Human beings always have a complicated feeling about the desert. It is the place to keep away from for some people because of the harsh environment and unpredictable weather in the desert. But for real travelers or explorers, the desert is the paradise of adventure and natural wonders, once-in-a-lifetime trip that helps us understand more about our life.
Occupying an area of more than 700,000 square kilometers, China has the most plentiful and diverse desert resource in the world, spreading in the remote northwestern provinces. There are the most mysterious Taklamakan Desert which is full of historical sites of ancient Silk Road, the most beautiful Badain Jaran Desert which is dotted with colorful lakes, boundless Tengger Desert, magnificent Mingshashan Desert, etc. Thanking for the rapid improvement of tourism facilities, it is now safe and enjoyable to explore these “once forbidden zones of life”. You can easily get to these deserts by flight or high speed trains. While in the desert, you have various ways to explore the real charms of the desert, such as hiking, Jeep safari, camel riding, camping, etc.
Based on our up-to-date knowledge and decades’ professional experience of operating tailor-made adventure to most parts of China deserts, China Discovery has created many private tour packages to take you to enjoy the most authentic desert experience in China, including Badain Jaran Desert, Tengger Desert, Taklamakan Desert, etc. Customized itinerary and tour services are also available.
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A successful desert tour should put many aspects into consideration, such as natural authenticity, accessibility, tourism facilities, reliable support team, etc. Here are the best 5 China deserts tours recommended for you. You are also welcomed to work with us to tailormake a desert adventure of your own..
7 Days Qinghai Lake Zhangye Danxia Badain Jaran Desert Wonders TourBadain Jaran DesertZhangye DanxiaQinghai Lake...
Traveling in desert is quite different from many other travel types, such as city exploration, beach resort, mountain hiking, etc. It requires many objective conditions. First of all, the desert must be safe to travel, which means there should be supportive tourist facilities, such as guide, transportation access, hotel, food, etc. Secondly, one should have strong power of will and energy to take an adventure in desert because the environment and weather in the desert are usually harsh and changeful. Hence, we have listed out recommended China deserts which are beautiful and safe to explore as below. If you have any question or tour plan, feel free to contact us.
China National Geography praise Badain Jaran Desert as the most beautiful desert in China, which is definitely true. It is located at the bottom of the Yin'e Basin in the western part of the Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region, with a total area of 49,200 square kilometers. Its most stunning sceneries are colorful lakes dotted in the hinterland of the desert, beautifully-curved sand peaks and echoing sand dunes. One usually needs to hike a well-conditioned Jeep to reach those colorful lakes and sand dunes. If you have more time, you can also experience a hiking & camping adventure in the desert. Currently, there is no airport and train station around near Badain Jaran Desert. You can take a flight or train to Zhangye or Jinchang, then drive about 2~3 hours to Badain Jaran Desert.
Explore three unique geographic miracles – Zhangye Danxia, Badain Jaran Desert and isolated Pingshan Lake Grand Canyon which is located on the way from Zhangye to Badain Jaran. They are well organized in a leisure-paced itinerary.
Price from Request
Most classic itinerary to explore the real essence of Badain Jaran Desert - ride a Jeep to cross over the sand dunes to look for those mysterious lakes, and stay a night in a local Mongol yurt. Have a lot of time to walk, take photos, enjoy sunset and sunrise and relax.
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Dunhuang Mingshashan is a small desert located in Gansu Province, northwestern China. It might be the most visited desert in China because of its beautiful desert scenery as well as its tourist-friendly location that can be reached in minutes from Dunhuang City. Its sand dunes are tall, and also echoes when sliding down from the top. Dunhuang Mingshashan Desert is a fully-developed tourist park. Here can hike the sand dunes, ride a camel, or enjoy a desert motor adventure. The Crescent Lake in the desert is believed to have been a famous tourist site since ancient time. Another advantage of visiting Dunhuang Mingshashan Desert is that you can also go to visit Mogao Grottoes, the UNESCO World Heritage Site which is not very far from the desert.
In-depth exploration of Mogao Caves, also including a well-designed camping experience in the most beautiful deserts of Mingshashan.
Price from $406
Brief highlights of Ancient Silk Road - travel from Jiayuguan to Dunhuang like the ancient caravans of merchants and travelers from far Europe and Middle Asia.
Price from $644
The Taklimakan Desert is located in the center of the Tarim Basin in Xinjiang, China. It is the largest desert in China (10th in the world) and the second largest flowing desert in the world. The desert is about 1,000 kilometers long from east to west, 400 kilometers wide from north to south, and covers an area of 330,000 square kilometers. Taklimakan Desert is the most mysterious desert in the world. The ancient Silk Road developed and vanished along the desert. It is the “forbidden zone of life”, but full of Uyghur towns and villlages, oasis, etc. All features of deserts can be found in Taklimakan Desert.
Our journey skirts around and crosses over the treacherous Taklamakan Desert. Start your tour at the provincial capital of Xinjiang- Urumqi before heading out to Kashgar, the final settlement in China before the Silk Road crossed into Central Asia.
The Kubuqi Desert is the seventh largest desert in China, locating on the south bank of the Yellow River, as the nearest desert to Beijing. It is 400 kilometers long and 50 kilometers wide, with a total area of about 13,900 square kilometers. Its Resonant Sand Gorge is the most popular desert resort in China where you can not only explore wildness and adventure of desert, but also enjoy high-end holiday facilities, accommodation, food, activities, etc.
