Pat & Richard's Adventures in Central Asia travel blog

Sheepskin rafts

Richard sandboarding

Pat coming in to land after crossing the Yellow River on the...

Zhongwei Gao Miou Temple

Hell at the temple

After a couple of days in Pingliang again, on Sunday we travelled to Shapotou, on the edge of the Tengger Desert, and visited China's version of Disneyland.

It wasn't really like Disneyland - it was a fun park on the banks of the Yellow River, where you could drift down the river on sheepskin rafts (full sheep skins inflated and tied under rafts), slide down the dunes on toboggans, ride camels or zip across the river on a huge flying fox or on a hang glider attached to wires. The sandboarding was not as good as in South America, the sand was a bit damp and a lot of the toboggans came down really slowly or even stopped on the way down. The zip line and the hang glider were good fun. We spent the morning there, then got back on the truck for the trip into our next stop, Yinchuan.

Yinchuan is a town of around 1.5 million and right across the road from our hotel was the Zhongwei Gao Miou Temple complex. This temple has an old bomb shelter underneath it which has been converted into a kind of Buddhist Madame Tussauds, with displays of what will happen to you in hell, complete with canned screams and moans in the background. Very eerie. The temple itself is a maze of buildings connected by bridges, not sure how old it is but it would be centuries. We spent quite a bit of time wandering round and taking photos of the buildings and the Buddha statues.

Then it was out for tea - a very interesting meal of chicken feet and inedible beef kebabs, plus a few other dishes that were OK. Plus their own beer!

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