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Zhangye Danxia and Badain Jaran Desert Tour - 8 Days

Destination: Xining - Zhangye - Badain Jaran Desert
Duration: Eight Day
Tour Code:
Transportation: Vehicle
Best Travel Time:June to October
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Beautiful natural scenery can always make us relaxed, inspired and happy. If you are happened to be a photography lover, the nature is the best materials. In the northwestern China, there are two beautiful places - Qinghai and Gansu. Qinghai is famous for high plateau features, while Gansu is wild and diverse. This 8 Days Qinghai Gansu Tour is a top experience of landscape sightseeing, as well a big chance to bring your photography skills into play.

Highlights of this tour
Visit the largest beautiful salt lake in China - Qinghai Lake;
Driving through vast grasslands, farmlands, forests to Zhangye to see the unique rainbow mountains in Zhangye - Danxia Landform Geographical Park;
Take an adventure to the most scenic desert in China - Badain Jaran Desert.

Full price of this tour (per person in US$):
Price Price Instruction

Day 1 Xining Arrival
Welcome to Xining, Qinghai. Once morning arrival at Xining Caojiabao Airport/Train Station, your tour guide will meet you, and then escort you to your hotel by a private vehicle.
In the afternoon,, drive about 26km to visit the famous Taer Monastery which is the birthplace of the Tibetan Buddhism master 每 Tsongkhapa who was the founder of Gelug(a sect of Buddhism). It is also famous as one of ※6 monastery of Gelug§. You must not miss the ※three bests§ of Taer Monastery 每 murals, barbola and butter sculptures.

Day 2 Xining 每 Qinghai Lake (B, L )
After breakfast, drive around 2.5 hours to see the picturesque Qinghai Lake from Xining via Huangyuan, Riyue Mountain, etc. You won't feel boring along the driving since fascinate scenery of green grassland, blue sky, white clouds, clustered flocks and herds unfold like a photo gallery.
You will stop at the Erlang Jian Scenic Area to enjoy the beauty of Qinghai Lake. As the largest inland lake, as well as the largest salt water lake in China, Qinghai Lake(3200m) stretches 105km at length,  63km at width and occupies a water area of over 4,500 square kilometers. Attracting thousands of photographers to take photos every year, this plateau lake was elected as the Most Beautiful Lake in China by China's National Geographic. It is surrounded by harsh mountain ranges from outside. While on the foot of mountains are endless beautiful grassland and rapeseed flower lands which are connected to the lakeside. At the same time, Qinghai Lake is a sacred Tibetan Buddhist site. There are many devoted Buddhist coming from afar to worship to Qinghai Lake each year.
Lastly, drive about 2 hours to Heimahe for accommodation.
1. Qinghai Lake is famous as the Paradise of Migrant Bird. If you are planning a bird watching tour, you are suggested to visit the Bird Island during May and June; 2. From late July to early August is the best time to view the vast golden rape flower fields surrounding the Qinghai Lake; 3. If you are interested and time allows, you can take optional visiting to some interesting attractions along the driving to and back to Xining, such as Dangaer Ancient City, Riyue Mountain, Jinyintan Prairie, etc.

Day 3 Qinghai Lake - Qilian County (B, L )
Get up early to watch the breathtaking sunrise at Qinghai Lake. After breakfast, drive about 70km to visit the famous "Mirrior of Sky" - Chaka Salt Lake.
Lying in the conjunction of national road 109 and 315 and near Qinghai Lake, Chaka Salt Lake is one important courier station of ancient Silk Road. It was the only way to Tibet for businessmen and tourists in the history and referred as the Eastern Gate of Qaidam. Like a mirror of sky, its fantastic beauty is beyond everyone's imagination. Looking to the distance, you are unable to find the boundary between sky and lake and you can't tell whether the sky is one part of lake or the lake is the supplement of sky. Wondering in the lake is like stepping into the world of salt, pure, picturesque and poetic. You could feast your eyes on the spectacular view on a sightseeing train which allows you to admire the moving stroll of sunset, evening glow and salty flowers.
After about 1.5 hours sightseeing at Chaka Salt Lake, it's time to move on to next destination - Qilian County. You will drive about 5 hours to get to Qilian. Enjoy the beautiful grasslands, farmfields, forests along the driving.

