How to Get to Badain Jaran Desert & Get around 2024
You’ve probably seen many amazing faces of nature during your previous trips, like mountains, oceans, rivers, snows, flowers, trees, canyons. Desert, another wonder and power of nature, whether you visit one or not, is always an excitant for any travelers. Voted as the most beautiful desert of China by the National Geographic, Badain Jaran Desert allures to many nature lovers to uncover its mysterious lakes and magnificent sand dunes. If you’re planning a Silk Road in northwest China, making a detour to see this China's third largest desert is definitely an visual feast, a thrilling and indelible wild nature adventure. What’s the best way to get to Badain Jaran Desert? How to visit interior spots inside the desert? China Discovery gives you the comprehensive transportation guide of Badain Jaran Desert below to help you better plan and enjoy a once-in-a-lifetime trip to Badain Jaran Desert.
Where is Badain Jaran Desert Located in China?
Badain Jaran Desert (巴丹吉林沙漠) spans Inner Mongolia, Gansu and Ningxia in the northwest of China. The main body is in the Alxa Desert Global Geopark, mainly lies in the Ejin Banner (Ejina, Ejina Qi 额济纳旗), Alxa Right Banner and a small scale in the east Alxa Left Banner, western Inner Mongolia. The desert entrance is located about 75 km (1 hour’s drive) from Badain Jaran Town (巴丹吉林镇) of Alxa Right Banner (阿拉善右旗), nearly 450 km/5.5 hours’ ride from Alxa Left Banner (阿拉善左旗), about 1,015 km/16.5 hours’ ride from capital Hohhot (呼和浩特), around 840 km/10 hours’ from Baotou (包头) and at least 3,230 km/34 hours’ ride from Hulunbuir (呼伦贝尔).
Besides, it lies around 125 km/2.5 hours’ ride from Gansu’s Jinchang (金昌), about 215 km/3 hours’ ride from Zhangye (张掖), 440 km/5 hours’ ride from Jiayuguan (嘉峪关), over 800 km/9 hours’ ride from Dunhuang (敦煌) and 575 km/7 hours’ ride from Yinchuan, Ningxia (宁夏银川).
Must-known Travel Tips for Getting to Badain Jaran Desert
To get to the desert, tourists usually reach the Badain Jaran Town first, which is the seat of government of Alxa Right Banner and the tourist base for accommodation and food supply. The town is around 75 km, 1 hour’s drive from the desert. According to arrival transportation and traffic time and convenience, getting to Badain Jaran Desert from Zhangye in nearby Gansu is most favored by tourists than other farther places in Gansu, Ningxia and Inner Mongolia.
Click to Jump to:
Get to Badain Jaran Desert by Flight
There is a small airport (also the nearest airport) - Alxa Right Banner Badain Jaran Airport (IATA: BHT, Badanjilin Airport) serving visitors to the Badain Jaran Desert. It is less than 90 km away from the desert for about 1 hour’s drive. However, the airport currently only operates one air route between Alxa Right Banner and Bayanhot Airport (IATA: AXF) in Alxa Left Banner. Thus, it’s quite inconvenient to fly to Alxa Right Banner directly.
Alxa Right Banner Badain Jaran Desert Airport 阿拉善右旗巴丹吉林机场 (IATA: BHT)
Address: Airport Road, Ekenhuduge Town, Alxa Right Banner, Alxa League, Inner Mongolia; just 13 km, 15 minutes’ drive from Badain Jaran Town 内蒙古自治区阿拉善盟阿拉善右旗额肯呼都格镇机场路
Alxa Left Banner Bayanhot Airport 阿拉善左旗巴彦浩特机场 (IATA: AXF)
Address: Airport Road, Bayanhot Town, Alxa Left Banner, Alxa League, Inner Mongolia； about 17 km, within 20 minutes’ drive from Bayanhot Town 内蒙古自治区阿拉善盟阿拉善左旗巴彦浩特镇机场公路
Most Popular Badain Jaran Desert Tours:
Alxa Right Banner Badain Jaran Airport
Badain Jaran Airport Flight Schedule:
|Departure & Arrival Airport
|Arrival Airport's Distance to Badain Jaran Desert
|Alxa Left Banner
Alxa Right Banner
|Bayanhot Airport (AXF)
Badain Jaran Desert
|1 direct flight daily
|1 hr 15 mins
|about 90 km/1 hr's drive
If you prefer an air travel, you can also firstly fly to nearby Ejin Banner (Inner Mongolia) or Zhangye, Jinchang in Gansu, or Yinchuan in Ningxia, and then transfer to Badain Jaran Desert. But, you should know that, these airports are located in remote regions of northwestern China offering very limited flights, extra long-distance transfer is needed after landing and the public transportation is complicated and time-consuming.
