I'd been wanting to visit the Alashan since reading an article about it the January 2002 issue of National Geographic: "China's Unknown Gobi: Heart of the Desert."
The magazine had this opening shot, of which I am making a little 'fair use':
And Nat Geo this opening blurb:
"Spring-fed lakes, thousand-foot-high sand dunes, and the ghosts of an ancient walled city lie at the heart of the remote Alashan Plateau."
Sign me up! Easier said than done, but in 2005 I was fortunate to attach myself to a German-Chinese group touring the Alashan.