Badan Jaran Desert
Badan Jaran Desert
5
What people are saying
Rami and Wendy S
By Rami and Wendy S
Fantastic desert scenery
5.0 of 5 bubblesSep 2019
We hired a guide who drove us here from Zhangye. it is about a 3 hour drive. We set off after lunch at about 130pm. We went in early Sept which was a great time- it was hot but not unbearable and the night was cool but not cold. It was very quiet- very few other tourists. There is only one company that do tours so the price is quite high. I believe that private drivers are not allowed to go there alone. It was fun driving over the sand dunes . I would recommend taking motion sickness tablets if you suffer from this as this could be a problem. We visited a Statue of Genghis Khan, multiple lakes and had time to wander in the sand dunes. Our driver took us up the dunes for sunset and sunrise which were lovely. The lakes had beautiful reflections. There were a lot of carriages dotted around which were very unusual. We did the over night tour and stayed in accommodation near a large lake. The rooms were clean. We stayed in one of the yurts and they were spacious The beds are quite hard however. The toilets are eastern style and there was a shower. We had dinner in the courtyard but there were a lot of probably sandflies and we did receive a lot of itchy bites so do prepare for this. The next day we had a few more stops and arrived back about 1030 am. I would certainly recommend this for some spectacular scenery and it is quite exciting going over the sand dunes. The nearby city also has nice sculptures and has a wonderful field of purple flowers.

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worldnomad_01
Los Angeles, CA1,597 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Sep 2014 • Couples
Treking in Badain Jaran (a part of the Gobi desert) was an absolutely amazing experience. We had with us seven bactrian (two humps) camels that carried the tents, the water, the kerosene, pots and pens, food, etc., a guide a cook and a camelier. We trekked for four days, camping in the sand, looking at the sun going down over the dunes and then the Moon would rise to bring a discrete light on the sky and shine over the sand. We bought about six large water melons from Alashan Youqi before leaving for the desert and, at the end of a trekking day, I wouldn't think of anything better, although the cook did his best to keep us full. An then it was the desert and the blue lakes (some with sweet, some with salty water), and these tiny little bushes with white trunks and branches which looked dead, except for the deep green leaves on them. After four days of treking a jeep came up to our camping place, we said good by to the camels and the camelier and we went up and down through the desrt dunes until we got to Yinderi To (to=lake in Mongolian) from where we went up to the top of Bilutu which, at 1609m, is the highest stationary dune in the world according to wikipedia and offers fantastic views. Came down (in a quarter of the time it took us to reach the summit) and then drove close to the Badain Jaran Temple (nice Tibetan/Mongolian architecture) which unfortunatelly was closed and slept in a Mongolian yurt with a/c (!) and hot shower in the main building next to it. Our trip was flawlesly organized by Alan of Spledind China Tours, which we greately recommend. A fascinating desert and an amazing experience.
Written October 2, 2014
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

The_Sturms
Beijing, China5 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Aug 2014 • Couples
The Badain Jaran Desert was fantastic. Definitely do it if you get the chance!

TOUR PACKAGES
You can't go into the desert without going through the Zhufeng Travel Agency based in the Jinge Hotel. They seem to have a monopoly on the whole thing, unfortunately. They offer two different packages for riding in the desert: a 3,000 RMB "traditional" package (up from 2,000 RMB in early 2014) and the newly released 2,400 RMB "western route" package. The former takes you through the main gates of the desert, where you pay an additional 220 RMB/pax for an entry ticket. Then you do a big loop through the desert, where you pass various oases, a Mongolian temple, and the highest *stationary* sand dune in the world. The western route is cheaper because you don't go in through the main gate but rather through a break in the fence on the western side of the desert, thus avoiding the entry ticket. You also don't do the complete circuit, but rather ride around the western half of the desert, missing the temple and the highest dune, but still seeing all the oases and staying at the same accommodation.

