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Kaluts- The Lut Desert- Iran

In 2012 near the start of my journey along the Silk route between Istanbul in Turkey and China, I spent a month in Iran. A beautiful country and actually very hospitable people. Following the journey of Alexandra the Great to Persepolis, or next stop was the Lut desert to see the amazing sand formations known as "Kaluts". The Kalut is said to a sand mountain created by the effect of the dominant erosional agent in desert, i.e., wind making fascinating forms and shapes.

There are no threats, like scorpions or snakes, as the desert of Lut is an abiotic zone, which means that no single plant or creature can survive in such a harsh environment.

Rising from the sand dunes, these natural and astonishing sculptures are a real shock to your eyeballs and, while walking among them, you are likely to feel you are wandering around Mars or even better, a Star wars film set.

Posted by TheJohnsons 08:32 Archived in Iran Tagged mountains sky desert sunset view nature landscape canyon travel mountain golden sand summer sun hill red rock stone formation scenic land hot yellow natural east dry asia tourism geology iran kerman persia outdoor esfahan formations tehran persian kashan yazd iranian foggy misty massive background hottest lut kalut kaluts shahdat kalutes Comments (0)

Fairytale canyon "Skazka" Каньон "Сказка"

During my two month visit to Kyrgyzstan, a good amount of my time was spent in the beautiful Lake Issi Kul area.

Moving along the south coast of Issyk-Kul lake from Karakol town, before you reach the small village named Kadji-Sai, you have an opportunity to get into the most beautiful mountain landscapes.

The canyon was named because of its bizarre rocky landscape, which for many years has been transformed by erosion into amazing sculptures and formations. Some formations look like The Great Wall of China and you can also find other formations that look like snakes, dragons, sleeping giants and even whole castles. From the canyon you can see a majestic panorama of Lake Issyk-Kul and snow caped mountains.

Dedicated to my dear Photographer Compatriot; Natalia Arentseva!
This would make a great place for a photo shoot!

You can see Natalia's work here ; https://www.facebook.com/photographynataliaarantseva/

Posted by TheJohnsons 20:55 Archived in Kyrgyzstan Tagged mountains trees sky architecture tower view nature landscape canyon travel mountain trekking lake scenery blue building woods summer beautiful red castle romantic rock old medieval scenic forest land attraction yellow natural asia gorge tourism geology german landmark orange fairy european tale bavarian bayern kyrgyzstan fantasy fairy-tale issyk-kul fairytale skazka fuessen Comments (0)

The Big Year Out-Yumen Pass or The Jade Gate

In 2012 I took the minivans that do the trip out to the Jade Gate on the historic Silk route. Everyone had to go through here to access either China or the Central Asia continent and beyond into Europe. This is where my Silk Route Journey finished and my South East Asia Trip began.

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Posted by TheJohnsons 20:35 Archived in China Tagged sky architecture water desert tower view nature landscape history travel vacation province scenery china blue building famous sand heritage hill castle rock stone old road historical scenic yellow sunny wall dry antique ancient tourism historic chinese outdoor gate landmark pass silk dynasty jade ruin gobi han dunhuang gansu yumen fangpa Comments (0)

The Big Year Out- Yardang National GeoPark 2

Dunhuang Yardang National Geopark is sited in China's Gansu Province, 108 kilometers (67 miles) to the northwest of Dunhuang city. It extends 25 kilometers (15 miles) from east to west and 13 kilometers (8 miles) from north to south. The park is well-known for Yardang landscape, which is a typical wind erosion landform. Yardang in Uygur language means a small mound with steep walls. The area contains 77 ruins and huge rocks formations in sculpted shapes. These images are from my visit in 2012 on my silk route journey, which finished at the Jade Gate in China. Music credits to:Intentions Anno Domini Beats free under creative commons licence and from You tube music library

Posted by TheJohnsons 01:22 Archived in China Tagged sky desert sunset nature park landscape travel mountain china blue summer sun beautiful light national west rock land northwest destination yellow natural far gold tourism chinese geology erosion outdoor landmark cloud orange geography outdoors surreal gobi vast dramatic isolated dunhuang landform gansu stunning geological geopark yardang barren yadan landforms Comments (0)

The Big Year Out-Dunhuang Yardang National GeoPark

Dunhuang Yardang National Geopark is sited in China's Gansu Province, 108 kilometers (67 miles) to the northwest of Dunhuang city. It extends 25 kilometers (15 miles) from east to west and 13 kilometers (8 miles) from north to south. The park is well-known for Yardang landscape, which is a typical wind erosion landform. Yardang in Uygur language means a small mound with steep walls. The area contains 77 ruins and huge rocks formations in sculpted shapes. These images are from my visit in 2012 on my silk route journey, which finished at the Jade Gate in China.

