By the banks of the Yellow River 16km west of Zhongwei, SHAPOTOU is a tourist resort whose main pleasure is in the contrast between the leafy, shady banks of the river, and the harsh desert that lies just beyond. The resort is a Disneyfied place, with cafés, outdoor restaurants and various activities on hand – ferry rides, ziplines over the river, sand-sledding and camel rides. There’s very little shade, so bring a hat and sunscreen. There are two main entrances, one to the south, and another high up to the north; the latter is preferable, since from here you can slide down a huge sand dune to get to the main resort area. Most people come on a day-trip, but you can easily spend an enjoyable night here.

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