I was on the fence about which package to go with, but eventually chose the western route because it wasn't worth paying over $100 USD more just to see some temple and the "highest dune". I was glad we made this decision. The pro of the western route is that it's more adventurous. For half of the drive into the desert, the driver literally made up the path on his own, watching the sun to gauge direction and driving over bare sand dunes. It was wild. He eventually joined up with a set jeep path that had been previously blazed, but if you're going on the traditional route you're on a set path the entire time.

Jeeps can hold up to four people, so remember to ask the agency if other travelers are looking to share a ride. The agency will charge a 100 RMB fee per party if they match you with other travelers, but it's a big money-saver overall.

ACTIVITIES & ACCOMMODATIONS
The drive into the desert takes about 4-5 hours depending on how often you stop to take pictures. You pass about three different oases in the Western route before reaching the place you'll sleep. We really enjoyed the accommodations in the Mongolian yurts, as it felt very rustic. A Mongolian man runs the small camp and his camels wear pants (!) to protect from mosquitoes. It's a quiet, peaceful place, right next to a salty oasis.

We spent the afternoon exploring the grounds and swimming in the oasis, which was a highlight for me. Because the water is naturally salty, there's a high degree of buoyancy, sort of like the Dead Sea but on a smaller scale. You just have to make sure and not get the water in your eyes and mouth. We floated around for a while, then washed off and slept for the hottest part of the afternoon. At night, we ate a tasty dinner that included camel meat, camel yoghurt, greens and milk tea. Then we played cards in the evening before bed. The next morning, we drove back to the hotel and arrived in time for the 3:30pm bus to Zhangye.

BRING
- If you're at all prone to carsickness, bring some type of Dramamine. You can buy a Chinese version for 2 RMB at the pharmacies in Alxa Youqi.
- Sunscreen. The desert sun will burn you like a shrimp.
- Insect repellant. We didn't run into any mosquitoes, but the experienced driver was so wary, he left to sleep in his jeep up on a dune, far from the oasis mosquitoes.
- Water, and lots of it. Recommend 2 liters per person.

GETTING THERE
Most folks either take the 3 hour bus up from Zhangye, or take the 8 hour bus over from Alashan Zuoqi. Note that as of February 2014, there's an airport in Alashan Youqi with daily flights to Zuoqi! We learned about this only after arriving at Youqi, otherwise I would have flown over and saved a ton of time.
Written August 21, 2014
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Saif
Dhaka City, Bangladesh4 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Sep 2015 • Solo
Was a solo trip for me. Awesome place. The high price tag on trips was justified. Took a 3 hour bus ride from Zhangye (chi che dong zhan) to Ayouqi (Alashan You Qi or Alxa Youqi). Then next morning took another local bus to entrance of the Badan Jilin desert. It's 76km from Ayouqi city. Bus dropped me at 'Badan Jilin Lu Kho Chi' and from there I hitchhiked another 6km to reach the entry gate. Waited there for 4 hours to look for fellow travellers to share the car with. Car to Badanjilin Miao (the temple) is 3000 rmb per car. Trip to Lu Ar Tou (the bigger lake) is 2400rmb per car. While it's possible to return from the Lu Ar Tou trip within a day, the price is for overnight stay (although it does not include 120+ rmb hotel and food in the desert by the lake). I took the Lu Ar Tou trip for 2400rmb alone. Others took the Temple trip which sees everything (highest sand dune, badan hu, lu ar tou and of course the temple). Drive time is much longer for the 3000rmb full trip. Although I was happy not to take it since the roller coster ride through the desert is too much. I was happy with the 3 hour each way drive to the Lu Ar oasis. There is another trip for 850rmb which only goes for a 45 minute drive to Badan Hu which is the closest oasis. All trips go through there. Wouldn't recommend it. If you just have a day, you can choose to return on the same day from the Lu Ar Tou trip. I also saw an oasis which has fish in it (rare in other oasis). Name is Bao re tolu gai. You can swim here unlike in Lu Ar Tou. It's also possible to swim in Badan Hu.

You will see some bactrian camel if you go for the full trips (Temple one and Lu Ar Tou). Mostly on the way back. Routes are slightly different for going and returning. Fine to request the driver to take you higher up in the dunes in car to get a good view of the lakes. Scenes are best during sunset and sunrise. Moon and starry nights are also great in the desert on a clear-sky day.

