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Tengger Desert

Tengger Desert

Written by Candice SongUpdated Feb. 3, 2021
Kubuqi DesertKubuqi Desert


Tengger Desert is the fourth largest desert in China, which covers an area of about 36,700 square kilometers and is mostly situated within the Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region in China and joins the border of Ningxia at Zhongwei City. The narrowest part of the desert is only a little over 20 kilometers, making it possible for a hiking tour across the desert.


Tengger Desert is stopped at Shapotou by the Yellow river, producing a huge sand dune, which is an ideal place for taking sand slide. The slope is 300m long and rises to about 100 meters high. It makes you feel dizzy when looking down from the top of the sand dune. For those who are really afraid of height, take the cable cart down, drag the board up halfway, and slide down.

Riding a camel across the desert would also be very interesting. At that enormous ocean of sand, you can appreciate about 180 large and small lakes, grassland, oasis, Mongolian minority villages, Hui minority villages, Han nationality villages etc. When the weather is nice, you can get to appreciate the gorgeous desert sunset along the way, together with many other unique desert landscapes.

Of course driving is a more time-efficient way to cross the desert. There is a well-built desert highway-Baolan railway, China's first railroad passing through deserts. Moreover it is a strategic east-west lifeline, cutting through the southern border of Tengger desert at Shapotou. The railway has been operating smoothly for about 50 years thanks to the Shapotou desert control program. The Shapotou Desert Research Station has developed an effective method to contain the dessert by planting straw grids on the sand dunes. That is really an amazing landscape that you can't enjoy from elsewhere.

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