put up in a tent in the town of Dalaihubuzhen. Homestay is also a good alternative.

Entrance fee: RMB 170 ( including the shuttle bus service inside the scenic area).

How to Visit the Ejina Populus Sightseeing District

The Ejina Desert Populus Sightseeing District is called Huyanglin Scenic Area in Chinese ( 额济纳旗胡杨林 ). The paid sightseeing area is located on the east of Dalaihubuzhen Town ( the seat of Ejinan Banner).

The whole Huyanglin Scenic Area is about 20 km long, 15 km wide at the widest and one km at the narrowest. The whole belt is peppered with Euphrates poplar trees, red willow frees and desert bushes.

The Huyanglin Scenic Area ( Ejina Populus Sightseeing District ) Google Map

The whole desert poplar scenic area is mainly composed of eight sections – Yidaoqiao (一道桥 Bridge 1), Erdaoqiao (二道桥 Bridge 2), Sandaoqiao(三道桥 Bridge 3), Sidaoqiao(四道桥 Bridge 4), Wudaoqiao (五道桥 Bridge 5),Liudaoqiao (六道桥 Bridge 6),Qidaoqiao(七道桥 ridge 7) and Badaoqiao (八道桥 Bridge 8).

The Erdaoqiao Section (Bridge 2) is close to the west entrance ( adjacent to the town of Dalaihubu) and Badaqiao (Bridge 8) is the east end of the sightseeing belt on the east entrance to the sightseeing belt.

So the whole paid Ejina Euphrates Desert Poplar Sightseeing District is divided into 8 sections ranging from Bridge 1 to Bridge 8 from west to east). The Bridge 1 is close to the town of Dalaihubuzhen Town 达来呼布镇 ( the west entrance) and the Bridge 8 is close to the east entrance on the northern edge of Badain Jaran Desert (巴丹吉林沙漠) .

Basically people would take the shuttle bus first to visit the furthest section of Badaoqiao ( Bridge No.8), then either walk or take the shuttle bus back to other 7 sections.

The section No.8 (Badaoqiao) is the best place to see the sunrise over the desert. The sections No.1、2,4,7 are very interesting to visit with magnificent fall colors.

Ejina Qi Euphrates Poplar Sightseeing Tips

1. See Sunrise at Badaqiao (八道桥 Bridge No.8)

Badaqiao Sightseeing Area is actually the northern edge of Badain Jaran Desert, one of the best places to see the sunrise over sand dunes and play on the desert. This section is the furthest from the Town of Dalaihubazhen.

People are waiting on the desert dune for the sunrise

I recommend you get up early to catch the early shuttle bus from the west gate and go to the furthest section of Badaoqiao to see the sunrise, then come back to visit Qidaoqiao (No.7), Sidaoqiao (No.4) and Erdaoqiao (No.2) on a return trip.

Get ready for the sunrise over the Badain Jaran Desert

When we get to Badaqiao (No.8), we see many tourist standing on the sand dunes and waiting for the sunrise, busy shooting the rising sun with their cameras and mobiles.

Here comes the fresh desert morning sunrise!

The camel man riding a camel on a high dune is going back and forth to pose for the tourists on the scene.

Sunrise over the sand dunes with camels on the sand dune top

2. See Euphrates Desert Poplar at Qidaoqiao (七道桥 No.7)

After seeing the sunrise at Badaqiao and simple breakfast at the foot of the sand dunes, we continue to get on a shuttle bus for the next section of Qidaoqiao. Qidaoqiao is home to the youngest poplar trees in Ejina Euphrates Poplar Forest. They are the first poplar trees to turn yellow and golden.

Stroll on the boardwalk for seeing the colors

A wooden path winds through the Qidaqiao Area and you don’t have to retrace. Both entrances at Qidaoqiao have shuttle bus stations that brings you to the next destination.

A feast for eyes

People stroll on the board walkway, enjoying the scenery on the both sides.

People stroll on the board walkway, enjoying the scenery on the both sides.

Feeling as if you were in a wonderland of the golden world.

Feeling as if you were in a wonderland of the golden world.

3. Amazed by the “Heroic Euphrates Poplar” at Sidaoqiao (四道桥)

Take the shuttle bus from Qidaoqiao (No.7) to Sidaoqiao (No.4).

Take the shuttle bus from Qidaoqiao (No.7) to Sidaoqiao (No.4).

