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Badain Jaran Desert Hiking Tour -19 Days

Destination: Badain Jaran Desert
Duration: no date
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Transportation: Vehicle
Best Travel Time:May to October
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The Badain Jaran Desert can be found in western Inner Mongolia. The desert covers 49,000 square kilometers spanning the provinces of Gansu and Ningxia in China as well as Inner Mongolia. It is the fourth largest desert in the world roughly 150 kilometers north of the Hexi corridor.
It is home to the largest dunes on earth, the highest of which tower over 450 meters tall and stretch over 5 km in length. The dunes are kept in place in the arid, windy region by an underground water source. Analyses of the ground water indicate that it is snowmelt that flows through fractured rock from mountains hundreds of kilometers away.
In addition to its megadunes, the Badain Jaran also boasts roughly 140 spring fed-lakes that reside in the interspaces of its giant megadunes, some of which are fresh while others are extremely saline, creating one of the most captivating desert landscapes in the world. It is not a ¡°Waterless place¡±, from these lakes that the Badain Jaran has derived its name, which means "mysterious lake" in the local Mongolian dialect.

Booming Sand
It is thelargest ¡°booming¡± sand area in the world. By sliding down the sand dune, one can hear the sand booming like the tolling of a huge bell or the beating of a big drum. In the evening, the strong winds make the sand slide down the dune slope, producing booming by itself.

A Live Desert
The Badain Jaran is not a ¡°sea of death¡±. It is a live desert. In the heart of the desert, Buddhist monastery, which once housed 80 monks, is built along the lake in 1755. Mongolian herdsmen with camels are living amid the big dunes that intersperse with spring-fed lakes. All are rare examples of a complete self-purification and harmony between lakes and sand dunes, the life of Mongolian herdsmen and their camels.

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Day 1: Beijing
Attractions: Tiananmen Square, Forbidden City
Upon your arrival, you will be met by the guide outside the baggage claim area, and then be transferred to check into your hotel.
After a short rest, visit Tiananmen Square, the world's largest city square. Once you have passed the Golden Water Bridge, you will come to the Forbidden City, the world's largest and best-preserved palace, where 24 emperors of the Ming and Qing Dynasties lived and reigned.

Day 2: Beijing - Dunhuang
Attractions: Mogao Grottoes
Head to the airport to board your flight to Dunhuang, an important stop on the Silk Road and famous for the Buddhist caves. Our guide will meet you at the airport and escort you to check into the hotel.
After a short rest, you will visit Mogao Grottoes, a national treasure of exquisite murals and Buddhist statues. The carvings were started in the Jin Dynasty (3rd - 5th century A.D.) and continued in the following dynasties. Now, there are altogether 735 grottoes, 45,000 square meters (about 53,820 square yards) of murals and 2,415 colorful Buddhist statues.

Day 3: Dunhuang - Jiayuguan
Attractions: Jiayuguan Pass, Ming-dynasty Great Wall
After breakfast,  we will drive to Jiayuguan (380km, about 5 hours). Upon arrival, visit the First Fire Tower of Great Wall which is the west end of the Ming-dynasty Great Wall. The 56-meter-high (184 feet) tower stands on a cliff of the Gobi desert, with the Talai River flowing past and boasting a distant view of the majestic Jiayuguan Pass.
Your next stop is the Overhanging Great Wall, which was built in the Ming Dynasty. Finally, visit the famous Jiayuanguan Pass. Reputed as 'the Greatest Pass under Heaven', Jaiyuguan Pass is one of the most important and majestic military fortresses along China's Great Wall.

Day 4: Jiayuguan ¨C Eji Naqi
Attractions: Khara Khoto Ruins
After breakfast, drive to Eji Naqi (440km, about 6 hours) whilst enjoying the scenery on the way.
Today you will also visit the Khara Khoto Ruins, the "black water city" in the desert. Located 25 southeast of the Hubu Town of Eji Naqi, the Khara Khoto Ruins are the largest and most complete existing ruins of the ancient city on the Silk Road.
The city was founded in 1032 and became a thriving center of Tangut Empire trade in the 11th century.

