Taklamakan Desert Facts

Mainly situated in southwest Xinjiang in Northwest China, Taklamakan Desert or Taklimakan Desert is well-known as the largest desert in China, and also the second-largest moving desert in the world, extending an area of around 330000 square kilometers. That spectacular desert scenery, amazing geological changes, and mysterious legends attract numerous visitors and also explorers from home and abroad.

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Type: Desert, Lakes, Geologic Formations, Nature & Geoparks

Best Seasons: From so late October come mid-November

Recommended Visiting Time: 1-2 days

Opening Hours: all Day

Ticket: free Entry

Address: In the facility of Tarim container in southern Xinjiang, China 新疆南疆的塔里木盆地中心


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Taklamakan - Taklimakan Desert

As the largest desert in China, the Taklimakan desert account for around 20% the the full area the Xinjiang, about the exact same size of 50 Shanghai. The whole desert is 1000 kilometers long from east to west and 400 kilometers large from phibìc to south, covering an area of about 330,000 square kilometers. The average annual precipitation is no much more than 100 mm, and also only 45 mm when it is low; The mean evaporation is together high as 2500 ~ 3400 mm. Here, pyramid-shaped sand dunes was standing 300 meters high. The strong wind have the right to blow the sand wall surface up to three times that is height. The sand dunes in the desert room continuous. Influenced by the wind, the sand dunes frequently move. The is not just the largest desert in China, but additionally the tenth-largest desert in the world, and the second-largest shifting desert in the world, 2nd only to the Rubkhari desert the the Arabian Peninsula (650,000 square kilometers).

Where Is Taklamakan Desert

Taklamakan desert is situated in the facility of Tarim Basin in southwest Xinjiang in Northwest China, beginning from Korla in the East, Kashgar in the west, Hotan in the South, and Aksu in the north. The is bounded by the Kunlun hills to the south, the Pamir hills to the west, the Tianshan range to the north, and the Gobi Desert come the east.

How to be the Taklamakan Named

There have actually been different views top top the surname of this huge desert in history. That was not until contemporary times that the regional Uighurs officially offered this desert a vivid name. “Takla" originates from a Uighur noun, which means "below" or "of origin and also ancestry ". “Makan" means "place and residence " in the modern Uyghur language. Therefore, "Takla" and also "Makan" together, in Uighur method "residence under the desert" or “place that origin". The name in Uighur accurately and faithfully shows the historical facts the this largest desert in China.

How was Taklamakan Desert Formed


The formation of the Taklimakan desert is related to the internal pressure of the earth"s crust. The Taklimakan mountains were created in the Tarim Basin, i beg your pardon is a vast closed Intermountain basin surrounded through Tianshan Mountains, Kunlun Mountains, and Altun Mountains. As result of the strong collision and compression between the South oriental subcontinent and also the Eurasian Plate, the Himalayas and also the Qinghai Tibet Plateau uplifted, and also the strong orogeny likewise formed huge folded hills such together the Kunlun Mountains and also the Tianshan Mountains, and Tarim container is situated deep in the Eurasian continent and very far away from the ocean. In addition, it is difficult for water vapor to enter as result of the obstruction of the neighboring tall mountains. The climate type belongs to the warm continental climate with drought and little rain. The annual precipitation that Tarim basin is less than 100 mm, yet the annual theoretical evaporation is more than 2500 mm. The container is extended with thick continent sediments v a maximum thickness of more than 10000 meters. This sediments room the material source of the Taklimakan Desert. Under the constant erosion of wind force, A huge number of sand grains accumulated, transported, and also moved, forming countless mobile sand dunes, and finally developing the Taklimakan Desert.

Recommended Taklamakan Desert Tour: 13 work Xinjiang Silk roadway Adventure Tour


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Taklamakan Desert location Map (Click to Enlarge)

Taklamakan Desert and Silk Road

The world-famous silk road connects main Asia and Europe every the way west along the north edge of the Taklimakan Desert, promoting cultural exchanges in between the East and the West. Roughly the northern border of Taklimakan desert and also even in the hinterland that the desert, many social relics of the Han and also Tang Dynasties and also many large-scale ancient city sites have been found. Down to the Niya river Valley which is much more than 100 kilometers into the Taklimakan Desert, world found the the beams and columns of many houses were hidden in the sand. The most renowned site is the Niya ruins. Back the site has actually gone damaged, some structures can still be recognized, together the traditional large living room in Turkistan, and some buildings are the very same as those in central China, with beautiful cornices, arches, and also carvings ~ above beams and columns. Amongst these ruins, there room many ancient relics, including bows, arrows, shields, spears, etc; native the perspective of utensils, there are ancient Greek patterns and Chinese carving. Relics from different countries were lugged here v the silk road, and in ancient times the means of transportation they could rely on might only it is in camels. How can the ancient people leaving so plenty of treasures in the desert? Why walk these old countries perish? The Taklamakan stays mysterious v lingering plenty of questions it spins today.