The Euphrates Polar trees at Sidaoqiao are old and massive, telling us a story of “audacity” in the face of the arid and hard land for centuries.

The old and massive poplar trees

Euphrates Poplar trees are said to “exist for three thousand years – live for one thousand years, dead for one thousand years and rotten for one thousand years”. Here you are able to feel the “Heroism” of the old poplar trees.

Fallen, but not collapsed

Fallen, but not collapsed

Collapsed, but not rotten.

Collapsed, but not rotten.

4. Desert Poplar Trees at Erdaoqiao (二道桥)

Erdaoqiao (No.2) is my favorite section to view the Euphrates Poplar trees. Here you are able to catch the wonderful views of Euphrates Poplar mirrored on water.

Euphrates Poplar mirrored on water

A row or Euphrates Poplar Trees are mirrored on the water, an amazing spectacle.

A row or Euphrates Poplar Trees are mirrored on the water, an amazing spectacle.

Golden Desert Poplar trees, drying river bed and wooden bridge.

Golden Poplar trees, drying river bed and wooden bridge.
A colorful wonderland

Posed in front of an old Euphrates Poplar tree by the river.

An old Euphrates Poplar tree by the river

Of the eight sections in the Huyanglin Scenic Area ( Ejina Euphrates Desert Poplar), I like Erdaoqiap ( No.2) most!

Erdaoqiao section (No.2) is my favorite!

The West Entrance to Ejina Euphrates Desert Poplar Sightseeing Area.

The West Entrance to Ejina Euphrates Poplar Sightseeing Area.

Tip:  Hassle-free Inner Mongolia  Guided Tours

If you don’t want to go the do-it-yourself route and prefer the hassle-free escorted tours,  here are some options for guided tours to Inner Mongolia:

Inner Mongolia Tour
Mid-Inner Mongolia Tour (Hohhot, Baotou, Ordos)
East Inner Mongolia Tour (Xanadu,Wulan Butong, Xilinhot, Chifeng)
Northeast Inner Mongolia Tour (Hulunbuir)
West Inner Mongolia Tour (Alashan “Alxa” League)
Hohhot Tour

Further Readings


Top 10 Attractions in Hohhot
The Best Time to Visit Hohhot
Meidaizhao Temple
How to go to Hohhot from Beijing
Top Souvenirs in Hohhot
Hohhot Taxi: Hohhot Taxi Fares, Tips and Phones
Baotou Taxi: Baotou Taxi Fares, Tips and Phones
Ordos Taxi: Ordos taxi Fares, Tips and Phones
What to see in Hohhot, what to do in Hohhot

Top 10 Attractions in Alxa League
Heicheng Historic Site (Khara-Khoto) in Ejin Banner (Tips, Photos & Map)
Guaishulin in Ejin Banner, Inner Mongolia (Tips, Photos & Map)
Populus Forest in Ejin Banner (Tips, Photos & Map)
Badain Jaran Desert (Tips, Photos & Map)

The Quiet Wusu Langzi Lake
Dujuan Lake in Aershan National Forest Park
Beihu Park Skyline at Night in Manzhouli
Architecture of Manzhouli

Sunrise Glow over Hulunbuir Grasslands.
Top 10 Places for Photography in Hulunbuir
Top 10 Attractions in Hulunbuir.
Road Trip from Ergun to Linjiang Village
Hulun Lake Travel Tips
World Anti-fascist War Hailar Memorial Park
Architecture of Manzhouli
Ergun Travel Guide
Aoluguya Travel Guide
Moerdaoga Travel Guide
Shiwei Travel Tips
How to visit Hulunbuir Grassland

Top 10 Attractions in Chifeng
Xanadu Sites Museum
Jinlianchuan Grassland
Wulan Butong Grassland
Asihatu Stone Forest
Gong Geer Grassland
Duolun Travel Guide
Xanadu Travel Guide – Shangdu Travel
How to visit Asihatu Stone Forest
Xi Wuzhumuqin Grassland

Any questions, just drop a line.

Top 10 Attractions in Alxa League (Tips, Photos & Map)

Thursday, October 7th, 2021
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Plan your Inner Mongolia tour? On the west of Inner Mongolia lies Alxa League (阿拉善盟), also known as Alashan League.  It is one of the 12 prefecture-level divisions in the administrative area of Inner Mongolia. Alxa League is still a mysterious and massive place admired by many adventurous travellers.

