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Zhongwei Travel Guide - How to Plan a Trip to Zhongwei

Zhongwei Travel Guide - How to Plan a Trip to Zhongwei

Written by Chris QuanUpdated Nov. 29, 2023

Zhongwei City is located in the west of Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region. It is only 2 hours by plane from Beijing. Zhongwei was once said to have had no north gate, simply because there was nothing more to the north.

Its advantageous and strategic location has endowed Zhongwei with its scenic features: vast deserts, green hills, the Yellow River, and oases. At the same time, tourists are able to enjoy various entertaining activities there, such as sand slides and camel rides.

Thanks to the Yellow River, Zhongwei is blessed with rich agricultural land. The city is also well-known as "Jiangnan (the Yangtze River Delta) in the desert".

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Have Fun in the Vast Desert — Highlights of Zhongwei

People come to Zhongwei for one thing usually: to enjoy the desert. Zhongwei provides wonderful entertainments and unique accommodation in the desert.

Shapotou Tourism Area — Best for Enjoying Desert Activities

ShapotouShapotou Tourism Area

Shapotou offers a lot of exciting activities including sand sledding, camel trekking, dune buggying, shuttle bus riding, speedboating, sheepskin rafting, glass bridge walking, and more. Bungee jumps and a zip line over the Yellow River are also available.

There is a unique experience in Shapotouplanting wheatgrass squares. Wheatgrass squares are China's secret for turning desert into grassland. Thanks to these squares, China has transformed more than 6,000 hectares (23 square miles) of desert into grasslands and forests for the last 60 years.

You could work with sand wardens in the desert to make wheatgrass squares and contribute to making our world a better, less desertified place.

If you are looking for a desert trek in Shapotou, we can also arrange that for you with a professional guide. The route is about 6 km (3–4 miles) and takes approximately 2 hours.

Recommended tour: 3-Day Zhongwei Desert Tour with Winery Experience

Jinshahai Scenic Area ('Gold Sand Sea') — Best for Desert Accommodation Experience

Desert tents in JinshahaiDesert tents in Jinshahai Scenic Area

Jinshahai also offers a lot of exciting activities such as sand sledding, camel trekking, and dune buggying. ATVs (all-terrain vehicles) and go-karting are also available.

Jinshahai has a special steam-train-themed hotel. The hotel was transformed from a steam train. It was the first-generation train traveling on the Bao-Lan Railway, China's first desert railway, in 1958. Each carriage is a room. In addition to carriage room, there are wonderful desert tents. In summer, living in the desert will give you an opportunity to see an amazingly starry sky.

The Tenger Desert

Besides those two desert locations, there is the Tengger Desert. It is more suitable for backpackers who seek adventure and a wild experience. Each year there is a desert rally there.

Suji Yellow River — Experience the Most Beautiful Boutique Hotels in China

Suji Yellow RiverSuji Yellow River

On the edge of the Yellow River, opposite the Tengger Desert, there is a boutique hotel collection of five famous Chinese hotel brands. They keep the perfect balance of wilderness and luxury.

There are art galleries, bookstores, cafes, teahouses, bakeries, restaurants, izakaya (Japan-style bars), swimming pools, hot springs, and more.

You will have a very-well-catered-for vacation experience there.

The Best Time to Visit Zhongwei

April to October is the best time to visit Zhongwei.

Zhongwei is in the middle of the temperate zone in an arid climate region and close to Tengger Desert to the northwest. It is often windy, and there is a lack of rain in the area.

Zhongwei weather features a late spring, a short summer, and a long winter.

Ningxia is famous for its wine production. Early September to early October is the season for picking grapes. If you are interested in wine, we can also arrange a winery visit for you.

How to Plan a Tour to Zhongwei or Ningxia

A trip to Zhongwei usually needs three days. You could refer to our 3-Day Zhongwei Desert Tour with Winery Experience.

If you want to enrich your Zhongwei trip, you could add Yinchuan and Wuzhong to your plan.

Yinchuan is where you can experience wine culture and Western Xia Dynasty (1038–1227) culture.

Recommended attractions include:

Rock Paintings in the Helan MountainsRock Paintings in the Helan Mountains
  • Rock Paintings in the Helan Mountains — See the life of ancient mankind 3,000 to 10,000 years ago recorded in images.
  • The Western Xia Imperial Tombs — Learn about Xixia history and culture.
  • Xige Winery — Learn about the reason why Helan Mountain wine has been winning awards at international wine tasting events.

Wuzhong is a place you could learn about the Hui culture: enjoy a Hui morning tea, a full selection of Hui food, and visit a Hui family.

Tour Zhongwei with Us

All our tours are customizable. If you are planning a trip to Zhongwei or Ningxia, contact us. We will create a trip according to your group size, time, budget, interests, and other requirements. Our most recommended Zhongwei tour is:

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