The Badain Jaran Desert

The Badain Jaran Desert (Mongolian) or Badan Jilin Shamo 巴丹吉林沙漠 (Chinese) is dessert a landscape copied and pasted straight from the ancient tales of Chinese mythology. Humongous sand dunes, herds of wild Bactrian camels, shimmering lakes and a gold roof temples dot this spectacular and mysterious land.

The Badain Jaran Desert
The Badain Jaran Desert

Bayan Hot to Alashan Youqi: Long and Hot!

Desert Landscape near Alashan youqi 阿拉善右旗的沙漠风景 Our Destination

The new bus station looks a lot like an airport terminal and there isn’t much in it yet. The bus, however, does leave on time (7.20 am) and that’s the main thing. It fills up completely, of course, and our seats are quite far to the back, but overall it’s ok.

Bus to Alashan youqi
Our Bus

We start off on the brand-new motorway we had been on yesterday – and it’s still empty – but soon we turn onto an older road. All around us there is an ugly, greyish desert and lots of empty space.

Journey from Bayan Hot to Alashan Youqi
The road

The only exotic element is provided by the camels of which we now see whole herds, on both sides of the road.

Journey from Bayan Hot to Alashan Youqi
More camelos

Can there be too many Camels?

In fact, there are so many that even their exoticness wears off eventually. Toilet stops are few and far between and usually on the primitive side: often there is no toilet, just a bush, dip or hollow to hide behind or in, which is preferable because it’s cleaner.

Continue reading “The Badain Jaran Desert”

Yinchuan to Bayan Khot via Guangzong Si

The Route of 2011, Stage 4: by Margie

Yinchuan银川 to Bayan Khot (or Alashan Zouqi 阿拉善左旗) via Guangzong Si 广宗寺, or Nan Si南寺
Yinchuan to Bayan Khot  via Guangzong Si Roaming Camels Near Bayan Khot
Roaming Camels Near Bayan Khot

Stage 3: Yinchuan (银川) and around

Stage 5: Bayan Khot to Alashan Youqi and the Badain Jaran Desert

Yinchuan to Bayan Khot via Guangzong Si

Yinchuan to Bayan Khot via Guangzong Si is one of those out of the way routes that you will never forget. All along the journey you will be accompanied by remnants of the Great Wall, lonely watchtowers, camels and an unknown Mongolian Monastery; not to mention the amazing landscape.

.

Taxi to Bayan Hot by the Great Wall
Taxi to Bayan Khot

Our driver has agreed to take us all the way to Bayan Khot via Guangzong Si (once one of the most important monasteries in Mongolia) for 300 Yuan; or at least that’s what we think … We have managed to get up reasonably early and are making good progress.

Great Wall Ningxia
The Great Wall

The Wild Wall in Ningxia

The Great Wall Ningxia

The first highlight of the day is when we suddenly catch sight of the ruins of the Great Wall! This is the real thing: unrestored, without tickets, souvenir stalls, or people. It is just standing there, defiant, majestic, having weathered so many centuries.

Great Wall Ningxia
Great Wall

Of course, there’s not much left of it, it’s been reduced to a crumbling pinkish pile of earth, riddled with holes. But we don’t mind, we’re just thrilled to be there.

Continue reading “Yinchuan to Bayan Khot via Guangzong Si”