Optional flights choices for your conference:
|Optional Flight Arrival City
|Airport Location & Transportation
|To Ejin Banner (Alxa League, Inner Mongolia)
|Ejin Banner Taolai Airport (EJN)
|Alxa Left Banner
|1 flight daily
|1 hr 45mins
|Airport Road, Dalaihoh Town, Ejin Banner, Alxa League, Inner Mongolida; about 720 km/8 hours' drive to Badain Jaran Desert
|1 flight daily
|about 4 hrs (30 mins stopover in Alxa Left Banner)
|To Alxa Left Banner (Alxa League, Inner Mongolia)
|Alxa Left Banner Bayanhot Airport (AXF)
|Alxa Right Banner, Ejin Banner
|1 flight daily each
|1 hr 10 mins/ 1 hr 45 mins
|Airport Road, Bayanhot Town, Alxa Left Banner, Alxa League, Inner Mongolia; about 465 km/6 hours' drive to Badain Jaran Desert
|1 flight daily
|nearly 2 hrs
|2 flights daily
|about 1.5 hrs
|To Lanzhou (Gansu)
|Lanzhou Zhongchuan International Airport (LHW)
|Beijing, Shanghai, Xian, Guangzhou, Shenzhen, Chengdu, Wuhan, Dunhuang, Xiamen, Kunming, etc.
|Zhongchuan Town, Yongdeng County, Lanzhou, Gansu; about 450 km/5.5 hours' drive to Badain Jaran Desert
|To Zhangye (Gansu, Most Recommended)
|Zhangye Ganzhou Airport (YZY)
|Beijing, Shanghai, Xian, Chengdu, Guangzhou, Lanhzou
|Airport Road, Ganzhou District, Zhangye, Gansu; about 220 km/3 hours' drive to Badain Jaran Desert
|To Jiayuguan (Gansu)
|Jiayuguan Airport (JGN)
|Beijing, Shanghai, Xian, Guangzhou, Lanzhou, Hangzhou, Nanjing, Wuhan, Changsha, Yinchuan, etc.
|Airport Road, Jiayuguan, Gansu; about 450 km/5.5 hours' drive to Badain Jaran Desert
|To Jinchang (Gansu)
|Jinchang Jinchuan Airport (JIC)
|Beijing, Shanghai, Xian, Chengdu, Lanzhou
|Xianhua Avenue, Jinchuan District, Jinchang, Gansu; about 130 km/2 hours' drive to Badain Jaran Desert
Note: The above flight schedules are listed with essential information. If you need a Badain Jaran trip planning guide and help, or further traffic advice and tips, please feel free to contact us.
Get to Badain Jaran Desert by Train
For train travelers, the most popular and recommended gateway city is Zhangye in Gansu, because the train stations in Zhangye are merely 220 km, 3 hours’ drive to Badain Jaran Desert and they are well-connected with many destinations along the Silk Road, such as Xian, Lanzhou, Dunhuang, Jiayuguan, Xining, Urumqi, Turpan. In addition, you can take a train to Lanzhou, Jiayuguan, Jinchang in Gansu and then transfer to Badain Jaran Town.
On the Inner Mongolia side, even the nearest train station - Ejina Railway Station is still 710 km, more than 8 hours’ drive far away from the Badain Jaran Desert. And, the station so far only runs normal speed overnight trains from Hohhot (about 15 hrs) and Baotou (12.5-13 hrs) in Inner Mongolia.
