The fertile Dūnhuáng oasis has long been a refuge for weary Silk Road travellers. Most visitors stayed long enough only to swap a camel and have a feed; but some settled down and built the forts, towers and magnificent cave temples that are now scattered over the surrounding area. These sites, along with some dwarfing sand dunes and desertscapes, make Dūnhuáng a magnificent place to visit.
Despite its remoteness, per capita income in Dūnhuáng is among the highest in China, thanks to a recent push into wind and solar energy production. The town is now thoroughly modern, but there’s no doubt it has maintained its distinction. With clean tree-lined streets, slow-moving traffic, bustling markets, budget hotels, cafes and souvenir shops, it also has remained as much an oasis for the weary traveller as ever.