Welcome to Dunhuang
Despite its remoteness, Dūnhuáng's per capita income is among the highest in China, thanks to a push into wind and solar energy production. The town is thoroughly modern, but has maintained its distinctive desert-sanctuary ambience – with clean, tree-lined streets, slow-moving traffic, bustling markets, budget hotels, cafes and souvenir shops.
Though relatively small, it's a great walking town with wide footpaths and narrow alleys opening up into squares, markets and the lives of ordinary citizens. The riverside is worth a visit if only to see if you are brave enough to cross to the platforms in the middle of the stream.