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Map the China Deserts and also Silk roadway (Click come Enlarge)

Taklamakan Desert Climate


The climate the the Taklimakan desert is continental, and the annual preferably temperature is 39 ℃. The annual precipitation is really low, varying from 38 mm in the west to 10 mm in the East. The temperature is high in summer, up to 38 ℃ in the eastern edge that the desert.

Taklimakan desert is hot and arid, through the best temperature that 67.2 ℃ in hot summer and the temperature difference in between day and also night is more than 40 ℃; The average yearly precipitation does not exceed 100 mm, and also the lowest is only 4 come 5 mm, if the average evaporation is as high as 2500 ~ 3400 mm.

The median temperature in January is - 9 ~ - 10 ℃, and also the minimum temperature in winter is generally listed below - 20 ℃. One-third that the year is a sandstorm day. As the entirety desert is impacted by the intersection of the two prevailing wind directions of northwest and also north-south, the wind sand activities are really frequent and also intense, and the changing sand dunes account for more than 80%.

In spring, the northeast wind is an especially strong. Throughout this period, strong hurricane dust storms frequently occur, pour it until it is full the environment with sand and also dust, as much as 3962 meters over sea level. Throughout the day, Taklimakan is scorching. The sand surface temperature is occasionally as high as 70 ~ 80 ℃. Vigorous evaporation renders desert travelers regularly see a hazy "mirage" in the distance.

Best Time come Visit Taklamakan Desert The finest time come visit the Taklamakan desert is from late October come mid-November every year, especially for cross the Taklimakan Desert. This is the dry season through fewer dust storms in Taklimakan, and there are fewer mosquitoes. At the same time, the leaves of Populus euphratica in Tarim container turn golden, and the scenery is an extremely charming.


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Wearing & packing Tips

Clothing: lug outdoor windproof, sandproof, and quick-drying clothes; bring sunblock items favor sunglasses (goggles), sunhat, sunscreen, headscarves, masks, to mitigate skin exposure, and also remember to cover her neck. In the morning and evening, undertake a light heat coat, or under jacket and also take off at noon. Shoes: undertake high-top climbing shoes or desert boots when crossing the desert ~ above foot and bring a sandproof shoes cover. Water: you can bring as lot water together you can, and you deserve to take 2 water party to fill them with water. Supplement: Electrolyte tablets, energy drinks, power bars, raisins, snacks.

How to travel Taklamakan Desert

Taklimakan desert is well-known as the "desert the death". Amongst the major deserts in the world, the Taklimakan desert is an extremely mysterious and also attractive. However, in this awesome but dangerous desert, there space two really unique roads G216 and G217 running with it. The two roadways are grand jobs to overcome the "desert that death". They are usually the ways for tourists and explorers to overcome the Taklimakan Desert.

Recommended Taklamakan Desert Tour: 9 job Taklamakan Desert old Silk roadway Tour


The first Desert Highway, Luntai - Minfeng desert highway, is about 580km and also takes about 9 hrs by car. There is usually no accommodation on the way, for this reason the itinerary need to be arranged in one day as far as possible.

What come See: Minfeng county is becoming an ext and an ext famous because of the relics the Jingjue"s ancient city. You can go to the neighborhood museum to view the exhibits from the famous Niya ruins. The end of Minfeng County, you can drive northward along the Niya river. ~ above the roadside and also the edge of Taklimakan Desert room quiet lakes, grassland, and the limitless Taklimakan Desert, creating a vast and magnificent photo of nature. Cattle and sheep gain the gifts of nature leisurely on the grassland. After ~ driving from Minfeng County in addition to G315 come the desert highway, both sides of the highway started to become desolate. Only Populus euphratica woodland still survives in together a harsh environment. 


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Taklamakan Desert Highway Map


The 2nd Desert Highway, the Alar Hotan desert highway, is 440km long. The takes around 6 hours by car. Over there is still no accommodation follow me the road, however fortunately, the street is short enough to arrive in one day.

What to See: about two hours" journey from Luntai, the car begins to drive right into the desert, Alar desert highway. There room no villages, pedestrians, cattle, and also sheep top top both sides of the road, leaving only the endless desert. March and April in the Taklimakan desert is the season the the high incidence that dust storms here. The solid wind rolls increase the dust like a tall sand wall. When the sandstorm occurs, the dense sand covers the sky and blocks the sun, and the visibility decreases once driving. Wade on the desert highway have the right to be spectacular, however dangerous there is no a guide. There are frequently some ruins on both sides of the highway.


