Alashan Desert Lakes and Temple, Inner Mongolia, 2017/10
Forty-six photos from our trip into the Alashan Desert in Inner Mongolia.
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.
On the way to the Nanguan Mosque in Yinchuan city.
We took a walk around Yinchuan and visited the food street.
A tour of the mosque.
The outside of the mosque.
Team photo at lunch.
Ready for the desert.
Riding camels around the lake.
Getting ready to set out.
Hiking guide Abu.
We were heading for the highest sand dune to watch the sunset.
Just like Silk Road traders crossing the desert.
We hiked for a few hours to reach one of the lakes in the desert.
Getting the campsite set up.
Tents all set up before dark.
Up on the ridge of the dunes.
Amazing view of the desert – nothing to see but dunes all around.
Looking off into the distance.
The ski goggles were a good idea – when the wind picked up a lot of sand was blowing about.
Coming down from the dunes.
Blue skies above the Alashan Desert.
A little lizard.
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.
The youngest hiker on the trip
Off hiking again.
Golden sand and blue skies.
Some more camel riding.
Sunset in the desert.
Hiking through the dunes by an oasis.
The temple in the desert.
Prayer wheels in the temple.
Prayer wheels around the main building of the monastery.
Red doors and prayer flags.
Clouds over the Helan Mountains.
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.
In front of the wall.
Taking a rest.
The wall here is almost gone.
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.
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.