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Dunhuang Travel Guide

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  • Echoing-Sand Mountain
    Echoing-Sand Mountain
  • Dunhuang Mogao Caves
    Dunhuang Mogao Caves
  • Murals in Mogao Caves
    Murals in Mogao Caves
  • Crescent Lake
    Crescent Lake
  • Dunhuang Great Wall
    Dunhuang Great Wall
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 Facts
Phone Code: 0937
Postal Code: 736200
Area: 31,200 Sq km (12,046.3 Sq miles)
Population: 183,900 (in 2010)
Nationalities: Han, Hui, Tibetan, Dongxiang, Yugur, Bonan, Mongolian, Kazak, Tu, Salar and Manchu
Neighboring Areas: Shaanxi, Sichuan, and Qinghai Provinces, Inner Mongolia, Ningxia Hui and Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Regions
Location: Located in the west of Hexi Corridor of Gansu Province of China, Dunhuang is at the intersection of Gansu, Qinghai provinces and Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Regions, and was a major stop on the ancient Silk Road.

 Physical Features: it is a tiny oasis surrounded by high mountainsand the Gobi desert. It is located between the Qilian Mountains on the south and the Beisai Mountain in the north, connects to the large desert in the west, and reaches the Hexi Passage in the east.

Dunhuang Map
Dunhuang Maps

 History: As early as in the end of the Primitive Society, there were human beings living in the area, hunting and farming. Later in the Western Han Dynasty (206BC-24AD), Emperor Wudi set up Dunhuang prefecture to defend the frontier and guarantee the safety of the Silk Road. Duhuang has continued to prosper even though the Silk Road was closed and opened several times. During the 25th year of Emperor Qianlong of the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911), it became a county under Anxi State. In 1987, the State Council oupgraded it to a city.

 Recommended Dunhuang Tour Itineraries: 
Silk Road Tour: 14 Days of Beijing - Urumqi - Kashgar - Urumqi - Turpan - Dunhuang - Xian - Shanghai 
Silk Road In-depth Tour: 22 Days of Beijing - Urumqi - Korla - Kuqa - Aksu - Kashgar - Hetian - Minfeng - Korla - Turpan - Dunhuang - Xian - Shanghai
Silk Road Safari: 20 Days of Beijing - Xian - Xining - Lanzhou - Xiahe - Lanzhou - Wuwei - Zhangye - Jiayuguan - Dunhuang - Turpan - Urumqi – Shanghai

 Attractions: Covered with historical and cultural sites, the city is renowned in northwest China for its literature, ancient codes and records, fine grotto art and spectacular mountains and water. Mogao Caves, referred to as 'the Pearl of Oriental Art', consists of 492 grotto caves and over 45,000-square-meter (17,374.5 square miles) of murals. Crescent Lake and Echoing-Sand Mountain are miraculous natural wonders of the city. Yumenguan, Yangguan, Dunhuang Museum and Western Thousand-Buddhas Cave are also popular tourist attractions. In ancient times, it was known for its business, important location and advanced culture. Today it is best known for its historical sites and the gifts of nature.

 Transportation: 
 Air: Dunhuang Airport, about 13 km east of the city, is mainly for domestic flights, with connections to big Chinese cities like Beijing, Shanghai, Xian, Guangzhou and Chengdu. For the convenience of travelers, the airport also provides special charter flight service.
 Train: There are two railway stations - Dunhuang Railway Station and Liuyuan Railway Station. The latter is farther from the city center, but it has trains to more cities. The former only has trains to and from Lanzhou, Xian and Jiuquan.


 Bus: Opposite the Feitian Hotel on Mingshan Road, Dunhuang Bus Station operates daily buses to Lanzhou, Crescent Lake, Echoing-Sand Mountain and Jiayuguan. There are only a few bus routes in the city, of which the bus to Echoing-Sand Mountain and Mogao Caves are the most useful for travelers.
 Taxi: There are over 300 taxis serving in the city. The minimum fare for taxies is CNY5 or CNY10 for the first 2 kilometers (about 1.2 miles) depending on the type of taxi. 

 Weather: Being an inland city and separated by mountains, it is very dry and short of rainfall all year round, with occasional dry-hot winds and sand storms in spring. May to October is recommended as the best time to visit the city.

 Dining and Shopping
The local people like eating mutton, chicken and beef. Noodles are a specialty here. The best known are are Lv Rou Huang Mian (Donkey Meat Yellow Noodle), Shou Gong Sao Zi Mian (Handmade Noodles with Minced Meat) and Dunhuang Niang Pi Zi (Cool and Spicy Wheat Noodles). The best place to taste local food is at the Shazhou Night Market on Yangguan East Road where there are all kinds of noodles and local snacks. During the day in Feitian Hotel area, many Chinese and western restaurants sell reasonable priced food. 

Known as 'Melon State', the city is the home to many fruits and melons, including apricot, peach, grape, watermelon and honeydew. Dunhuang wine, Luobuma tea and luminescent cups are also local specialties. Popular shopping areas in the city include Feitian Shopping Mall, Tianma Shopping Mall, Shazhou Shopping Mall, Nanguan Aggregate Market, Mogao Grottoes Arts and Crafts Store, Luminescent Cup Factory, Dunhuang Carpet Factory and Shazhou Night Market. 

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