Most Recommended Badain Jaran Desert Tours:
Here are frequently-checked train travel information for getting to Badain Jaran Desert:
|Major Connected Cities
|Railway Station Location
|Railway Station to Badain Jaran Desert
|Zhangye Railway Station
|Dunhuang, Jiayuguan, Yinchuan, Hohhot...
|Zhanghuo Road, Ganzhou District, Zhangye, Gansu
|about 210 km/3 hours' drive
|Zhangye West Railway Station
(High Speed Train Station)
|Xian, Lanzhou, Urumqi, Dunhuang, Jiayuguan...
|Danxia Road, Ganzhou District, Zhangye, Gansu
|about 220 km/3 hours' drive
|Jinchang Railway Station
|Lanzhou, Zhangye, Jiayuguan...
|Chezhan Road, Hexibao Town, Yongchang County, Jinchang, Gansu
|about 150 km/2.5 hours' drive
|Ejin Banner (Ejina)
|Ejina Railway Station
|Ejin Banner, Alxa League, Western Inner Mongolia
|about 710 km/8 hours' drive
|Jiayuguan Railway Station
|Lanzhou.. in Gansu
|No.1 Yingbin Avenue, Jiayuguan, Gansu
|about 440 km/5 hours's drive
|Jiayuguan South Railway Station
(High Speed Railway Station)
|Lanzhou... in Gansu
|Xiongguan Avenue, Wenshu Town, Jingtie District, Jiayuguan, Gansu
|about 440 km/5.5 hours' drive
Note: After arrival by the above cities by train, tourists usually hire private vehicle to transfer to Badain Jaran Desert rather than taking the time-wasting tedious public transport with several times transfers.
Get to Badain Jaran Desert by Long-Distance Coach
There are direct long-distance coaches running from Lanzhou, Jinchang, Wuwei (Gansu), Yinchuan of Ningxia, Alxa Left Banner (Inner Mongolia) to Badain Jaran Town irregularly. However, very few tourists choose such as a long-haul bus ride, since the buses number is limited every day, the journey costs much more time than a private transfer service, let alone an extra transfer from the town to the desert.
Badain Jaran Town, Alxa Right Banner
Get to Badain Jaran Desert by Private Car - The Best Option
Due to the remote location and inefficient public transport, all travelers are highly suggested travelling with a local professional and reliable travel agency (such as China Discovery) who offers an all-inclusive Badain Jaran Desert tour package covering a well-organized tour itinerary, worry-free car transfer, local friendly tour guide and satisfactory arrangements of accommodation, dining and other tour-related services. Better travel experiences and personal safety will be both guaranteed. If you travel with us, you will enjoy convenient transfer to Bdain Jaran Desert by our licensed, clean, comfortable private vehicle together with a skillful driver. We can pick you up at the airport, train station, your hotel or any place you specify and make midway to admire the scenery as you like. So you can save time and energy, rest well and fully focus on the sightseeing trip. Tell us your scheduled time and plan, we will take care of all the details.
Our Best-selling Badain Jaran Desert Tours:
☛ 3 Days Badain Jaran Desert Real Essence Tour with Jeep Safari
☛ 5 Days Zhangye Danxia Badain Jaran Desert Geography Miracles Tour
☛ 7 Days Qinghai Lake Zhangye Danxia Badain Jaran Desert Wonders Tour
China Discovery's Private Transfer
Get around the Badain Jaran Desert
With a total area of 47,000 square kilometers, Badain Jaran Desert is far spacious than you think. Hence, it’s necessary to tour the desert with professional guide. To preserve the ecosystem of Badain Jaran Desert, ensure all travelers a safe and trustworthy travel and help visitors venture deep into the desert, tourists are strongly advised to use a charted car service and local driver provided by officially appointed travel agencies. There are different kinds of ways to have fun in the desert, such as Jeep safari, camel riding, walking, hiking, and thrilling entertainments like UTV sand riding, sand sliding, archery, grass skating, etc. It’s popular to combine various ways together to feel the wild nature and appreciate diverse local cultures.
