4 Days Classic Dunhuang Tour (with More Free Time)

Get a Deep Insight of the Brightest Star on the Desert

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The beauty of Dunhuang is one of a kind in the world. Since the day when the monk Yue Zun dug the first cave on the cliff more than 1600 years ago, the small city in the Gobi desert started its way to become the brightest star on the Silk Road, the Oriental Buddha Park and China’s Art Center. During this thorough Dunhuang tour, you will discover the very essence of Dunhuang's both culture and nature with the best featured attractions and activities covered in 4 days. You also have many your own free time for arrival, departure, shopping, etc.

Highlights of this tour

  • Catch a deep insight of about Dunhuang's history and culture of Silk Road by visiting the world famous Mogao Grottoes, Yumenguan Pass, Great Wall of Han Dynasty and Yangguan Pass;
  • Be amazed by the spectacular Gobi desert landscape which can only be seen in Dunhuang - beautiful Mingshashan Desert, vast and wild Yadan National Geological Park.

Basic Trip Information

Price:
from
  1. 1. This price is for one person, based on a group of 2 adults sharing one double-bed room in 4-star hotel and traveling in low seasons;
  2. 2. This price is subject to change according your traveling season, group size, hotel class, change of activities and possible fluctuation of currency exchange rate.
Travel Route:
Dunhuang
Travel Length:
4 Days and 3 Nights
Tour Code:
CT-DT-04
Group Size:
You, your family, friends or group
Experience:
ArchitectureCulturePhotographReligious
Departure:
Any day you want

Full Itinerary Day by day

Day 1 Dunhuang Railway Station/Airport Pick Up

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Welcome to Dunhuang, the brightest star in the Gobi desert. Your tour guide will welcome you in the airport/train station, and then escort you to your hotel. The rest of today is for you to explore this exotic city by yourself. Free time idea: Shazhou Night Market is the most bustling place in the city where you can stroll leisurely to experience local living, hunt for delicious food, relax in a drinking bar, or buy some interesting handcrafts, etc.

How to Get to Dunhuang? Dunhuang is located in remote northwestern China. You can get there by domestic flights from Shanghai, Chengdu, Lanzhou, Guangzhou, Hangzhou, Xining, etc., or high speed trains from Jiayuguan (1.5hrs), Zhangye (4.5hrs), Lanzhou (8.5hrs), Xining (6.5-7hrs), etc.

Shazhou Night Market
Day 2 Dunhuang Mogao Grottoes Exploration & Mingshashan Sightseeing ( B,L )

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After breakfast, drive about 10 km from the Dunhuang city to visit the newly opened Mogao Grottoes Digital Exhibition Center before go to Mogao Grottoes. You will watch two well-produced educational documentary movies that introduce the history, arts, and other facts about Mogao Grottoes. After the movies, take the interzonal bus to Mogao Grottoes.

Mogao Grottoes is famed as the “Louvre of East”, which is outstanding for its exquisite mural paintings and statues. There are now 492 grottoes in which about 45000 square meters mural paintings and 2100 colorfully painted statues from which you can trace the development of Chinese art over 1600 years from one dynasty to the next because each dynasty built own caves to record its own features. There are about 40 common caves opened to the public. In the tourist area, you will be divided into groups by different tour guides who will accompany you to visit 7-8 caves among them with great introduction. After that, if you want to visit more other caves, you can do it by yourselves or follow other tour guides. Besides, there are 10 special caves (with extra fees) available for your extensional visiting.

The following attraction is the Echoing Sand Mountains. It is said, in the sunny days, the sand mountains echo like Orchestra music even if there is no wind. If you slide from the sand mountains, you can hear the echoing sound clearly. Your last thing to do for today is the Crescent Lake. Surrounded by the Echoing Sand Mountains, Crescent Lake is a beautiful oasis with some well decorated traditional Chinese architecture, some trees and flowers and a lake that has never dried up and shapes like a crescent moon.

