Travel Guide Of The Mysterious Badain Jaran Desert

Travel Guide Of The Mysterious Badain Jaran Desert

As the China's most beautiful desert, Badan Jilin (Badain Jaran) desert boasts some natural wonders such as singing sand, lake, spring, and temple. It is located in the northern part of Inner Mongolia's Lashanyouqi, it covers an area of almost 47,000 square kilometers, making it the fourth largest in the world. It has become a resort for Chinese and foreign tourists to travel and explore. The Badain Jaran Desert is bounded to the north by the Gobi Desert; to the east by Mount Lang, to the southeast by Mount Yabraishan. In the northwestern part, there are about 10,000 square kilometers untouched by man. Even though it's dry beyond imagination, without a drop of water, Badain Jaran has 113 explored lakes providing homes for all kinds of aquatic birds. These lakes give the desert its name "Badain Jaran" which means "mysterious lakes" in Mongolian....


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. The desert can be easily approached from the city of Zhangye.  As a local travel agency, we can provide car rental and tour guide service. Get A Quote Now>>

If you prefer a independent travel, you can first arrive in Zhangye city, where you can take a public bus to Badain Jilin Town( 169 km), and then rent a private car from the town to the entrance of Badain Jilin Desert Scenic Area (70 km).

Long-distance Bus Timetable Between Zhangye and Alashan Youqi



Dept Time


Alashan Youqi



Alashan Youqi


Alashan Youqi



Alashan Youqi




Badain Lake - Pearl Lake of Badain Jaran Desert
Badain Lake is one of the rare freshwater lakes among the various Badain Jaran Desert lakes. It is also called Pearl Lake because the landscape of the lake is pretty like a bright pearl inserted in the desert. There's a legend about the origin of the name. A shepherd, called Badain, once came into the desert, found a beautiful lake and afterwards he lived there so the first lake coming into his eyes is named Badain Lake.

Yinderitu - A Magic Spring

Yinderitu means the place with steps in Mongolian. The total area of Yinderitu Magic Spring is 1 square kilometer (0.4 square mile). Yinderitu Magic Spring is a salt water lake. But in it, there is a 3-square-meter (3.6-square-yard) reef, on which there are 108 spring holes pouring out water day and night. The spring water is sweet and contains many kinds of trace elements, hence the spring is called “A Magic Spring” by local people. In history, the princes in Alax drank the spring’s water by using the camels to convey it to their house even though the distance is very far. In recent years, two old Germans go to the place to drink the spring water every year.

Bilutu Dune - Dune "Qomolangma"
Bilutu Dune is the world's highest sand dune with an altitude of 1,609 meters (1,760 yards) and a relative elevation of near 500 meters (547 yards), so it is called Dune "Qomolangma". When you are on the top of the dune, other badain jaran desert dunes and lakes nearby present a spectacular and grand sand sea. Bilutu means a place with whetstones in Mongolian. It is said that Bilutu is famous for producing whetstones.

Badain Jaran Temple –"Forbidden City" of Badain Jaran Desert

Badain Jaran Temple, established in 1,755, is well preserved. The temple, 273.7 square meters (2,950 square feet) large, has two floors now. It’s an important place for people's meeting and showing respect for Buddha in Badain Jaran Desert

Baoritaogaile - World's Biggest Singing Sand Area
It is the biggest singing sand area in the world, also called "Singing Sand Kingdom". The sound of the singing sand is like thunderclap or the roar of a plane. The sound is loud so that it's heard even beyond 10 kilometers (6 miles)


1. The entrance fee is CNY 220 for Badain Jaran Desert and CNY 80 for Badain Lake.

2. You are advised to spend a 2-days trip in the desert.  The best time  to visit Badain Jaran Desert is  from June to October, and the best desert hiking time is September and October. The Badain Jilin Desert Cultural Tourism Festival will be hold every August and September. There are horse racing, camel racing, sand dune climbing and other Mongolian traditional sports competitions, as well as wonderful motorcycle, Jeep cross-country races, photography, exotic stone exhibitions.

3. Please notice that you can only visit the Badain Jaran Desert by taking a jeep; and all jeeps are organized through the local agency, which has the monopoly on trips into the desert.

4. There are some basic, but clean places to eat and sleep in the remotest parts of the desert. The room that cost between CNY 160 to 750 depending on demand.

5. Take plenty of sun cream, a hat and lots of water. The sun here is merciless and there's no shade anywhere. Don't eat too much before or during the trip; you'll probably throw it all up as the jeep rocks and rolls over the dunes.


See our popular Badain Jaran Desert tours for inspiration:

5-Day Zhangye Danxia and Badain Jaran Desert Tour