Day 5: Eji Naqi - Ku Rei Tu
Attractions: Ku Rei Tu Temple
Drive via Alatan Abao to Ku Rei Tu (400 km, about 7 hours). At the border of the Gobi Badain Jaran Desert, meet with your trekking crew (desert guide, camel herder and chef) who will guide your trek.
If time permits, you may pay a visit to Ku Rei Tu Temple. Overnight, you will camp in a tent.

Day 6: Camel Trekking
After breakfast you will start hiking at around 9:00am, the camel herder will help to transport the luggage and catch up with you later.
Today you will walk about 21km, which may be tiring. At around 13:00, you will meet the camel herder again. After lunch, you can ride a camel if you like.
At around 16:00, you will arrive at the first camp site. The rest of the day will be free time. You will stay overnight in a tent.

Day 7: Camel Trekking
It will be easier today as the trek will be only 15km. You will arrive at the second camp site at around 14:30.
The rest of the day will be free time.
You will stay overnight in a tent.

Day 8: Camel Trekking
Today you will trek about 15 Km. At around 15:00, you will reach the third camp site.
Upon arrival, we will climb up the second highest sand dune in the Badain Jaran desert (1 hour).

Day 9: Camel Trekking
After 14km of trekking, you will reach a camp of a family that organizes camel caravans. There is a well and you can rest.

Day 10: Camel Trekking
Your trekking today will be comparatively easy. You will arrive at the fifth camp site after about 12 kilometers' hiking.

Day 11: Camel Trekking
Attractions: Chaka Salt Lake
Start hiking at 09:00. Around noon you will reach Chaka Salt Lake. At the lake there is a guest house and you will eat lunch by the lake. Here you can observe several species of birds, which use the lake as an intermediate stop during migration.
After lunch, continue trekking about 4 km to the foot of the highest sand dune, Bielutu. Before you reach the sand dune, there is also another larger salt lake where you can take some pictures.

Day 12: Camel Trekking
Attractions: Badain Jaran Temple
After breakfast, you will begin to climb the highest sand dune, called Bielutu. The sand dune is 425m high and 1559m above sea level. From the top you have a unique view of 6 lakes. Afterwards, walk down, and once you have continued to trek about 9 km, you will reach village of Gacha at about 15:00. In the afternoon, visit the Badain Jaran Temple, which was built in 1755. You also have the opportunity to observe the monks' ceremonies in the monastery.

Day 13: Camel Trekking
Get up early, so you will not miss the chance of photographing your beautiful surroundings at sunrise: an ideal and unique photo opportunity for your trip.
Then after a trek of about 21km, you will reach the last camp. Along the way, many salt lakes can be seen.

Day 14: Camel Trekking
After breakfast, you will be picked up by the desert jeeps and experience the thrilling and exiting car ¡°surfing¡± in the desert.
At around 13:00 you will arrive at the city of Alashan Youqi. After lunch, check in at the hotel, and then the rest of the day is left for you to relax or stroll in the city.

Day 15: Zhangye
Transfer to Zhangye and check in at the hotel.

Day 16: Zhangye - Wuwei
Attractions: Giant Buddha Temple, Bell & Drum Tower, Wooden Pagoda
After breakfast, you will visit the Giant Buddha Temple, which contains the largest indoor reclining Buddha in China¡ªnearly 35 meters from head to toe. The Temple was built in 1098AD, and was extended and renovated during the Ming and Qing Dynasties.
Then visit the Bell & Drum Tower and the Wooden Pagoda. Afterwards, set off for Wuwei (280km, 3.5hrs) and check in at your hotel there.

Day 17: Wuwei - Lanzhou
Attractions: Leitai Han Tomb
Tour around the Leitai Han Tomb, built about 1,800 years ago. It is famous for the bronze
statue, ¡°Galloping Horse Treading on a Flying Swallow¡±.
After that, drive to Lanzhou(290km,
about 4.5hours) and check in at the hotel.


Day 18: Lanzhou - Beijing
The guide will pick you up and escort you to the airport to take your flight to Beijing. Your guide in Beijing will meet you and escort you to your hotel.

Day 19: Beijing
Our guide will meet you at the hotel lobby and accompany you to the airport for your homeward flight, which is where our service ends.

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