Dunhuang Echoing Sand Mountain
Home Dunhuang Travel Guide Dunhuang Attractions Echoing-Sand Mountain and Crescent Lake: Wonder in Desert

Echoing-Sand Mountain and Crescent Lake: Wonder in Desert

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. The mountain was named 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 got its name as its shape like a crescent moon. Sand coexist with springs is well-known for the “desert wonders” in the world.

Echoing Sand Mountain and Crescent lake in Dunhuang

Basic Facts about the Echoing-Sand Mountain (Mingsha Shan) and Crescent Lake:

  • Echoing sand, also known as the singing sand or music sand,is a uniquebut universal natural phenomenon in the world. In a desert or dune, fine grains of sand make sounds by wind blows, vibrates, slides or moves with each other, and numerous grains of sand rotate in the air due to various climatic and geographical factors. So the place is called the echoing sand because of making buzzing sound. In the western part of China, echoing sand is mainly in desert. These dunes are piled into mountains, so they are also called echoing sand Echoing sand mountain in Dunhuang, Shapotou in Zhongwei of Ningxia, Yinkantara desert in inner Mongolia and Barkol mountain in Xinjiang are known as the four major echoing sand in China.
  • Dunhuang echoing-sand mountain is made up of accumulation of fine sand. The sand grains here are red, yellow, blue, white and black. And the sand mountain has different forms: some are like the crescent moon, which are connected with each other to form a sand chain.  Some are like pyramids, rising high from the ground and looking angular and magnificent. Some looks like the golden dragons, wingding and stretching to the horizon. And all of them area wonderful and attracting desert scenery.
  • Since ancient times, many legends about the echoing sand have been created. It is said that there was a lush oasis in the ancient time, and a general of the Han dynasty led a large army to the western expedition, they were attacked by the enemy at night. While the two armies fighting, the wind suddenly became fierce and the yellow sand bury all peoplein the sand, and the echo is the sound of this fight.Therefore, it is called the Echoing-sand mountain.
  • Surrounded by echoing-sand mountain, crescentlakeis about 150 meters long and 50 meters wide, which got name due to its shape. Crescent spring is originated from the Dang River, relying on the constantly filling of the river, it can maintain clear and never-dry spring for thousand years even it was surrounded by yellow sand. Unfortunately, since the 1990s, the flow between the Dang river and the crescent lake has been cut off, so it can only be maintained by artificial way at present. Nowadays, some pavilions have been built along the lake, and with the rolling sand mountains, clear springs and attracting sunset, the scenery is very charming.
  • There isa legend about the crescent lake: When there was a great drought in ancienttime, the fields withered and many people died. The white cloud fairy floating in the sky saw this sad scene and cried, and her tears dropped on the sand and became a clear lake. Local people built a temple to thank and worship the white cloud fairy, and the incense in the temple always were strong. However, the Sand God thought the fairy took his reputation, so he wanted to destroy the clear spring by adding the sand in it, so the lake became smaller. When the goddess of the moon knew that, she tried her best to help the local people and make the spring clear. She put the crescent moon in front of the temple, and suddenly the crescent moon became a crystal lake, which is known as the crescent lake.
  • 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 sightseeingand so on. It is also a good choice to enjoy the sunset there. When the brilliant sun gradually drops below the mountain, the sunset and the desert melt together, which looks like a classic and charming oil painting.

Echoing Sand Mountain & Crescent Lake

How to Buy Entrance Tickets:

  • Price of ticket:
Peak Season(April 20th to October 19th ) CNY 110
Low Season(October 20th to April 19th ) CNY 55
Camel Ride CNY 100 (Round Trip)
Sand Sliding CNY 15
Shoe Cover Rent CNY 15
Sightseeing Bus CNY 10 (Single Trip); CNY 20 (Round Trip)
  • Opening time:
Peak Season(April 20th to October 19th ) 05:00-20:30
Low Season(October 20th to April 19th ) 06:30-18:00
  • Note: The ticket is available forvisitors to use in three consecutive days without extra entry fee. People just need to record their fingerprints and face verification at the ticket barrier. But these policy is not applied for visitors who enjoy the free ticket.

Echoing Sand Mountain Dunhuang

When is the best time to visit?

The best time to visit the Echoing-Sand Mountain (Mingsha Shan) and Crescent Lake is June, July and August. During the summer, the weather is pleasant,which is also a good time for appreciating the sunset at the 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

How to get to the Echoing-Sand Mountain (Mingsha Shan) and Crescent Lake?


  • Visitors can take Bus No.3 in the downtown, and get off at the last stop-the Yueyaquan(Crescent lake) Station.


  • Taking a taxi from the downtown costs about CNY 20 and takes about 15 minutes.

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