Sha-po-tou Desert

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Sha-po-tou desert, Ningxia Province, China

Click here for Vivian's description of our 2003 vacation in Ningxia.

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Sha-po-tou started in the 1950's as a research project, trying to find a way to keep the desert from covering nearby railroad tracks. The project was so successful that it received UN recognition, and over the years tourists have found out that you can also have a lot of fun here!

(Above) Andrew makes his way through the Tenger Desert sand dunes toward a Mongolian hut.

(Below left) Four travelers (and our guide, who shared a camel with Andrew) on the Silk Road

After 45 minutes in the dunes, our camels dropped us for a delicious lamb lunch at a replica Silk Road pit-stop. You can rent these nearby "yurts" overnight, but we chose the hotel on the Yellow River instead (it is just over the hill--and came with plumbing!).

Our hotel was on the river below. The chair lift takes you up a huge sand hill (the camels, train tracks, and desert research station are at the top of the hill). When you are ready to come down, just take a sand sled! It was really a blast, especially if you had the guts NOT to use the brakes! This is Vivian's decent (right). On Michael's second drop he lost control, to the delight of our spectators!

Michael's "sheepskin" helped make him a good teacher, but that's nothing compared to THIS. A dozen inflated sheep skins are the only thing that keeps these people out of the Yellow River! Was it fun? Just look at Andrew's face!

It rained briefly every evening while we were there, and after one marvelous storm we saw this rainbow. Contrary to what one would expect, the climate was pleasant, even without air conditioning. They said we came at the perfect time of the year. One night, we even shared dinner with a young Jr. High English teacher and her husband. We really had a wonderful two days--river view, camel rides, rafting, sand sleds, chairlift, dune buggies, an air canon for Andrew, and more!  

(Rainbow photo and those with date stamps were taken by our Scottish companion, Alistair.)

See more vacation photos by clicking "Ningxia" below, and click here for Vivian's description of our vacation.

The Chinese-language website for Ningxia is

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