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A Lotus in the Desert: China's Xiangshawan Resort

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In the Xiangshawan Desert, a remote stretch of dunes in Inner Mongolia, about 350 miles west of Beijing, an architectural lotus recently blossomed: the Desert Lotus Hotel. The hotel is part of a new resort built amid a vast sea of sand dunes, increasingly popular with Chinese tourists. The resort hosts Mongolian-themed performances, camel rides, desert surfing, and more. Xiangshawan is also known as the "Resonant Sand Gorge", as the composition of its dunes make them "singing sands", which can produce a roaring or booming sound when disturbed, a natural phenomenon still not fully understood. Getty Images photographer Feng Li spent a few days at the resort last month, returning with the following images from Xiangshawan. [28 photos]

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The Desert Lotus Hotel in Xiangshawan Desert, also called Resonant Sand Gorge in Ordos, Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region, China, on July 19, 2013. Xiangshawan is in the Kubuqi Desert, a small section of the Gobi Desert about 350 miles (563 km) west of Beijing. Visitors sliding down 110-meter-high, 45-degree sand hills, cause the "singing sands" to produce a roaring or booming sound, a natural phenomenon still not fully understood. The hotel is part of a larger tourist resort built in the desert in recent years. (Feng Li/Getty Images)
The Desert Lotus Hotel in Xiangshawan Desert, also called Resonant Sand Gorge in Ordos, Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region, China, on July 19, 2013. Xiangshawan is in the Kubuqi Desert, a small section of the Gobi Desert about 350 miles (563 km) west of Beijing. Visitors sliding down 110-meter-high, 45-degree sand hills, cause the "singing sands" to produce a roaring or booming sound, a natural phenomenon still not fully understood. The hotel is part of a larger tourist resort built in the desert in recent years. (Feng Li/Getty Images)
The Desert Lotus Hotel, among the dunes of the Xiangshawan Desert, seen via Google Earth. The looped lines at left are train tracks for a small tourist ride. (© DigitalGlobe / Google, Inc.) #
Dancers perform yoga in the Xiangshawan Desert, in Ordos, Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region, on July 20, 2013. (Feng Li/Getty Images) #
A model in Mongolian-themed costume prepares backstage after a Mongolian ritual ceremony at the Xiangshawan Resort, on July 19, 2013. (Feng Li/Getty Images) #
Tourists ride through the dunes of the Xiangshawan Desert, on July 18, 2013. (Feng Li/Getty Images) #
Toursits visit the open space of the Xiangshawan Desert, on July 21, 2013. (Feng Li/Getty Images) #
A view of the Xiangshawan Desert, July 19, 2013. (Feng Li/Getty Images) #
The hand of a tourist taking an open-top bus tour of the Xiangshawan Desert on July 20, 2013. (Feng Li/Getty Images) #
Tourists on a bus tour bus pass resort buildings in the Xiangshawan Desert, on July 19, 2013. (Feng Li/Getty Images) #
A dancer in traditional costume attends a Mongolian ritual ceremony in the Xiangshawan Desert, on July 19, 2013. (Feng Li/Getty Images) #
A sand frog jumps, a tourist standing behind, in the Xiangshawan Desert, on July 18, 2013. (Feng Li/Getty Images) #
Dancers perform yoga on the dunes of the Xiangshawan Desert, on July 20, 2013. (Feng Li/Getty Images) #
Dancers in traditional costume perform near the Desert Lotus Hotel in Ordos, Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region, on July 19, 2013. (Feng Li/Getty Images) #
Camels walk on the dunes of the Xiangshawan Desert, on July 20, 2013. (Feng Li/Getty Images) #
Models in Mongolian costume prepare for a show, backstage at the Xiangshawan Desert resort, on July 21, 2013. (Feng Li/Getty Images) #
Dancers perform on the dunes near the Desert Lotus Hotel in Ordos, on July 21, 2013. (Feng Li/Getty Images) #
Dancers perform near camels, on the dunes near the Desert Lotus Hotel in Ordos, on July 21, 2013. (Feng Li/Getty Images) #
Boys play in a pool at the Xiangshawan Desert resort, on July 18, 2013. (Feng Li/Getty Images) #
Dancers perform yoga near a swimming pool at the Xiangshawan Desert resort, on July 20, 2013. (Feng Li/Getty Images) #
Tourists play in a pool at the Xiangshawan Desert resort, on July 20, 2013. (Feng Li/Getty Images) #
Visitors run on the Xiangshawan Desert dunes, which can trigger the "singing sands" to produce a roaring or booming sound, a natural phenomenon still not fully understood, on July 21, 2013. (Feng Li/Getty Images) #
Tourists walk on the dunes, a power plant visible in the distance, in Ordos Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region, on July 17, 2013. (Feng Li/Getty Images) #
A model in Mongolian-themed costume prepares for a show, offstage at the Xiangshawan Desert resort, on July 18, 2013. (Feng Li/Getty Images) #
Dancers prepare at the Xiangshawan Desert resort, on July 20, 2013. (Feng Li/Getty Images) #
A model performs in Mongolian-themed costume, near a swimming pool at the Xiangshawan Desert resort, on July 18, 2013. (Feng Li/Getty Images) #
Acrobats perform in the Xiangshawan Desert resort, on July 21, 2013. (Feng Li/Getty Images) #
Tourists ride an open-top vehicle past the Desert Lotus Hotel, on July 17, 2013. (Feng Li/Getty Images) #
Dancers perform on the dunes of the Xiangshawan Desert, on July 20, 2013. (Feng Li/Getty Images) #

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