Day 4 Qilian - Zhangye (B, L )
After breakfast, drive several kilometers from the twon to visit the Zhuo Er Shan Scenic Area. Zhu Er Shan itself is a Danxia mountain with an alitude of 4,300m. From the top of the mountain, one will enjoy the so called "Oriental Small Stwizerland" views. You won't believe your eyes that such a fairy land existing on the barren Qianghai-Tibet Plateau. Rivers, splendid Qilian Mountains, green grassland#you will totally get lost here. If your travel dates are during months from June to September, then vast rape flower land will enthrall your eyes and minds. 
After about 2 hours sightseeing at Zhuo Er Shan, you will drive about 4 hours to Zhangye city for accommodation.

Day 5 Zhangye Tour (B, L)
After breakfast, you will go to visit the Giant Buddha Temple which is famous for having the largest indoor sleeping Buddha in Asia. This temple was built in Xixia Dynasty(1098), and keeps many precious Buddhist scriptures and wall paitings.The Buddha statue was carved by woods with a length of 34.5 meters. His ears are as big as the space which 4 adults can sit side by side. The statue tells the story of Buddha's Nirvana. The whole Dafo Temple is a large complex with regal arrangements. The Sleeping Buddha is the centrally seated, symmetric buildings situate along the sides.
In the afternoon, drive about an hour to visit the Zhangye Danxia Landform. Danxia landform is a spectacular petrographic geomorphology landscape which is formed from red-coloured sandstones and conglomerates. The one in Zhangye was formed in the pre-Jurassic Age. Thousands of mountains and stiffs stretch like the colorful sunset glow. The barren mountains are covered by a red grit rock stratum. At the same time, some surfaces of mountains appear other colors, such as white, yellow, etc, and form many irregular lines and blocks looking like some abstract oil paintings. There are four viewing decks for you to watch and shoot. You will visit one by one, and will be transfered by interzonal buses from one deck to another.
1. Pack with sun creams, sun glasses, protective clothing and hat to protect from strong sunlight in summer; 2. sunset are the best hours for taking photos which happen around 19:00~20:00 in summer and 18:00~19:00 in winter.

Day 6 Zhangye - Badain Jaran Desert (B, L)
After breakfast, drive about 240 kilometers(3.5hrs) to Badain Jaran Desert which is praised as the most beautiful desert in China, also the third largest desert in the world with an area of over 49,000 square kilometers. Badain Jaran means "mysterious lakes" in Mongolian. As the name applying, there are 140 lakes of different sizes dotting in the desert and hidding among gigantic sand dunes. 
You will arrive at the scenic area in the noon time. After lunch, start your exciting desert exploration. 
The best time to visit: From May to June and September to October would be an ideal time. Its not too hot or cold and most importantly not many tourists.
Packing & wearing: There is no many restaurants and stores, so you'd better pack some food, snacks and drink with you. Sun glasses, sun cream, hat, long-sleeves clothes and neckerchief are recommended.

Day 7 Badain Jaran Desert - Zhangye (B, L)
Don't lose the rare chance to witness a magnificent sunrise on the wild Badain Jaran Desert. The sunrise generally starts around 6 AM, but you have to get to the higher location about 1 hour ahead of the sunrise. The best location for photography is the Bilutu Peak(1,605m) which is the world's tallest stationary sand dune and the third tallest dune in the world. From the top of Bilutu Peak, you can also get a panoramic view of surrounding desert and lakes. The rest time after sunrise is for you to explore other featured sites in the desert, such as Shennv Peak, Sacred Spring, etc.
After lunch, drive back to Zhangye for commodation.

Day 8 Zhangye Departure ( B )
Today is free for you to leave Zhangye for next destination. From Zhangye, you can flight flight or train to Xian, Xining, Lanzhou, Dunhuang. Tour ends.

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