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Posted by TheJohnsons 21:18 Archived in China Tagged sky desert sunset nature park landscape travel mountain china blue summer sun beautiful light national west rock land northwest destination yellow natural far gold tourism chinese geology erosion outdoor landmark cloud orange geography outdoors surreal gobi vast dramatic isolated dunhuang landform gansu stunning geological geopark yardang barren yadan landforms Comments (0)

The Big Year Out -Hotan Nr. Taklamakan Desert


View The Big Year Out & Photos of us & Transport and bookings on TheJohnsons's travel map.

large_1842667_1348816681770.jpgIn the Peoples sq. Mao with local heroHotan- please note that there is more to come on Hotan [Hotan-travel-guide-221834]!!!!Just posting what I can when I can as internet is so hard to access in the western side.

Our 6hr bus journey from Yarkand [Yarkand-travel-guide-1335370] to Hotan was pretty uneventful. We got onto our bus at the Yarkand bus terminal, again helped by friendly local terminal staff. Same routine, bags away and seated we found ourselves on a bus full of mostly young people on their way back to College/University in Hotan. This journey was to skirt the southern side of theTaklamakanDesert. Only stops we experienced were the obligatory police check points, where everybody had to get off the bus to have their ID checked, as soon as they saw our passports we were waved through.large_1842667_13488166816540.jpgsome of the first modernity we saw!How nice, as I had visions of having to take out all our bags and empty everything and have passport details filled out in triplicate in Chinese and then having to sign it or something. Nope, just waved straight through. The second one was a very punctual and on the dot for three hour wee stop. Most of the young men seemed to use it primarily as a smoke stop. I followed two of the girls to the “facilities”, which were the usual drop toilets. Not the best, but hey! When you gotta go, you gotta go!

The scenery on the way to Hotan started with lots of green, mostly maize and sunflowers, lined with trees. Then we hit Desert, Long and very flat and very very barren desert. Sometimes just for fun you would see a giant Chinese cement factory stuck in the middle of nowhere billowing out dust and smoke, surrounded by small very harsh looking settlements for workers.large_1842667_13488166828771.jpgPeoples park is very busy with families and , People in the evenings, such a nice atmosphereFollowed by even more dramatic flatlands with small scrub, again temperatures were hot I guess they must have been in the high eighties and I was glad of the air con on the bus.

We arrived in Hotan around5.45pmand this time we did our homework on the Binguans. Our choice was right next to the bus station. Jiaotong Binguan, registered to take tourists, clean and cheap, well within our budget anyway, we paid 160rb for a twin room with own bathroom, western WC and shower.

It was time to get bearings on this larger town, so out we went in search of “Marcos” as per LP. I know I said I wouldn’t do that, but we did. After a very interesting walk through the markets and down thoughtfully placed subways (traffic here is not for the feint hearted) we found Marcos, we had read in LP that the staff spoke good English and this time LP got it right and they did! We were welcomed in and served very tasty food along with some help with our plans for our visits around Hotan.large_1842667_1348816682511.jpgDesert is so close to Hotan, just 20mins drive away.(See review). After our meal we walked to the peoples park, where there is a huge statue of Mao with a local Uighar man who had journeyed to se him and was honoured as this is one of only three statues of Mao with anyone else (see pics) the friezes were stunning around the base too. The park was full of people of all ages, mostly families enjoying themselves with their children and so many playing volleyball type games or just encouraging their very young ones to play too. I did comment to Angela how there seemed to be so many red paper lanterns around the edge of the park, I suppose I thought that sort of thing was just for tourists, but as we had not seen one other single tourist so far, I wasn’t sure.

We walked back to our hotel by the bus station, we needed to plan our net couple of days and already knew we were going to the Bazaar the following morning, well lunchtime as no one gets up early on a Sunday.

Bazaar day!

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Posted by TheJohnsons 23:42 Archived in China Tagged sky architecture desert nature landscape history travel mountain adventure fall scenery china blue golden a sand no day one west wilderness old scenic northwest dune yellow natural dry asia gold tourism horizon clean outdoor dust gobi extreme pure xinjiang wide background level dunhuang terrain gansu unmanned transparent taklamakan barren boundless Comments (0)

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