All Inclusive Dunhuang Mingsha Shan Desert Camping Experience 2020

You may have camped in wild forests, beautiful lakeside or on the banks of rushing rivers, but have not ever camped in the heart of a desert or at the peaceful foot of arid sand dunes. In Dunhuang, you will refresh your “usually” camping history with a rare opportunity to camp in the beautiful desert of Mingsha Shan which is one of the most beautiful deserts in China, just as the ancient traders and tourists did on the Silk Road.

China Discovery has prepared a Dunhuang Mingsha Shan Desert Camping Experience Package for you in which you can get a closer touch with the wild desert and have a lot of interesting activities to experience. It's an all inclusive package, covering pick up, camping gears, food, desert outdoor activities, etc. You can join in our camping tour right after your day sightseeing to Mogao Caves, Mingshashan and Crescent Lake.

Why Dunhuang Camping Is Recommended?

• Escape from the crowds to camp in the further area but more beautiful and peaceful area of Mingshashan Desert;

• Witness how the magic lights change seemingly the minute from dawn to the first rays of sunrise and glowing morning sunshine;

• Enjoy a relaxing camel rid to ascend the dominating sand dunes to be rewarded with a magnificent sunset;

• There's a surprising number of things to do and activities, such as sand sliding, ATV riding, desert BBQ, fire party, KTV and so on;

• Don’t have to worry about camping gears, such as tents, sleeping bags, mats which are provided in package;

• Flexible choices of food – Chines dishes, Hot Pot, BBQ, fruit, beer, and other drinks are provided;

• Free pick up from Dunhuang downtown and drop off on the next day morning.

Recommended Dunhuang Tour: 3 Days Dunhuang Highlights Tour with Camping Experience

Desert Camping in Dunhuang

Desert Camping in Dunhuang

Where is Dunhuang Camping Site and How to Get There?

The camping base is located at the back of Mingsha Mountain. Generally, you only need to sign up for camping, then the person in charge of the camping base will send a car to pick you up in the urban area (low season), and pick up at a designated place during the peak season (just arrive on time). After camping, you will be transferred back to the city the next day (by private car, arrange a car or bus according to the number of people). Generally, you will be picked up from 17:00 to 18:30 on the same day. Activities will officially start at around 20:00.

What is the Process of Dunhuang Desert Camping

The camping base is only open from late April to mid-October when the weather is suitable for desert camping.

1. Be picked up by staffs of camping base during 17: 00-19: 00 (specifically according to your schedule), then ride camel or ATV to reach campsite;

2. At 20:00, we will start various desert camping experiences on time. Arrive early, experience first! If you arrive late, you may miss part of the activities. You are suggested to arrive between 18:00~19:00.

3. Start camping in the desert around 12:30 in the evening (you can set up your tent yourself, of ask the camping base staffs to help you);

4. Watch the sunrise at about 5:30 (voluntary), then you will be returned to Dunhuang city around 7:00.

Recommended Dunhuang Tour: 3 Days Dunhuang Highlights Tour with Camping Experience

Desert Camping in Dunhuang

Beautiful Mingshashan Desert

Desert Camping in Dunhuang

Mingshashan Desert Camping

What to Eat During Desert Camping

Desert BBQ and Buffet Hot Pot are offered as dinner during the camping. The BBQ comes before the Buffet Hotpot. During the BBQ time, you will enjoy kebabs of local flavor and beers if you like. Don’t have too much of the barbecue as you have to leave some space of your stomach for the Hot pot! You will be offered with meats, vegetables and fruits. Just enjoy as much as you can. (The food materials are subject to change by seasons)


(1) Shish Kebabs: quality mutton purchased from local farmers in Dunhuang;

(2) Streaky Pork: The roasted streaky pork wrapped in lettuce, and you can choose seasoner according to your own taste;

(3) Roasted chicken wings;

(4) Scones: Roasted local white cakes added special sauces;

(5) A variety of fresh vegetables: lettuce, chives, potato chips, eggplant, mushrooms, enoki mushrooms, beans, etc;

(6) Hot pot.


Recommended Dunhuang Tour: 3 Days Best Dunhuang Culture and Scenery Tour (with optional capming experience)

Desert Camping in DunhuangDesert Camping in Dunhuang

Desert BBQ

What to Do during Camping

Besides the unique experience of camping in the desert, you also have a lot of interesting things to do before or after camping which are covered in our camping package, such as Motorcycle Riding, Sand Sliding, etc.

Desert Motorcycle Riding

Riding a motorcycle to traverse the up-and-down rolling dunes is the most exciting activity in the desert. You will ride from the foot of Mingsha Mountain to get to the top of the mountain to enjoy the vastness and beauty of Mingshashan Desert, then ride the same way back. It usually takes about 6 minutes to ride from the foot of the mountain to the top (one way). For your safety, there will be a professional driver who will drive the motorcycles for you.

Available number of times: one
Cost: covered in the camping fee

Sand Sliding

Slide down from the top of sand dunes down with a sandboard to experience speed and passion, and listen to how the sands really echo and move in winds. You will experience the Sand Sliding activity during evening time around 20:30 when the sand has cooled off from the heat of daytime.

