Bright sun over the dunes

This is once again the Gobi desert. This time across the border on the Chinese side. I’ve mentioned in one of my earlier posts how much of a difference that border makes. Sand dunes on the Mongolian side are a challenge to get to and when you do you’re completely alone for what seems like miles and miles. These particular dunes in Dunhuang are a tourist attraction. There’s a bus that takes you to the spot and once you’re there, believe it or not, you pay an entrance fee. I found it completely ridiculous but have folded given the time constraint. Later on my trip I’ve met a number of people who just walked far enough from the “tourist area” and went around the wall/fence to get to the dunes.

Once inside the gates there’s a little oasis with a wealth of activities for tourists to pay for: camels, ATVs etc. You can even rent “sand proof” boots. I felt like the entrance fee had already left a big enough mark on my pocket so I opted for my legs to carry me around. I wanted to get away from the gates as far as possible and see where it’d take me. The dunes were high and even if I thought I knew what was behind each dune I had an idiotic curiosity and urge to see which dune’s higher and what’s behind. En route to the dunes I’ve met 2 Chinese students, and a 70+ year old Dutch traveler on a mission to cover the silk route. The old man was quite a character. He carried his LIDL supermarket plastic bags all over Asia, which he justified as a safety precaution. He thought nobody would rob an old man with a plastic bag. The 2 students gave up quite early but the old man kept following me around the dunes dragging hit plastic bag. He looked exhausted, very out of place but kept going. I tried to convince him to stop but it’s like he was trying to prove something to himself. At some point I thought I should stop before the man collapses, but luckily he went back by himself.

As usual. Click the pic to enlarge, share and like 🙂

Bright sun over the dunes1

Same dune with the guys on top. Bright sun over the dunes2

Dunhuang Desert

These are the sand dunes of the southern gobi desert by the little oasis city of Dunhuang in China. Not my favourite part of the gobi. I was surprised to see I had to pay to walk the dunes and was amazed to find out how much just a few moments later. Unlike the large share of the rest of the gobi desert this particular area has been turned from the beautiful, demanding and uncompromising dunes into an overpriced tourist trap, a lazy man’s attraction with a road paved right to the base of the dunes. I may sound harsh and feel that it takes away from the experience but it still is a very beautiful place. And if there’s one touristy place where it’s easy to escape the crowds, this has got to be it.


Man in Dunhuang

I’ve decided to make this week a China week. In my short time there I have managed to travel from east all the way to its western borders and back. It’s a massive country and only after having done the trip I’ve truly realized how massive and diverse it is. This is in Dunhuang, in the Gansu province. Dunhuang is a tiny city by Chinese standards and is a part of China where things seem to be going at a slower pace.