Silk Road Gobi Desert Adventure

9 – 17 Oct in 2024 | 9-17 Mar 2025

USD$3500 per person | max 5 participants

This unique photography workshop, taking you into the heart of the Gobi Desert, is where you can immerse yourself in simple, delicate creativity far from the modern world and its distractions. For myself, a first visit was a life-changing experience, and I felt instantly at home, as I do in the Himalayas but differently. Its earthy and sensuous form echoes the romantic and surreal part of myself, and the body of work I created consisted as much of myself as the Gobi Desert .

We will pass hundreds of square miles of gigantic dunes, some of the world’s highest static sand dunes and rising to over 1640 feet and above a series of crystal clear lakes. This remote area is intensely sparse yet profoundly elemental and beautiful, and we’ll be camping out in the dunes for most of the nights with one or two nights beside the lake, and of course the spectacular starscapes is something you will never forget. 

You will be travelling with someone well experienced in desert photography, and who has detailed cultural and practical and linguistic skills for this region, as well as being taken through this challenging terrain by an expert and experienced driver, making your journey a safe and enriching experience. The Gobi I take you into is so vast and astonishing that each journey visits not only some of the best viewpoints I know but also seeks to discover something new. Every trip is unique.

To see a World in a Grain of Sand And a Heaven in a Wild Flower, Hold Infinity in the palm of your hand And Eternity in an hour. William Blake

Adam Gibbs was on one of our Gobi desert workshops in 2018, and he has produced 3 videos from this 7 day trip. This video will give you a deeper sense of being there and his take on a startling group of trees beside a dried up lake. We will be visiting this and other lakes; there are believed to be 144 lakes(113 named, and 12 fresh water)  in this part of Gobi desert.

What draws us into the desert is the search for something intimate in the remote. Edward Abbey

Part of a special geological region (Zhangye Danxia Geopark), where we spend a few hours with the famous striated coloured rocks at the beginning of our journey.

A typical night in Gobi Desert

Itinerary: Day 1 Arriving Zhangye (or Lanzhou, depends on flight schedule to the region), and group dinner; Day 2 Visit Dan Xia for in the morning, and prepare for desert trip in the afternoon; Day 3 Going to desert after breakfast, and spend the next 5 nights/days in the desert Day 8 Leave desert after lunch, and arrive Zhangye Hotel for a relaxing dinner/evening; Day 9 Morning flight or train out of Zhangye depends on individual’s travel plans

Included: All vehicle Transportation | Photography Location Entry Tickets | All meals, simple meals in the desert, we will bring lots of fruits, seeds, nuts, oats, eggs, vegetables and noddles with us | Accommodations – Single Occupancy, 3 nights in 4/5 Star Hotel, 5 nights in the desert will be camping or farm stay (single occupancy room with your own bathroom) depend on the route choice each day | Tips for drivers

Excluded: I will assist you to apply Chinese Visa 90 days before departure date | International/Domestic Flight to Zhangye (I will coordinate the group schedule near the planning stage) | Travel and Medical Insurance (required) | Alcoholic beverages | Personal equipment | Sleeping Bag – We have a few spares, please let me know if you don’t have your own

Photographic Level: Intermediate and above.  Beginners and non-photographers welcome, however, as with the more experienced, I will not be able to provide photography instruction, because I will be fully busy with aspects of the journey. Regardless of your level, please come with good knowledge of and capability with your equipment. I am more than happy to share my own approach at each significant stop, and discuss techniques/concepts via the camera screen at the end of the day as we gathering for a drink/meal.

Fitness: You must be able to walk on sand. The photography opportunity will be good just beside the vehicle, but able to walk another mile into different peaks of dunes offers even greater view.

One 50L bag for your clothes and sleeping bag; tripod and 1 camera bag will be the maximum allowance of luggage you can bring for desert trip, suitcase need to be stored in Zhangye Hotel

Booking Process 

Complete booking Form (Email me juanliphotography at if you don’t hear back within 2 days) | Confirm your places and answer your queries regarding the trip\ Deposit USD $1000 or GBP £800 to reserve your place 9 months prior to the trip \ Prepare for your workshop – arrange Chinese Visa  and flights, packing list includes clothing and photography equipment recommendations \ The balance is due no later than 3 months prior to the workshop | Arrive Zhangye on time