Badain Jaran Desert
(The world’s highest sand dunes)/巴丹吉林沙 漠(世界上最高的沙丘)
(Badain Jaran Desert is the Mongolian name / Badan Jilin Shamo is the Chinese name)
The World’s Highest Sand Dunes
Getting to the magnificent Badain Jaran Desert, home to the world’s highest sand dunes, is far more straightforward than it appears on the map and in the guide books and can be done independently, with a bit of effort and determination. The desert can be approached from two directions: either from Ningxia’s capital Yinchuan via the Inner Mongolian town of Bayan Khot (also known as Alashan Zuoqi 阿拉善左旗), or from the Gansu town of Zhangye.
The base for visiting the desert is Alashan Youqi (阿拉善右旗), which is connected by a daily bus from Bayan Khot, or by two daily buses from Zhangye.
Below is the basic information you need to do the trip. In a few weeks we will be putting up a longer article about our experience there, illustrated with more photos.
Getting there from Yinchuan
There are regular buses from Yinchuan’s main bus station to Bayan Khot, which should take around 2 hours. However, we decided to hire a taxi (400 Yuan) because that allowed us to stop at the ruins of the Great Wall at Sanguankou (三关口) and to make a side-trip to the Mongolian monastery complex of Guanzongsi (广宗寺). If you left really early, with a hired car you could also include a visit to Moon Lake, a desert playground for wealthy Chinese.
Bayan Khot (Alashan Zuoqi 阿拉善左旗)
Bayan Khot has many hotels, but a fair few of them are somewhat run-down and/or don’t take foreigners, so it is worth looking for the wonderful, Continue reading “The World’s Highest Sand Dunes”