During the night it wasn’t so cold in our tents and super warm sleeping bags but in the morning the Russian Mafia coat required again. We watched the sun rise from the small sand hill, another beautiful moment before eating our breakfast of bread and fruit. It was not long after waking in the morning that we were back on our camels to leave, while we watched sunrise the guides packed up the camping things and that was that. The camel trek back was just as beautiful, the colours on the sand dunes amazing but it was not long before we were brought back to the city and reality.
Our train was due to depart at 130am ish so we had the whole day, annoyingly the trains heading west departed from LiuYuan which was 130km from Dunhuang and the latest taxi we could get left at 8. That basically wrote out the night market unfortunately. I still wanted to visit the famous Mogao caves (must-see for Silk Road tour) and although Ben didn’t the German boys did. They needed to book tickets and wanted to shower first so while they did that I checked out some more of the town and it really is such a beautiful town. I met them back at Charlies (the owner is so friendly we used her café like a home for two days) and together we took taxi’s to the caves. It took a little longer to get there than we thought it was going to then we had to walk to the ticket office while he had dropped us off at the furthest part of the carpark away from where we wanted to be. Then the queue to buy the tickets was big so by the time all this added up we missed the 12o’clock English tour and had to wait until 2o’clock for the next one. We took this time to eat lunch, it was erm… not the best meal I have had China vacations. Anyway by the time we had finished lunch, took a few photos and walked down to where the caves were it was not far off 2o’clock.
The caves were caves in a sense but not caves as you would automatically think. They were underground but king of built into a mountain side so on the outside there were stairs and steel doors that you accessed them through. There are only around 40caves open to the public all the other 700 or so are permanently closed in order to protect them, you can’t take photos inside them as this will slowly destroy the paintings. There were 8 of us on the tour and although the guide spoke good English she had learnt a script very very well! There was only me that spoke native English and some of the English words she used I have never even heard been used, I just know they must be English; this made it really difficult for the others to follow. She took us around quite a few caves and they were all unique and interesting, many of them had been painted and re-painted over hundreds of years, one had the second largest Budda in it in China (and it was pretty big!) another told a story from that time in history. I found the paintings really impressive, how they painted on roofs with every picture the exact same like they did I have no idea but the artwork inside them is amazing. Each time in Chinese history has a different type of art and the caves were all very different.
After the tour we headed back for dinner, we wanted to try and fit a visit to Cress Lake in before 8o’clock and it all seemed possible. All until the point when we realised it would cost us 120rmb to get into the lake and then if you actually wanted to do anything in there you had to pay extra. In the end I met up with Ben and we found the night market for an hour. We were surprised by how expensive the BBQ’s were 5-10 times more expensive than in Baiyin.
The time spent in Dunhuang (famous travel destination for China vacation deals) was truly amazing but I just wish I could have had one more day there! There is so much to see and do there and we only touched on it. But we had to keep going, our train tickets were booked and we had to be back for school.
Dunhuang for me was the part of the trip I was looking most forward to, we just had to get there. I was only around 5hours by train from Jiayuguan but the train times were all really stupid times. In the end our train was supposed to depart around 5am infact it was delayed and departed just before 7 and even then became further delayed so we eventually arrived around noon.
Welcome to FC2!