Continuing on the theme of the wonderful tourist facilities in the Altyn Emel Park, you can see below photos of the spa and leisure complex at our guest house. Here is the outdoor sauna:
The sauna being conveniently located adjacent to the plunge pool with well ventilated toilet and shower facilities:
This is our guest house, which, sarcasm aside, was pretty comfortable and clean. Although the woman in charge was a bit of a chancer, when we gently chased her on certain things, she came up with the goods in a fairly well-humoured way. As we finished our evening meal, we laughingly commented that we would probably see the same sweets and biscuits offered to us again for breakfast. And sure enough, not only were we served the same sweets and biscuits, but also the same dried bread, semi-dehydrated apple slices and crumbs on the table as the night before. But when we asked if we could have fresh bread for breakfast, she clocked us for being "kinds particular" and bustled off to replace all the old, stale stuff with fresh. I think if we hadn't asked, though, she would have just saved herself a trip to the market later!
And to compensate for the lack of luxury in our digs, we woke up in the most beautiful spot. one of our mates had brought a kite (turns out, he is an expert kite flyer) and so we wandered out onto the empty steppe in the low rays of the dawn sunshine to see a kite lazily dancing over the desert scrub - utterly peaceful except for the chattering of our excited kids, it was a pretty magical moment.
Dawn light on the steppe.
Here are some photos of the "Singing" sand dune, a 150m high barchan dune which remains in place, apparently, because it is surrounded on four sides by gaps in the neighbouring mountain ranges. Therefore, the winds tend to come fairly evenly from all directions resulting in the dune staying still, rather than migrating in any direction.
Here is a small yurt tent at the guest house which I think must be reserved for special occasions since the pretty little door was firmly padlocked shut. The guys running the guests house live in the converted railway carriages behind in the trees.