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Alxa Desert World Geopark

Alxa Desert World Geopark is notable for its three extremities in the world:
First, there are massive sand dunes with relative height between 200 to 300meters densely distributed in Badanjilin Desert, among which Bilutu Peak is the highest sand dune in the world, thus is famed as “the Sand Dune Everest”;
Second,Badain Jaran Desert and Tengger Desert boast the largest number of desert lakes in the world. For instance, Nuoertu Lake is surrounded by 144 freshwater and salt water lakes around. One interesting phenomenon here is that one can float on the surface of the salt lake, and won’t sink down;
Third, the largest areas of singing sand in the world are found in Badain Jaran Desert and Tengger Desert. Ascending the sand dune, you can hear the voice of those sands very clearly.

Alxa Desert World Geopark


Located in Inner Mongolia, the 938.39 km2 Alxa Desert World Geopark consists of 3 scenic areas and 10 scenic sites. It is the only desert geopark in China. Integrating diversified, unique and representative desert and Gobi desert landform, large quantities of fossils and the unique custom of local ethnic tribe, it is of extremely high aesthetic and scientific study value.

Alxa Desert World Geopark is divided into Badain Jaran Scenic Area(巴丹吉林园区), Tengger Scenic Area(腾格里园区) and Juyanhai Scenic Area(居延海园区). Badan Jaran Scenic Area covers an area of 424.72 km2, comprising Badain Jaran Desert Scenic Site(巴丹吉林沙漠), Mandela Rock Painting Scenic Site(曼德拉岩画), Hongdunzi Valley Scenic Site(红墩子峡谷) and Haishenchulu Wind Erosion Landform Scenic Site(海森楚鲁风蚀地貌). This scenic area features desert valley, wind erosion landform and ancient rock painting(岩画), is an ideal place to carry on science education and desert exploration activities.

Situated in Alxa Area, the 347.1km2 Tengger Scenic Area consists of Tengger Desert Scenic Site(腾格里沙漠),Jilantai Salt Lake Scenic Site(吉兰泰盐湖) and Aolun Prague Valley Scenic Site(敖伦布拉格峡谷). In this area, you can appreciate the most stunning landscape composed of golden desert, magical salt lake, winding valleys and profound religious culture; it is also a paradise for scientists as well as tourists.
The 166.57 km2 Yanjuhai Scenic Area is constituted by Juyanhai Scenic Site, Heicheng Cultural Relics Scenic Site, Populus Forest Scenic Site and Mazongshan Fossils Scenic Site. One can see the ancient fossils and populous forest as well as ancient Black City relics here.

The Enchanting  Aolun Prague Valley

Highlights of Scenic Sites

Moon Lake Scenic Site(月亮湖景区)

This 3km2 ancient freshwater lake derives its name from its shape which resembles the new moon and belongs to seasonal lake formed by the long drought. Thanks to the consistent supply of underground water, it never dry up. Reed and fish flourish in its water area, instilling life into the barren desert territory.

 Moon Lake inhabited by Birds

 the Heart of Desert: Moon Lake

 See Sunset in Moon Lake

Swans' Paradise

Aolun Prague Valley Scenic Site(敖伦布拉格峡谷) 

 Aolun Prague Valley

 Aolun Prague Valley

 Aolun Prague Valley

 Aolun Prague Valley


Tonghu Lake Scenic Area(通湖景区)

Located southeast of Alex Tengger Desert, Tonghu Lake nestles among the sand dunes. This scenic site boasts precious wetland, exuberant grassland, flocks of cattle and sheep, white local dwelling house, colorful camps, and rich ethnic culture.

Badain Jaran Desert Scenic Site(巴丹吉林沙漠景区)

Covering an area of 47100 km2, Badain Jaran Desert is the third biggest desert in China and the fourth biggest in the world. Its five wonders are: grotesque peaks, singing sands, picturesque lakes, magical springs and ancient temples. Bilutu Peak with an elevation of 1609 meters and relative height of 500 meters, is the highest sand tune in the world. Badain Jaran Desert has the largest singing sand area in the world, thus is honored as “The Kingdom of Singing Sands”. By now, there are 144 lakes discovered in this area, among which the Yinderitu Spring is most interesting: there are 108 spring sources densely distributed along a submerged reef which covers an area less than 3km2. Due to its unparallel beauty, Badain Jaran Desert is famed by National Geography as the most beautiful desert.

