“Throw your dreams into space like a kite, and you do not know what it will bring back, a new life, a new friend, a new love, a new country...” - Anaïs Nin.
Day 05: 26 May 2013
DUN HUANG - HAMI
|(The train just arrived in Dun Huang)|
|(Dun Huang New Train Station)|
We were met by Jak when we arrived at the new Dun Huang Train Station at 07:46 and were transferred to a Muslim restaurant for a hearty breakfast and a quick freshening-up.
|(Steaming Lamb Noodle Soup)|
Dun Huang is a county-level city in north western Gansu province, Western China. It was a major stop on the ancient Silk Road. It was also known at times as Shāzhōu, or 'City of Sands', or 'Dukhan' as the Turks call it.
|(Dun Huang City Landmark)|
At Dun Huang, the Silk Road forked, skirting the treacherous Taklimakan Desert and forcing caravans to choose between the northern and southern routes. Fear of the perilous open desert inspired merchants and pilgrims to construct cave shrines to ensure safe passage. Situated at a strategic point along the Silk Route, at the crossroads of trade as well as religious, cultural and intellectual influences, the cave sanctuaries in Mogao are famous for their statues and wall paintings, spanning 1,000 years of Buddhist art.
|(The entrance to the sand dunes)|
|(The start point to explore the sand dunes)|
After breakfast we visited the Singing Sand Dunes and the Crescent Moon Lake. The Singing Sand Dune (Mingsha Hill) and the Crescent Moon Lake (Crescent Spring) are twin sisters of natural beauty in the wild Gobi Desert. Mingsha Hill and Crescent Spring scenic spots are 7 km away from downtown Dun Huang and cover a total area of around 200 square km.
|(Singing Sand Dunes Signage)|
|(A camel caravan)|
|(My pretty, obedient, double-hump camel).|
The dune is piled up with sand in five colors of red, yellow, green, black and white. The so-called singing sand creates sounds like the sound from traditional Chinese music instruments when people tread or slide on the surface of the sand. The group took a leisure camel ride to the top of the sand dune and down to the nearby Crescent Spring.
|(The Crescent Spring)|
|(A beautiful oasis in the middle of the desert)|
Crescent Spring is at the northern foot of the Mingsha Hill and is 118 meters from east to west and 25 meters from south to north. The water is 5 meters deep. The crescent-like lake is surrounded by the sand but never buried by it. The water in the lake is very clear all year around.
|(The entrance to Dun Huang Mosque)|
|(The Dun Huang Mosque)|
We had a short visit to the Luminous Glass factory and later went to Dun Huang Mosque. As the mosque is under renovation, we performed our prayers in the temporary hall next to the mosque.
At the restaurant, we met with Joyce, our tour guide for the next 3 days and had our lunch. By 15:00 we started our travel by bus to Hami and enjoyed the scenic desert view along the way or take a nap when the view became monotonous.
|(A traveler's hat in the Gobi Desert)|
|(Standing in the middle of the desert road)|
|(Dramatic clouds and cross winds)|
|(A deco on the wall at Hami Hotel)|