China Adventures

Badain Jaran Winter Desert Caravan

5 days hiking and camel riding from oasis to oasis in the world’s 4th largest desert. Thrilling jeep rides in and out of the desert and nonstop breathtaking views. Hiking over these snow covered mega dunes, past 9 oases and a Tibetan Desert temple will probably be the most surreal experience of your life.

  • Key Info
  • Discounts & Inclusions
  • Travel season: Nov till March
  • Length: 6 days
  • Hike Level: 3 medium-strong
  • Hiking Distance: 65 km
  • Departure time : 7 am
  • Price: 9500¥ /1360$

Meeting and drop of point: Beijing South Airport or Jinchang Airport

Day 1:

Airport meet up

Drive and hike into the desert

Overnight with locals in the desert

Day 2-4:

Camel riding and hiking

Overnight with locals in the desert

Day 5:

Drive and hike out of the desert

Overnight in Jinchang town

Day 6:

Fly out

Highlights

65 km hiking & camel riding

Snow capped mega dunes

Frozen oasis

Climb the worlds highest dune

Exhilarating jeep rides

Upcoming trip:

Detailed Itinerary

Spend 5 days hiking and camel riding in one of the world’s remotest places. While the camels carry our food and luggage, we  hike the dune ridges from oasis to oasis and cross mega dunes covered in snow. Seeing nonstop breathtaking views in one of the most deserted places on our planet is a once in a life time experience. This trip is fit for everybody with an adventurous spirit. We hike about 15km a day and if you’re tired you can just hop on a camel and wobble to the next oasis. During winter time the camels have a very thick fur so it’s like riding on a sofa through the desert.

“Badain Jaran desert is probably the most beautiful place I’ve ever seen. With dunes like mountain ranges and over 150 oasis, this place should be listed in the top 3 of natural wonders of the world.” (Frederik Halewyck, hiking guide, world traveler, assistant for lonely planet Gobi Desert exploration 2010 and expedition organiser Discovery Channel Gobi desert crossing 2019 .)

Day 1: Beijing to Badain Jaran desert

We take the morning flight from Beijing to Jinchang. From Jinchang airport, a private bus brings us to the border of the Badain Jaran desert where the jeeps pick us up and our desert adventure begins.  Once we reach the mega dunes, we leave the jeeps and go hiking towards our first destination, our favourite cameleer Hassemong. While we hike  the jeeps will bring our luggage to Hassemong. We have dinner and stay overnight with our hospitable friends. Their house is simple but has everything we need. There are 4 rooms with stoves and beds with warm camel fur blankets.

Badain Jaran desert cameleer Hassemong and his family

Badain Jaran desert cameleer Hassemong and his family

 

Day 2: Hike and ride camels to Badain Jaran desert temple (15 km)

Once the sun has risen high enough, our caravan starts a 15km journey over the mega dunes towards Badain Jaran Temple. For every dune we climb a new unearthly view unfolds . From todays highest dune we have a birds eye view on  Lake Nuretu, the most beautiful lake in the Badain Jaran desert surrounded by date trees and grass.

Every one will have their own camel on this trip so you can switch between hiking and camel riding whenever you want.  Hiking the dune ridges gives you one stunning view after the other. After our last dune crossing we can run down to our hosts living next the temple for a hearty dinner, plenty of milk tea and even a beer or two 🙂 .

badain jaraan dunes and camels

 

Day 3 Climb the worlds highest sand dune (14 km)

In the morning we can visit the temple .This Buddhist Temple was built in 1868 on the lake shore behind a huge dune. Due to its location, it was spared from destruction by the wars. The legend says that there is a well close to the temple where water starts pouring out when the monks chant around it.

Badain Jaran desert temple

Badain Jaran desert temple

After our temple visit we go for a 14-km hike and camel ride  to Lake Indertu. The hiking distance is a bit shorter as we are going to climb the world’s highest dune. Camels don’t really like summiting dunes so this one is on you. It will be a breathtaking experience in both senses of the world. The dune towers 500 meters above its surroundings, so the endless views over dunes and oases are  almost unearthly. Hiking/jumping/sliding your way down from this mountain of sand is pure fun and and in no time, you will be sitting at the shores of Indertu oasis sipping tea again.

 

Day 4 Hike Badain Jaran big valey (17 km)

We  head from Lake Indertu through Badain big valey to our cameleer Hassemong. With a good 17 km, todays hike is the longest one. You’ll be more than happy to jump on your camel ones in a while and just observe the scenery while  of your long lashed friend is doing the hard work for you.

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China adventure

About halfway the day we take a break at Bilutu lake and visit the brother of Gaocheng. Walking along the shore in the high grass of this oases will make you envy the quiet disconnected life of the Badain Jaran cameleers as very oases in this desert only has one house.

badain jaran dunes camel lake

Day 5

Today we kiss our lovely long lashed desert companions’ good bye and switch back to the 4 wheels. We will experience a 4-hour thrilling jeep ride over the dunes and out of the desert. Slowly you’ll see the scenery changing and of course we will take some breaks so you can fill up the little space you have left on your memory card.

In the later afternoon we will arrive back at the border of the desert where our bus will be waiting for you to bring us to a good hotel in Jinchang.

 

Day 6

Fly back to Beijing or where ever your nomad feet take you. Flights to Xian leave frequently from Jinchang as well.

Note: The itinerary is subject to change depending on weather conditions (big snow), available accommodation with the locals, or join a local event. Our team will do our best to give you the best possible Badain Jaran desert experience.

Accommodation and food

Accommodation is simple in the Badain Jaran desert. At some places, you will have a bed in a private room. At other times, there will be 4 beds in one room. In some locations it will be possible to camp in the dunes depending on the weather conditions (read strong winds/ sandstorms)

It is rare to find toilets in the desert. Mostly there is a designated dune   so don’t forget to bring a roll of toilet paper. The locals will be our host and chef. The food in the desert is good. It will be a mix between meat, vegetables and lots of milk tea.

Weather

The altitude of Badain Jaran desert is between 1100m and 1600m. UV radiation intensifies at this altitude, sunscreen lotion, sunglasses and a hat are recommended. Temperatures during winter or a bit below freezing during the day but it night it might get to -30 degrees. Make sure to dress accordingly!

What you should bring

1. A warm sweater and warm wind proof jacket, gloves and a hat.

2. Medicines for fever, headache, diarrhea, car sickness, etc.

3. Good walking shoes are essential for trekking in desert.

4. Small bag to carry your camera and water, plastic bag to keep your camera or photographic equipment from sands and dust.

5. Toilet paper, flash light

6. There will be a limited possibility to charge batteries so bring extra camera batteries.

7. Do not forget to bring your Passport Pack light!   The camels don’t like big suitcases so bring a backpack. If you don’t have one you can borrow one from us.  Per 2 people, 1 big bag and 1 small day pack should be perfect.

Price & Payment

 For this trip, we will ask you to sign up and pay 1 month in advance. Everything is included from the moment you arrive in Jinchang till you get back on the train/plane.

In case of cancellation

More than 1 month before the trip you will get a 100% refund

Less than 1 month before the trip there will be no refund unless somebody else can takes up your spot

Level 3 Medium-strong

We rate this winter caravan level 2-4 since you can make it as hard as you please. If you hike all the way than it’s for sure a strong level 4 hike. If you want to take it easy or are not great shape you can hop on camel when we climb dunes or even hitch a ride with our follow jeep all the way to the next oasis.

Planning a trip ahead or want a private tour?