Dunhuang - 敦煌

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- Review updated on 20 juillet 2019

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Dunhuang

Dunhuang lies on the border of Gansu, Qinghai and Xinjiang provinces. It is a city full of historical attractions as it was once a real crossroads on the Silk Road. It served as a springboard to reach Xinjiang and allowed to pass around the desert of Taklamakan. The so-called beautiful desert oasis is the default tourist destination of Gansu province and perhaps even northeastern China. The city is in a basin framed by Mount Qiliang and Mount Mazong. Its population is estimated at 170 000 inhabitants.

At 25 kilometers from the center of Dunhuang and at the gateway to the Gobi Desert, the Mogao Grottoes are the site not to be missed during your visit to the region. They are a treasure trove of Buddhist art. They were dug in the cliffs of the dunes and shelter sanctuaries, sculptures, statues and murals made for the most part in the fourth century. One particular note is a Buddha statue 36 meters high. About forty caves are open to the public. A little further afield, the Yumen Fortress overlooks an arid landscape of golden sand dunes.

There are some unusual places in the desert. Yadan National Park is one of the many witnesses to the magic of nature. A multitude of sand sculptures with very particular shapes have been formed naturally by erosion. The sand dunes of Mingsha remain an unexplained phenomenon. The curiosity lies in the very pale color of the sand and in their unusual height (250 m). They can be explored by camel or quad. At the foot of the dunes, the Crescent Moon Lake is a miniature oasis. Algae are known to be good for the body.

Dunhuang Airport is 13 kilometers from the city center. It is connected to the cities of Beijing, Shanghai, Xi’an, Lanzhou and Urumqi. Trains connect Dunhuang to Jiayuguan, Xi’an, Lanzhou and Yinchuan. The train station is 15 kilometers from the center but taxis and minibuses will take you there. In the city center, you can move on foot or by taxi. To reach the main sites of interest, it is possible to rent a car with driver by the day for 15 euros. It’s up to you to negotiate the price!

When to go to Dunhuang?

In the Dunhuang area, summer is relatively short. Although it is hot, the wind is very present. Sandstorms are common in this region. It is therefore necessary to provide some protection. The winter is very cold and very long. We therefore recommend spring and autumn to discover the region since it is neither too hot nor too cold and there is still enough light to visit the caves. You will find more detailed information on the climate in Dunhuang on the page: Weather Silk Road.

Where to sleep in Dunhuang?

Staying in a good hotel is one of the first fruits of a successful vacation. Indeed, a good accommodation can make your vacation even more exceptional … like a bad one can spoil a stay.

Small oasis of the Silk Road, Dunhuang is full of places to stay. You’ll get something for every budget, from small B & Bs of incomparable charm to large hotels in the city center, near the main sites to visit, or in the surrounding countryside. That’s why we have selected for you the best hotels in Dunhuang, combining comfort and quality of services.

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