Dunhuang’s Dunes

We arrived in Dunhuang quite late at night and didn’t have many options for food.  The options we did have weren’t the cleanest, and by the following afternoon, Dave wasn’t feeling great, so I headed off to the Echoing Sand Mountain by my lonesome.

Our hotel was actually basically in the desert in an area dubbed ‘sleepless town’. This is accurate. We haven’t slept much. They forgot to put mattresses on the beds, so we’re basically sleeping on box springs……

We could see the masive sand dunes from our hotel, so we set off on my own and made the 20 minute walk to Mingsha (Echoing Sand) Mountain. Entrance to the site is 110rmb as of 2020.  There are all sorts of activities you can do, including camel riding, ATVing and sliding down the dunes.  I was more interested in hanging out with the camels than I was with riding them, but that wasn’t an option, so I walked the boardwalk path around the dunes and took in the sights.

I followed the red path to the oasis & temple.

There were easily over 200 camels at the Echoing Sound Dunes and they’re always making their way around in groups of 4, led by guides.  I’ve been on a camel twice (in Rajasthan and Inner Mongolia) and the thing you don’t realize is how TALL camels are!!

The views were very nice along the boardwalk. It wasn’t terribly crowded either, which was very nice.  I watched adults and kids alike slide down the dunes to hear them ‘sing’.  The Echoing Sound Dunes make neat sounds in the wind.  I did this in Inner Mongolia back in 2005, and I can’t say I heard any singing, but it was fun!

But if you’re not careful, you might lose your cell phone half way down!!

The highlight, of course, was Crescent Spring and the surrounding scenery. 

It’s hard to capture from the ground, but this spring looks like a crescent moon.  It’s been there, in the desert, for thousands of years, and there are records of it being a tourist attraction since 200ce!  It’s a beautiful place to take a break, enjoy some ice cream and snap some pictures.

If you’d like to visit the dunes, and want to have some fun in the sand, there are lots of places where you can get proper desert-appropriate attire.  Such these super cool boots, so that you don’t get sand in your shoes.

They’re sold everywhere, including at the entrance
If you don’t, you might get a whole lot of sand in your shoes, like these guys, who were literally pouring it out, like you’d see in a cartoon.

Or, if you are more interested in keeping your skin safe from the sun’s rays, you can also purchase full ‘desert princess gear’, like so many tourists do.

I saw at least 50 women dressed this way.

When you’re done with the desert, and ready for some dinner, head down to the night market in Dunhuang. There are tons of food choices and it’s sort of cafeteria style, so you can get a bit of everything at all the different restaurants. This was honestly the best meal we’ve had on this trip.

I have one more post planned for this trip! Our last day was spent visiting one of the most important and famous religious sites in the world! Stay tuned!

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