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 Tang dynasties. Take an afternoon departure to catch a glorious desert sunset. You will need to arrange a private driver to take you here, or enquire at Charley Johng's Cafe for current bus tours.

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby Dunhuang attractions

1. Sun Pass

16.3 MILES

This Han dynasty military post was one of the two most important gates marking the end of the Chinese empire along the ancient Silk Road. Today, a dusty…

2. Singing Sands Dune

18.23 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…

3. Dunhuang Museum


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…

4. Mogao Grottoes

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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…