Dunhuang Museum

Top choice in Dunhuang

On the road to Singing Sands Dune is this sparkling museum that takes you on an artefact-rich journey through the Dunhuang area (from prehistoric to Qing dynasty times) via hallways designed to make you feel as if you were exploring the caves. Don't miss the splendid to-scale recreation, decorated with soft pigment, of Cave 45. Another highlight is the excellent Fan Yanyan Centre of Silk Arts display, with its eye-catching styling and gorgeous silk pieces. Take your passport.

Also look out for the photos of the Taoist priest and abbot and curator of the Mogao Caves, Wang Yuanlu, and Paul Pelliot, the French Sinologist who bought a selection of manuscripts from Wang for a fraction of their real value. You can easily walk here in 15 minutes from the centre of town.

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby Dunhuang attractions

1. Singing Sands Dune

3.17 MILES

Six kilometres south of Dunhuang at Singing Sands Dune, the desert meets the oasis in most spectacular fashion. From the sheer scale of the dunes, it’s…

2. Mogao Grottoes

9.88 MILES

The Mogao Grottoes are considered one of the most important collections of Buddhist art in the world. At its peak during the Tang dynasty (618–907), the…

3. Western Thousand Buddha Caves


Located 35km west of Dunhuang, there are 16 caves hidden in the cliff face of the Dang River (Dǎng Hé, 党河) gorge, ranging from the Northern Wei to the…