In this best classic 5 days' trip, you'll see two kinds of totally different but symbolic landscapes in Inner Mongolia, by visiting Huitengxile Grassland and Yemingsha Desert at Kubuqi and other top highlights of pleasant Hohhot City to have a brief close-up of Inner Mongolia bests for both nature and culture admiration!
Price from Request
The tourism of Desert Adventure for Foreign Travelers is still at the start-up stage. Many China deserts haven’t been explored by foreign faces yet. China Discovery is honored to be one of the leading desert travel agencies in China. In past a few years, we have managed to help many foreign clients to travel to the stunning deserts of China, such as Badain Jaran Desert, Mingshashan Desert, etc… Check their inspiring travel stories and useful feedbacks.
Here we list out the most useful desert travel tips about trip planning, packing, weather, possible dangers, food, etc. You are also welcomed to submit your question to us, our travel experts are always ready to help.. Read more tips »
Desert travel is a matter of many things. It is far more complex and difficult than other kinds of trips. There are many preparation works to be done beforehand. Troubles may occur unexpectedly. Travel conditions, such as weather, road, accommodation, etc., are very changeful. The deserts are also full of possible dangers. Once a dangerous situation happens in the desert, it is very hard for independent travelers to deal on their own. Hence, it is strongly recommended to travel in the desert with a guided tour.
With our fully-cared private desert tour package, you will explore the most highlighting places in the deserts which are safe to go at the same time. Based on your interest, we will create a well-paced trip of your own. During your desert adventure, you needn’t to worry about accommodation, meal, transfer, etc. as we will arrange well for you. You only need to focus on the desert exploration.
1) Avoiding getting lost in the desert, which means you shouldn’t go the unknown areas, leave your team to go somewhere alone, or travel desert without navigation equipment. Hiring a guide is always recommended; 2) Avoiding lacking of water which may cause dehydration under high temperature. You should wear proper clothes to slow down sweat evaporation, also always bring suitable amount of water with you all the time; 3) Avoid heat stroke and hypothermia. You shouldn’t walk at a high temperature for a long time. The temperature of the day and night in the desert varies a lot, especially in winter. Always bring a extra layers and blankets. 4) The probability of a sandstorm is very low, and it is mainly dust, which basically will not affect normal walking. What we need to do is to wear windproof glasses, masks, headscarves, and other sand prevention measures. Never go to the leeward slope of the sand dune to avoid it and the leeward of the dune is very dangerous during the sandstorm.
The best season to visit the desert is usually from mid-April to late October, and the best season for desert hiking is from September to October.
Clothing: Bring outdoor windproof, sandproof, and quick-drying clothes; bring sunblock items like sunglasses (goggles), sunhat, sunscreen, headscarves, masks, to reduce skin exposure, and remember to cover your neck. In the morning and evening, wear a light warm coat, or down jacket and take off at noon.
Shoes: Wear high-top climbing shoes or desert boots when crossing the desert on foot and bring a sandproof shoe cover.
Food and drinks supplies vary in different deserts. Never expect very well food and drinks as in cities. You usually need to cook basic food on your own, or eat some snacks. If you travel desert with us, our chef or tour guide will cook breakfast and dinner for you. Breakfasts are usually bread, instant noodles, with hot water. Dinners are provided with vegetable, rice, meats, and fruits. You can tell us your food requirement beforehand so that our support team can prepare accordingly. You should pack some snacks with you for everyday trek, such as trail mix, nuts, seeds, nut-based bars, dried or freeze-dried fruits and veggies, energy bars, chews or gels, shelf-stable, dried jerky, such as poultry, salmon or meat jerky, etc. All these snacks should be easy-to-carry and ready-to-eat. It’s essential to stay hydrated. The camp site will provide boiled water. You can bring 1 big or two small water bottles to collect them. Before hiking, you are suggested to drink 3~4 cups of water so you have less to carry.
If you are taking a normal desert sightseeing tour without many trekking and camping, bring only necessary things to the desert, such as water, sunglasses, sunblocking cream, camera, dramamine (for possible carsickness during desert driving), etc.
If you want to trek and camp in the desert, here is the Recommended packing list: Large backpack 60L, small backpack 20-30L, rain cover, jacket, 3 quick-drying clothes, 2 quick-drying pants, 2 T-shirts, fleece pants, 2 sets of sweat-wicking underwear, high-top mountaineering Shoes or desert boots, slippers or beach shoes, snow cover, 3 pairs of coolmax socks, headband, gloves, hat, sunglasses, goggles, camera, camera battery 2-4, memory card, knife, toilet paper, trekking pole, towel, soap, toothbrush, razor, water container, lifeguard whistle, notebook, pen, headlight, flashlight, mobile phone, watch, money, bank card, food bag, chopsticks, spoon, water cup, charger (mobile phone, camera battery), transparent glue, rubber rope, lipstick, personal medicine.
Desert trekking demands strong physical energy and willpower. One usually needs to trek about 15~20km, approximately 5~8 hours each day. If you are interested in desert hiking, you should be fitted enough, keep exercising before your trek, or attend some training if you haven’t had any desert camping experience. Desert camping is not recommended for travelers who have hypertension, heart disease, cerebral hemorrhage, coronary heart disease, etc., and who are aged over 60 years old.
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