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Dunhuang Travel Guide

Dunhuang is in the western end of Hexi Corridor in Gansu province, located at the intersection of Gansu, Qinghai and Xinjiang provinces, with Sanwei mountain in the east, Echoing-sand mountain in the south, desert and Lop Nur in the west and Gobi in the north. Dunhuang, a significant city of the silk road, is famous for grottoes and frescoes, which is home to world heritage Mogao Cave, Yumenguan pass and Yangguan pass. Nowadays, it has become a well-known national historical and cultural city and a popular city for tourist.

Geographic position: Northwest China (92°13′E―95°30′E, 39°53′N―41°35′N

Climate: Warm Temperate and Arid Climate ( It has dry climate, less Rainfall and the temperature varies widely from day to night, which also has four distinctive seasons: warm spring, hot summer, cool autumn and cold winter.)

Nearby Airport: Dunhuang International Airport

Nearby Railway Station: DunHuang Railway Station

Mogao Caves

Chinese: 敦煌 dūn huáng
Population: 21M
Area: 12,355 sq miles
Airport: DNH
Zip Code: 736200
Time Zone: GMT+8

Dunhuang Must-Visit Attractions

Top Things to Do in Dunhuang

Here are some top things to do in Dunhuang, which may help tourists learn the culture of Dunhuang, taste the delicious food and have a great travel experience.

A. When you travel in Dunhuang, you cannot miss appreciating the exquisite and precious art treasure–Mogao Caves. Mogao caves, also known as Thousand Buddha Caves, is renowned for delicate fresco and statue. The Mogao caves become the largest Buddhist art treasure house in the world with the richest contents and the longest history, which integrates architecture, stone carvings, murals and painted sculptures of various periods…

These artistic treasures not only reflect the religious and social life of medieval China, but also show the outstanding wisdom and extraordinary achievements of the laboring people in ancient China. In recent years, it has been found that there are more than 50,000 ancient cultural relics in the cave that preservers Buddhist sutra. Itis conducive to learn the special study of the cave and Dunhuang art disciplines – Dunhuang studies. In 1987, the Mogao caves was listed as a world cultural heritage site.

Echoing Sand Hill
Echoing Sand Hill

B. Echoing-sand mountain and crescent lake,located 5 kilometers south of Dunhuang city, Gansu province, covers an area of 31,200 square kilometers. The main attractions here are echoing-sand mountain and crescent lake. Echoing-sand mountain is more than 40 kilometers long from east to west and about 20 kilometers wide from north to south, and the main peak is about 1,715 meters high, which gets name due to the sound of the sand. It is formed by accumulation of sand, and the sands here are red, yellow, green, white and black. Crescent lake is surrounded by the echoing-sand mountain, which gets name because its shape like a crescent moon. Sand coexist with springs, which is the workmanship of nature, and it is well-known for the “desert wonders” in the world. When travelling in Echoing-sand mountain and crescent lake, visitors can not only appreciate the extraordinary natural scenery, but also experience a variety of desert tourism project such as riding camel, sliding on the sand, riding beach motorcycle, taking glider or helicopter to sightseeing and so on. It is also a good choice to enjoy the sunset there.

Dunhuang Night Market
Dunhuang Night Market

When the brilliant sun gradually drops below the mountain, the sunset and the desert melt together, which just looks like a classic and charming oil painting.

C. When you return to Dunhuang city after a day tour, the Dunhuang night market is a good place to Dunhuang night market, also known as Shazhou night market is the largest local night market in Dunhuang. There is the gathering place of delicious delicacies and characteristic handicrafts of silk road, which is known as “night scene” and “classical painting” of Dunhuang because of its distinctive local characteristics and strong folk customs.

Related Reading:

Mogao Caves
Mogao Caves

What to Eat in Dunhuang

  • Yellow noodle with donkey meat

Yellow noodle with donkey meat is a famous cuisine in Dunhuang. As the name shows, the “yellow noodle with donkey meat” is actually two dishes: donkey meat as a dish with hand-made yellow noodles as a staple food. The procedure of making yellow noodles is very exquisite. It is made of fine wheat flour and desert alkaline plants by various manual processes. The noodles are slightly yellow after being cooked, so it is called yellow noodles.

  • Mutton Soup with bean noodles

Mutton soup with bean noodles is a traditional food in Dunhuang. The selected mutton must be locally raised and fat goat. When cooking, first add water to the broth and put the ingredient in the seasoning to boil, then cut the cooked meat into thin slices and cut bean noodles into pieces and put them in the bowl, next add the boiling soup into the bowl and sprinkle coriander, leek, onion, pepper and others on it. It tastes spicy but not greasy, which has the effect of nourishing and dispelling cold.

