Top ChoiceCave in Dunhuang

Mogao Grottoes

Mogao Grottoes

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 site housed 18 monasteries, more than 1400 monks and nuns,...

Top ChoiceOasis in Dunhuang

Singing Sands Dune

Singing Sands Dune

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 easy to see how Dunhuang gained its moniker ‘Shāzhōu’...

Top ChoiceMuseum in Dunhuang

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 dynasty times) via hallways designed to make you feel as...

Top ChoiceCafe in Dunhuang

Memory Box Cafe

This comfy and eclectically designed cafe with ample greenery, high ceiling, voluminous glass windows, a vast aquarium with huge, colourful fish and lots of neat little compartmentalised tables to sit down at...

Top ChoiceInternational in Dunhuang

Zhāixīng Gé

Part of the Silk Road Dunhuang Hotel, this rooftop restaurant is ideal for a meal (the western buffet breakfast is excellent) or a sundowner gazing out over the golden sand dunes. There's everything from...

Desert in Dunhuang

Yadan National Park

Yadan National Park

The weird, eroded desert landscape of Yadan National Park is 180km northwest of Dunhuang, in the middle of the Gobi Desert’s awesome nothingness. A former lake bed that eroded in spectacular fashion some 12,000...

Historic Site in Dunhuang

Jade Gate Pass

The Jade Gate Pass, 78km west of Dunhuang, was originally a military station. Together with Sun Pass, it formed part of the Han dynasty series of beacon towers that extended to the garrison town of Loulan in...

Historic Site in Dunhuang

Sun Pass

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 museum chronicles some of the site's artefacts, but the...

Buddhist Site in Dunhuang

Yulin Grottoes

About 180km south of Dunhuang, the 40-plus caves of the Yulin Grottoes face each other across a narrow canyon. The interior art spans a 1500-year period, from the Northern Wei to the Qing dynasty. Many show a...

Xinjiang in Dunhuang

Suǒfěiyà Qīngzhèn Fànguǎn

Come to this small and friendly Muslim restaurant down Confucian Temple Alley (Wenmiao Xiang) for lamb kebabs (羊肉串, yángròuchuàn; ¥2 each), roast lamb with cumin (孜然羊肉, zīrǎn yángròu; ¥70), spicy chicken chunks...

Street Food in Dunhuang

Speciality Snack Street

This road west off Mingshan Lu is stuffed with small hole-in-the-wall restaurants and larger eateries, perfect for dining on local specialities such as donkey meat, cuōyúzi (fish-shaped noodles), wonton,...

Noodles in Dunhuang

Yǒnghóng Cuōyúzi

A bowl of these fish-shaped noodles (搓鱼子, cuōyúzi) puts a spring in your step. Located on Speciality Snack Street off Mingshan Lu in the centre of town, it's a small family-run operation. The name of the...

Market in Dunhuang

Shazhou Night Market

Extending from Yangguan Lu south to Xiyu Lu, this market is both a place to eat and to socialise, night and day. Off Yanguang Donglu are dozens of well-organised stalls with English signs: expect Sichuan, Korean...

Buddhist Site in Dunhuang

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...

Bar in Dunhuang

Yánmò Shíguāng

All comfy sofas and a pleasant mezzanine aloft, this is a relaxing and good-looking choice for a chilled beer. Craft beers are on the menu, or you can sink a local beer (from ¥8) or aim for a cocktail (from ¥38).

Theatre in Dunhuang

Dunhuang Celebration

Huge live evening show staged at the Silk Road Dunhuang Hotel, with a backdrop of the sand dunes. You can purchase tickets from the ticket office next to the Mogao Grottoes Reservation and Ticket Center.

Theatre in Dunhuang

Dunhuang Goddess

An 80-minute acrobatic dramatisation of stories on the walls of the Mogao Grottoes. It’s held at the Dunhuang Theatre; English subtitles are provided.

Food in Dunhuang


This particularly elegant and top-end shop in the Shazhou Night Market area sells tea, dates and ceramics as well as other local produce. Good for gift ideas.

Theatre in Dunhuang

Dunhuang Theatre

A modern theatre that has a variety of shows, but is best known for the enduring Dunhuang Goddess.