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6 Days Ejina Populus Euphratica & Badain Jaran Desert Sightseeing Tour

Two Brilliant Pearls of Western Inner Mongolia


How does it feel like walking into the boundless desert with colorful lakes (even pink and red) inlaid? How does it feel like seeing the mysterious and aesthetic trees surviving in the sparsely populated and extremely inhospitable Gobi Desert? Just go with us to be awed by the amazing wild nature and record the magical scenes with your camera!

In this 6 days' tour, you will first visit Ejin Banner - the paradise for photographers to view the most dazzling scenery of Populus euphratica - a deciduous tree whose branches stretch in various postures and foliage sports a peculiar hue of yellow and golden in autumn. Next, you will drive and step into the boundless Badain Jaran Desert to admire its multi-colored lakes and high sand dunes as well as experience some interesting outdoor activities. Several opportunities to admire and shoot the awesome sunrise and sunset against different backgrounds (like forest, lake, desert, etc.) will be given to you in the whole trip. No matter you are a shutterbug or a sightseer, you will get a visual enjoyment with support through the whole trip from a professional guide to help you get the best landscape.

Highlights of this tour

  • Capture the different Populus euphratica trees with the fascinatingly golden leaves and exotic branches in the world's most captivating Populus euphratica forest as well as experience Ejina's featured historic and natural charm in Heicheng Ruoshui Huyang Scenic Area;
  • Be immersed in the unique ambiance of the wild nature of Badain Jaran Desert with all highlights, such as enthralling lakes, Everest of the world desert, stone forest in odd shape, world's largest singing sand dune, etc.;
  • Enjoy a high-quality tour package which covers hotel, tour guide, private transfer, meals, attraction sightseeing, etc.

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:
Ejina / Badain Jaran Desert
Travel Length:
Tour Code:
Group Size:
You, your family, friends or group
Any day you want

Full Itinerary Day by day

Day 1 Ejin Banner Arrival

Today is free for you to get to Dalaihob Town, the official seat of Ejin Banner (Ejina) which is known as the paradise for photography.

It is available to take a 4 hours’ flight (with a stop in Alxa Left Banner) from Xian or a 15 hours’ normal train from Hohhot to Dalaihob. Many travelers choose to visit some nearby cities in Gansu first and then transfer to Ejin Banner. Popular gateway cities include Jiuquan (380 km, about 5.5 hrs’ drive), Jiayuguan (400 km, about 6 hrs’ drive) and Zhangye (500 km, 7 hrs’ drive). It is quite convenient to get to Lanzhou by flight and then take a high speed train to these gateway cities to Ejin Banner. Our tour guide and driver will pick up you from the airport/train station, then transfer to Dalaihob.

Day 2 Heicheng Ruoshui Huyang Scenic Area Sightseeing (B, L)

After breakfast, you will drive about 30 minutes to Heicheng Ruoshui Huyang Scenic Area. It is a huge scenic area with many amazing attractions, including Ruoshui Populus Euphratica Forest, Heicheng Historic City and Strange Forest. You will firstly visit Ruoshui Populus Euphratica Forest, a less-crowded forest combining the natural beauty of the desert, the river and the Populus euphratica. The trees are just located on the bank of Ruoshui River, so it is available to shoot the Populus euphratica trees and their beautiful refection in the water if the weather permits.

Then turn to Heicheng Historic Site, the ruins of a historical city in Xixia Kingdom (1038~1227). Heicheng, also called Khara Khoto which means Black City in Mogolian, once was an important frontier stronghold of Xixia and then became a rich trade center after Gengis Khan. Now the only remains of the city are the outer walls with some observation towers on one corner and a little of the Buddhist temple battling with the desert’s sand which tries to cover everything. Just enjoy the emptiness around the old city and imagine the hoards of the Great Khan getting close.

After discovering the mystery of Heicheng City, you will visit Strange Forest with numerous dead Populus euphratica. Though the populus euphratica trees are dead, their bodies still stand firmly in the desert and become the static dancers with graceful postures, forming an awful scene. You are sure to be greeted with a unique view of sunset for your photo album and this may touch the deepest strings of your heart. When the night falls, the trunks and branches of Populus euphratica trees become black silhouettes against the colorful evening glow.

