Baotou: Taking a Train to the Gobi Desert

The Gobi Desert had been on my bucket list since I was a kid. Last year I realized it had been a while since I’d been to a desert, so when my parents invited me to join them on a trip to China, which would involve stopping at the Gobi Desert in Inner Mongolia, I jumped at the opportunity. 

We made our way from Xian to Boutou by train, stopping every now and then at a city or town for a day or two. We reached Baotou late in the afternoon, and by the time we had settled into our hotel rooms, it was evening and dinner time. We set out in search of grub, but due to language barriers couldn’t figure out what most restaurants were serving. Thankfully we came across a place run by an industrious lady who figured out a way to communicate through sign language. It was a Mongolian barbecue, and by far one of the best meals we had on that trip. It starts with a giant metal bowl in which you put everything you want to eat: noodles, tofu, seafood, meat, veggies, the works. It is weighed, paid for and then taken away to the kitchen. The whole bunch comes back cooked and oozing with sauces and what tasted like generous heaps of five spice powder and chilies.



The next day we set off into the desert. This was perhaps the most adventurous part, the sand dunes can be quite bumpy! We were given coverings for our shoes to protect them from the sand, but I abandoned them after a while for the sake of pretty Instagram photos.



The trip ended with a visit to these gorgeous Bactrian Camels!



I was absolutely terrified of getting on one, but once I mustered up the courage to, it was quite fun!



Note: While planning our trip, my family realized it made more sense for us to visit the Gobi desert in Inner Mongolia, China, rather than in Mongolia. This is mainly due to 2 reasons. First, my parents didn’t want to venture too far out into the wild away from the city. Secondly, and perhaps most importantly, tours of the Gobi in Mongolia turned out to be far too expensive. However, this did mean that we only got to the edge of the Gobi Desert, as opposed to being deep in it.

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One thought on “Baotou: Taking a Train to the Gobi Desert

  1. I’d like to see the Gobi desert. Interestingly, there is a Mongolian grill near my old apartment and i used to go there every now and then. I liked the idea of filling up your bowl with stuff you like and then someone cooks it for you.
    I’ve also never ridden a camel. Maybe i can do both at the same time. I have an Iraqi friend who lives in Abu Dhabi. He has been asking me to visit. Maybe i can kill three birds with one stones if i visit him.
    I like your style of writing. It seems very fluid.

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