China travel map - Dunhuang Discovery Tour

Take your time in this 4-day Dunhuang Discovery Tour to explore great natural and artistic wonders of China.

• Feel the endless changes and pleasures of the most scenic desert, Singsing Sand Dunes;

• Uncover the mystery of murals and understand the folk features in Mogao Grottoes and Dunhuang Museum;

• Experience the shock and desolation of history in ancient frontier, Yumen Pass and the Ruins of Han Great Wall;

• Amazed at the magnificent landforms at Yardan National Geological Park

Let’s discover more about Dunhuang in the northwest of China!

Customize Your Tour:
☑  Travel Dates  ☑ Your Interests  ☑ Your Travel Style


Upon your arrival, our tour guide will meet you at the airport or train station and transfer you to the hotel. After a short break, you will start your Dunhuang trip from Singing Sand Dunes & Crescent Moon Lake Scenic Area, which is 5 kilometers away from the city. Selected into top 5 scenic deserts in China, you can experience the beauty of the desert, Singing Sand Dunes, with Crescent Lake surrounded by reeds and a pagoda in traditional Han Chinese architecture beside the lake. You can’t imagine the picture of oneness of nature and wisdom of human beings unless you come here in person. Here, you will experience camel riding along the way to Crescent Lake. The Crescent Lake is an oasis Gobi desert that is surrounded by numerous Sand dunes, the water in lake is crystal clear and it is in the shape of Crescent Moon. Here, popular activities like sand-sledding and desert motor-riding are available on your own choice and expense. If the weather permits, enjoy magnificent sunset in the desert. Finally, transfer back to hotel.

Meal: L

singing sand dunes

In this morning, you will be transferred to Mogao Grottoes, which is situated 25 kilometers southeast of Dunhuang city. You will first watch 2 short digital movies about the history and development of Maogao Caves before you go into the caves so that you are more aware of these hard-won arts with culture. And then take shuttle bus to visit the caves. Mogao Grottoes is reputed as the world’s greatest treasure house of Buddhist art. The existing 492 grottoes contain 45000 square meters of murals and more than 2415 painted sculptures, which spanned 10 consecutive dynasties in more than 1000 years. There are about 40 caves with specific guides of the scenic spot were opened to public for regular visit. Generally, it takes more than 3.5hrs to finish the whole trip here.

In the afternoon, drive back to Dunhuang city and visit Dunhuang Museum. As a comprehensive local museum, it exhibits the historical relics, folk arts, trail of ancient Silk Road and natural resources of northwestern China. After the visit, you can choose to continue to visit White Horse Tower or take a rest in your hotel before dinner time. In the evening, drive to Shazhou Night Market, stroll around this local speciality and food street, enjoy dinner here.

  Tips for Visiting Mogao Caves:  

  • Visitor's real name information will be required to book the entrance ticket (foreign visitor can use passport information). 
  • The booking is limited to 6000 per day, so it is necessary to book tour in advance especially in busy season. 
  • Visitors will be divided into groups (at most 20 people in a group) and led by interior English guide to explore the mysterious grottoes.
  • If you want to have any specific caves included, please definitely let us know.
  • Taking photo is not allowed when visiting inside the caves and Mogao Caves. But you can take photos of outside the caves.

Meal: B, L

After breakfast, you will be taken to explore the remote wild Gobi landscape as well as several legendary historical sites. Drive westwards about 90 kilometers, you will arrive at Yumen Pass, which is strategic fort on the ancient Silk Road, connecting Central Asia and China. Next, go ahead to the Ruins of the Great Wall of Han Dynasty, which was built to fight against Xiongnu people in ancient times. You can imagine what it was like to be on the frontier in ancient times. Later, keep driving about 80 kilometers and you will arrive at Yardan National Geological Park, also called Devil City because of the wind howls at night. It is the biggest Yardan landform groups in the world, seems an architecture art museum of the world. The area contains 77 ruins and huge rocks formations in sculpted shapes; making full use of your imagination, you may found many miniature architectures here, such as Temple of Heaven in Beijing, the Potala Palace in Tibet, the Pyramid in Egypt and so on. In the end, drive back to Dunhuang city.

Meal: B, L

Yumen Pass

Free time in the morning, you can explore the city by yourself. Pick up from hotel at the appropriated time and transfer to airport or rail station for your next destination. Welcome to Dunhuang next time!

Meal: B

Service ends.

  Extension Suggestion for Big Fans of Grottoes:  

Yulin Grottoes is a masterpiece of Buddhist art as well. Located about 160 kilometers away from Dunhuang city, it is smaller but better preserved than Mogao Grottoes. There are 43 existing caves in Yulin Grottoes, and with 4200 square meters of murals in total. The art style and the content of the murals in Yulin Caves are so similar with Mogao Grottoes, so it is also known as the "sister cave" of Mogao Grottoes. There are 6 caves were opened to public for regular visit, and you can pay extra to see the other 4 special caves.

What's included

  • 1-on-1 Travel Consultant

    Your China based expert listens to your wishes carefully, provides professional advice, ensures unlimited itinerary revisions before done and 24/7 helpline service while traveling.

  • Private Local Guide and Driver

    Your guides are friendly, helpful and knowledgeable, and your drivers are professional, polite and patient. They are very flexible to accommodate your personal needs and happy to show you the local attractions, history, culture, foods and real life. 
    Private transfers from hotel to attractions, airport or train station are also included.

  • Accommodation to Suite Your Preference

    We hand pick hotels ranging from luxury 5 star, superior 4 star to comfortable 3 star. Luxury or cozy boutique hotels and budget guesthouses are also among your choices. You could decide where to stay to meet your taste and budget.

  • Gourmet Meals

    Most of the hotels we select offer both Western and Chinese buffet breakfast. Lunch and dinner included are arranged in selected restaurants to taste authentic Chinese cuisine and local specialties. Thus you may also have a unique food tour.
    Meals specified in itinerary as B=breakfast, L=lunch, D=dinner.

  • Attractions and Activities Listed on the Itinerary

    Our city tour packages have included the (first/main) entry to all attractions and the expenses of activities on the itinerary (except the optional activities).

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