Top 5 Deserts of China: Lead Your Way to the Best China Desert Tour

Different from Gobi, filled with exposed rocks, deserts are spectacular areas of sand which attract millions of visitors and explorers every year. If you want to experience the mystery of deserts in China, here are top 5 deserts in China we recommend to you to have a visit.

Taklimakan Desert


- City: Hotan, Aksu, Bayingolin, Kashgar, Xinjiang Province

- Local Specialty Food: a pastry called “Kumaixi”, beef, mutton

- Best time to visit: October to November

- Average temperature: 26℃, but there are big temperature differences between day and night

Taklimakan desert is the largest desert in China, and it’s also the second largest desert in the world. Among the world's deserts, the Taklimakan desert is one of the most mysterious. So far, numerous ancient city sites have been found here, and cotton prints and embroidery from the Eastern Han Dynasty have been unearthed at the Niya site. Deep in the desert, there are two huge sand dunes with distinct red and white features, called "Holy Sepulcher Hill". The wind-erosion mushrooms on the "Holy Sepulcher Hill" are truly spectacular, about 5 meters high, and can hold more than 10 people under the huge canopy. Around the desert, along the banks of the Yarkant River, Tarim River, Hotan River and Qiemo River, poplar forests and willows grow densely, forming the view of "sand sea with green island". Rabbits, birds and other animals live in the forest belt, which adds some vitality to the "sea of death".

>>How to get there: fly to Hotan, book a jeep, then drive 30 km (one hour) to the edge of the Taklimakan Desert, then begin your desert exploration. You can also camp overnight in the desert.

>> Recommended Taklimakan Desert Tour:

8-day Xinjiang Desert exploration by camel ride

12-day Xinjiang Desert Discovery

Badain Jaran Desert


- City: Alxa Youqi, Inner Mongolia Province

- Local Specialty Food: beef noodles, mutton, Mongolia traditional Local Specialty Food, milk wine

- Best time to visit: June to October

- Average temperature: 25℃, but there are big temperature differences between day and night

Badain Jaran Desert is a collection of the magnificent deserts, known for its high, steep, dangerous, handsome dunes. Unique sand hills, singing sand, lakes, holy spring and temple are the wonders of Badain Jaran Desert. Bilutu sand peak, known as "Everest of sand sea ", is 70 meters higher than the world's second highest sand peak in the Sahara Desert in Africa. A large number of paleoanimal fossil including dinosaur fossil, neolithic and paleolithic tools have been found around the lake in the desert. You can learn many beautiful legends from here.

>>How to get there: take train to Jinchang, Gansu Province, book a jeep to drive around 140km to get there.

>> Recommended Badain Jaran Desert Tours

10-day Silk Road Badain Jaran Desert Tour

6-day Wonders of Badain Jaran Desert Danxia Landform Tour

Singing Sand Dunes and Crescent Spring


- City: Dunhuang, Gansu Province

- Local Specialty Food: minced noodles, Niangpizi noodles, mutton

- Best time to visit: July to August

- Average temperature: 24℃, but there are big temperature differences between day and night

On the edge of the Tengger Desert, there are two marvelous things about Sing Sand Dunes: if people slide down from the top, the sand under their feet will purr, just like singing; people climb the sand dunes left footprints during the day, they will not be traced on the next day. Crescent spring is in the Singing Sand Dunes, the water is as blue as emerald, setting on the golden dunes. Through the ages, it is famous for its wonderful landscape of "coexistence of dunes and springs ", Known as "one of the best scenery of frontier".

>>How to get there: fly or take a bullet train to Dunhuang, book a private car or take a bus to get there.

>> Recommended Singing Sand Dunes Tours

2-day Dunhuang Tour

Shapotou Desert


- City: Zhongwei, Ningxia Province

- Local Specialty Food: mutton, steamed dumpling, minced noodles

- Best time to visit: June to October

- Average temperature: 25℃, but there are big temperature differences between day and night

Near the southeastern edge of the Tengger Desert and Yellow River, Shapotou Desert gathers the vast desert, surging Yellow River, tall and straight mountains, green oasis as a whole, no lack of good scenery in the north. A famous TV show in China was filmed here. Riding camels, listening to the camel bell, seeing the boundless golden sand, you can enjoy a leisure and comfortable desert tour. Various activities can also enrich your experience, such as sand skiing, desert drifting, etc.

>>How to get there: fly or take a bullet train to Yinchuan, then take a bus. Around 3hrs later, you will get there.

>> Recommended Shapotou Desert Tour

9-day Tengger Desert Crossing Tour

5-day Ningxia Desert Getaway Tour

Gurbantunggut Desert


- City: Changjizhou, Xinjiang

- Local Specialty Food: pastry, mutton

- Best time to visit: January to August is the best time to have an exploration trip; September to December is good to enjoy the view.

- Average temperature: 25℃, but there are big temperature differences between day and night

Gurbantunggut Desert owns the widest fixed and semi-fixed dunes in China, and the dunes are covered with haloxylon ammodendrons, tamarisks and poplar trees. With a vegetation coverage of 40-50% on fixed dunes, it's a good winter pasture. The vast desert oasis not only has various wonders, but also retains a large number of precious cultural relics of the ancient Silk Road. Desert exploration, can continue from the Host haizi, along the ancient camel road to north, crossing though the Gurbantunggut Desert, directly to Altay.

>>How to get there: fly to Urumchi, Xinjiang, taking a bus to Shihezi city. Book a private car or jeep to get there.

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