Drive back to Dalaihob Town for accommodation.

Ruoshu Populus Euphratica Forest Heicheng Historic Site Strange Forest Sunset
Day 3 Ejina Populus Euphratica Forest Sightseeing (B, L)

There comes the most astonishing scenery of Ejina today, namely Ejina Populus Euphratica Forest. There are several spots in the forest named from the First to the Eighth Bridge and you will just focus on the best highlights.

Your first stop is the Second Bridge (Erdaoqiao) which is the largest area in the forest. With an open waterway, the magnificent forest makes you feel like entering the world of Populus euphratica. The reflection is a big highlight of Erdaoqiao and it is quite easy to shoot the forest with reflection from the other bank. You will also visit Juyan Oasis, where China’s largest, thickest and oldest Populus Euphratica tree is located.

Next, visit the Fourth Bridge (Sidaoqiao), the place where Populus euphratica is most concentrated in the entire Ejin Banner. Because one scene of Chinese film Hero was shot here, Sidaoqiao is also known as Hero Forest. The trees here are characterized by being strong and tall. The golden foliage creates a gorgeous scene of autumn in traditional Chinese aesthetic. Even if the trunks of some trees have been bent or broken, the branches reappear on the old trunks, fully showing the beauty of vicissitudes.

Then, go to the Seventh Bridge (Qidaoqiao) which is covered with younger Populus euphratica with smaller but straighter trunks. This area looks like a wetland grown with Populus euphratica. There is a wooden plank road across the river that makes a wonderful place to photograph travelers.

At last, it’s time to enjoy a distinctive scene of desert in the Eighth Bridge (Badaoqiao). The Eighth Bridge is the junction of Poplus euphratic forest and desert landscape. It is located in the northern part of Badain Jaran Desert. Without going deep into the desert, you are able to experience the spectacular desert view here. Moreover, you will appreciate a terrific sunset. Because of the pristine environment of the desert, the vividness of a sunset is more apparent. (Optional Activities: interesting activities like sliding sand, ride camels, etc. at your own expense)

Get back to your hotel in Dalaihob Town and take a good rest.

Ejina Poplus Euphratica Forest The Seond Bridge in Ejina Poplus Euphratica Forest The Seventh Bridge in Ejina Poplus Euphratica Forest
Day 4 Juyan Lake Sunrise & Drive to Badain Jaran Town (B, L)

Get up in the early morning and drive about 1 hour to Juyan Lake for a lifetime-cherishing sunrise. The sunrise here has been rated as one of the ten most beautiful sunrises in China by the Chinese Photographers Association. As the sunrise blooms on the horizon, the golden rays of the sun give a bright color to the clouds, reed marshes and lake.

Juyan Lake, also known as Juyan Sea, once was a big lake with grasslands in the desert. The famous poet Wang Wei once passed by and wrote a masterpiece that A smoke hangs straight on the desert vast, A sun sits round on the endless stream. The lake surface has been shrinking due to the decrease of water supply source from Ejina River. Now, it becomes beautiful again because of people’s protection. Besides the remarkable sunrise, the reeds and the birds are also highlights of Juyan Lake. There are many reeds in Juyan Lake forming a contiguous reed swath as well as flocks of seagulling flying to and fro, adding natural music to the peaceful world.

After that, you will drive about 600 km (about 7.5 hours) to Badain Jaran Town which 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. Accommodate in Badain Jaran Town.

Juyan Lake Sunrise Seagullings in Juyan Lake
Day 5 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 Dadetu Lake - magic red lake in Badain Jaran Desert Badain Jaran Temple, a Tibetan monastery in deep Badain Jaran Desert
Day 6 Badain Jaran Desert Half-day Tour & Departure (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. Have lunch before leaving for 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.)

Magnificent sunrise in Badain Jaran Desert A stunning lake in Badain Jaran Desert in October

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