By SUV (Jeep Safari) - Most Exhilarating
Taking a speedy SUV (4x4) is the top must try for all visitors. It’s also the mandatory way to tour the desert. You can not only get to all the major high sand mountains (such as Bilutu Sand Peak - the world’s highest stationary dune), amazing lakes quickly, but also can physically experience a thrilling Jeep safari, an unusual Fast and Furious adventure in the harsh desert. The experienced driver will take you up and down the tall sand dunes along with your squealing with excitement. You can ask him to pull over and get off to take a short break, take a desert walk and shot some great pictures.
By Camel Riding - Most Featured
Camels are known as the ships of the deserts. Riding a camel is a unique and popular experience you can only enjoy in deserts. In Badain Jaran Desert, you can choose to hike some high sand peaks by a two-humped camel. It will bring you travel through time as if you are in a caravan marching on boundless sands along the ancient Silk Road.
Except the heart-pounding experiences, you can take a leisurely stroll in the desert, view stunning sand waves of different shapes, walk around the mysterious oases and find amazing creatures in this so-called “Forbidden Zone of Life”. You will surprisingly find it’s not easy to make a small step forward in desert as walking on flat ground. But the sunlight above your head, the dry sands under your feet and spreading before your eyes, the wind blowing in your face, the dry air around you will peal off your cover, impress you and engrave an exceptional vista in your heart.
Hiking through a desert is absolutely a once-in-a-lifetime venture. But it is highly challengeable and requires plenty of time, really good physical strength, some great survival skills and strong environmental adaptability. Fully-armed professionals may take several days to one week long to finish the challenge, while ordinary tourists are recommended to try a short-term hiking accompanied by professional guide and hiking team.
Jeep Safari in Badain Jaran Desert
Camel Riding in Badain Jaran Desert
Hiking Through Badain Jaran Desert
Get from Badain Jaran Desert to Nearby Destinations
When planning your Badain Jaran Desert, it’s wise to check more destinations in surrounding regions to enrich your desert adventure. Below are popular tourist destinations & attractions travelers often visit together with Badain Jaran Desert. Detailed location, travel time and highlights are given to help you organize your travel route in a perfect order.
1.Mandela Mountain Rock Paintings
Highlights: “Living Fossil in the Art World”, the second largest number of rock paintings in the world and the top in Asia. More than 4,000 ancient rock paintings have been discovered, and they vividly embody farming, hunting, battle and social events of the ancient nomadic.
Location: Mandela Mountain, Northeast Suburb of Badain Jaran Town, Alxa Right Banner, Alxa League, Inner Mongolia; about 185 km (2.5 hours’ drive) northeast of Badain Jaran Desert, about 250 km/3 hours’ drive from Badain Jaran Town
Ticket: RMB 40 /per person
2.Haisen Chulu Strange Stone Forest
Highlights: Northwest edge of Badain Jaran Desert, about 255km/3 hours’ drive from Badain Jaran Desert, about 180 km/2 hours’ drive from Badain Jaran Town
Location: Wind-erosion landform of different shapes, similar to Stone Forest in Kunming, Yunnan. There are ubiquitous strange granite rocks from fist size to giant mountains and the most famous are the mushroom cloud, lying camel, tortoise climbing out of the sea.
Ticket: RMB 40/per person
3.Alxa Right Banner Museum
Highlights: rich collections of cultural relics about the camel culture, ancient rock paintings and Inner Mongolian folk culture.
Location: Badain Jaran Town, Alxa Right Banner, Alxa League, Inner Mongolia; about 75 km/1 hour's ride from Badain Jaran Desert
Ticket: Free Admission
4.E’ribugai Grand Canyon
Highlights: maroon rocky mountain wallls stretching along the grand canyons.
Location: about 125 km/1.5 hours’ drive of Badain Jaran Desert; about 50 km/45 minutes’ drive from Badain Jaran Town
Ticket: RMB 40 /per person
5.Badain Jaran Desert to Ejin Banner (Ejina)
Top Highlights: Ejina Populus Euphratica Forest, Juyan Lake, Heicheng Historical Site, Strange Forest
Location: Ejin Banner lies in the northwest of Badain Jaran Desert, takes about 8 hours’ ride
Check detailed Ejin Banner Transportation Guide to know how to get to the beautiful Populus Euphratica Forest, Juyan Lake, Heicheng Historic Site and Strange Forest in Ejin Banner.
