This journey will explore one of the smallest province of China - Ningxia. With Inner Mongolia in the north and Gansu in the South, Ningxia is the large Muslim community along Yellow River. We will visit the famous pyramid-like Western XiXia tombs at the foot of the Helan Mountainsand, then cross the border from Ningxia into Inner Mongolia desert dunes. You will camp in desert for one night (barbecue and bonfire) and another night stay in wooden villas by the oasis in the heart of desert, climb aboard a military truck and drive up and over the shifting sand dunes - an experience of a lifetime!. And ride camel climbing up and over the steep sand dunes to appreciate dramatic desert landscape.
Situated in the eastern part of the inland northwest, Ningxia is at the Great Bend of the Yellow River (Huanghe). The northern Ningxia is surrounded by Inner Mongolia while the southern part is bounded by Gansu Province and on the east by Shanxi Province. It was once an important stop along the north Silk Road, connecting the central Asia, north desert and inland plains.
Yellow River & Tengger Desert
Yellow River winds through Ningxia for about 400 kilometers and becomes the main source of irrigation here. It makes an abrupt turn at Zhongwei county upon entering Ningxia from the west, forming the Shapotou scenic zone. Tengger Desert in inner Mongolia from the north is stopped at Shapoutou by the Yellow river, resulting in a huge sand dune. From here driving deep into the heart of the desert, you can camp, ride camel or surf the sand dune by jeep.
You can appreciate dramatic desert landscape by climbing aboard a military truck or jeep and drive up and over the shifting sand dunes - an experience of a lifetime! Camel ride climbing up and over the steep sand dunes to view the Sun Lake is another great experience.
The Famous Western Xixia Tombs
The Western Xia tombs are spectacular pyramid-shaped structures set on a gentle slope along the east base of the Helan Mountains about 30km from Yinchuan. The remnants of nine Western Xia emperors' tombs and two hundred other tombs lie within a 50-km area. Other famous sites in Ningxia include Mount Helan Shan and its frescos and the twin pagodas of Baisikou.
Water Cave Gully & The Ming Great Wall
Donkey cart ride along the plants in the desert to the gully and the boat ride on the water to view the rammed earth Great Wall are special experience.
The below are popular tourist sites for local tourists, which are not included in the CCC itinerary.
Yellow River Muslims and Goatskin Rafting
The Han Chinese muslims live near Zhongwei for centuries. Muslim architecture, villages and schools and traditonal life are well kept. You will try goat-skin rafting on the river, which used to be the major vehicle to take people across the Yellow river 40, 50 years ago in this area. Now the raft is floating upon 14 pieces of goat skin pumped with air.
Shapotou Sand Dunes and Amusement Area
Shapotou near Zhongwei now has already become an amusement park in the desert and touristy, where tourists ride ostriches or camels, and slide on the sand.
* Climbing aboard a jeep and drive up and over the shifting sand dunes - an experience of a lifetime!.
* Camp in the heart of desert with barbecue and bonfire
* Camel ride climbing up and over the steep sand dunes to appreciate dramatic desert landscape
* Visit the Famous Western XiXia tombs at the foot of the Helan Mountains.
Spring and fall
Suggested bespoke 3-day Itinerary
Day 1: Fly into Yinchuan/ Alashan / Tengger Desert hiking, jeep surfing and camping
- Beijing - Yinchuan by air, departure time around 09:00--12:00
- Shanghai - Yinchuan by air, depart time around CA1258 08:20-11:20
Other locales: we welcome those to join us from other locales and meet us in Yinchuan.
- Fly into Yinchuan in the morning.Upon arrival,transfer from Airport to air-conditioned bus, head to Alashan Zuoqi (near Tengger Desert) (2 hours) for a lunch break.
- We start to get on the jeep surfing for exciting sand dune in the desert and passing a few oasis while our luggage and food being carried by the jeep.
- Have a break at the Swan Lake.
- In the late afternoon when it is cool and has beautiful views of the desert, we begin to have a 6 km hike in the desert till the sunset. Alternatively ride jeep again if you are not interested in hiking.
- Continue with a 25 km jeep ride until we arrive at the camp site, another oasis of the day.
- Set up tents and then enjoy barbeque dinner, bonfire or count the stars.
Camping in the desert. (L,D)
Day 2: Inner Mongolia Tengger Desert: Hiking, jeep surfing & camel riding
- Wake up for the sunrise.(optional)
- Again, we start the day with a 5 km jeep ride, then hike another 4 km to the Moon lake- Moon lake, another salty spring-fed lake in the middle of the desert, and check into the two-story villa style hotel in the resort at one corner of the lake.
- Fresh up, lunch at the resort.
- Go for camel ride in the late afternoon.
- Activities by the lake include swimming in the clear lake, sliding sand and carting.(optional & seasonal)
- Stay overnight in the resort.
Moon Lake resort hotel (B, L, D)
Day 3: Inner Mongolia Tengger Desert / Ningxia: Xixia Tomb/ Yinchuan / Fly out
- Enjoy the peaceful morning in the middle of the desert, and then leave the desert via our last jeep ride.(30-40 minutes)
- Return to Yinchuan, on the way, take photo of the Han dynasty Great Wall.
- Visit one of the main heritage sites in the region, the famous Xixia Tombs site (nicknamed Oriental Pyramid) located 30 km west of Yinchuan. The remnants of nine Western Xia emperors' tombs and two hundred other tombs lie within a 50-km² area.
- Have lunch and then transfer to the Yinchuan airport to fly out.
- Please note that you will board in the military truck or jeep driving up and over the shifting sand dunes for 30-40 minutes. It is challenging and exhilarating; you need strong arms to hold on, and it is not for the faint-hearted. Also, it is not recommended for people with any medical or physical impediment. The hotel/ camp site is isolated and we do not return to civilization and medical facilities until the next day. However, if you are fit and adventurous, gather your courage and prepare for an experience of a lifetime.
3-day bespoke tour prices
10% discount for children under 12.
Private English-speaking guide(s) (selected by CCC)
Experienced Chinese-speaking driver and quality, air-conditioned vehicle
All accommodations based on double-occupancy (Five-star hotels or equivelent boutique hotels)
All admission fees and activity expenses, as noted in the itinerary
All meals as noted in the itinerary
What's Not Included:
Domestic flights and relevant taxes
(If you want us to book your domestic flights in this itinerary, please let us know.)
Expenses of a personal nature
Excursions and activities not included in the itinerary
Discretionary gratuities for guides and drivers
Chinese tourist visa, which is required for most foreign passport holders
Travel, health and trip cancellation insurance
We offer our itineraries as suggestions only; all of our tours can be tailored to your individual interests.The above prices may change based on any specific requirements you may have. The extended trip is available upon request.
Prepayment is necessary so we can book your flights/train tickets/car transportation and guides.
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