China Travel FAQ

Dunhuang Travel FAQ & Tips


What is the best season for touring Dunhuang?

Generally May-October is the better time to travel Dunhuang. Early May-late June and mid September-late October are more comfortable without the burning heat of July-September. Fruits also mellow in September-October. Dunhuang is dry throughout the year due to its very inland location and subjected to the big temperature change between day and night.


How can I get to Dunhuang?

By Air

Dunhuang airport, 13 km far from the city, has few flights regularly connecting with Lanzhou, Urumqi, Chengdu, Xian, Beijing, etc. while November to March there are only flights to or from Lanzhou and Xian. A taxi ride of around RMB 30 to 40 can take you to the downtown from the airport.

By Train

There are two railway stations in Dunhuang: Liuyuan Station and Dunhuang City Station.

The old Liuyuan (Chinese: 柳园站), 128 km north of Dunhuang city, serves as the main train transfer stop for Dunhuang and has direct connection with Shanghai, Beijing, Xian, Chengdu, Lanzhou and Urumqi. The 2-hour mini-bus (RMB 15) or an-hour taxi ride (RMB 100 or so) can make the downtown and train station transfer.

The newly-built Dunhuang City Railway Station (Chinese: 敦煌市火车站), 10 km east of the downtown, has few trains connecting with Turpan, Lanzhou and Xian. Public bus No. 3 from downtown Dunhuang can directly reach this railway station.

By Bus

Dunhuang bus station has been relocated behind Dunhuang Hotel (Chinese: 敦煌宾馆) in 2010. There are buses to Lanzhou, Turpan, Urumqi, Golmud as well as Dunhuang sights like Mingsha Mountain, Crescent Spring.

How to get around Dunhuang?

By Bike

The bike can be rented (RMB 1 per hour) in the local traveler cafés. And yet it will be a challenging transfer option in sweltering summer days. It is 25 km from town to the grottoes and 6km to Mingsha Mountain.

By Bus

Some sights near the town can be reached by the public buses like Mogao Grottoes (mini-buses near train station and bus station, RMB 8) and Mingsha Mountain (Bus No.3, 1 RMB).

By Car

The sights out of the reach of the public bus need car or mini-bus charter transfer. There are mini-buses waiting for business across from Holiday Restaurant (Chinese: 假日大酒店) on Mingshan Lu.

Is it easy to take a taxi in Dunhuang?

Yes. The taxis are available round the clock. Actually Dunhuang is a small city and you can easily reach almost anywhere of the city within a flag fall of RMB 5-10.


Where the local cuisine can be found?

Noodles are locals' favored foods like Yellow noodle with donkey meat (Chinese: 敦煌黄面) and cool and spicy Niangpizi (Chinese: 酿皮子, wheat noodle).

Shazhou Night Market (Chinese: 沙洲夜市) is a local big lively market with many restaurants and the kebab stands. If you prefer a quiet restaurant or western foods, please go to the Mingshan Lu nearby the Feitian Hotel. The reasonable-charged cafes like Charley John's, Shirley's and John's information Café are frequented by the western travelers.


What are Dunhuang specialties and where can I go for them?

Dunhuang specialties are luminescent cup, handmade Woolen carpet, the fresh and preserved fruits, etc.

Many shopping markets and malls thrive around the downtown statue "Playing Pipa" (反弹琵琶雕像) like department stores--Feitian (飞天商场), Tianma (天马商场), as well as Shazhou Market (沙洲市场) and the neighboring traditionally-built handicraft street (仿古一条街).


Is there any local festival in Dunhuang?

Yes. The temple fair to celebrate the birth of Sakyamuni is held from the 8th of lunar fourth month for days (usually falls in May). The local worshippers, food and souvenir stands and performances bustle Mogao Grottoes area.