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Mogao Caves

In the eastern part of Dunhuang, the rides around the desert dunes on camels and the sunset in the background present a characteristic scene. Besides, the accompanied Yueyaquan will provide a resting, refreshing place in the warm sunshine. While Mogao Caves will let you see the depiction of ancient Buddhist worship, the Shazhou Market will offer you the most traditional noodles of Dunhuang.

Things to do +

▲▲▲Explore the Mogao Caves(莫高窟):

Mogaoku, also known as the Thousand Buddha Caves, it is located at the western end of the Hexi Corridor. Consisting of 2415 high-quality sculptures, it is considered to be the largest and richest Buddhist art site in the world. To visit the site, there are different types of entrance fees.

From 1 April to 30 November (high tourist demand):

For type A tickets, they allow you to visit 8 caves and watch the films “Millennial Mogao” (千年莫高) and “Buddhist Palace of Dreams” (梦幻佛宫) at 360º and includes an explanation of the caves.

Type B tickets, on the other hand, allow you to see 4 caves and include an explanation of the caves.

Type C tickets only allow you to see the two 360º films.

From 1 December to 31 March (low tourist demand)::

Type D tickets allow you to visit 12 caves, see the two films and include an explanation of the caves.

Type E tickets are the same as above but do not include the two films.

Type F tickets only include the two films.

Before the guided tour of the caves begins, visitors will be shown two 45-minute films that tell the history of the caves. Afterwards, related staff will transfer the tourists to the caves, 20 minutes away from the initial location.

Important: it is forbidden to take pictures inside the caves.

 

▲▲Camel riding in the Mingsha Dunes (鸣沙山) and visiting the Moon Spring Yueyaquan (月牙泉):

To enjoy the desert scenery, it is suggested to use camels as a convenient way to transport yourself or take a ride around the dunes, enjoying a peaceful moment and the sights. In addition, you can also consider riding a motorbike and driving around, among other possible fun activities.

Within the dunes, we find Yueyaquan, a lake surrounded by greenery, also called the Crescent Moon Spring. As its name suggests, it is shaped like a crescent moon and represents a true miracle that has not yet been devoured by the desert over the years. At certain times of the year, lights are switched on around the lake at dusk, simulating the moon in the night sky.

You can also watch the sunset here, and one of the most beautiful images you can’t miss with your friends is the meeting of the sun and the moon on the horizon. The best angle would be the left side of the main road leading from the dunes to Yueyaquan, where the lake and the sunset will appear in the same plane.

 

▲Taste the local dishes at the Shazhou Night Market:

To get there, you can take bus number 2 or 4 and get off at the Dunhuang Hotel stop, from where you will reach the market in a 1-minute walk. It consists of a street full of restaurants and stalls, where you will find the most typical dishes of Dunhuang and experience the authentic life of a local. You can enjoy a wide variety of both sweet and savory snacks at really low prices.

How to get +

The area is easily accessed by public transport. For example, from Dunhuang Railway Station, there are buses that lead to this area from the city centre (line 3 leads directly to the Mingsha Dunes).

However, it can also be convenient to take a taxi or hire a car with a driver who can introduce the destinations and give recommendations on where to go and what to avoid, as you prefer.

Tickets and prices +

Entrance to Mogao Caves:

Tickets can be purchased directly from the official Mogao Caves website  (https://www.dunhuangtour.com) or via Wechat mini-programs.

Tickets are divided into different categories:

Type A at 298¥ and in smaller groups of 20-30 persons.

Type B which includes 4 caves, in larger groups of 80-100 people at a price of 100¥.

Type C at 50¥.

Type D at 140¥.

Type E at 100¥.

Type F at 40¥.

For foreigners, you can choose the English-speaking guide option when you buy your ticket. It is included in the price.

 

Ticket for Mingsha and Yueyaquan Dunes:

It can be purchased on the spot at a price of 110¥ per person, with free entry and exit for 3 days.

 

Other attractions:

Camel riding: 100¥ per person.

Motorbike ride: 120¥ per person.

Travel tips +

To visit Mogao Caves:

In times of large numbers of visitors, it is advisable to purchase tickets one month in advance.

Useful contacts +

Questions about the tickets for Mogao Caves: 0937-886-9060

Questions about Mingsha Dunes and Yueyaquan: 0937-888-3388