  • Dunhuang Niang Pi Zi
    Dunhuang Niang Pi Zi
    Dunhuang Niang Pi Zi

Niangpizi, one of the unique flavor snacks in northwest China, tastes delicious and refreshing. It is a kind of “fast food”, which only needs a few minutes to cook in restaurant, so it is very popular with local people and visitors. Niangpizi is a very common folk snacks in Dunhuang, which is made of high quality flour. When eat it, people can add sauce vinegar, garlic, chili oil, mustard, salt and other condiments according personal flavor. It is especially suitable for eating in the hot summer, which can stimulate appetite.

  • Apricot Peel Water

Apricot peel water is a local specialty of Dunhuang drink, which uses local apricot as the ingredient. It tastes like plum soup, but sweeter, which is also cheap and can relieve the summer heat. It is almost available at any shops or restaurants in Dunhuang.

 
Yellow noodle with donkey meat
Yellow noodle with donkey meat

Dunhuang Travel Guide

1)How to plan your Dunhuang tour?

A. How many days willyou spend in Dunhuang?

a. One day tour

If you only have one day in Dunhuang, you can visit some must-visit scenic spots and landmark of Dunhuang, such as Mogao caves, Echoing-sand mountain and crescent lake and so on.

b. Two days tour

If you plan to spend two days in Dunhuang, you can not only go to the most representative and renowned attractions, but also go to some other interesting attractions. For example, you can choose to visit the Dunhuang Museum, where people can have a deeper understanding about Dunhuang and see many precious art treasures. And when you return to Dunhuang city after a day tour, the dunhuang night market is a good place for you to have a relax.

Apricot Peel Water
Apricot Peel Water

c. more days tour

If you have plenty time in Dunhuang, we also offer the service that make a personal tour in Dunhuang according to your preferences and interests.

DunhuangB. What are you interested in or what is your tour type ?

a. Family Trip

If you plan to have a family trip, we highly recommended that you can go to some attractions that are equipped with convenient public transportation and advanced tourist facilities, which are available for all ages tourists to visit, such as the Mogao caves, Echoing-sand mountain and crescent lake, Dunhuang Museum, Dunhuang Night Market and so on. At the same time, it is necessary for you to slow your travel pace and choose to live in five-star hotel that may provide you the most comfortable accommodation environment and professional service, which is conducive for you to have a good rest.

b. Gourmet Food Trip

Dunhuang night market, also known as Shazhou night market, located at Yangguan east road, is the largest local night market in Dunhuang. There is the gathering place of delicious delicacies and characteristic handicrafts of silk road, which is known as “night scene” and “classical painting” of Dunhuang because of its distinctive local characteristics and strong folk customs. The Yellow noodle with donkey meat, Mutton Soup with bean noodles, Dunhuang Niang Pi Zi, Apricot Peel Water here are so famous that almost every restaurant sells them. They are cheap and taste delicious, which are very worthy of tasting. And the prices of handicrafts and souvenirs here are also much cheaper than in the scenic area, and you can bargain with the seller if you buy a lot.

 c. Historical Trip

If you are crazy about the Chinese history and precious art treasure, you cannot miss appreciating the exquisite and precious art treasure–Mogao Caves when you travelling in Dunhuang. Mogao caves, also known as Thousand Buddha Caves, is renowned for delicate fresco and statue. It was built in the pre-qin period of the sixteen kingdoms period and has been continuously built for nearly a thousand years, making the Mogao caves become the largest Buddhist art treasure house in the world with the richest contents and the longest history, which integrates architecture, stone carvings, murals and painted sculptures of various periods. These artistic treasures not only reflect the religious and social life of medieval China, but also show the outstanding wisdom and extraordinary achievements of the laboring people in ancient China. In 1987, the Mogao caves was listed as a world cultural heritage site. In China, Mogao caves in Dunhuang, Yungang grottoes in Datong, Longmen grottoes in Luoyang and Maijishan grottoes in Tianshui are known as “four major and famous grottoes”.

d. Adventure Trip

Visitors at Echoing-sand mountain and crescent lake can not only appreciate the extraordinary natural scenery, but also experience a variety of desert tourism project such as riding camel, sliding on the sand, riding beach motorcycle, taking glider or helicopter to sightseeing and so on, which can bring a lot of fun of desert tour to tourists.

e. Photographer Trip

It is also a good choice to enjoy the sunset and starry sky at Echoing-sand mountain and crescent lake during the summer evening. When the sun gradually drops below the mountain, the sunset and the desert melt together, which just looks like a classic and charming oil painting.

