"Shuangta and the north Gansu plains" Shuangta by mke1963
Shuangta Travel Guide: 2 reviews and 7 photos
Shuangta is anon-descript agricultural town on the Wuwei-Lanzhou railway line, but this is the gateway to the north Gansu plain, where the rich irrigated fields slowly give way to the gravelly plains of the Tengger Shamo desert to the north.
This is an area where visitors from coastal China are rare, let alone foreigners. A visit will elicit a lot of interest from the locals, especially children.
Life here is simple and hard: this is not an area where anyone has many luxuries, and the world of broadband, digital TV, DVDs and branded goods is distant. The locals head for Wuwei to shop, and to Lanzhou to see the bright lights of the modern world (Yes indeed. Lanzhou).
As this area has been on the frontiers of Chinese civilization, the older villages and farmsteads in the area are well fortified, but as much from the wind as from the marauding horse-borne hordes from across the desert.
As is often the case in China, it is very difficult to discover detailed local information whether geographical, historical or cultural.
The Qin Great Wall sweeps through the area, not as one continuous defence, but in a number of curving layers, twisting and turning. It becomes very difficult to tell which is the 'outside' and which is on the 'inside'.
Sadly, there are plenty of places where the Great Wall is being destroyed for walls, irrigation ditches, pipes and farm tracks. In places you can see three separate cuts through the wall within 50 metres: why wasn't it possible to use just the one cut? It is always sad to see such a monumental achievement being wantonly destoyed so easily.
Although the landscape is flat here - the mountains are 15km to the south, this is great walking countryside and the potential for riding is just enormous. The open fields, regular copses and sandy tracks make it a peaceful, interesting place to spend a few days.
- Pros:Beautiful landscapes, charming people
- Cons:Difficult to get there without a car
- In a nutshell:Gansu at its best
The link is to a general topographic map of the area, as local maps are impossible to find. Note that Wuwei is just off... more travel advice
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