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Shapotou - Mystery of Desert

Shapotou

Shapotou (shā pō tóu 沙坡头), situated in Zhongwei (zhōng wèi 中卫) County, lies on the north bank of the Yellow Riverwhere it crosses the southeastern border of the Tengger Desert (téng gé lǐ shā mò 腾格里沙漠). Administratively it falls under Ningxia Hui Autonomous (níng xià huí zú zì zhì qū 宁夏回族自治区) Region-some 150 km (93 miles) south of Yinchuan City (yín chuān shì 银川市). Shapotou Tourism Area is regarded as one of the five most beautiful deserts in China, and is widely recognized as the Capital of Sand. Standing on the sand hill, one can see the desert extending to the north, and to the south, a boundless oasis. Both the grandeur of the north of China and the elegance of the south come together in this lovely place. Map

The Yellow River Drift
Yellow River DriftFloating along the Yellow River on a sheepskin raft*-the most unpretentious of vehicles-is something of a special thrill. The feat requires great courage, but this does not mean that it is unsafe. Experienced boatmen will make sure that you cannot only sense the excitement but also enjoy the fascinating scenery along the way. The ruins of a part of the Great Wall built in the Ming Dynasty (míng cháo 明朝) (1368-1644) are there, as is the site of ancient waterwheels-an image of the Yellow River culture.
 
* When a sheep is killed the locals will remove the skin and skillfully make a balloon out of it. A number of these balloons are strung together to form a buoyant base for a floor of bamboos. This sheepskin raft may look flimsy, but it is eminently safe.
 
Sand Slide
Sand SlideShapotou International Sand Slide Center is the biggest natural sand slide field in China. It is also one of China's Four Sounding Sand Fields. It has a length of about 1000 meters (about 1094 yards), a height of over 100 meters (about 109 yards) and a slope of 60 degrees. When the weather is fine, people sliding down the sand hill can hear the sound of sand underneath them, for all the world like tolling bells. It is adventurous, breathtaking, strange and heady experience-not designed for the weakness of heart.
 
Yellow River Cableway Slide
Cableway SlideThe cableway slide across the Yellow River at Shapotou has won fame as the First Yellow River Cableway Slide. The cableway here is 820 meters (about 897 yards) long, 54 meters (about 59 yards) high above the water and the slide is at an average speed of 8 m/s (about 26 feet per second). The cableway at Shapotou is unique in China, in that it depends totally on gravity to set it in motion. 
 
Besides, tourists can enjoy the beauty and mystery of the desert from the vantage point of a camel's back. Sunset on the Yellow River and sunrise in the desert are particularly memorable. One can spend an evening in a Mongolian camp or sit by a bonfire enjoying an ethnic-style performance or even take part in a dance. If one prefers a more gentle experience, one can take a yacht along the Yellow River and visit the show of local sand-controlling achievements.
      Sand ViewCableway Slide ProgramCamel Riding
 
Travel Tips 
1. From the Yinchuan bus station at the South Gate, buses to Zhongwei depart once an hour and arrive in about three hours. In addition, direct buses to Shapotou and the High Temple are also available in this bus station as well as in the tourism bus station at the North Gate.

2. Zhongwei Bus Station is located in Chengdong Dajie (chéng dōng dà jiē 城东大街), Shapotou District. Otherwise, the High Temple is near the railway station, from which the temple can be reached by foot.  
Last Updated on Thursday, 28 October 2010 02:45
 

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