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Visit Dunhuang on Your Own

The most recommended duration for one’s Dunhuang tour is 2.5 days. Though Dunhuang Airport was enlarged in 2016 there are still only a few direct flights to Dunhuang from other major Chinese cities. And in high tourist season the air fare is quite expensive. So China Silk Road Tours highly recommend tourists take a train to Dunhuang (Liyuan Station). If visiting Silk Road cities from east to west, that means visit Xian and Lanzhou first, tourists could take the train in Lanzhou to Dunhuang. Most trains to Dunhuang depart Lanzhou in the afternoon or at night and arrive Dunhuang in the morning. Taking the overnight train tourists could save both time and hotel cost.

The itinerary draft we recommend is: Day 1 Mogao Grottoes, Echoing Sand Mountain and Crescent Lake; Day 2 Dunhuang Ancient City, Yangguan Pass,Han Dynasty Great Wall; Day 3 in the morning visit city area and depart in the afternoon. Below is the details of the recommended itinerary:

Day 1 Mogao Grottoes, Echoing Sand Mountain, Crescent Lake

In the morning try to find some local food for breakfast. The two food worthy of trying are: Noodles in Soup with Sliced Beef, Beef and Mutton Broth with Bean Vermicelli.

After local breakfast start the tour with Mogao Grottoes. It is 12km from city area. The recommended visiting time is 3.5 hours. Tourists will firstly watch the film about grottoes for 40 minutes, then take the shuttle bus for 15minutes to visit real grottoes for about 1.5 hours. In high season entrance fee is CNY200 per person and in low season it is CNY100 per person, extra CNY20 per person for scenic guide is also must if you are international visitors. The entrance fee covers film, shuttle bus and real grottoes visiting. The tickets need to be reserved in advance in real name. To protect the cultural relics, taking photo inside the grottoes are not allowed.

Lunch time is coming! What do you expect? China Silk Road Tours advise you go to Shazhou Night Market or the food street opposite to Dunhuang Hotel. The various local food will satisfy both your eye and stomach.

Having a short rest after lunch then you could head for Echoing Sand Mountain and Crescent Lake Scenic Area. The scenic area is about 6km from city area. The transportation cost is CNY3 per person by bus and CNY15 per person by taxi. Advised visiting time is 2-3 hours. And the entrance fee is CNY120 per person. In the scenic tourists could experience many interesting and exciting desert amusement activities. In Crescent Lake Tower tourists could meet some snacks, drinks, and little souvenirs. We advise you have a look of the souvenirs and keep the price in mind. When return to city area you may find the same objects with lower price.  If you stay longer time here you may witness special desert sunset.

Tips for Echoing Sand Mountain and Crescent Lake visiting:

1. Temperature difference in desert is quite serious. Please take some relatively heavy jacket to prepare for late afternoon or evening time here.
2. Ultraviolet radiation is strong in summer days. Beside sun cream, cap, scarf, and sunglass are also must have things. Long-sleeve jackets are recommended.
3. Sand kernels are much fine here. At scenic entrance tourists could buy a sand-proof bag and  a pair of sand-proof shoe cover.
4. Taking at least one bottle of water is highly advised because it is quite dry in desert.

Day 2 Dunhuang Ancient City, Yanguan Pass, Han Dynasty Great Wall

Today’s first stop can be Dunhuang Ancient City. It is a movie studio built based on study of local building in ancient time. The ancient city is 20km from city area and entrance fee is at CNY40 per person.

Finish visiting in ancient city going westward for 55km you will arrive Yanguan Pass. It was the most important frontier pass and the oldest customs in the Han and Tang Dynasties in about 2000-1200 years ago. Advised visiting time is 2hours. Entrance fee is CNY 50 per person.

Today you will find it difficult to look for a restaurant. So we advise you take some thing for lunch.

The 3rd stop today is Yumen Pass and Han Dynasty Great Wall. The joint entrance fee of the two sites is CNY40 per person.

When back to city area going to Shazhou Night Market to have dinner. You could always find something special to try no matter how many time you go there.

Day 3 Dunhuang City Sightseeing and Departure

Take advantage of the morning time to explore city area. The first place can be Dunhuang Museum. The museum collects over 4000 historical and cultural relics. By presenting your passport you could get a entrance tickets for free. Taking a taxi it will take at most CNY10 per way to the museum no matter where your hotel is because Dunhuang city is small. Normal visiting time of the museum is 1.5 hours. If you have more time and have much interest in the relics, staying there till your departing time is also a good way to kill time.

Itinerary above is recommend to independent travelers. If you prefer to make the tour more comfortable, China Silk Road tour is glad to help arrange the tour. Following are our best seller Dunhuang Tour packages :
Dunhuang Highlight Day Tour
2 Days Dunhuang Tour
2 Days Dunhuang Camping Tour
3 Days Dunhuang Discover Tour
4 Days Dunhuang Tour