Bilutu Peak: the Highest Sand Dune in the World

Populus Tree Along Wateredge: See the Most Marvelous Scenery in the Most Deserted Place

  • Badain Lake among sand dunes

Sand Dune: step on this barren,tranquile and beautiful land, you will feel the pulse of eternity

Mt Mandela Rock Painting Scenic Site(曼德拉山岩画景区)

Mt Mandelashan borders Badain Jaran Desert on the West and contains over 6000 ancient rock paintings which shed light on the aesthetic history, religious history of local tribe. In this area, Eribugai Valley is worthy of sightseeing also. The 5km long red cliff valley was formed 180 million years ago by wind and water erosion.

Rock Painting Art

Populus Forest Scenic Site(胡杨林景区)

Ejinaqi has 440000 acres of Populus forest, the second largest in China and one of the three remaining original Populus forest in the world. When autumn comes, populous forest will look like a golden ocean. Strolling along it and shoot some pictures will be very romantic. Populus is the most ancient specy of its family, and is famed as the living fossil. They can survive and thrive in the salty land and grow very quickly. It is said they can survive 1000 years, and when they die, it takes1000 years before they fall to the ground and another 1000 years before they rot.

Juyanhai Scenic Site

Located 38km from north of Hubu Town, Ejinaqi, Juyanhai has 35.4 km2 water area. This scenic site boasts expansive desert, enchanting waterscape and the marvelous scenery of transitional areas between Gobi desert and desert.

Black City Cultural Relics Scenic Site(黑城文化遗存景区)

The Black City Relic Site is lying on the east bank of Weak-water River, southeast of Ejinaqi, 25km from Hubu town, with a length of 470 m from East to West and a width of 384 m from North to South. The total area is 180,500 square meters. It comprising Black City, Dead Popular Diversifolia Forest , Red City, Green City, Datong city and Jiaquhouguan Residence,ect. Approaching this scenic site, you can experience the mysterious history of Ejinaqi’s tribe.

A 12m high upside-down Buddhism bowl shaped pagoda stands at the Northwest corner, is the landmark architecture of Black City. The buildings in the Black City are arranged orderly. In 1372, a military General called Fengsheng in Ming Dynasty broke through the Black City, and then abandoned it. Since then,the Black City has been deserted and covered with dust for centuries.
Dead Popular Diversifolia Forest : Lack of water resulted in the death of popular diversifolia forest. Entering this site, you will feel like step into a battle field after a life-and-death war with the popular diversifolia trees as the unbending soldiers. Due to the descending underground water level and the drought climate, large number of popular trees perish. This sad phenomenon alarms us the urgency to protect our enviroment, in order to save a future for our descendents.

Black City Relic Site's Landmark Building

Haisenchulu Wind Erosion Landform Scenic Site (海森楚鲁风蚀地貌景区)

Haisenchulu means the rocks look like pots in Mongolia. In this scenic site, various grotesque stones erect from the ground formed by wind erosion 180 million to 150 million years ago. This site is a natural museum to study the wind erosion landform because it boasts the best developed granite wind erosion landform in western China.

 the Marvelous Haisenchulu Wind Erosion Landform

Haisenchulu Wind Erosion Landform


  Haisenchulu Wind Erosion Landform

 Haisenchulu Wind Erosion Landform

Formed by water and wind erosion, Aolun Prague Valley shelters ten grand gorges which run East-West. Interweaved with crooked valleys flanked by steep cliffs, this valley boasts the most varied and vivid wind erosion landforms. Camel Waterfall plunges down abruptly like a white curtain and the imposing sandstone columns dash forward stately. This area is favored by Chinese scientists to study the Desert Danxia Landform’s formation and evolvement.
Travel Tips

Best Travel Season: August to October

Travel along the Sand Dunes:

1 Better contact a travel agent, if you travel alone, do use GPS especially when you are traveling among the sand dunes, to make correct judge of direction is very critical to ensure your safety.

2 Observe the star or sun or the sand tunes can assist you not to get lost. Sand dunes in this area usually ran northwest to Southeast, and the sand dunes’ Northwest sides have relatively even slopes and hard surface.

3 Choose the right shoes, use walk sticks. Avoid the soft land surface, and try to walk on the Northwest side of sand dunes or the ridges of sand dunes.

4 The sunlight is scorching in daylight and the temperature is chilling in night, so prepare clothes of summer and winter. Wear long shirt coat to prevent sun burn rather than spray sunscreen lotion, for the sand will stick on your skin and make you feel uncomfortable.

5 Choose villages to stay overnight, open camps is not advised.

6 If you have to encamp, choose the area without wind to avoid being buried by sand. Generally speaking, you can stay in the flat area between the sand dunes. Do avoid encamping near the populars trees or willow trees, for poisonous insects usually inhabit there.

7 Do not litter everywhere, and respect local customs as well as religious beliefs.

The Wind Erosion Landform of Aolun Prague Valley


Mt Mandela's Rock Painting

Yuanyang Travel Tips
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