Gao Miao Zhongwei. I love the Gao Miao temple in Zhongwei. It may not be the oldest and most venerable temple in China; it may not have the most intricate murals, paintings and statues, but it certainly is one of the most atmospheric and photogenic places I’ve been to!
For a start, this temple can show you both Heaven and Hell.
Sikou Scenic Area / 寺口风景区 /Zhongwei; Ningxia Province 2011
Margie and I looked at each other, looked at the dodgy hanging bridge disappearing into the mist, remembered having seen some missing wooden planks from below and decided no, this definitely wasn’t worth it!
A park ranger offered us a harness, but even that failed to convince us and, apologetically, we beat a hasty retreat.
The Sikou Scenic Area is a striking area of sandstone gorges. It’s a fantastic place if you love clambering over rocks and don’t suffer from vertigo. If your idea of fun is getting pleasure from clinging on to rusty chains as you scramble along narrow paths, with only a flimsy railing separating you from an abyss of several hundred meters, then Sikou is for you.
The highlight of a visit to Sikou is crossing the gorge on a near 100- meter long, swaying suspension bridge, a precarious looking structure, made of rusty cables and wooden planks, many of which are missing. I imagine the views must be spectacular, weather permitting.
There is something unreal about Shapotou沙坡头. It should be, and probably once was, a remote outpost. Geographically, it is still a place of stark contrasts, where the harsh sands of the Tengger Desert are halted by irrigated fields; where lush green is separated from sparkling yellow by a dramatic bend in the Yellow river; and all of this comes with remnants of the Great Wall for added lustre.
It sounds like something straight out of Indiana Jones. That is, until you arrive at the massive tourist reception center and ticket office and then realize you´ve landed in China’s number one desert tourist hot spot where Walt Disney meets Lawrence of Arabia.