The Kubuqi Desert is one of the largest in China. Located south of the famous Gobi desert, it is a paradise of sand and blue sky. Ideal with experiencing a desert in one day, a camel brings us to the dunes, lost in the middle of nowhere.It is the nearest desert to Beijing and the seventh largest desert in China. This desert has the general magnificent beauty of desert and a little beauty of ethnic minorities of Mongols as it lies on the Erdos Plateau.The rich travel resources including the desert, lakes, grasslands, wetlands and oasis are all can be found in Kubuqi. In addition, over thousand birds including the rare white swans inhabit the area in or around the desert.The splendid scene is just in a shape of bow. And “kubuqi” means “bow” in the Mongolian language. This desert is looked like a golden bow in the earth.
Kubuqi Desert is located in the south bank of Yellow River. Its north side is the Yellow River and the farther north place is the Lang Mountains which is the western part of Yin Mountains. Then, sands of the desert might come from: one, alluvial deposits of the ancient Yellow River; two, the proluvial deposits from Lang Mountains; three, local sands. The possibility of the first origin, alluvial deposits of the ancient Yellow River might be greater. From the late Shang Dynasty (16th century B.C. to 11th century B.C.) to the Warring States period, the climate became dry, cold and windy, which provided dynamic condition for the formation of the desert when the sand sources were exposed to the air. Therefore, we could say that the Kubuqi Desert might be formed in this period. The formation of Kubuqi Desert, natural factors were the main and basic reasons while social factors were complementary factors that promoted or delayed the formation.
Kubuqi Desert is situated to the north of the ridge line of Erdos Plateau. It covers some parts of the Hanggin Banner, Dalad Banner and Jungar Banner of the Ih Ju League of Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region.
Traveling southward from Baotou City, you pass through the Yellow River Bridge and the Erdos Plateau, later you move southward for about 50km, and then you’ll reach to Kubuqi Desert. In this desert, the famous Yinken Resonant Sand Gorge faces to Hantai River and backs on vast desert. In the leeward slope, it is like a crescent with an area of about one acre. “Yinkeng” is a Mongolian word meaning “forever”. Local people call this place “Resonant Sand Gorge”. Once impacted by external forces, such as being trod on or hit, sands here will send out powerful and marvelous sounds like automobile and aircraft engines. Because of the echoing “Shhhh” that sands make, Resonant Sand Gorge gets its name, and people also humorously call these sands “singing sands”. However, when in cloudy and rainy days or being transported to other places, the sand will not “sing”.
“Sands singing” is a natural phenomenon, but now there’s no convincing scientific explanation for it. Scientific workers have conducted studies about it. Some believe that dry climate and longtime sunshine here make the sands carry static electricity, and once impacted by external forces, these sands will send out discharging sounds. Some people once moved a little sands to other places, but when they left this place, the sands would not “sing” any more. Some other people claim that in sunny days, under the sun, there was an invisible vapor wall above the river. This vapor wall and the sunny slope of the crescent dune form a natural “resonance box”, thus generating the resonance sound.
From May to October, in sunny and windless days, the maximum temperature at noon is about 30-40 degrees and the surface temperature is 60-70 degrees, while the minimum temperature at night is around 15 degrees. In windy days, sensible temperature will be lower. From November to April, it’s winter climate. Best times to visit Kubuqi Desert are May, June, September and October in each year. And the annual June to July is the best tourist season which belongs to the nature. In this time, the things that you have or haven’t seen, you can or can’t think of will all compete to show their beauty.
The proposed activities
The entrance to the desert was designed to allow a day of walking without experiencing a great deal of difficulty in the desert. Thus, trucks take visitors to the dunes to take them to the heights of the desert. If you were to conduct the walk by foot, the uphill walk would take a lot of time and may be painful. Once in the desert, camels take you further forward, even in a small place where a mini-zoo was built. The zoo is an opportunity to see and learn about animals in this environment, as it houses live animals in cages and skeletons of desert animals. From there, it is possible to walk from the countless dunes. Everywhere you look it is only sand and blue sky, which makes the pleasure all of the greater. Returning to the desert, some less typical activities are also offered, such as walks in the quarter or archery.
► Sandstorm: it is rare to experience the sandstorm in Kubuqi Desert. So it is comparatively safe to travel in Kubuqi Desert.