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4 Days Badain Jaran Desert Adventure with Ancient Rock Paintings

Explore Desert Wonders & Cultural Treasures


Do you wonder why Badain Jaran Desert defeated the famous Taklamakan Desert of Xinjiang and be voted as the most beautiful desert in China? The reason is self-explanatory only when you come and see for yourself. Beyond the classic endlessly stretching sand dunes of different shapes and heights, more remarkably, Badain Jaran Desert reverse the common impression of desert - arid, dry, uninhabited, with 144 colored inlaid lakes (some are green, blue and even pink, red, carroty) and massive inexhaustible springs, some oases and wild lives. Those stunning natural wonders are the best highlights which lie in the core area, can only reached by professionally-guided desert jeeps. To guarantee you a better travel experience and an eco-friendly journey, official licensed Jeeps will be used to take you venture deep in the desert.

Our 4 days Badain Jaran Desert covers the most classic itinerary with the desert essence sightseeing and the local culture encounter. With this all-inclusive tour package, you will enjoy memorable desert journey with various experiences, worry-free transfersand catch a sight of authentic Mongolian culture about dining, living and history.

Highlights of this tour

  • Take a thrilling Jeep safari to discover miraculous scenery in Badain Jaran Desert, like the amazing sand peaks of different shapes, peaceful Badain Jaran Lake and lots of beautiful lakes, the highest sand dunes in the world - Bilutu, the largest singing sand mountain, wonderful springs and many other wonders;
  • Ride a camel, try sand sliding and take a memorable walking trip to enjoy the fun and get close to the wild nature;
  • Stay overnight in a distinctive Mongolian yurt, watch dazzling starry sky, magnificent sunset and sunrise;
  • Appreciate thousands of exquisite rock paintings in the Mandela Mountain, marvel at the time-honored rock painting art and learn the traditional culture of the ancient ethnic minority.

Basic Trip Information

from Request
  1. 1. This price is for one person, based on a group of 2 adults sharing one double-bed room in a 4-star hotel and traveling in low seasons;
  2. 2. This price is subject to change according to your traveling season, group size, hotel class, change of activities and possible fluctuation of currency exchange rate.
Travel Route:
Badain Jaran Town - Badain Jaran Desert - Badain Jaran Town - Mandela Mountain Rock Painting
Travel Length:
Tour Code:
Group Size:
You, your family, friends or group
Any day you want
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Full Itinerary Day by day

Day 1 Badain Jaran Town Arrival

Today is free for you to get to Badain Jaran Town which is about 65km from Badain Jaran Desert National Park.

Badain Jaran Town is the headquarter of Alxa Right Banner of Inner Mongolia. The nearest airports are located in Zhangye and Jinchang which are about 2~3 hours’ drive away from Badain Jaran Town. Currently, you can take flights to Zhangye(张掖)/Jinchang(金昌) from Beijing, Xian, Chengdu, Lanzhou, etc. Our tour guide and driver will pick up you from nearby airport/train station, then transfer to Badain Jaran Town.

Accommodate in Badain Jaran Town.

Badain Jaran Town
Day 2 Badain Jaran Desert Jeep Safari & Exploration (B, L)

Visiting Route: Geo-park Museum - Badain Lake - Dagetu - Fairy Peak - Yinderitu Spring - Bilutu - Badain Jaran Temple (The final route is subject to change according to weather and time condition)

After breakfast, drive about 1 hour from your hotel to the entrance area of the desert park to visit Badain Jaran Geo-park Museum first to learn some useful geography and cultural information about this China’s most beautiful desert. UNESCO experts claim that Badain Jaran Desert includes “unique desert aeolian features of the most concentrated distribution area of mega-dunes and inter-dunal lake basins, constituting irreplaceable natural heritage values”.

Start your thrilling and exciting Badain Jaran off-road adventure now! Hop on a desert Jeep, and drive head to the heartland of the desert. As a vast desert covering over 45,000 square kilometers, Badain Jaran Desert’s highlighting lakes and sand dunes can only be reached by SUV unless you will have to trek several days through the desert. The driving goes to Badain Jaran Temple in the deep desert where a Mongol yurts camp sets up on the side of a lake for travelers to stay over the night.

