Not your typical OTBP activity, but it's interesting to be caught in a sand storm. Out hiking one day on the dunes, we watched a wall of grey envelope the city. We were at the top of a dune, on a ridge. Sand blew up the face of the dune, hitting only our legs- fortunately for us, we were high enough that it didn't get much above our knees. The less intelligent tourists had the brillance to sit down to try to avoid the storm... I didn't understand that. We hiked down the dune and by the time we got to the bottom, the storm had passed. The same guy lost his boonie hat at least twice because he couldn't figure out that the strap was for retention against such things as wind. Amazing how dumb some people can be. I thought it was funny, simply because he lost it, got it back, then ran down the dune only to have the hat blow back up the dune.
In short, bring gators, sun (or other) glasses, and a face mask if you're going to be walking in the sand, because you never know when a sandstorm could rear its gritty head.
The old city walls
There is a tiny section of Dunhuang's original city walls and a watchtower on the way out of town towards Yangguan and Yumenguan.
Sadly it is in a very poor state, and the area is used for dumping household rubbish now.
GPS coordinates will follow, but unfortunately my brand new GPS receiver has packed up and I can't access any of the data! Grrrrrr. Thanks Garmin.
To get there, go across the river by the new Shazhou Hotel (not finished yet, but nice whitel tiles) and continue towards Yangguan. After a large Petrochina gas station on the left, there is a big junction and the tower and wall are there, just 50 metres from the main road.
Yardang Geological Park
Interesting geological formation in the Gobi. Also where Hero (starring Jackie Chan) and other movies were filmed. 10 RMB admission (off-peak price, no student price for off-peak) and another 20 RMB for them to drive you into the park in a minivan (compulsory). It's just a huge pity that the guide wasn't too forthcoming with any more talk other than the usual blurb at each place. Wonderful photo opportunities though.
- National/State Park
DUNHUANG : YA DAN DI MAO
Ya Dan Di Mao is a remote site that was only recently opened for tourism... of sort.
Wind erosion had carved and sculpted weird and wonderful structures resembling The Sphinx, The Leaning Tower of Pisa, a peacock, and even a fleet of ships.
The whitish structures span a huge, sprawling area that seem to shimmer in the heat permanently. You need to rent a jeep for Y80 once you are there to travel around the site.
The tour bus depart from Tai Yang Hotel, along Shazhou Beilu in Dunhuang. At the round-about in Dunhuang, there is a post -office. The hotel is diagonally across the post-office on the north-bound road.
Buses to Ya Dan Di Mao depart Tuesdays, Thursdays, Saturdays and Sundays at around 8am. But double-check with the drivers milling outside the hotel, near the buses. The receptionists were not very reliable.
The trip on the bus through harsh road conditions and very hot weather takes about 3 hours. They seem to depart even if there is only 1 tourist as they are a form of transportation to ferry their own staff to and fro some far-flung spots in the desert.
You will pass by Yu Men Guan or Jade Gate Pass which you have to pay for the admission as well. The Jade Gate Pass is significant historically as it was one of the Han dynasty beacon towers that marked the caravan route westwards and warned of advancing invaders. But what remained down is rather disappointing.
Beware of the HEAT!! You would arrive at around noon and it was more than 45C out there when I was there!
A Horse Shoe
In one of the many stops of the minibus on the Gobi Desert I found this old horse shoe. It probably is just several years old, but I like to imagine it belonged to some of the caravans that passed by this area in ancient times, taking silk and other precious treasuries to western lands....
- Budget Travel
Unique & isolated landscape
If you have the chance, you should move around Dunhuang and experience the dry and unique landscape of the Gobi desert region of central Asia.
a filming set made by japanese...
a filming set made by japanese NHK for a movie call 'Dun Huang'. It located at about 20kms southwest of Dun Huang City.
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