There is a 220rmb entry ticket per person payable with the car rent. For the Badan Hu trip, the entry ticket might be around 80rmb. All payments can be made by credit card. I have a China Unionpay one. Not sure whether non-China credit cards will work or not.

After the car brings you back to the entry point, it is difficult to get a public transport back to Ayouqi or Jinchang. Although for 160rmb, you will easily find a car from entry point dropping you to Ayouqi. From there there are shared taxis going to Jinchang. Or you can take a bus (4 buses per day) back to Zhangye. There is also an airport in Ayouqi. Zhangye has airport too. But now there is fast train between Lanzhou and Zhangye (3 hours). The train crosses Xining if anyone wants to starts from there.

No matter what, everyone must come to Badan Jilin entry gate to visit the desert. There is no escaping that no matter from where you come. Some previous travellers have mentioned about a secret west side. I wouldn't recommend that. After doing thorough research I now know that you don't make any savings by taking this route/method. The entire money goes to the driver. I rather prefer to pay money through proper channel. This west side secret route can only be done for Lu Ar Tou trip. They cannot take you to the Temple. Price is same no matter whether you take the secret 'illegal' route or through proper channel.

Drink a lot of water and Keep your nostrils hydrated. Food, water, other necessary stuffs are all available in the desert living area and in entry point.

Would recommend taking the temple route. Travellers with their own car can park it in the entry gate. Own transports are not allowed inside the desert park.
Written September 3, 2015
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Adomvatik
Tel Aviv, Israel375 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
May 2015 • Couples
We make a 2 day jeep safari with a group. this is not my 1st desert experience. i visited the Sahara, the Donghuang (near the Mogao caves) and the others, but this was outstanding. The combination of the lakes the high dunes (some of them up to 500 m and more), the Buddhist temple, the camels contributes to unique sights. A marvelous experience. The jeep drivers were high professionals, we climbed up hills and downhills very closed to vertical.
Written May 30, 2015
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Ian L
Guangzhou, China2 contributions
4.0 of 5 bubbles
Oct 2013 • Friends
Unlike other desert in China(such as Dunhuang),the Badan Jaran Desert is reletively unfamous,which means there do not have too many travellers there.The desert is extremely vast,so it is impossible for you to travel on your feet.Now the desert had been made to be a National Desert Park,which means you have to buy the ticket(about 60 yuan) to get in the desert.There are many lakes in the desert ,you have to rent a SUV to these lakes.The SUV are driven by professional drivers,driving on the desert is very interesting and exciting.Some lakes are located very deep in the desert,so if you want to these tourist attractions,you have to pay much more money for the driver and saty 2 or 3 nights in the desert.
It is easy to get to the desert now,Jinchang city is the nearest city of the desert.You can get to Jinchang by plane or by train,and there are buses from Jinchang bus station to the desert.
Irented a SUV to the first lake,which cost me about 280 yuan.
Written September 2, 2014
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Seoulkiwi
South Korea172 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Jul 2014
Badain Jaran Desert

With the worlds highest sand dunes (500m+), a plentiful supply of gorgeous oasis', a night in a Mongolian-style yurt and two breathtaking days on desert safari (mostly off-track with a wonderfully skilled 20+ years experienced driver), this was a trip to remember.

Part of a 4n5d private package tour for an elite group of South Korean photographers, the Badain Jaran desert safari was a never-to-forget highlight.

The package trip to China's Gansu province was simply amazing, breathtaking and beyond words. It included:

Day 1:
- Flights and Lodging
(Lanzhou, Gansu, China)

Day 2:
Yellow River
- Eco-Village
- Sheepskin Raft Trip (yes!)
- Donkey Carriage Canyon Ride
- Stone Forest Lookout via Gondola.

Day 3/4:
Badain Jaran Desert Safari

- Jeep safari (unforgettable)
- Camel rides
- Yurt overnight stay
- Shooting-star photo shoot
- Sunrise model photo shoot...
...and a lot lot more.

