Ctripper: By plane, by train, by camel

by Intern Diaries
Posted: October 11th, 2010 | Updated: July 25th, 2012 | Comments
Ctrip Ctripper posts come to us directly from the good folks at Ctrip, China's top online travel agency (and proud sponsor of ChinaTravel.net). Stay tuned for Ctrip special offers, travel tips, news on new travel deals, tours and activities, and slices of life-in-China from Ctrip staff and interns. We learn from Becca what a trip to Dunhuang is like.... >>> One of the perks of studying abroad here is that our school plans and subsidizes amazing trips for us.  During our week-long break, I chose to jet off to Gansu province.  After visiting a Tibetan monastery and weathering the 15 hour hard-sleeper train, we arrived in Dunhuang, a dusty little town in the Gobi desert.  The main tourist attraction of Dunhuang is the Mogao caves.  This collection of shrines carved into the mountainside contain beautiful murals and sculptures influenced by many cultures and styles, a result of cross-cultural experience from silk route trading.  The caves also feature the largest indoor Buddha in the world. After a quick lunch, our group set out on the next leg of our journey: CAMEL RIDING!  For three hours!  In the hot desert sun!  To be honest, camels aren’t the smoothest ride, but they are amazing (and surprisingly easy-to-adore) animals.  Camels were one of the first animals to be domesticated (more than 10,000 years ago), can carry as much as 1,000 pounds, and are able to drink 27 gallons of water in 10 minutes. Check out more after the jump ... 

After the camel trek, we arrived at our camping site.  The desert stretched as far as the eye could see in any direction; a backdrop of bright blue, cloudless sky accented the huge sand dunes.  For an even better view (not to mention lower body workout), we climbed to the top of the dunes and sat, breathless, atop a mountain of sand.  I don’t think I’ve ever been someplace with such awe-inspiring beauty.  After feasting on cup noodle as the sun set in the distance, we sat around our bonfire and sung songs, told ghost stories, and watched hundreds of stars appear in the darkened sky.  Though sleeping in desert sand is wretchedly uncomfortable and having to dig your own toilet in sand is a bit challenging, I won’t be regretting my 24 hours in the Gobi anytime soon.

- Becca

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