Global Mark : 13.28
Ratings by criteria :
Ratings by backpackers :
Description : A little town with an unusual temple, unusual
surroundings scenery and unusual relax atmosphere...
Comments : This place has been blessed by the travelers' gods :
great temple, great scenery, great food, great accommodations and great people !
What to do : Check all the corners, rooms and divinities of the
amazing temple / See where sand dunes meet the river and farm fields / Slide
down the dunes or ride camel on them / Walk the superb greenery corridor between the
river and the desert / Descend the river on leather boat / Eat too much at the
night market / Relax in your comfortable room
What you may not like : The motorcycle drivers' eagerness to take
you to the desert sights / The unimpressive dunes if you come from Dunhuang / The horn of the vehicles which contrast with the
otherwise very laid back atmosphere of the place / The tourism development at
Shapotou (karaoke and cable car at your service...)
How long ? One day is unfortunately enough...
Where to stay ?
Zhongtie Binguan (7031 948),
on the left when you exit the Train station / Dorm 15(4) without bathroom
/ Bed 28(3) or 40(2) with bathroom / OK toilets / No common shower / HW
24 hrs // Go there for the great rooms
with great bathrooms at great prices (especially after negotiation). / What you
may not like : the noise from the busy street and railway station, the
absence of common shower
Railway Hotel (701 1441), just opposite
the above / Bed 20(3) or 30(2) with bathroom / Sgl 60 with bathroom / HW 24 hrs // Go there for the same reasons as
above plus cheaper "official" prices / What you may not like : idem except that all the rooms here have
Zhongwei Fandian (710 2219),
400m from the Station on Bei Dajie / Dorm 13(4), 18(3), 22-25(2) without bath /
Sgl without bath 35 / Bed 32(3) or 35(2) with bath / Bad toilets /
Common shower / HW 20:30 to 24 // Go there for the cheapest rate
in town, the nice big rooms with bath, the view toward the temple in some of the
rooms, the relative quietness,... / What you may not like : the sanitary
Dongguan Fandian (701 2364), opposite the bus station, in the station for
minibus, east side of the town / Dorm 15(3) without bath / 28 or 30 in Dbl with bath or shower's
bathroom / Bad toilets / Common shower of the minibus station outside / HW on request
there if you arrive at the bus Station and are lazy to walk
20mn to the Train Station and the
comfortable rooms. / What you may not like : the noise from the bus station and the inconvenience to walk it half-naked
to go to the shower place.
What to see/visit :
Arguably one of the most
original and nicest temple in China. First built during the 15th century, it
remains a place of worship for the three main religions
(Buddhism, Confucianism and Taoism), all housed under the
The best way to go would be to
take a minibus heading to Gantang from the Bus Station as they use the fast road
next to the railway, arrive within 30mn, fill up faster and leave you at the top
of the dunes for a panoramic view...
After you visited the touristy and karaoke areas, walk the beautiful fields toward east (pass the gate and walk
straight for 45mn, until one village where you need to turn right), on the road
used by the minibus to/from Shapotou. Calculate your timing so that the bus
catch up with you when the road start to loose its interest, after around one
hour walk (allow more time for side walks in the greenery or sand dunes).
Buses leave the touristy area at 8:10, 9:30, 12, 14, 16:30 & 18:30
and take one hour to reach Zhongwei via small villages on a bumpy road.
Where to eat ? Whatever you do during the day,
you have to spend the evening at the night market ! There, you will find
excellent dishes, great choice, big portions and remarkably low prices (3Y for
a huge plate of pasta or a filling hotpot with meat)
Note : Bus to Gantang via
The trip to Yinchuan : Train / SS / Y13 / 3 hours
There is no need to buy the
ticket in advance as seats are not reserved. Instead, it is better to buy it
last minute after checking that the train is not delayed... After all the
passengers extinguished their cigarettes, the ride was as usual in
trains : smooth, comfortable and slow. The train station in Yinchuan is in the new city,
7km from the old city, the bus station and the best hotel so if you plan to
spend a night in Yinchuan, taking an early bus from Zhongwei also make sense...
See also trip from