The next stop on the silk road was Dunhuang, an oasis in the Gobi desert. There were lots of things to do and to discover in and near Dunhuang.
We had an absolute fantastic stay in Dunhuang! First if all we had a 6 people’s room alone for us three, we had a fantastic host, who even took us to have dinner, took us to the supermarket and was one of the most welcoming host I ever experienced!
Lucas and the host even had the same shirt, H&M is spread all over the world!
One special food in Dunhuang for sure is the donkey meat noodles. Our host took us to a good restaurant to have a try:
Our host was also a football fan and when we were at Dunhuang, the German national team was just about to enter the finals of the confed cup. I think we turned him into a Germany-supporter! When Germany won the Cup, we got a very enthusiastic congratulations-message by the host, even though we’ve already left Dunhuang for our next stop. We miss our great host!
Dunhuang has a lot more to offer than great hosts. The singing sand mountain desert (part of the Gobi desert) was one of our stops.
Climbing a dune in the heat of the sun was some really hard work, but the fun part was riding it down on a slide:
We had such a great time, relaxing at the dunes. As the sun set down a little, the temperature was more enjoyable and we were able to play in the sand like kids…
We also rented some quads to cruise around the beautiful dunes
The evening we spent by watching the beautiful sunset:
The next day we went to the Mogao Caves, one of the greatest repositories of Buddhist art in the world. At its peak, the site hosted 18 monasteries, more than 1400 monks and nuns, and countless artists, translators and calligraphers. Of the 492 caves, only 20 caves maximum are open, so that’s in fact a little disappointing, when you arrive there.
Theres such a beautiful big Buddha, 34.5m tall which is covered by a big house, it’s forbidden to take a photo of the Buddha, but here is the house covering it:
In fact we were a little disappointed from the Mogao Caves. It was highlightes as one of the most famous sights on the silk road, but in the end we could only have a look into maybe 5-6 caves. Sure, the history and arts is super impressive and it’s also still in a extraordinary well condition. But we hoped to see way more caves, that’s what we came for. The highlight of the trip was much more the desert-like surrounding:
The next day, we went to the Yadan (雅丹) National Park at the boarder to Xinjiang province, 180km Northwest of Dunhuang.
We took a shared minibus with 2 other ladies from Guangdong province. As usual, we soon became good friends and had a fantastic time together!
Susan is an arts student in Guangdong province, making cartoon movies, her lovely mum works for the army. So be careful!
On the way to the Yadan National Park, we made many stops for other sights. I’ll not go into detail for each spots, since they were not all super interesting. But they definitely made the day more diverse.
The first stop was a park, that showed the life of the ancient Chinese in this area:
I still fail to totally understand the purpose of the second spot, it was somewhere in the nowhere, absolute desert, but we were able to make some gorgeous shots:
We definitely had a great time at the next stop, where, again, was actually nothing much to see, but that obviously belongs to the experience of the Gobi desert!
We even experienced a sandstorm:
The last stop before the Yadan Park was the Han-dynasty Great Wall (101 BC), impressive for its antiquity and lack of restauration. So that was the 5th time to see parts of the Great Wall. Yey!!
In the early evening, we arrived at the Yadan National Park. It’s a former lake bed that eroded in a spectacular fashion some 12,000 years ago. The strange rock formations are really worth worth a visit!
After this experience, we had to say goodbye to Dunhuang and leave Gansu Province, to enter the next Province: Xinjiang.