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3 Days Dunhuang Mogao Caves Yulin Caves Tour (Tour of Art and History) $380

Mogao Caves + Yulin Caves


Not everyone knows that the UNESCO World Heritage Site Mogao Caves has a “little sister” – Yulin Caves who is smaller but better preserved than Mogao Caves. This “little sister” boasts the most exquisite murals among all caves along the Silk Road which are large in scale and diverse in forms and skills, with much art value. If you are an art meditator, students (teachers) of painting schools, or want to find some inspiring things to do in Dunhuang, you should take this Memorable Dunhuang Tour of Art and History in which you will not only take an in-depth visit of Mogao Caves, but also have a day sightseeing to Yulin Caves and nearby Silk Road historical city of Suoyangcheng.

Highlights of this tour

  • Private tour package covering airport (train station and hotels) pick up, accommodation, sightseeing, private tour guide and driver;
  • In-depth tour of two best Buddhist caves in Dunhuang region – Mogao Caves and Yulin Caves;
  • Visit Suoyangcheng which is an ancient ruined city established in more than 2,000 years ago;
  • A half day leisure seeing the beautiful desert of Mingshashan and magic Crescent Lake nearby.

Basic Trip Information

from $380
  1. 1. This price is for one person, based on a group of 2 adults sharing one double-bed room in a 4-star hotel and traveling in low seasons;
  2. 2. This price is subject to change according to your traveling season, group size, hotel class, change of activities and possible fluctuation of currency exchange rate.
Travel Route:
Travel Length:
3 Days and 2 Nights
Tour Code:
Group Size:
You, your family, friends or group
Any day you want
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Full Itinerary Day by day

Day 1 Railway Station/Airport Pick Up & Mingshashan Desert Tour

Upon your arrival at Dunhuang Airport/railway station, our local guide and driver will pick up you and then transfer you to check in to your hotel. Have a short rest before going to visit Mingshashan which is only about 10 km from the downtown. You will start sightseeing in the middle afternoon when it is not very hot and sunburn is low.

The magic Mingshashan (Echoing Sand Mountains) and Crescent Lake which are located in a same scenic area. In the sunny days, the sand mountains echo like Orchestra music even if there is no wind. If you slide from the sand mountains, you can hear the echoing sound clearly. There are many exciting activities for you to try (at your own expense), such as sand skiing, viewing from glider or helicopter, motorcycling, etc. Riding a camel through the desert is very popular. Surrounded by the Echoing Sand Mountains, Crescent Lake is a beautiful oasis with some well decorated traditional Chinese architecture, some trees and flowers and a lake that has never dried up and shapes like a crescent moon. Useful Tips: in the summer, travelers can stay up to late night around 21:30 to enjoy the cool time and beautiful sky of stars. It's usually very hot during 12:00~15:00. You can enter the park later when it is not that hot. After sightseeing, get back to Dunhuang city.

Optional Mingshashan desert camping experience

If you like, you can camp for a night in the desert of Mingshashan, which will be one-of-a-kind experience to get closer touch with the desert. During the camping, there are a lot of activities and programs for you to have fun, such as sand skiing, desert motorcycle, bonfire party, etc.

Crescent Lake Never Dry Up Riding Camel at Mingshashan (Echoing Sand Mountains)
Day 2 Yulin Grottoes & Suoyangcheng Ruins Tour (B, L)

Today you are going to visit Yulin Caves which is about 2.5 hrs' driving from Dunhuang city. It is a relatively long driving from Dunhuang, but you will find it worthwhile after visiting Yulin Grottoes.

The Yulin Caves is known as the "sister caves" of Mogao caves. It is a Buddhist cave temple site located about 160 km east of the oasis town of Dunhuang and the Mogao Caves, and was listed as the UNESCO World Heritage sites as part of the Chinese Section of the Silk Road. There are 43 existing caves in the Yulin Caves, with a total of 5,200 square meters of murals and more than 259 colored sculptures. You can visit up to 6 caves in which you can admire magnificent mural paintings which is believed to be even more beautiful than those in Mogao Caves. There are also 3 special caves (No. 2, No. 3 and No. 25) with outstanding art value that you can visit with extra charges.

After Yulin Caves visit, drive about 30 minutes to Suoyangcheng which used to be a very important city on the Silk Road. It was first established in 111 BC, prospered during the Tang and Western Xia dynasties, and destroyed and abandoned in the 16th century. Today you can still see the remained ruins of the inner city, the outer city, several Yangmacheng (fortified animal enclosures used as fortresses in wartime), Ta'er Temple, ancient irrigation systems, caves, etc.

After sightseeing, drive back to Dunhuang city and make a stop en route at the giant statue of Son of Earth which was constructed by 3D Printing technology to remind us of protecting our Mother Nature.

Nightlife Ideas: 1) Go out to go for a walk in the Shazhou Night Market where you can try some local food, relax in a drinking bar, or buy some interesting handcrafts, etc. 2) Enjoy the fascinating Silk Road Show - Ancient Sound of Dunhuang. Through the use of high-tech methods such as holographic projection and 3D visuals, it presents a fully immersive theatrical experience of both elaborate dances and unique performance of ancient musical instruments. (Notice: the Silk Road Show is not available during November to middle April of next year. The tickets of the show sell out quickly. If you want to watch the show, please let your travel consultant or tour guide know in advance.)

Yulin Grottoes (No. 3 Cave) Suoyangcheng Ancient City Ruin (Ta'er Temple) Enjoy the fascinating Silk Road show - Silk Road Flower Rain
Day 3 Dunhuang Mogao Grottoes Art Tour & Departure ( B,L )

After breakfast, drive about 10 km from the Dunhuang city to visit the newly opened Mogao Grottoes Digital Exhibition Center before go to Mogao Grottoes. You will watch two short but well-produced educational documentary movies that introduce the history, arts, and other facts about Mogao Grottoes. After the movies, take the interzonal bus to Mogao Grottoes.

Mogao Grottoes is famed as the "Louvre of the East", which is outstanding for its exquisite mural paintings and statues. There are now 492 grottoes in which about 45000 square meters long mural paintings and 2100 colorfully painted statues from which you can trace the development of Chinese art over 1600 years from one dynasty to the next because each dynasty built own caves to record its own features. There are about 40 common caves opened to the public. In the tourist area, you will be divided into groups by different tour guides who will accompany you to visit the caves (usually 7~8 caves during April~November and 12 caves during December~March) with great introduction. After that, if you want to visit more other caves, you can do it by yourselves or follow other tour guides. Besides, there are 10 special caves (with extra fees) available for your extensive visit.

The rest of today is free for you to catch your flight/train to the next destination. Your Dunhuang Silk Road tour ends!

Useful Tips:

1. During peak seasons (May to October), there are usually a lot of visitors to Mogao Caves, so it is recommended to make reservation in advance for at least 7 days. 2. If you want to see the Special Caves (excluded in the regular visit, and only open for limited individual visitors or small groups with reservations), you can contact our travel consultants or your tour guide to arrange for you, but you have to pay the extra admission fee for each cave. 3. It is not allowed to take photos inside grottoes.

Mogao Grottoes Mogao Grottoes Feitian (Flying Apsaras) Watch a documentary film in the Dome Theater of Mogao Grottoes Digital Exhibition Center

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