Exploring Alxa League (Alashan League) is quite challenging due to its huge landscape of desert, lakes and hills, the size of 16 “Beijing”! Unlike the grassland as the big draw in other places in Inner Mongolia, Alxa League is bestowed with unique natural landscapes – massive deserts, diversifolius poplar forest, lonely gobi, sapphire lakes, Helanshan virgin forest. Alxa League is also rife with historical relics and elements of ancient human civilizations.

The jurisdiction of Alxa League ( within the red line) Google Map

I’ve collected top 10 attractions ( the Top Things to Do ) in Alxa League ( Alashan) based on the highlights in the three counties which comprise Alax League. The three counties are Alashan Zuoqi ( 阿拉善左旗 Alxa Left Banner ), Alashan Youqi 阿拉善右旗 ( Alxa Right Banner ) and Ejina Qi 额济纳旗( Ejin Banner ).

To visit Alxa League ( Alashan) , it is better to grab some knowledge of these three counties and their seats or capitals. These three county seats are the convenient launching pads to delve into the historic sites and unique landscapes in the league.

Alashan Zuoqi 阿拉善左旗 (Alxa Left Banner ): Bayanhotezhen 巴彦浩特镇 ( the county seat )
Alashan Youqi 阿拉善右旗 ( Alxa Right Banner: Badan Jilin Zhen 巴丹吉林镇 (the county seat )
Ejina Qi 额济纳旗( Ejin Banner ):Dalai Kubu 达来库布镇 (Dalaikubuzhen) (the county seat )

The Location of Three County Seats in Alax League ( Google)

Hopefully my Top 10 List will be of some use while planning your West Inner Mongolia Tour.

The Alxa League Major Attraction Map ( Google Map)

1. Tenggeli Desert (Tengger Desert)腾格里沙漠

Tenggeli or Tengger Desert literally means “stretching into distance like the sky” in Mongolian. Running west to south from Alxa League to Gansu Province, the Tenggeli Desert is connected to the Helan Mountains on the West, goes over the Great Wall in the south and linked to the Yabulai Mountain in the west.

The desert has an area of 367,000 sq km that comprises sand dunes, lakes, hilly land flat ground. The desert has over 400 lakes.  The most famous lake is known as  Moon Lake, or Moon Lake Scenic Area.

Moon Lake is nestled in the hinterland of Tenggeli Desert, Alxa Zuoqi. It is 10 kilometers south of Bayanhaotenzhen ( Bayanhot Town). Moon Lake is a 5A-Level Scenic Area in China,a beautiful and magic natural freshwater lake with an area of three sq.kilometers.

Location: In the southeast of Alxa League, between Helanshan Mountain and Yabulan Mountain
Best Visit Time: Summer and Autumn; typical continental climate with little rain
How to get there: Drive from Zhongwei, Yinchuan or Bayanhot 巴彦浩特

Tenggeli Desert (Tengger Desert|)
Tenggeli Desert (Tengger Desert|)

2. Guangzong Temple 广宗寺

Also called South Temple, Guangzong Monastery is one of the most important lama shrines in Inner Mongolia, a place where the legendary Sixth Dalai Lama died. Guangzong Monastery is 23 kilometers southwest of Bayanhaote Town (Bayanhot), and 70 kilometers from Yinchuan.

Location: In a valley on the west of Helan Mountain,23km to southwest of Bayanhot.
Best Visit Time: Summer and Autumn;
How to get there: Drive from Yinchuan or Bayanhot 巴彦浩特

 Guangzong Temple
Guangzong Temple

3. Helanshan Mountain ( Ho-lan Mountains) 贺兰山

“Helan” literally mean “Fine Horse” in Mongolian. Helanshan Mountain runs over 220 km from north to south, from 20 to 40 km wide with average about 2000 meters in altitude. The mountain range runs north-south parallel to Yellow River and the semi-arid Ordos Plateau.

To its west are the desert regions of the Alxa Plateau. The Helan Range has evergreen conifer forests that supports endemic communities of plants and animals.

Location: Running from north to south between Alxa League and Ningxia Province
Best Visit Time: Summer and Autumn;
How to get there: Drive from Yinchuan or Bayanhot 巴彦浩特

Ho-lan Mountains
Ho-lan Mountains

4. Ejin Poplar Forest 额济纳胡杨林

Ejin Poplar Forest (Huyanglin Scenic Area) is one of the three largest poplar forests in the world with mesmerizing autumn scenes sought after by numerous tourists and photographers.