Location: Mingshashan
Available number of times: unlimited
Cost: covered in the camping fee

Enjoying Sunset

Watching a sunset in the desert is an unparalleled experience and a great contrast to the sunset on the mountain or sea. The golden sunlight sprinkles on the desert and make the desert a world of golden color, which remind us the famous Buddhist quote: “One sand is one world”.

Sunset hours and locations:

The sunset time in Dunhuang is about 21:00 in summer, and it is completely dark at 22:00. Below is referred sunset hours in tourist peak season (May to October):

May: about 20: 30-21: 00 / June: about 21: 00-21: 30
July: about 21: 00-21: 40 / August: about 20: 50-21: 15
September: about 19: 30-20: 15/October: about 17: 20-18: 40

The best place to watch sunset: the top of Mingsha Mountain!

Watching Sunrise

Imagine sitting on the top of the sand mountain and watching the big and red sun rising slowly. What a poetic picture it is! Take this rare opportunity to take some great desert photos. The sun usually rise around 6:00~7:00 on the desert of Dunhuang. The actual sunrise time changes by months. Below is the usual sunrise time for tourist peak season (May to October):

May: about 06: 00-06: 30 / June: about 06: 00-06: 30
July: about 06: 00-06: 30 / August: about 06: 30-07: 00
September: about 07: 00-07: 30 / October: about 07: 30-08: 00

Best location to watch sunrise: the top of Mingsha Mountain (about 15~20mins walking from camping base)

Campfire and Desert KTV

The campfire party usually starts around 22:30. Tourists from all over China and globe group around the bonfire and dance and sing. There are staffs to organize interesting interactive programs and liven up the party. The campfire party lasts about one and a half hours. If you are tired, you can go to the tent to rest or enjoy the beautiful sky of stars.

More Recommended Dunhuang Tours:
3 Days Memorable Dunhuang Tour of Art and History (with optional capming experience)
4 Days Classic Dunhuang Tour (with optional capming experience)

Desert Camping in Dunhuang

Desert Motorcycle Riding

Desert Camping in Dunhuang

Exciting Sand Sliding

Desert Camping in Dunhuang

Hilarious Campfire Party

Desert Camping in Dunhuang

Magnificent Sunrise in Desert

Desert Camping in Dunhuang

Take Some Interesting Photos

Desert Camping in Dunhuang

Take Some Interesting Photos

Useful Tips about Dunhuang Desert Camping

1. Don't be afraid of falling down during the sand sliding, as long as you hold the skateboard tightly;

2. There is no extra charge for barbecue, Hot pot, beer, fruit and other drinks;

3. Check the conditions of your tent, sleeping bag and mat carefully before starting camping to make sure they are not broken as it’s usually windy in the night;

4. Make sure you tent is clean without desert bugs;

5. You should follow the unified arrangement of the team. Do not leave the team to explore the further area of desert on you own;

6. Don’t leave any rubbish in the desert.

Recommended Dunhuang Tour: >>4 Days Classic Dunhuang Tour

Necessary Gears for Dunhuang Desert Camping

1. Necessary sunlight protection gears and items, including sunglasses, outdoor scarf, hats, sun cream, body lotion, sun-proof arm socks, jackets, and silk scarves (girls can wear a longer silk scarf, bright clothes and skirts to take pictures);

2. Coats for Junes, Julies and Augusts and warm clothes for Septembers and Octobers;

3. Bring a backpack for daily essentials, some plastic bags or waterproof bags to protect your phones and cameras from sand.

Recommended Dunhuang Tour: >>4 Days Classic Dunhuang Tour

How to Plan a Dunhuang Caves Tour

Usually, 2~4 days are needed to explore highlights of Dunhuang. The world heritage site Mogao Caves and the stunning landscape of Mingsha Mountain and Crescent Lake are two Must- Go attractions which need a full day to visit. You can then spend one more day to explore the western region of Dunhuang to explore the history and Gobi landscape at the ruin of Great Wall, Yumenguan Pass, Yandan Landform, etc. As for the downtown sites, if time allows, don't miss the Shazhou Night Market and Dunhuang Museum.

Some travelers usually travel Dunhuang with other destinations in Gansu, such as Jiayuguan, Zhangye, Lanzhou, etc. One can even travel from Dunhuang to Turpan, Urumqi and Kashgar of Xinjiang.

Recommended Dunhuang Tours

- 3 Days Best Dunhuang Culture and Scenery Tour
- 3 Days Memorable Dunhuang Tour of Art and History
- 4 Days Classic Dunhuang Tour
- 6 Days Hexi Corridor Discovery Tour(Zhangye/Jiayuguan/Dunhuang)

Travel Dunhuang with China Discovery

Travel with China Discovery, our professional local guide and driver will escort you from your hotel, train station, airport to all attractions with comfortable licensed private car, to catch the highlights of Dunhuang. If you are interested, please do not hesitate to contact us and tell us your needs, and we will customize a memorable tour for you!

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