Tengger Desert (Tenggeli Desert)

Tengger Desert, also called Tenggeli Desert in Chinese, is located in southwestern Alxa Left Banner, Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region.  It borders the Gansu Province and Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region. Tengger Desert is 240 kilometers (149 miles) from north to south, and 160 kilometers (99 miles) from east to west, making it the fourth largest desert in China with a size of 43,000 square kilometers (16,602 sq miles). Sand dunes cover 71 percent of this area, accompanied by several inner lakes, flatlands, grasslands and hills. At first glance, this large-scale desert seems to extend to reach the blue sky.
Map of Tengger Desert
Location Map of Tengger Desert

Top Things to Do in Tengger Desert

Camel Riding

Tengger Desert
Camel Riding in Tengger Desert

The first thing on the agenda when tourists pay a visit to Tengger Desert is camel riding. Riding on a camel, visitors can get great pictures from another perspective. Moreover, the ringing camel bells seem to take visitors back to the remote past.

Desert Hiking

Tengger Desert is a paradise for lovers of hiking and adventure. Wear suitable shoes and pack adequate food and water. If you are not energetic enough for that, jeeps are provided to take visitors through the desert. 

Desert Camping

Staying overnight in the Tengger Desert, visitors can appreciate millions of stars shining brightly in the clear sky and watch an overwhelming sun rising gradually from the vast desert next morning.

Enjoy Desert Entertainment Facilities

Sand sliding is the most popular one, providing special areas for children and adults. Or some adventurous tourists can try desert surfing. Visitors need to fasten their seat belts when surfing across the desert by SUV. 

Swan Lake Viewing

Swan Lake is the most famous one among all the inner lakes of the Tengger Desert. Along the lake shore are many sand jujube trees. The best time to visit Swan Lake is March to May. Many swans roost and play here in late March and early April; at the same time visitors can enjoy flourishing Malan flowers. In May, sand jujube trees turn green and make clear reflections on the lake. Another best time to visit is September, when the swans take a rest here on the way from north to south to spend the winter.

Moon Lake Sightseeing

Another attractive scenic area is Moon Lake, around 35 kilometers (22 miles) from Swan Lake.  It is a favorable desert adventure camp site. Visitors are advised to take a SUV heading to the camp. Surprisingly, half of the lake is fresh water, and another part is salty water. The shape of Moon Lake is similar to that of a map of China.

How to Get to Tengger Desert

Generally speaking, tourists are likely to start their trip from Yinchuan or Zhongwei which are about 130 kilometers (80 miles) and 180 kilometers (110 miles) away respectively. 

From Yinchuan: Take a long-distance bus at Yinchuang Passenger Station to Shapotou, and get off at Tengger Desert. It takes about 2 hours.

From Zhongwei: Charter a car from Zhongwei City. It takes about CNY 50 for a single trip. 

If starting from Alxa Left Banner, the best and easiest way is chartering a car, which takes about CNY150 for a 1-way trip and CNY 200 for a round-trip.

Entrance Fee
1. CNY 40 for Swan Lake
2. CNY 100 for Moon Lake
Tip: Visitors need to pay extra fee for entertainment facilities.
- Last updated on Apr. 12, 2021 -
Questions & Answers on Tengger Desert
Asked by Martin from BIN | Sep. 11, 2019 05:38Reply
To get to Swan Lake or moon lake I need to hire 4x4 car or there are roads going there?
Answers (1)
Answered by Zoey from USA | Sep. 15, 2019 19:10

You need to hire a car or mini van to it. May you have a good trip!
Asked by Aline from CHINA | Mar. 27, 2019 05:10Reply
I would like to camp at Tengger Desert.
Can I just go there and then rent a tent or how do I approach this?

Thank you in advance.
Answers (1)
Answered by Harry from UK | Apr. 01, 2019 01:07

It is better to find a local guide and camping teammates since in case of unknown danger in desert.
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