Check out my another article Ejina Euphrates Desert Poplar (Populus ) (Tips, Photos & Map) for more information.

Huyanglin Scenic Area is located about 23km to the east of  Dalaikubu Town, the seat of Ejina Qi ( Ejin Banner ), which are also the largest oases  in Alxa League (Alashan).

Entrance Fee: RMB170
Location: 23km to southwest of Bayanhot 巴彦浩特
Best Visit Time: Autumn;
How to get there: Drive from Dalaikubu Town 达来库布镇 of Ejin Banner

Ejina Diversifolius Poplar Forest National Nature Reserve
Huyanglin Scenic Area

5. Heicheng Historic Site 黑城遗址

The Heicheng Historic Site ( Black City Ruins) is famous all over the world for the significant military passing along Silk Road in Han, Tang, Xixia and Yuan Dynasties. The city was originally built  in 1032. In 1372 the Ming soldiers took the city and he city was abandoned and left in ruins also due to water shortage.

The location of Heicheng Historic Site

Check out my another article Heicheng Historic Site (Khara-Khoto) in Ejin Banner for more information.

The present remaining city wall was built in Yuan Dynasty ( 1271 1368).  It has a perimeter of  one kilometers, 434 meters from east west and 383 meters with the maximum height of 10 meters.

Entrance fee: RMB80
Location: 40km to the southeast  of Dalaikubu Town 达来库布镇
Best Visit Time: Summer and Autumn;
How to get there: Drive from Dalaikubu Town of Ejina Banner

Black City Ruins
Black City Ruins

6. Ceke Port 策克口岸

It is the third largest overland port in Inner Mongolia as the outside door with rich mineral resources in Mongolia State. It is located 77 km to the north of Dalaikubu Town (Ejina Bnner).

Ceke Port opens four times a year – March (20 days), June (30 days), September (30 Days) and December (20 days).  Ceke Port becomes a big bazzar during the opening days.

Location: 77km to the southeast  of Dalaikubu Town 达来库布镇
Best Visit Time: Summer and Autumn;
How to get there: Drive from Dalaikubu Town of Ejina Banner

Ceke Port
Ceke Port

7. Badain Jaran Desert 巴丹吉林沙漠

Badain Jaran covers an area of 49,000 sq. kilometers. It is the highest and most beautiful desert in the world spanning the provinces of Inner Mongolia, Gansu and Ningxia.

Check out my another article A Glimpse of Badain Jaran Desert for more information.

The desert is also home to over 100 spring-fed lakes that lie between the dunes, some of which are fresh while others are salty. Badain Jaran Desert is well known for its queer peaks, singing sand, lakes, temples.

The desert officially open to the public tourism is called Badain Jaran Desert Tourism Area. It is located about 150km northeast of Badan Jilin Zhen ( the seat of Alxa Right Banner) and 450km west of Bayanhaotezhen, or Bayanhao Town ( the seat of Alxa Left Banner )

Location: North of Alxa Right Banner
Best Visit Time: Summer and Autumn;
How to get there: Drive from  Dalaikubu 达来库布镇 or Bayanhot 巴彦浩特

Badain Jaran Desert
Badain Jaran Desert

8. Mandela Cliff Paintings 曼德拉山岩画

Mandela Yanhua ( Cliff Paintings) The cliff paintings  are located in the Mandala Mountains on the Western edge of Badain Jaran Desert, 14km to the southwest of Mandela Town and 208 km northeast of Badan Jilin Zhen. Within an area of 18 square km, there are 6000 ancient cliff carvings scattered around, one of the treasure trove of the world most ancient art.

If you want to google the place “Mandela Cliff Paintings“, please google “Mandela Shanyan Huabaohu Management Station“, which is the name that the google identifies the place.

Mandela Yanhua ( Cliff Paintings) 208km northeast of Badan Jilin Zhen ( Google)

Mandela Mountain is located in Sumu, in Alxa Right Banner (Alxa Youqi) . The numerous cliff paintings on the mountain vividly have recorded the Alxa’ history,  culture and social development.

