Xian to Dunhuang Tour Plans - How to Travel from Xian to Dunhuang

Xian and Dunhuang, about 1720km apart, are the starting point and node city of the Silk Road. One is the prosperous capital of the ancient China and the other is an oasis amidst the vast desert. A trip to these two cities will give you totally different travel experiences. Here we have illustrated how to travel from Xi’an to Dunhuang, including the transportation means and recommended travel plans.

Travel from Xian to Dunhuang

Xi'an Dunhuang Transfer Map

How to Get to Dunhuang from Xian

The most recommended way is to take a plane, which only needs about 2.5h. You can also take the overnight train but it will take about 22 hours.

Xi’an to Dunhuang Flights

There are usually 3-4 flights a day from Xian Xiangyang International Airport to Dunhuang Airport. You can transfer between these two cities in about 2.5 hours. All the four flights are listed below for your reference. As the schedule and price are not fixed, please do not hesitate to contact us for the updated information.

Flight Info. Operator Dep. ~ Arr. Duration Distance
9H6013 Air Changan 06:15 ~ 09:00 2h45min 1720KM
MU2215 China Eastern Airlines 12:10 ~ 14:35 2h25min
EU2297 Chengdu Airlines 14:15 ~ 16:50 2h35min
MU9641 China Eastern Airlines 19:55 ~ 22:30 2h35min


Xi’an Xianyang International Airport (IATA: XIY)

Location: Dizhang Town, Weicheng District, Xianyang City, Shaanxi (陕西省咸阳市渭城区底张镇)

Xi’an Xianyang International Airport (西安咸阳国际机场) is actually located in Xianyang city, but you can get to Xi’an downtown conveniently by Airport Shuttle Bus (subway is not available yet). The airport connects Xi’an with most major cities in China and many cities abroad. So far (July, 2019), there are 62 airline companies running 313 lines covering 171 cities such as Beijing, Tianjin, Chengdu, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Hangzhou, Kunming, Chongqing, Nanjing, Xiamen, Hong Kong, Macau, Seoul, Bangkok, Kuala Lumpur, Nagoya, etc.

From Xi’an downtown (Ancient City Wall): about 40km, 1 hour by car, 1.5 hours by Airport Shuttle Bus.

From Terracotta Warriors: about 66km, 70 minutes by car.

Travel from Xian to Dunhuang Xi’an Xianyang International Airport

Dunhuang International Airport (IATA: DNH)

Location: Mogao Town, Dunhuang City, Jiuquan City, Gansu (甘肃省酒泉市敦煌市莫高镇)

Dunhuang International Airport (敦煌国际机场) is about 13km to the east of Dunhuang downtown and 22km to the north of Mogao Grottoes. It now operates domestic flights between Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Chengdu, Hangzhou, Lanzhou, Xian, Xining, Hong Kong, etc. but not all of them are open all year round. Some flights such as those to Beijing and Hong Kong are seasonal flights. From December 9, 2019 to February 24, 2020, direct flights to Siem Reap in Cambodia will be put into operation. Dunhuang Airport is expected to be built into a major international airport in Gansu Province.

To Dunhuang downtown: about 13km, 25 minutes by car

To Mogao Grottoes: about 22km, 30 minutes by car

Travel from Xian to Dunhuang Dunhuang Airport

Xi’an to Dunhuang Trains

As of September, 2019, there is only one daily train from Xian Railway Station to Dunhuang Railway Station. It leaves at 10:27 and arrives at 08:38 the next day with a duration of about 22h. So a softer sleeper of hard sleeper ticket is more recommended. The train information below is for your reference. For real-time train schedule and price, please check Xi’an to Dunhuang Trains.

Train No. Depart Arrive Dep. Time Arr. Time Duration Price (RMB)
K367 Xi’an Railway Station Dunhuang Railway Station 10:27 08:38 22h11min 206/353/556


Note: You can also choose to take high speed trains at Xian North Railway Station to Xining or Lanzhou, and then transfer to Dunhuang. The quickest transfer option will take about 12h in total.


Xi’an Railway Station (西安站)

Location: No. 44 Huancheng North Road, Xincheng District (西安市新城区环城北路44号)

Xi’an Railway Station is an old railway station with a history of over 80 years. It has a Tang’s style architecture with glazed tile roof and yellow glazed walls. At present, Xi’an Railway Station operates both high speed trains and normal trains to other cities, like Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Chengdu, Tianjing, Lanzhou, Dunhuang, etc. The trains to Lhasa from Shanghai and Guangzhou also take a stop at Xian Railway Station, so it is available to take a train from Xian to Lhasa via Qinghai Tibet Railway directly.

