Except for the vast expanse of grasslands, Inner Mongolia also has fascinating and desolate deserts.
Four of the eight most famous deserts in China are in Inner Mongolia. Among them, we recommend the Badain Jaran Desert, which was selected as “The Most Beautiful Desert” by China National Geography, and the Kubuqi Desert, which is a successful example of desert greening.
Badain Jaran Desert
The third-largest desert in China at about 47,000 square kilometers, and located in the west of Inner Mongolia, Badain Jaran Desert was famous for towering sand peaks, mysterious resonant sands, colorful lakes, and solemn Buddhist temples.
The average height of the sand mountains here is 200 to 500 meters. The Bilutu Sand Peak is more than 500 meters high and about 1,700 meters above sea level, and it is the highest sand mountain in the world’s deserts. Some people believe that the height of the sandy mountain in Badain Jaran even exceeds the highest peak in the Sahara Desert in Africa.
There are more than 140 colorful lakes like gems in this arid desert and are fed by a huge underground river flowing from the snow-covered glaciers in the Qilian Mountains 500 kilometers away, and even more distant Qinghai–Tibet Plateau. Most of the lakes are saltwater and cannot be drunk. Incredibly, there are freshwater springs in the saltwater lake, and the water that spews out is very sweet.
Badain Jaran Desert is also the world’s largest Resonant Sand Area. Sand hills in the center can sing with the wind, and people walking in the desert will make a rumbling sound. Its high sand dunes, loud noises, and vast area are called the world’s loudest sand dunes.
Taking a four-wheel-drive jeep and spending one night in the yurt is the best way to discover the amazing Badain Jaran Desert. If you prefer relaxer projects, a camel ride is also an original experience that will immerse you in the myth of the Silk Roads.
The Kubuqi Desert is the seventh-largest desert in my country, with a total area of about 13,900 square kilometers, and it is also the closest desert to Beijing. Located 30 kilometers south of Baotou City and 150 kilometers west of Hohhot, “Kubuqi” is Mongolian, which means the string on the bow. The curved Yellow River is like the back of a bow, and Kubuqi is like a string hanging on the Yellow River, two together forming a huge golden bow.
Thanks to its superior geographical location (near Baotou and Ordos City) and the rich travel resources including the desert, lakes, grasslands, wetlands, and oasis, Kubuqi is one of the first choices for visiting deserts for the first time.
The sands here are known to “sing”: they make a pleasant sound when blown away by the wind. The most famous Xiangshawan Scenic Spot, and the Yemingsha Scenic Spot, are the must-see desert attractions in Kubuqi. Sand-skiing, desert surfing, and other sand entertainment projects are all interesting for travelers to experience. But the most worthwhile thing to try is the short-distance desert trekking to feel the shock and emotion brought by the boundless desert.
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