Shapotou Scenic Area in Zhongwei
Type: Desert park
Best Time to Visit: July to November every year
Chinese Name: 沙坡头九龙湾风景区
Open Hours: 6:00-19:00
Admission Fee: RMB 90
Address:Zhongwei County, Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region（宁夏回族自治区的中卫县）
Shapotou Scenic Area is located in Zhongwei City on the southern rim of the Tenger Desert(腾格里沙漠); it was established in 1984 and covers an area of more than 13,000 square meters. The Zone features landscape, grassland and wild animals unique to Tenger Desert. There are 422 kinds of plants and over 150 kinds of animal living in this golden world. There are many scenic spots in the Shapotou tourist area, which is a combination of vast deserts, rough waves of the Yellow River, tall mountains and green oasis. It not only shows the beautiful scenery of Jiangnan, but also has great scenery in the North of China.
Shapotou was a spectacular desert scenic spot. Lying on the banks of the Yellow River and intersected by a critical freight-line with train carrying goods from Inner-Mongolia to the far reaches of western China, this scenic park is protected by the national government; it is known as the “miracle desert” due to its amazing but haunting beauty. The park offers a wide range of activities; camel-riding, sand-tobogganing, camel riding, and riding down the yellow river on a sheep-hide boat, Shapotou offers limitless excitement.
Features of Shapotou Scenic Area
The boundless desert comes to an abrupt stop here where the onrushing Yellow River takes a sudden turn and runs calmly through. The formidable desert bends over to the river, forming a waterfall-like sand dune some 200 meters high and 2,000 meters wide with a gradient of 60 degrees, which is known as bell tolls at the sandy slope. when you slide down the slope, a resonant noise reverberates like the tolling of a huge bell. In front of the sand dune, the restless Yellow River runs by with gentle waves, a rarely majestic sight that no photographers would miss. The local people have managed to harness the desert by planting grass in chessboard pattern, making Shapotou like bright pearls in the sand sea.
History of Shapotou Scenic Area
In the past, Shapotou was known for its achievements in sand control. The Baolan Railway crosses the desert six times in the Zhongwei territory. Among them, the Shapotou has the largest slope and the wind and sand is the most violent. In order to ensure the smooth flow of the railway and avoid the roads being buried by sand, from the 1950s onwards, wind and sand fixation works were built on both sides of the railway. The project was a success. The giant grass-like grass squares on both sides of the railway were covered with sand plants, and the golden sands turned green waves. The desert section of the Baolan Railway was safe for decades. This sand control achievement has aroused widespread concern in the world of sand control, and many foreign sand control experts have come to visit.
In the 1980s, the tourism department discovered that Shapotou had a unique landscape and built it into a distinctive tourist area.
Attraction of Shapotou Scenic Area
The vastness and unpredictability of the Tengger Desert made it a mysterious veil. It is difficult for people to reveal its true colors, but people always want to reveal its true colors. Since the desert is known as the Bohai Sea, then the “mirage” seen at sea can be seen here, but it depends on whether you have luck or not. As for the “Sand Sunrise”, it does not have a flavor. The golden sun and the golden sand sea are not seen in the blink of an eye. It is indescribable.
The spring here is clear and bright, and it will not dry up in the four seasons; there is also a secluded, natural and quaint garden, which was called the Panwangyuan in ancient times. It is now called Tongjiayuan, which is also a famous attraction in the Shapotou tourist area and the park is full of woods, grassy grasses, streams, and is also known as the “Shiwaitaoyuan(世外桃源)” here.
On the nearly 200-meter-long, 80-meter-high China’s largest sand-sanding field, take a sand-skiing board to skate, and there is a feeling of surfing in the sand sea. It is really impossible to be brave. In particular, between the Dashapo and the banks of the Yellow River, an 800-meter-long high-altitude zip line was set up, which is called “the first cable of the Yellow River in the world”. From here, “flying” the Yellow River, you can enjoy the intense stimulation generated by the moment. If you don’t have the courage, it’s impossible.
How to get to Shapotou from Zhouwei
- Shuttle buses from Zhongwei to Shapotou are available at Zhongwei Bus Station, which takes about 40 minutes.
- There are also minibuses to Shapotou near the Zhongwei Railway Station.
- It costs about 30 Yuan to take a taxi from the urban area of Zhongwei to Shapotou.
Useful Travel Tips
- Be prepared to get to your destination. Including relevant local background information, climate, vegetation, rivers, mountains, villages, roads, etc., respecting objective facts and formulating desert tourism routes, and formulating travel plans within the limits of ensuring life safety.
- Prepare good equipment and adequate supplies. Most of the desert tourism activities are done under walking. Therefore, it is necessary to have considerable physical strength and perseverance. Usually, those who are weak and sick should not participate, so as to avoid accidents.
- In the desert, the temperature difference between day and night is large. In the desert, you should bring enough clothes and drinking water, and prepare common medicines such as eye drops, antibacterial and anti-inflammatory drugs, cold medicines, etc., and eat more fruits. When walking in the desert, you should wear light and breathable high-top sneakers to prevent sand from entering the shoes and affecting walking. It is not suitable for walking at noon in summer, otherwise the surface temperature of the desert is too high, which is easy to heatstroke and sunburn the skin.
- In case of emergency or accident, don’t panic, you must judge the direction correctly. Walking on a vast desert, because the horizon is empty, it is difficult to find a directional reference object, plus undulating sand dunes, tall sand hills and depressions, people generally can not go straight, if not judged, they are waiting for rescue in place.
- Lose the direction in the desert, be sure to pay attention to maintaining “moisture”, one is to save water, the other is to find water, and the third is to use water. In the desert, hot and dry weather is the biggest killer for tourist explorers, and most of the victims of desert adventures are caused by lack of water. Once you are lost in the desert, be sure to have enough, clean water to drink before you get out of the woods. Otherwise, the hope of survival is very slim. In the desert, there is no water on the surface, and it is difficult to dig out water in most areas. But the deserts are mostly basins, and there are also many seasonal rivers.