Useful Tips:

Useful Tips: 1) It is necessary to make a reservation in advance for at least 7 days for Mogao Grottoes visit during May ~ October when there are usually a lot of visitors; 2) It is not allowed to take photos inside the grottoes; 3) in the summer, travelers can stay up to late night around 21:30 to enjoy the cool time and beautiful sky of stars. It's usually very hot during 12:00~15:00. You can enter the park later when it is not that hot.

Echoing Sand Mountains Watch a documentary film in the Dome Theater of Mogao Grottoes Digital Exhibition Center the Mogao Grottoes in Dunhuang
Day 3 Dunhuang Geology & Silk Road History Tour ( B,L )

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After breakfast, you will be taken to explore the remote wild Gobi desert landscape as well as several legendary historical sites. Drive westwards about 100km, you will firstly arrive at Yumen Pass (Jade Gate Pass) which used to be a military defensive pass as well as an important border for international trading along the ancient Silk Road. It is said that the jadewares from West were imported to China through this gate, which is how the name Yumen was given. About 5 km from Yumen Pass is the Ruin of Great Wall of Han Dynasty which was built to fight against Xiongnu in the ancient time. Keep driving more 80 km, you will get to Yardang National Geologic Park. It is also called Devil City in that you will hear the sound just like the devil screaming when the strong wind goes through the desert. The park is featured Yardang landforms in distinct shapes like Mongolian Bao, Stone Bird, Peacock and others. Make full use of your imagination, you may find some rocks with some miniatures similar to famed architectures, like the Potala Palace in Tibet, Heaven Temple in Beijing or something else.

Leave Yardang National Geologic Park, and drive along the coming way back to Dunhuang. On route, you will take a side trip to visit Yangguan Pass which was the gate to another branch of ancient Silk Road.

Tips: 1) Pack some food and water for the long driving on the desert; 2) get fully prepared for the strong sunlight and high temperatures in the daytime.

Yangguan Pass Beautiful Yardang National Geopark Sunset in June
Day 4 Dunhuang Departure ( B )

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Today is free for you until you tour guide see you off at the airport/train station.

Tip: remember to check out your hotel before 12:00 and pack all your belongs carefully. 

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Recommended Add-on Options

+2 more days to Jiayuguan with an excursion to Yulin Caves

Jiayuguan Pass is about 370 km away from Dunhuang. It used to be the starting point of the ancient Great Wall built during Ming Dynasty (1368 – 1644), also the most important military defensive project guarding the far northwestern area of China because of its strategic location at the narrowest point of the western section of the Hexi Corridor which had been the vital defensive frontier since Han Dynasty (BC 202—220). 

You can travel from Dunhuang to Zhangye by car. Most classic itinerary is to leave Dunhuang in the morning, then drive about 4~5 hours to Jiayuguan with an excursion visit to Yunlin Caves, which is the "little sister" of Mogao Caves. In Jiayuguan, you can spend either a half day tour or a full day visiting Jiayuguan Fortress, Hanging Great Wall and other sites in the region.

Jiayuguan Fort
+2 more days to see the rainbow mountains in Zhangye

Zhangye is located in central Gansu along the Hexi Corridor between Lanzhou and Jiayuguan. It is full of history and legends, and diverse in natural scenery. Here you can see the world famous Rainbow Mountains (the Danxia Landform), beautiful deserts, mysterious canyons, vast grasslands, lofty snow mountains, etc.

You can take an in-depth Danxia landform exploration with morning visit to Binggou Danxia and afternoon visit to Danxia Geopark in the Day 1; On the Day 2, you can visit the Giant Buddha Temple first, then go to visit Matisi Temple. After that, you still have enough time to take a flight or train to next destination.

Zhangye Danxia Geopark - the Rainbow Mountains

Recommended or Similar Tour Packages You May Also Like

Zhangye Danxia Landform Views After Rain
8 Days Gansu Highlights Tour

Lanzhou / Xiahe / Jiayuguan / Dunhuang

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  • +2 more days to Jiayuguan with an excursion to Yulin Caves
    +2 more days to see the rainbow mountains in Zhangye

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