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Flying Fairies in Desert, the Soul of Grottoes Murals
Why we recommend
Dunhuang is an important stop along the ancient Silk Road. The unique Turkestan civilization raised diversified colorful culture in history in Dunhuang. Though the ancient city suffered a lot in thousands years of history, it still has many cultural relics, classical documents, exquisite grottoes arts, and amazing natural scenery worthy of exploring. Here one could appreciate and world art treasure Mogao Grottoes, the No 1 Lake in desert Crescent Lake, the Yumen Pass, the desert geological museum Yadan Geological Park, etc. Each of them will enable one to feel the grand and mysterious desert feelings. What to see in Dunhuang Mogao Grottoes
Mogao Grottoes is a world well known Grottoes that most famous for the exquisite murals and status. It is praised as the most valuable cultural finding in the 20th century and some people call it The Louvre in East. The first grotto here was dig in the Former Qin Period (351-394). In the following dynasties an increasing number of grottoes were dig here each year till the Yuan Dynasty (1206-1368). Nowadays there are 492 grottoes, 450 km2 murals and 2415 colored statues left in Mogao Grottoes. That grottoes is the largest existed Buddhist cultural complex which owns the richest content. Unfortunately, in the end of the Qing Dynasty (1616-1912), large quantity of hotel relics and documents in grottoes were robbed by foreign antiquarians. So one may see relics of Mogao Grottoes in large museums in other countries. Entrance fee
High Season: RMB 180 per ticket
Low Season: RMB100 per ticket Opening Hours: 09:00-17:30 Public Transportation: shuttle bus departs in downtown Dunhuang from Dunhuang Hotel to Maogao Grottoes. Earliest bus departs Dunhuang Hotel at 08:30 and the last back bus departs Maogao Grottoes at 18:00.
Tips for Mogao Grottoes Visiting
For tourists who have no knowledge about Buddhist, we recommend them do some readings about Mogao Grottoes before visiting. Otherwise it would be difficult to understand the contact and meaning of the murals. Inside grottoes the only illuminating object tourists could bring is electric hand torch. It is forbidden to take photos or video in grottoes or bring large bags into the grottoes. Touching murals or statues are also forbidden. At the entrance gate there is a service station to keep bags and rent electric hand torches.
If you visit Mogao Grottoes on your own, after buying the entrance tickets you will join-in a 20-people visiting group and visit the grottoes by following a professional scenic guide.
The best time to visit Mogao Grottoes is morning when the light inside grottoes is better than other times in one day. Another reason is that the scenic area set strict limit on visitors numbers each day. The visit will spend about 4 hours.
Mogao Grottoes Cultural Museum opposite to the grottoes houses lots of mock-ups of relics in grottoes. And in the museum tourists could see mock-ups of several representative caves. Light in museum is much better than in grottoes, so pay a visit to the museum is increasingly popular among tourists.
Echoing-Sand Mountain is a national tourist scenic area. It locates 7km south to Dunhuang City and covers an area of about 200km2. The whole mountain is formed by the yellow sands kernels.
The sand hill surrounding Crescent Lake is known as Echoing-sand Hill. The hill was named so because when the wind blows, the sand granulates flies and make the sound like singing. The hill is formed by loose sand. And the sand of the hill take five different colors: red, yellow, green, white and black. The hill stretches some 20 kilometers from east to west and more than 20 kilometers from south to north. The highest peak is over 170 meter tall. When the wind blows, the sand mountain will roar and when it breezes, the mountain will sing.
When one slides down from mountain top the sands will produce the sound of orchestral music instruments. And each day the footprint left by people will disappear on the second day. That are two features of the mountain. Entrance Fee (Joint entrance fee with Crescent Lake)
High Season: RMB 120 per ticket
Low Season: RMB60 per ticket Opening Hours: 08:00-17:00 Public Transportation: bus No. 3 from downtown Dunhuang to Echoing Sand Mountain.
Tips for Echoing-Sand Mountain Visiting
1.Optional activities in scenic area:
At scenic entrance tourists could rent sand-proof shoes cover at RMB20/per pair.
Sand sliding from mountain top. Sliding board at RMB15/per pax per time, canoe at RMB20/per pax per time.
Camel Riding. Ride a camel to up and down the mountain from the same side RMB60/per pax per time. The stuff will take two photos for each tourists on camel and the cost is at RMB20/per pax per photo. Tourists could get the photos at the exit. Besides in scenic area there are some new opened programs like glider, archery range, etc. If tourists have interest please inquire the cost on spot.
2.Tips for camel riding. Camel is tame so please do not be nervous when ride the camel. When the camel crouch or stand up, tourists should hold the handle tightly instead of screaming. Otherwise the camel may get frightened. One more thing, the sunlight in desert is stronger than other area, so ladies who mind the strong sunlight could used veil, headband, or topee as protection. Please keep in mind do not hold a sunshade when ride a camel.
3.Best time to visit Echoing-Sand Mountain is in the earlier morning or later afternoon. Please try to avoid visiting there at noon time.