Location: 14 away from Sumu,  North of  Alxa Right Banner
Best Visit Time: Summer and Autumn;
How to get there: Drive from  Sumu,  North of Alxa Right Banner

Mandela Cliff Paintings
Mandela Cliff Paintings

9. Haisen Chulu Scenic Area 海森楚鲁怪石城

Haisen Chulu Scenic Area (Haisenchulu Wind-Eroded Landscape) is also known as Haisenchulu Wind-erosion Geomorphology Scenic Area. It is located about 200 kilometers to the northwest of Ekenhuduge Town, the capital of Alxa Right Banner.

Haisenchulu used to be a sea. Later the sea bed rised and was turned into land. The original rocks on the sea bed were eroded by the wind and rain for centuries have become the present shapes, dubbed as “the kingdom of Miraculous Stones”.

Haisen Chulu Scenic Area 180km northwest of Badan Jilin Zhen ( Google)

Location: 180 km to the northwest of  Badan Jilin Zhen 巴丹吉林镇, the seat of Alxa Right Banner
Best Visit Time: Summer and Autumn;
How to get there: Drive from  Badan Jilin Zhen 巴丹吉林镇 ,  the seat of Alxa Right Banner

Haisenchulu Wind-Eroded Landscape
Haisenchulu Wind-Eroded Landscape

10. Juyanhai Lake (Juyan Lake) 居延海

Historically Juyanhai Lake was divided into East Juyan Lake and West Juyan Lake. The ancient Juyanhai Lake was fed by Ejina River. The grassland around the lake used to be lush wtih fertile land, one of the earliest cultivated area in China.

In 1960s, the lake was dried up and the dried river beds posed s great threat to Beijing and other cities by creating sandstorms. Great efforts have been made to save and protect the eco enviroment of Juyan Lake. The waters of Heihe River has been diverted to Juyan Lake. Now Juyan Lake has returned to its former charming. It is located 40km to the northwest of Dalaihubu Town, the capital of Ejina Banner.

Location: 40km to the north of Dalaikubu Town
Best Visit Time: Summer and Autumn;
How to get there: Drive from Dalaikubu Town 达来库布镇 of Ejina Banner

Juyanhai Lake
Juyanhai Lake

Tip:  Hassle-free Inner Mongolia  Guided Tours

If you don’t want to go the do-it-yourself route and prefer the hassle-free escorted tours,  here are some options for guided tours to Inner Mongolia:

Inner Mongolia Tour
Mid-Inner Mongolia Tour (Hohhot, Baotou, Ordos)
East Inner Mongolia Tour (Xanadu,Wulan Butong, Xilinhot, Chifeng)
Northeast Inner Mongolia Tour (Hulunbuir)
West Inner Mongolia Tour (Alashan “Alxa” League)
Hohhot Tour

Further Readings


Top 10 Attractions in Hohhot
The Best Time to Visit Hohhot
Meidaizhao Temple
How to go to Hohhot from Beijing
Top Souvenirs in Hohhot
Hohhot Taxi: Hohhot Taxi Fares, Tips and Phones
Baotou Taxi: Baotou Taxi Fares, Tips and Phones
Ordos Taxi: Ordos taxi Fares, Tips and Phones
What to see in Hohhot, what to do in Hohhot

Top 10 Attractions in Alxa League
Heicheng Historic Site (Khara-Khoto) in Ejin Banner (Tips, Photos & Map)
Guai Shu Lin in Ejin Banner, Inner Mongolia (Tips, Photos & Map)
Populus Forest in Ejin Banner (Tips, Photos & Map)
Badain Jaran Desert (Tips, Photos & Map)

The Quiet Wusu Langzi Lake
Dujuan Lake in Aershan National Forest Park
Beihu Park Skyline at Night in Manzhouli
Architecture of Manzhouli

Sunrise Glow over Hulunbuir Grasslands.
Top 10 Places for Photography in Hulunbuir
Top 10 Attractions in Hulunbuir.
Road Trip from Ergun to Linjiang Village
Hulun Lake Travel Tips
World Anti-fascist War Hailar Memorial Park
Architecture of Manzhouli
Ergun Travel Guide
Aoluguya Travel Guide
Shiwei Travel Tips
How to visit Hulunbuir Grassland

Top 10 Attractions in Chifeng
Xanadu Sites Museum
Jinlianchuan Grassland
Wulan Butong Grassland
Asihatu Stone Forest
Gong Geer Grassland
Duolun Travel Guide
Xanadu Travel Guide – Shangdu Travel
How to visit Asihatu Stone Forest
Xi Wuzhumuqin Grassland

Any questions, just drop a line.