Your warmest clothes, please!
If you're travelling to Dunhuang during the winter months, remember that there is no such thing as "underpacking"! Bring your warmest, warmest long johns, down jackets, ear muffs, socks-- then borrow your Aunt Mildred's/Uncle Vinnie's set of winter clothes too!
If possible, purchase battery-operated mittens and socks because temperatures can dip as low as -25 Celsius in January!
From the desert of China's northwest Gansu province springs Dunhuang, a small, oasis city, friendly enough, though hot. From Dunhuang there are some things to do, though a traveler wouldn't need a lot of time here. With a few good restaurants and some nice places to stay, Dunhuang is well worth a visit if you happen to be heading to that region.
We reached Dunhuang via taxi from Golmud, and Golmud via train from Lhasa. Our driver left us at Charlie Johng's Cafe, then hung around waiting to take us elsewhere.
Bottled water is plentiful!
DUNHUANG 1, MINGSHA SHAN, MOGAO CAVES
Jane and I took a bus out to the sand dunes and between us, we had obtained some information from the internet and a tips book at a Western Cafe on how to sneak around the admission gate and enter the sand dunes without paying.
I reminded Jane, if we were challenged by the guards making their rounds, we had to pretend we 'no speaka Mandarin'. We had to act like we were really interested in the farm-lands and trees around the sand dunes. Understand?????
We hiked out through the fields until the edge of the dunes. There was a barrier that attempted to draw a circle around the dunes but well, the sand shifted and had buried parts of the barrier.
"See you on the other side..." I muttered to her solemnly as I made my attempt to cross. We were half-way up the dunes when someone started yelling at us. What what??!? Oh, OK... just two other foreign tourists who knew Jane and apparently, knew about this sneaky way too.
We huffed and we puffed and we made it all the way to the top of the dunes. What a feeling. There, we simply sat and watched. It was such a wonderful view. Three more foreign tourists sneaked in and joined us.
I wonder if the guards ever wonder why they only have Chinese tourists paying the Y50 admission. And I wonder if the guards ever wander their eyes upwards and spot little unaccounted dots high up on this dune.