At 8:00am, your guide will pick you up from the lobby of your Dunhuang hotel and transfer you to Visitors' Center of MogaoÂ Grottoes, an UNESCO listed World Heritage Site, where you will watch two documentaries about the caves and Silk Road. Then, a professional cave guide will lead you to explore about 7 to 9 caves closely. You will be astonished by well-preserved fresco and statues in the caves from the 4th century.
The caves were built by monks with donated funds and elaborately painted to serve as shrines and for meditation and enlightenment. Those paintings are also a teaching tools to inform those illiterate about Buddhist beliefs and stories. The primary caves were sponsored by patrons of important clergies, local ruling elites, foreign dignitaries, and Chinese emperors. Some of the caves might have been funded by merchants, military officers, and local residents.
Around 3:30pm, you will be transferred to see Singing Sand Dunes and Crescent Moon Spring. This magical spring is located in the center of sand dunes but it has never been covered by the sand throughout the history. It is also called whistling sand or barking sand that produces sound which is perhaps caused by wind passing over dunes or by walking on the sand. Crescent Moon Spring is a crescent-shaped lake oasis in Gobi Desert that is slowing shrinking due to climate change. After the lake visit, you will be transferred back to your hotel in Dunhuang where this wonderful private day trip concludes.
*Note: Your visit to the Mogao Caves might be changed to the afternoon due to daily availability of the attraction. In this caser, you will visit the Singing Sand Dunes and Crescent Moon Spring in the morning.
This private hiking day tour will take you to Yangguan by comfortably air-conditioned vehicle from your Dunhuang hotel. Upon arrival, enjoy an approximately 3.1 miles (5 kilometers) hike which will take you 2 to 2.5 hours to arrive at YangguanÂ Pass. You will see this important pass of ancient silk road and visit the MuseumÂ ofÂ YangguanÂ Pass. Lunch will be served at a local farmer's restaurant. Afterwards, visit Jade Gate Pass and the great wall of Han Dynasty on your way back to Dunhuang.
At 8:30 am, your private English-speaking guide will meet you in the lobby of your hotel to embark on a day of adventure. You will be transferred by comfortably air-conditioned private vehicle to Yangguan that is located by a small oasis about 70 kilometers away from downtown Dunhuang. By 9:30 am, you will start hiking in Yangguan. The distance of your hike is approximately 3.1 miles (5 kilometers) from the entrance to the site of Yangguan Pass. Along the way, you will see the beautiful oasis before arriving at Yangguan Pass where you will apply for a "passport" from the governor as a souvenir and also visit the Museum of Yangguan Pass. Lunch will be served at a local farmer's restaurant where you could visit the vineyard during lunch.
In the afternoon, you will be transferred to Jade Gate Pass and the site of Han Dynasty Great Wall (256 B.C. - 195 B.C.) which takes approximately 1 hour. In Chinese history, Han Dynasty built many walls to strengthen the safety of their frontier as well as exploring ways to do business with the western region. Instead of piling up layers upon layers of stones or bricks like other dynasties did, the Great Wall of Han Dynasty was built with sand and weeds that were abundant locally. These two materials were mixed together by being layered on top of each other. On average, every layer measures from 4.7 to 5.9 inches (12 to 15 centimeters). Current remains of the wall is ranging from 1.6 feet tall to over 6.6 feet in height. At the end, you will be transferred back to your Dunhuang hotel by 5:30pm where this tour ends.
Day 1: Arrival Dunhuang
Upon arriving at Dunhuang Airport, you will be met by your local guide and transferred to a 4-star hotel in Dunhuang. That afternoon, enjoy the stunning views at Crescent Spring hidden in the Singing Sand Dunes located 6 km outside the city center. Later, visit the local night markets and experience local cuisine and fruits while shopping for paintings, jade and more. Camel ride is available with additional charge (minimum 4 people required). Return to the hotel for your overnight stay.
Day 2. Dunhuang [B]
After breakfast at the hotel, your driver will take you to visit the Mogao Caves. Upon arrival you will watch two documentaries about the Silk Road and Mogao Caves before proceeding to the caves. Visit the untouched fresco paintings and statues that were constructed during the reign of multiple dynasties, still colorful treasures of art. This tour will take approximately 4 hours, after which you will be transferred to Dunhuang Airport. Your tour concludes here.
Day 1. Arrival Dunhuang
You will be picked up at the Dunhuang Airport and transferred to the hotel. Check in and take a break.
This evening explore the night market where you can buy souvenirs and taste local snacks.
Overnight in Dunhuang Hotel(5*)
Day 2. Dunhuang
Hotel breakfast, then move to Mogao Grttoes where you will watch 2 documentary films about Silk Road and Mogao Grottoes, which will help you understand the history back ground of Dunhuang. Afterwards, follow a profession cave guide to visit the untouched caves with colorful fresco, Buddha Statues, and painting etc.
This afternoon, visit the Crescent Spring in the Singding Sand Dues. Located in the desert, but the Spring never covered by sand or dried up. Optional camel-riding here will offer you an opportunity to imagine the difficulty of traveling on the Silk Road in the ancient time.
