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Alashan Desert Lakes and Temple, Inner Mongolia, 2017/10

Forty-six photos from our trip into the Alashan Desert in Inner Mongolia.

Alashan Desert Lakes and Temple, Inner Mongolia, 2017/10
At the Western Xia Imperial Tombs.
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The Alashan Desert trip is one of our most popular multi-day trips to other parts of China.

While the trip focuses on the desert, we see a lot of other interesting things while we’re out there, including the Western Xia Imperial Tombs, and Ming Dynasty Great Wall in the Helan Mountains.

The Alashan Desert is on the border of Inner Mongolia and Ningxia, and the nearest airport is in Yinchuan, the capital of the Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region.

While we were in Yinchuan, we visited the Nanguan Mosque and took a walk around the city.

The next day we headed out to Alashan, and drove into the desert, heading for our campsite deep in the dunes and stopping along the way for some short hikes.

On the third day of the hike we made our way to a temple in the desert, getting there by foot, camel, and jeep.

And then on the last day of the trip we headed to the Western Xia Imperial Tombs, stopping on the way to visit some Ming Dynasty Great Wall in the Helan Mountains.

Photos below!

On the way to the Nanguan Mosque in Yinchuan city - Alashan Desert Lakes and Temple, Inner Mongolia, 2017/10

On the way to the Nanguan Mosque in Yinchuan city.

We took a walk around Yinchuan and visited the food street - Alashan Desert Lakes and Temple, Inner Mongolia, 2017/10

We took a walk around Yinchuan and visited the food street.

A tour of the mosque - Alashan Desert Lakes and Temple, Inner Mongolia, 2017/10

A tour of the mosque.

The outside of the mosque - Alashan Desert Lakes and Temple, Inner Mongolia, 2017/10

The outside of the mosque.

Team photo at lunch - Alashan Desert Lakes and Temple, Inner Mongolia, 2017/10

Team photo at lunch.

Into the desert - Alashan Desert Lakes and Temple, Inner Mongolia, 2017/10

Ready for the desert.

Riding camels around the lake - Alashan Desert Lakes and Temple, Inner Mongolia, 2017/10

Riding camels around the lake.

Getting ready to set out - Alashan Desert Lakes and Temple, Inner Mongolia, 2017/10

Getting ready to set out.

Hiking guide Abu - Alashan Desert Lakes and Temple, Inner Mongolia, 2017/10

Hiking guide Abu.

We were heading for the highest sand dune to watch the sunset - Alashan Desert Lakes and Temple, Inner Mongolia, 2017/10

We were heading for the highest sand dune to watch the sunset.

Just like Silk Road traders crossing the desert - Alashan Desert Lakes and Temple, Inner Mongolia, 2017/10

Just like Silk Road traders crossing the desert.

We hiked for a few hours to reach one of the lakes in the desert - Alashan Desert Lakes and Temple, Inner Mongolia, 2017/10

We hiked for a few hours to reach one of the lakes in the desert.

Getting the campsite set up - Alashan Desert Lakes and Temple, Inner Mongolia, 2017/10

Getting the campsite set up.

Tents all set up before dark - Alashan Desert Lakes and Temple, Inner Mongolia, 2017/10

Tents all set up before dark.

Up on the ridge of the dunes - Alashan Desert Lakes and Temple, Inner Mongolia, 2017/10

Up on the ridge of the dunes.

Ridge walking - Alashan Desert Lakes and Temple, Inner Mongolia, 2017/10

Ridge walking.

Amazing view of the desert – nothing to see but dunes all around - Alashan Desert Lakes and Temple, Inner Mongolia, 2017/10

Amazing view of the desert – nothing to see but dunes all around.

Looking off into the distance - Alashan Desert Lakes and Temple, Inner Mongolia, 2017/10

Looking off into the distance.

The ski goggles were a good idea – when the wind picked up a lot of sand was blowing about - Alashan Desert Lakes and Temple, Inner Mongolia, 2017/10

The ski goggles were a good idea – when the wind picked up a lot of sand was blowing about.

