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Desert greening in North China brings tourism to once-dead land

Updated: Aug 16,2018 10:12 AM

It has been heavily discussed how efforts have turned parts of Kubuqi Desert, in North China’s Inner Mongolia autonomous region, green. But we wanted to convey a more realistic feeling about the changes brought to the area.

The first successful attempts to achieve desert control were made in Kubuqi desert, and now parts of this barren land have been converted to tourist sites.

If you want to experience sandy adventures, without worrying about ending up in the middle of nowhere, then Kubuqi Desert could be your destination.

Locals have spent more than 30 years fighting the expansion of desert, and successfully “trapped” sand dunes, turning them into a resort.

Tourists can ride camels, taste Mongolian-style lamb, watch local performances, and simply enjoy the view between sand dunes and oasis.

At night, fireworks light up the starry sky. The Chinese are the first people to discover gunpowder, which was mainly used for fireworks instead of firearms. The decades-long tradition has granted locals a special gift at creating appalling firework shows.

One of the resorts, Xiangshawan, received nearly one million visitors in 2017, reportedly with a disposable income that is higher than the country’s average.

A hotel built in the middle of the desert costs $270 per night.

“One of the reasons we price things high is the operational cost,” a waiter at the hotel told CGTN. “We use customized vehicles to ship supplies from the outside.”

Though locals have built farms around the desert, it’s still impossible to grow crops.

“But that’s the beauty of it,” the waiter said. “You cannot find a similar place elsewhere in China. So you have to come.”