Overnight in Dunhuang Hotel(5*)
Day 3. Dunhuang/Jiayuguan
Take a train from Dunhuang to Jiyuguan departing at 9 am and arrival at 1pm. Move to the Jiyuguan Fort to explore the old Great Wall and the fortress which was listed as Cultural Heritage by UNESCO.
Afterwards move back hotel.
Overnight in Great Wall Hotel(4*)
Day 4. Jiayuguan Departure.
After breakfast your private transfer will take you to the Jiayuguan Airport for your onward journey.
End of services.
Upon arrival at Dunhuang Airport you will be greeted by your English-speaking guide and then transferred directly to your hotel in Dunhuang downtown. Ask your guide for recommendations for local attractions and restaurants and he will be happy to share all the information with you!
Enjoy a pure 8-hour guided tour without any compulsory shopping stops. Appreciate Buddhist art, discover murals and Buddha statues inside the caves. Take a camel ride toward Singing Sand Dune in the beautiful melody sung by the sand and enjoy the entrancing beauty of Crescent Lake lying peacefully below the mountain.
Your day tour starts with a morning pickup from your centrally located hotel. Relax in a comfortable air-conditioned minivan as your guide and driver take you to Mogao Caves. You will first watch a movie for about an hour, getting a general understanding of the history of the caves. Then, visit different caves including the largest cave, Cave 96, and manuscripts storage, Cave 17, where hoards of Buddhism scriptures were discovered, and learn about Buddhist art and murals.
Later, return to your vehicle and move on to Singing Sand Dune. Hearing the beautiful sound along your way to the mountain and back on a camel ride with your guideâ€™s introductions to get a better understanding of the name of the dune. Hike to the mountain top for panoramic views of tiers over tiers of sand dunes in this mysterious desert and get a glimpse of the Crescent Lake below.
Come down from the sand dune mountains and continue your camel ride closer to Crescent Lake. Your guide will unveil its mysteries and share the efforts made by Chinese government to conserve the condition of this gradually shrinking oasis.
Your tour concludes at approximately 5:00pm as you enjoy a comfortable ride back to your hotel.
This is full day small group tour without any compulsory shopping stops. Appreciate Buddhist art and discover murals as well as Buddha statues inside the caves. Take a camel ride towards Singing Sand Dunes in the beautiful melody sung by the sand and enjoy the entrancing beauty of Crescent Spring Lake lying peacefully below the sand dune mountain.
Your tour starts at 9am. Pick up will take place prior to the scheduled time. Sit back and relax in a comfortable air-conditioned minivan as your guide and driver take you to Mogao Caves. You will first watch a film for about an hour to getting a general understanding on the history of the Caves. Next, visit different caves including the largest cave, Cave No. 96, and manuscripts storage cave, Cave No. 17 where hoard of Buddhism scriptures were discovered to appreciate Buddhist art and murals.
Later, hop aboard on your minivan and drive to Singing Sand Dunes. Hear the beautiful melody along your way to the sand dune mountain and back on a camel ride. With your guideâ€™s explanations, you will understand why the mountain receives its name (Singing Sand Dunes). Hike to the mountain top for a panoramic view of waves over waves of rolling sand dunes in this mysterious desert area and get a glimpse of the Crescent Spring Lake down below.
Get down and continue your camel ride to get closer to Crescent Lake where your guide will unveil its mysteries and share the efforts made by Chinese government to maintain the depth of the gradually shrinking oasis. Your tour concludes approximately at 5pm. At the end, enjoy a comfortable ride back to your Dunhuang hotel.
Enjoy a full day of sightseeing without any compulsory shopping stops. Explore Yumenguan Pass, an important gateway of Silk Road, to reminisce the bustling scene of ancient Silk Road caravan traders crossing in ancient times, pay a visit to the best preserved Great Wall of Han Dynasty nearby, and take in breathtaking views of Gobi desert and natural rock formation in Yadan National Geologic Park.
Meet your private local guide and driver in the morning at your hotel lobby and then settle into a comfortable air-conditioned minivan for 1 hour ride to Yumenguan Pass. Enjoy changing scenery along the way from bustling city to desolate Gobi. Get a close look at the site of Yumenguan Pass that is named after many jade caravans passing through and listen to your guide's commentary on its glorious past. Picture the bustling scene of this important pass with caravan traders crossing through in the ancient times and compare to its modern desolate view.
Afterwards, make a stop to Great Wall of Han Dynasty, the best preserved part of Han Great Wall but also a big opposite to the famous Badaling Great Wall or Mutianyu Great Wall. With limited materials, this Great Wall was built of a mixture of sand, dirt, rose willow, reed and apocynum. Take a free walk to get closer and learn more stories of the Wall and take some photos of the remains of this 2,200-year-old structure.
Next, take another 1 hour ride to start your exploration in Yadan National Geological Park. A park shuttle ride will show you through the park, making stops to different naturally shaped rock formations such as "the lion with a gesture of welcoming guests," "the peacock's tail," "the pyramid," and "the Sphinx." Imagining all these rocks will gradually change their shapes after another hundreds or thousands of years is also intriguing.
After a whole dayâ€™s trip in the fascinating Gobi desert, enjoy the ride in your comfortable air-conditioned vehicle back to your hotel.
(*) All prices are approximations due to currency fluctuations.