During the May Day holiday we headed out to Inner Mongolia for our Tengger Desert Lakes trip, visiting some local scenic locations either side of our two-day trip into the desert.
Our first day in the desert was slightly atypical, with quite a bit of rain. Not quite what you’d expect in the desert. The next day was great, though – a big blue sky, perfect for our ride on the camels.
On the way back from the desert we visited the Western Xia Dynasty Mausoleum, taking a look at the pyramid-shaped burial mounds that are pretty much all that’s left from the Western Xia – blame Genghis Khan for that.
We also stopped off for a look at some of the old Ming Dynasty Great Wall that’s found in the mountains in this area.
See all the photos below!
We visited the Alashan Museum to take a look at the exhibits that show some of the history of the area.
A race to the top of a sand dune.
We hiked around a lake in the desert. This one was a salt water lake, and you can see some of the salt in the photo.
The lakes are a popular stop for migrating birds, and we got some good photos of cranes.
Moving on from the lake.
We bumped into a man driving his jeep about – he asked us if we'd seen his lost camels.
Hiking around the dunes near the lake.
Run up the dune, run back down – fun!
We climbed this dune for views of the desert.
Nearing the end of our hike.
Here's our jeep team.
We took a drive through the dunes, aiming for a small settlement by a lake.
Lots of goats by the houses.
We set up camp a short distance from the settlement and got our campfire going while we waited for dinner.
An impromptu taichi session.
Sunrise in the desert
We woke up to blue skies - perfect.
We walked over to the nomads' house to get breakfast.
Exploring near the nomads' settlement.
We drove further into the desert before more hiking.
Posing with the jeep.
With the jeeps we were able to get deep into the desert.
Jeep team parked up.
All the gear needed for a desert expedition - hat, sunglasses, facemaske, gaiters … and a big jeep!
We hiked over to another lake.
Good spot for photos.
We decided that we definitely needed to climb the biggest sand dune.
Over the dunes in the distance is where we'd camped.
Hiking around a lake. It's a lot easier to hike on the grass.
More views of the desert.
Good idea to bring a kite – no chance of it getting stuck in powerlines out here.
Time for a ride on the camels.
It was a two-hour camel ride to get to Moon Lake.
Getting ready to go.
The camel train.
We rode camels from the lake in the background over to Moon Lake.
Off they go.
We rode for about two hours, and that was tiring. Imagine going all the way along the Silk Road on a camel.
Getting closer to Moon Lake.
Cresting the dune.
Camel team two.
Going over the dune.
Over another dune.
Here they come.
Arriving at Moon Lake.
Moon Lake is an eco resort, and some of the buildings can be seen beside the lake.
The boat is coming to meet us.
The boat took us over to the main part of Moon Lake, where we had a delicious lunch.
Views of Moon Lake.
The jetty at Moon Lake.
On our way back from the desert we stopped to take a look at some Great Wall from the early Ming Dynasty.
In the same area is the border of Ningxia and Innger Mongolia. It's interesting how modern borders are often close to where we find old Great Wall. It's the same in Beijing.
The wall here is worn down, and just a little bit of the rammed earth centre is left.
Wild flowers in the rocks.
We climbed up a small hill to see the views.
Walking back down from the wall.