From Xi’an downtown (Ancient City Wall): about 5km, 20 minutes by car, 40 minutes by bus. But if you are at the North Gate of Ancient City Wall, you can just walk there; they are about 1.5km apart.

>>Know More about Xi'an Train Stations

Travel from Xian to Dunhuang Xi’an Railway Station

Dunhuang Railway Station (敦煌站)

Location: 217 Provincial Highway, Dunhuang, Jiuquan, Gansu (甘肃省酒泉敦煌市217省道)

Dunhuang Railway Station is about 12km to the east of downtown. It is built in 2006 and mainly serves Dunhuang Railway, which is the only tourism special line in Gansu Province. The railway station is simple but graceful, combining modern features with the characteristics of Han and Tang Dynasty. It facilities tourists a lot because it enables people to get there directly from Jiayuguan, Lanzhou, Urumqi, Xian, etc.

To Dunhuang downtown: about 12km, 20min by car.

To Mogao Grottoes: about 19km, 25min by car.

Travel from Xian to Dunhuang Dunhuang Railway Station

How to Travel from Xian to Dunhuang

Xian and Dunhuang are two cities rich in both historical and cultural resources. Here we have provided you with some ideas on how to plan your trip while you are in Xian and Dunhuang.

How to Plan a Xi’an Tour

As the ancient capital city for 13 dynasties in China's history, Xi’an has always been a hot tourist destination in China. Terracotta Warriors and Horses buried for more than 2000 years is definitely a must-see. After that, take a stroll or rent a bike on the Ancient City Wall, the largest and best-preserved ancient city wall in China, to enjoy panoramic views of modern Xi’an. Then try some local snacks at the bustling and lively Muslim Quarter. On the next day, head to Da Cien Temple and Giant Wild Goose Pagoda to feel the Buddhist culture in Xi’an, then get a deeper understanding of the past of this city in Shaanxi History Museum. If you are interested in mountain climbing, don’t miss the challenging Mount Huashan which is famous for lofty peaks and steep paths.

>>1 Day Xian Essence Tour

>>2 Days Xian City Break

>>4 Days Xian Highlights Tour with Mount Huashan Hiking

Travel from Xian to Dunhuang Biking on Xian Ancient City Wall

How to Plan a Dunhuang Tour

It usually takes 2 days to cover the main highlights in Dunhuang. Just like the Terracotta Warriors in Xi’an, the 2000-year-old Mogao Grottoes is the essence in a Dunhuang trip. Here you can admire thousands of colorfully painted Buddhist statues and have an eye-feast on the exquisite mural paintings. After that, you can go to the Echoing Sand Mountains and find out why Crescent Lake has never dried up for so many years. On the next day, go explore the remote wild Gobi desert landscape and several legendary historical sites such as 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, and Yardang National Geologic Park which features Yardang landforms in distinct shapes as you can imagine like Mongolian Bao, Stone Bird, Peacock and others. If you have more days, you can take an in-depth Gansu tour to Lanzhou, Zhangye, or travel a little farther to the beautiful Qinghai.

>>2 Days Dunhuang Short Stay Tour

>>6 Days Hexi Corridor Discovery Tour(Zhangye/Jiayuguan/Dunhuang)

>>10 Days Qinghai & Gansu Highlights Tour

Travel from Xian to Dunhuang Crescent Lake in Echoing Sand Mountain

Travel with China Discovery

If you have other ideas or questions about a Xi'an Dunhuang tour, please feel free to contact us. We are also specialized in tailor-made tours that fit you best according to your own interests, requirements, traveling time, etc. We will provide you with reliable drivers, professional guides and comfortable vehicles. You don’t need to worry about the tickets, meals, accommodation or any other problem; all you need to do is just enjoying your trip!

Recommended Xian Dunhuang Tours:

>>5 Days Silk Road Tour from Xian (Xian/Dunhuang)

>>10 Days Classic Silk Road Tour (Xian/Dunhuang/Turpan/Urumqi/Kashgar)

>>9 Days Silk Road Tour with Best of China Golden Triangle Cities (Beijing/Xian/Dunhuang/Shanghai)

Recommended Xian Dunhuang Tours

Top 3 Xian Dunhuang tours chosen by most customers to explore Xian Dunhuang in the best way. Check the detailed itinerary, or tailor your own trip now with us.

Our guests biking on the Ancient City Wall
2 Days Xian City Break (Pick Up from Hotel, Train Station or Airport)


Crescent Lake Never Dry Up
2 Days Dunhuang Short Stay Tour (Classic Itinerary, Money-saving, Flexible)


Terra-Cotta Warriors
5 Days Silk Road Tour from Xian to Dunhuang by Flight

Xian / Dunhuang

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