Shapotou Desert Scenic Area

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Shapotou Desert Scenic Area

Standing on the sand hill, you 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.

Situated in Zhongwei County, Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region, Shapotou Scenic Zone is regarded as one of the five most beautiful deserts in China, and is widely recognized as the Capital of Sand. Shapotou lies on the north bank of the Yellow River where it crosses the southeastern border of the Tengger Desert.

Floating 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. 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. 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 (1368 - 1644) are there, as is the site of ancient waterwheels - an image of the Yellow River culture. Sunset on the Yellow River and sunrise in the desert are particularly memorable. Besides, you can enjoy the beauty and mystery of the desert from the vantage point of a camel's back. On the foot of the dune, there is a verdant oasis, known as the bright pearl of the sand sea, which supplies you with such fruit as jujubes, grapes, peaches, apples and pears.

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