Coming down from the dunes - Alashan Desert Lakes and Temple, Inner Mongolia, 2017/10

Coming down from the dunes.

Blue skies above the Alashan Desert - Alashan Desert Lakes and Temple, Inner Mongolia, 2017/10

Blue skies above the Alashan Desert.

A little lizard - Alashan Desert Lakes and Temple, Inner Mongolia, 2017/10

A little lizard.

Walking by an oasis in the desert. You can spot a lot of migrating birds by these lakes, especially in October - Alashan Desert Lakes and Temple, Inner Mongolia, 2017/10

Walking by an oasis in the desert. You can spot a lot of migrating birds by these lakes, especially in October.

Birds above the lake - Alashan Desert Lakes and Temple, Inner Mongolia, 2017/10

Birds above the lake.

The youngest hiker on the trip - Alashan Desert Lakes and Temple, Inner Mongolia, 2017/10

The youngest hiker on the trip

Off hiking again - Alashan Desert Lakes and Temple, Inner Mongolia, 2017/10

Off hiking again.

Golden sand and blue skies - Alashan Desert Lakes and Temple, Inner Mongolia, 2017/10

Golden sand and blue skies.

Some more camel riding - Alashan Desert Lakes and Temple, Inner Mongolia, 2017/10

Some more camel riding.

Sunset in the desert - Alashan Desert Lakes and Temple, Inner Mongolia, 2017/10

Sunset in the desert.

Hiking through the dunes by an oasis - Alashan Desert Lakes and Temple, Inner Mongolia, 2017/10

Hiking through the dunes by an oasis.

The temple in the desert - Alashan Desert Lakes and Temple, Inner Mongolia, 2017/10

The temple in the desert.

Prayer wheels in the temple - Alashan Desert Lakes and Temple, Inner Mongolia, 2017/10

Prayer wheels in the temple.

Prayer wheels around the main building of the monastery - Alashan Desert Lakes and Temple, Inner Mongolia, 2017/10

Prayer wheels around the main building of the monastery.

Red doors and prayer flags - Alashan Desert Lakes and Temple, Inner Mongolia, 2017/10

Red doors and prayer flags.

Clouds over the Helan Mountains - Alashan Desert Lakes and Temple, Inner Mongolia, 2017/10

Clouds over the Helan Mountains.

We stopped in the mountains to check out some old Great Wall - Alashan Desert Lakes and Temple, Inner Mongolia, 2017/10

We stopped in the mountains to check out some old Great Wall.

The Great Wall here was built with rammed earth. If there was a brick casing, it’s all gone now - Alashan Desert Lakes and Temple, Inner Mongolia, 2017/10

The Great Wall here was built with rammed earth. If there was a brick casing, it’s all gone now.

In front of the wall - Alashan Desert Lakes and Temple, Inner Mongolia, 2017/10

In front of the wall.

Taking a rest - Alashan Desert Lakes and Temple, Inner Mongolia, 2017/10

Taking a rest.

The wall here is almost gone - Alashan Desert Lakes and Temple, Inner Mongolia, 2017/10

The wall here is almost gone.

DELE - Alashan Desert Lakes and Temple, Inner Mongolia, 2017/10

DELE

We visited the Imperial Tombs of the Western Xia Dynasty (1038–1227) - Alashan Desert Lakes and Temple, Inner Mongolia, 2017/10

We visited the Imperial Tombs of the Western Xia Dynasty (1038–1227)

This pyramid-shaped mound is the remains of the tomb of the first emperor of the Western Xia - Alashan Desert Lakes and Temple, Inner Mongolia, 2017/10

This pyramid-shaped mound is the remains of the tomb of the first emperor of the Western Xia.

Originally the mound supported a wooden structure, but that was destroyed by Genghis Khan and his army - Alashan Desert Lakes and Temple, Inner Mongolia, 2017/10

Originally the mound supported a wooden structure, but that was destroyed by Genghis Khan and his army.

Team photo by the wall in the Helan Mountains - Alashan Desert Lakes and Temple, Inner Mongolia, 2017/10

Team photo by the wall in the Helan Mountains.