Day 4
- Badain Jaran Desert Safari
- Zhangye Danxia Landform

Day 5
- Sunflower fields photo shoot

If ever you have the chance to do this tour (or thereabouts)
- do it!

Professional photographers limit handphone pics and as yet most of my DSLR pics I have yet to transfer across. But I have uploaded a few i-phone pics for you. You'll get the picture!

This trip was really something else and totally reshaped my China paradigm. I encourage any of you out there, who are considering something out the the very ordinary to consider this.

It was, in a word, "SPECTACULAR".

Cautionary note:
Culinary. There's your tip.
Let's leave it at that.
Written August 4, 2014
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

StefanSchuppi
Beijing, China122 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Nov 2018 • Friends
My parents and I hired a driver to visit Badan Jaran Desert. What an amazing experience! We went off-season so we spent about 10 hours driving in the desert and only saw 3 people all day!
The views are spectacular and you feel the greatness and power of nature!
Written November 29, 2018
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

SamoN
Beijing, China23 contributions
1.0 of 5 bubbles
Jul 2018 • Couples
My wife and I are on the trip from Beijing to Qinghai with our own car. We read a lot about this place and get to the gates of the Badain Jaran Desert Geo Park yesterday. Entrance to the actual Park is for unauthorised vehicles. There is one big deserted "Visitors Centre", even bigger also deserted "Desert Museum" and guess what - deserted management building. In the parking lot was a few cars and few yurts with three guys sitting in the shade. We asked them how can get to the Desert and according to them the price was 3.000 RMB + 150 entrance fee per person + unknown costs for eating and sleeping. It was too much for us and later we learned that whole place is run by one single agency which charges 1.000 RMB per day but you also pay 2.000 for one day trip - GO FIGURE IT OUT.
Written July 12, 2018
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

TekTeh
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia423 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Jul 2016 • Friends
Journey started on 4 wheel drive vehicles, going fast into desert sandy terrain on a roller coaster ride, it was exhilarating!. The scenery was absolutely fantastics, flat sandy grounds, massive sand dunes high up into the clear blue sky, mountains in the distance. The half an hour ride took us to another wonder, Badain Hotel look totally out of place with massive sand dunes in the back ground, a roll of yurt right outside the hotel. You wonder if it will get burried by the sand dune behind it. It was a hotel with all the 4 star strapping right in the middle of no where!
After lunch, we went on another fun ride to a place call the 'Heavenly pond', from where the vehicles stop, we can see the lake, blue in colour way below us. Another lake some distance away. No wonder this desert Badain Jaran means mysterious lake. It has over 100 lakes between some of the highest sand dunes in the world. We then travel back to Badan lake behind our hotel. Another mysterious lake surrounded by high dunes.
A huge statue of Genghis Khan, half burried in the sand, marked this area.There is a fun area set-up next to it. you can go buggy race across a couple of lower dunes, archery, sand slides and camel ride.
We came back to this area after dinner, climb up one of the highest dunes next to the lake, half way up we ended crawling, it was easier than walking, as your feed tend to sink into the sand. There was a bright moon, so only the brightest stars can be seen. From the dunes, we can see Badan lake on one side and our hotel amongst the dunes from the other.
There are great many other places to visit., including a old tibetan style monastery, World tallest stationary dune,oasis and lakes.
Written August 2, 2016
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

TravellingNature
New York City, NY219 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Oct 2013 • Couples
Located in Inner Mongolia, it is also know as Badain Jaran Desert in Mongolian and Badan Jilin Desert in Chinese. It is the most amazing desert not only because it has the world's highest stationary sand dune but aside from its windswept overlaying patterns of sand and erosion are over 100 multi-colored lakes, ponds and oasis within its southern portion. This makes it unique among the deserts of the world.

We were fortunate to be able to visit it when the weather was moderate, the sun brilliant and no wind. As a result we were able to climb the ridge to the highest point Bilutu and it goes without saying the view was as it should be.

For us the key was to take the camel ride from the base of the dune to about 2/3 the way up. This way you saved time and energy in trekking up the loose sand to the ridge peak.
Written October 24, 2013
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

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