Dunhuang Yardang National Geopark

Dunhuang Yardang National Geopark, also known as Yadan Park is a huge desert of sand and rock offering magnificent landscapes. Located at the junction of Xinjiang province and Gansu province in northern China, close to the mysterious Lop Nur, about 180 kilometers northwest of Dunhuang city, Yadan Park occupies an area of about 400 square kilometers, which makes it the largest landform in the region. This unique landform was sculpted slowly by the desert wind over 7 million years, and it offers rock formations with unique ocher colors immersed in a surreal desert atmosphere. The visit to the park is fascinating and immersion in this world begins by walking the Silk Road for more than an hour and a half in the heart of the desert.

The word “yardang” comes from an Uyghur word, meaning “a small hill with steep walls”. Due to its perpetually blowing wind, like hearing the howls of ghosts left to haunt the place, so Yadan Park gets the nickname “Dunhuang ghost town”.

How to visit Yadan Park?

It may be legitimate to apprehend how to visit an area as large as the Yardang National Geopark. Rest assured, everything is well framed. Once you arrive at the site you must take a small tourist bus which will offer you a tour and will stop at various places to allow you to admire the most beautiful panoramas of Yadan. This itinerary is very well balanced and immerses you beautifully in the most beautiful places in the area. On the bus, a local guide can explain the different characteristics of the places. The visit lasts 1h30.

From the start you will feel like you are on another planet. By the force of water, wind, and following the collapse of the earth, the soil and rocks have been eroded and gradually formed into amazing shapes. You will then notice a lion that seems to greet you or a sphinx observing you…

Hiding in the landscape, there is still a peacock stretching its tail to show its pride and beauty. The Armada is the last and furthest of the attractions. The whole thing really looks like a fleet of ships floating in the desert as if they were in the sea.

Enjoy the sunset

To end your visit with the sunset over this expanse is a special experience.

Best time to visit

The high season of Yardang National Geopark is from May to October. Starting your trip early in the morning allows you to have cooler weather and a relatively quiet environment.

Daytime hours are hot and scorching, so make sure you have adequate protection and take a scarf to cover your face in case of a sandstorm or wind.

The Han Great Wall

On the way to the park, visitors can see traces of ancient Western China with the historic Great Wall built in the Han Dynasty (206 BC-220 AD).

It was built to defend against the Xiongnu invasion in the Han Dynasty. Adapting the measures to local conditions, the Great Wall of Han was made of branches, reeds, sand gravel, and other local materials. The relics of the Han Great Wall are damaged due to the weathering of several millennia. However, the structures are still clearly visible.

Useful Information

Chinese Name: 雅丹国家地质公园
Location: 180 km from Dunhuang city, Gansu province
Opening hours: 06h00 ~ 19h30 (site cleaning at 22h00)
Ticket: 120 RMB / person for admission and tourist bus
Recommended visit duration: 2 ~ 3 hours

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