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Tips top top Driving overcome Taklimakan Desert

1. The all at once road problems of the 2 desert highways are good, usually asphalt pavement, and occasionally over there are little pits. As long as you drive carefully, all kinds that vehicles deserve to pass through. 2. Over there is not any type of gas station on the desert highway. Once crossing the desert highway, pay fist to the oil volume. 3. If you desire to suffer desert camping, you have to pay fist to the weather conditions. April is the high incidence period of dust storms. Stop outdoor camping during dust storms. 4. To experience desert hiking, you require to have a good physical condition and also rich outdoor experience or follow an experienced guide and pay attention to weather changes. 5. There room basically no accommodation areas on the 2 desert roads. When arranging the trip, the desert crossing needs to be completed in one day.


If you don"t have time to drive cross the Taklimakan Desert, it is encourage to walk to Luobu People’s village to experience the desert and also Luobu People’s culture.

Luobu people"s village is located in southwest the Yuli county (尉犁县), around 35 kilometers away from the county center. Right here you can visit many structures such as houses and sacrificial communication of Luobu people, and also the see of desert, Tarim River, and also Populus euphratica forest. Luobu people is among the old nationalities in Xinjiang. This country has to be isolated and also stay secret from other countries for thousands of years. It has actually a unique society and people customs. As shortly as you enter the scenic area, you have the right to see the bordering sand dunes and Gobi scenery. Tourists must take a spaceship bus here to enter the village. You can see plenty of tall Populus euphratica trees follow me the way, through desolate and also magnificent scenery. ~ entering the village, you deserve to see their houses, altar, and other unique structures of the Luobu people, and the neighborhood song and dance performances. Tourists can also experience camel riding and also desert paragliding. Boating in the desert lake is also very interesting.

How to gain to & about Taklimakan Desert

Taklamakan consists a large area with countless cities lining around it such as Korla, Kuqa, Alar, Asku, Luntai, Yecheng, Hotan, Minfeng, Qiemo, etc. Girlfriend can get to Taklamakan Desert and enjoy the desert scenery through multiple options on arrival.

For tourists who would prefer to visit the Luobu People"s village, they can take a trip (1h) / train (4-5.5h) indigenous Urumqi to Korla and charter a private car from Korla downtown come Luobu people"s town (about 80km, 2h through car) in Yuli county.

If you would prefer to suffer the desert highways, you are recommended to acquire from Asku, Kuqa, or Luntai i beg your pardon are necessary outpost cities follow me the old silk road and near or on the G3012 highway (Turpan - Hotan Highway). You can conveniently take a flight to Kuqa (1h) or Asku (1.5h) native Urumqi. Trains space also easily accessible to Asku (9.5-11.5h) and also Kuqa (7.5-9.5h). You have the right to have a driver take it you come Alar ~ above your very first day and stay in ~ Alar. Top top the following day, you have the right to travel v the desert follow me highway G217 to Hotan. Also, if you would like to take trip backward, you have the right to arrive at Hotan native Urumqi (2h by flight) very first and drive back to Alar.

As for the second desert highway - G216, you have the right to start your expedition from Luntai or Mingfeng. Over there is no direct flight come the 2 counties. Travelers have the right to take a train from Urumqi to Luntai (7.5-8h), besides you deserve to drive follow me G3012 come Luntai passing Turpan and also Korla. Or, you have the right to drive along G315 from Hotan come Mingfeng (about 290km, 5.5h by car) and even to Qiemo. The scenery along G315 is stunning with huge desert and also snow peaks afar as the backdrop.

China Discovery’s personal Transfer is height Recommended

as attractions space scattered in various directions and also the desert traveling can be dangerous sometimes, traveling v a personal vehicle and also a expert local overview is fairly necessary and helpful. To much better acclimatize yourself to the local environment and also get a better travel experience, it’s extremely advised come get approximately Taklimakan by exclusive car. Please feel cost-free to call us for transport help.


Recommended Taklamakan Desert Tours

Top 3 Taklamakan Desert tours liked by many customers to discover Taklamakan Desert in the best way. Examine the thorough itinerary, or keep going your own trip currently with us.

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8 Days classic Xinjiang Tour including Urumqi Turpan Kashgar Tashkurgan

Urumqi - Turpan - Kashgar - Tashkurgan

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13 Days detailed Xinjiang Silk road Adventure tourism

Urumqi / Turpan / Korla / Kuqa / Taklimakan Desert / Minfeng / Hongtan / Kashgar / Tashkurgan

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9 job Taklamakan Desert ancient Silk roadway Tour

Kashgar / Karakul Lake / Hotan / Ala"er / Kucha / Urumqi


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