Mandela Mountain Rock Paintings
Haisen Chulu Strange Stone Forest
E’ribugai Grand Canyon
Populus Euphratica Forest in Ejin Banner
How to Plan Your Badain Jaran Desert Tour
How to Get to: Travelers usually travel to Badain Jaran Desert from Zhangye, which takes a 3 hours’ drive only. It takes a longer time if transferring via Lanzhou, Dunhuang, Alxa Left Banner or Ejin Banner.
Best Time to Visit: Late September to Late October when temperature is moderate, more sunny days with little wind and rainfall.
Places to Stay: Mongolian yurt near Badain Jaran Lake or other lakes in the Badain Jaran Desert scenic area and hostels in Badain Jaran Town.
For all travelers, the most popular and classic itinerary is spending 2 days for a Badain Jaran Desert tour, from which you can fully enjoy a wild adventure in its miraculous sights and experience various interesting desert activities. After the long ride, you will firstly accommodate in Badain Jaran Town.
In the next day morning, you will take a local chartered sand buggy organized by the officials to visit the iconic lakes and sand hills. During the stops, you can visit Badain Lake and a giant Genghis Khan Sand Carving nearby, Yinderitu Lake, the biggest saltwater lake in the desert with 108 mysterious springs, Bilutu Peak - “Mount Everest in the Desert”, Badain Jaran Lake (Temple Lake) where an over 250-year-old Tibetan monastery stands and displays the most beautiful reflection of the yellow sands, green plants and white temple. Camping in a special Mongolian yurt helps you enjoy an amazing sunset and sunrise in the desert. On the second day, you will continue the thrilling Jeep safari and explore the Nortu Lake, the largest lake, and Baori Taolegai - the largest singing sand dune in the world. You can try a camel riding, sand sliding and a desert walking to enrich your trip.
Usually, tourists travel to the northwestern China often visit Badain Jaran Desert with famous neighboring destinations, like Ejin Banner (Ejina Populus Euphratica Forest), Zhangye (Danxia Landform - colorful “Rainbow Mountains”), Dunhuang (Mogao Caves - Oriental Louvre) and other wonderful places in Qinghai, Gansu, Xinjiang along the Silk Road or in the Inner Mongolia.
Travel with China Discovery
Traveling in the wild area of northwestern China is many travelers' dream. No matter you want to explore the mystery of the silk road or photograph the colorful lakes of Badain Jaran Desert, it never be as easy as traveling in the bigger cities like Beijing and Shanghai. In order to get a worry-free experience and get ride of the hustle and bustle hustle of public transportation and troublesome navigation, traveling with China Discovery is your best choice. As your flight or train arrives, our local guide will meet you at the airport or train station. You will enjoy a high-quality private transfer service, including comfortable car, skilled driver and freedom to stop for sightseeing.
Far more than that, China Discovery is professional to provide high-quality customizable tour. Before your tour, our travel expert will communicate with you one to one and make an itinerary according your own interest, need and budget. Every detail – transfer, hotels, attractions, etc. will be arranged well for you and you just need to focus on sightseeing. Feel free to contact us to start your worry-free private tour now!
Recommended Badain Jaran Desert Tours
Top 3 Badain Jaran Desert tours chosen by most customers to explore Badain Jaran Desert in the best way. Check the detailed itinerary, or tailor your own trip now with us.
Zhangye - Badain Jaran Town - Badain Jaran Desert
Xining - Zhangye - Badain Jaran Desert
Badain Jaran Town - Badain Jaran Desert
Start planning your tailor-made holiday to China by contacting one of our specialists. Once inquired, you’ll get a response within 0.5~23.5 hours.Customize a Trip
Have a question? Get answers from our travel experts or guests
- Your Question:
- Your Name:
- Your Email: