After breakfast, drive about 10 km from the Dunhuang city to visit the magic Echoing Sand Mountains and Crescent Lake which are located in the same scenic area. 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. You will also visit the beautiful Crescent Lake which is surrounded by the Echoing Sand Mountains. Crescent Lake is a stunning 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.
In the afternoon, you will go to visit the modern Mogao Grottoes Digital Exhibition Center before going to Mogao Grottoes. You will watch two short but 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 the 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 its own caves to record its 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 the caves (usually 7~8 caves during April~November and 12 caves during December~March) 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.
Tonight you will camp overnight in the desert, which will be one-of-a-kind experience to get closer touch with the desert. During the camping, there are a lot of activities and programs for you to have fun, such as sand skiing, desert motorcycle, bonfire party, etc. There are two options available: 1) join in a group desert camping tour that has both foreign and Chinese tourists, which is more budget and lively; 2) book a private desert camping tour which can be tailor-made according to your personal requirements but costs more than the group tour. Please discuss your preference with your travel consultant in advance.
Useful Tips: 1) It is necessary to make a reservation in advance for at least 7 days for Mogao Grottoes visit; 2) It is not allowed to take photos inside the grottoes; 3) the desert camping is only available during April~October.