Dunhuang Singing Sand MountainC. What is your travel budget?

a. If your trip is low- budget, we highly recommend that you can take part in any group tour and live Youth Hostel, which not only can help you save money, but will also help you make some new friends who havethe same

b. If you want to have a better travel experience, you can choose to rent a car and driver, make a personal travel plan and live ina luxury hotel during the days you stay in Dunhuang, which is more comfortable and free than taking part in a group tour.


2) Visa Policy

There is no special visa requirement for Dunhuang tour.


3) Dunhuang Transportation

Flight

Dunhuang Internation Airport

Dunhuang International airport is located 13 kilometers from Dunhuang city and 15 kilometers from Mogao caves. In 2018, Dunhuang International airport improved its airline network layout and made breakthroughs in the development of the aviation aspect with remarkable results. Through unremitting efforts, 21 air routes have been opened, connecting to Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Hong Kong, Chengdu and other 19 international and domestic hub and popular cities. With increasingly perfect airline route network layout and radiation effect, the airport transportation of Dunhuang gets fast development.

  • Direct international flights:

Dunhuang International Airport-Asian Country and region: Dunhuang-the Kingdom of Cambodia, Dunhuang-Hongkong

  • Popular travel airlines: Dunhuang-Beijing, Dunhuang-Xi’an, Dunhuang-Chengdu, Dunhuang-Shanghai, Dunhuang-Lanzhou, Dunhuang-Zhangye, Dunhuang-Nanjing, Dunhuang-Hangzhou, Dunhuang-Urumqi,etc
Dunhuang Airport
Dunhuang Airport

4) Dunhuang Weather& What to wear& The Best Time to visit Dunhuang

Dunhuang is typical Warm Temperate and Arid Climate. The climate features of it are dry, long hours of sunshine, less rainfall and the temperature varies widely from day to night, which has four distinctive seasons: warm and windy spring, hot summer, cool autumn and cold winter. The annual sunshine duration is 3246.7 hours, and the annual average precipitation is 42.2 mm. And the annual average temperature is 9.9℃with the highest temperature is 41.7℃ and the lowest temperature is -30.5℃.

Month Average Temperature What to Wear
January -15℃~-1℃ thick coat, cotton-padded clothes, sweater, thick pant, suede pants, snow boot, flannels hats
February -10℃~5℃ thick coat, cotton-padded clothes, sweater, thick pant, suede pants, snow boot, flannels hats
March 0℃~16℃ thick coat, cotton-padded clothes, sweater, thick pant, hoodie
April 6℃~23℃ thick coat, sweater, thick pant, Leather jacket, Dust coat, hoodie, T-shirt with long sleeves, jeans
May 11℃~28℃ Leather jacket, Dust coat, knitwear, hoodie, T-shirt with long sleeves, jeans
June 17℃~33℃ T-shirt with short or long sleeves, skirts, thin jeans, short trousers, polo shirt, cloth in cotton or linen fabrics that are comfortable and breathable, hat, sunglasses
July 19℃~35℃ T-shirt with short or long sleeves, skirts, short trousers, cloth in cotton or linen fabrics that are comfortable and breathable, hat, sunglasses
August 17℃~33℃ T-shirt with short or long sleeves, skirts, short trousers, cloth in cotton or linen fabrics that are comfortable and breathable, hat, sunglasses
September 10℃~28℃ Leather jacket, Dust coat, knitwear, hoodie, T-shirt with long sleeves, jeans
October 2℃~20℃ thick coat, cotton-padded clothes, sweater, thick pant, hoodie
November -6℃~9℃ thick coat, cotton-padded clothes, sweater, thick pant, suede pants, snow boot, flannels hats
December -13℃~1℃ thick coat, cotton-padded clothes, sweater, thick pant, suede pants, snow boot, flannels hats

Notes: The Summer (June, July and August) in Dunhuang is sizzling hot, so it is necessary for tourists to wear a cap and sunglasses or use some sun scream to protect your skin against ultraviolet ray.

  • When is the best time to visit?

Spring and Summer is the best time for people to visit Dunhuang. During the spring(March to May), the weather is pleasant,so it is suitable for people to go outdoors. In summer, the long hours of sunshine and less rainfall make it possible for visitors to appreciate the charming sunset or picturesque starry sky at evening.

Tips: Visitors had better avoid the official holiday in China, because many Chinese citizens choose to travel on official holidays to ease the pressure of their work. As a result, many Chinese tourist attractions are overcrowded and traffic jams are common. Therefore, visiting China at this time will bring tourists a less pleasant travel experience.

Official Holidays in China

Chinese New Year Around January or February
Winter vacation January-February
Labor Day May1st -3rd
Summer vacation(for students) July-August31st
Mid-Autumn Festival Around mid-September
National Day October 1st-7th
mingshashan
mingshashan

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