There are a lot of stops at the most beautiful points, such as Badain Lake, desert oasis, Genghis Khan Sand Carving, Dagetu Lake, Yinderitu Spring, Temple Lake, etc. You will also go up to Bilutu which is the highest sand dune in the world with an altitude of 1611 meters. You will reach at Badain Jaran Temple, known as the Forbidden City in the Desert, after about 4~5 hours driving. The rest time is free to explore the beauty of the desert till the sunset time.

Tonight you will accommodate in a Mongol yurt in the middle of the desert which is comfortable (for a yurt) with shower available, but the toilet is basic and placed outside the camp.

Pack and Wear Right – Very Important? - bring only necessary things to the desert, such as water, sunglasses, sunblocking cream, camera, dramamine (for possible carsickness during desert driving), etc. Take a towel, shower gel, shampoo if you want to take a shower. Your luggage can be remained in our car or hotel in Badain Jaran Town.

Exciting Jeep Safari in deep land of Badain Jaran Desert Different-colored Lakes Scattered in Badain Jaran Desert Badain Jaran Temple, Picture Shared by Chiu from Canada in September 2023
Day 3 Badain Jaran Desert Half-day Tour & Drive to Badain Jaran Town (B, L)

Visiting Route: Badain Jaran Temple - Barun Jaran - Barunyikeri - Heavenly Lake - Entrance(The final route is subject to change according to weather and time condition)

Get up at about 5:30~6.00 A.M in the morning, find a good sunrise location on the sand mountain to wait for the first ray of golden sunlight to shine on the stretches of desert. The sunrise at Badain Jaran Desert is a true feast to eyes. It’s a striking combination of light and shadow. At the daybreaking time, the sun seems to be playing the hide-and-seek with people. It then rises gradually like a dancing sparrows from the horizon, and project her golden light upon the sea of sand. Soak yourself in this sun-drenched otherworldly scene, and let the golden light and cool desert air wash over you. After the sunrise, return to the camp site.

After breakfast, keep on Jeep Safari adventure. You will make a stop at Barun Jaran (Barunjilin), a stunning lake which is a great place to take photo of sand dunes’ reflection. You will also go to visit Barunyikeri where two lakes are divided by an edge of sand dunes, and Heavenly Lake (Tianchi), a lovely lake suitable for photography.

You will exit the desert park around the noon time. After lunch, go to check in your hotel. The rest time is free for you to relax and have fun.

Magnificent sunrise in Badain Jaran Desert, Picture Shared by Chiu from Canada in September 2023 A stunning lake in Badain Jaran Desert, Picture Shared by Chiu from Canada in September 2023
Day 4 Mandela Mountain Rock Paintings & Departure (B)

After breakfast, drive 3 hours to the Mandela Mountain in the northeast suburb of the town. Mandela means thrive and rise in Mongol. The mountain is most-known for the largest size of ancient rock paintings of China and the second largest in the world. There are 4234 rock paintings carved on the black basalts, depicting hunting, grazing, the sun, moon, stars, temple, architectures, etc. Archaeologists speculate that they were carved engraved in the New Neolithic Age to the Qing Dynasty with a long history of at least 6,000 years, and a part of the primitive religious ritual. No wonder the rock paintings are titled as “the Living Fossils of the Art World”. Hike up the mountain along the wooden trestle, you will see many vivid rock carving at the mountaintop. Each painting has an exclusive identity code. Our tour guide will explain the content to help you better understand the history and significance of these cultural heritages. Besides, you can see many rocks in grotesque shapes nearby.

Descend down the mountain, you will leave for your next destination.

Departure tips: the nearest airport is Jinchang Airport where you can take flights to Xian, Lanzhou, Chengdu, Beijing, etc. If you want to transfer to Zhangye or other places in the region with our private car services, please contact your travel consultant in advance.

Lively Rock Paintings in Mandela Mountain near the Carved Stones

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