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Dunhuang 敦煌 Travel Guide

Dunhuang Overview

Dunhuang is a long trip through the desert which suddenly ends in a lush and developed city. Originally this city was a stop on the Northern Silk Road and flourished during the Han and Tang dynasties and had considerable military importance. Nowadays it is tourists rather than traders who flock here to experience the desert and the nearby Mogao Caves, Dunhuang’s premiere attraction and a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Best Months to Visit Dunhuang

dunhuang when to go

Best Reason to Visit Dunhuang

The twin but very different attractions of the Mogao Caves and the Dunes make this remote destination particularly diverse and Dunhuang an essential stop along the Northern Silk Road route. The town itself is also a pleasant place to rest up for a couple of days.

Top Attractions in Dunhuang

The UNESCO recognised Mogao Caves are an extraordinary repository of Buddhist art which began to be accumulated here nearly 2,400 years ago and was added to over a period spanning 1,000 years. There are nearly 500 temples with murals covering 450,000 square feet although much is off limits to visitors. Crescent Lake is 5km outside of Dunhuang where the dunes rise from the flat desert. Nestled amongst the dunes is the small lake and temple – a quite extraordinary setting. Visit as we did in the winter and you have the chance of seeing the strange sight of snow on the sand dunes!

Weather Averages for Dunhuang

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Our Top Dunhuang Travel Tip

An unmissable Silk Road stop with plenty of atmosphere, good accommodation and a range of diverse sights makes Dunhuang a well deserved Silk Road favourite amongst travellers both today and, indeed, over the last 2,000 years!

Hand Picked Dunhuang Hotels

For a hotel downtown the Dunhuang Hotel is reliable and comfortable if a little bland. Of more character is The Silk Road Hotel out on the edge of the city overlooking the sand dunes.

Explore More of China

Click the boxes below to explore further styles of destination in China.

By Phil Stanley & Headseast – TCTC Destination Expert.

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