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2019 Dunhuang | 5 Days Hexi Corridor+Mogao Caves Discovery Tour

CETtrip CETtrip北京

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Dunhuang | 5 Days Hexi Corridor+Mogao Caves Discovery Tour

Zhangye/Jiayuguan/Dunhuang

Trace the Ancient Travel Route



Around 1,600 years ago, the Buddhism was brought to China through the Hexi Corridor and expanded there. The armies of ancient China fought against the invasions from nomadic kingdoms in sumless battles at the Hexi Corridor. Merchants from Europe and Middle Asia entered the Hexi Corridor and got to Chang'an(Xian of today) for business. 


Hexi Corridor refers to the historical route in Gansu province of China. As part of the Northern Silk Road running northwest from the bank of the Yellow River, it was the most important route from North China to the Tarim Basin and Central Asia for traders and the military. 


The corridor is a string of oases along the northern edge of the Tibetan Plateau. To the south is the high and desolate Tibetan Plateau and to the north, the Gobi Desert and the grasslands of Outer Mongolia. At the west end the route splits in three, going either north of the Tian Shan or south on either side of the Tarim Basin. At the east end are mountains around Lanzhou before one reaches Wei River valley and China proper. This tour takes you to explore this glorious wander land-Hexi Corridor.



Often, when Dunhuang is mentioned, a desolate desert landscape would comes to mind: boundless desert, the occasional oasis, tired camels, and so on. Dunhuang, referred as the Sand Oasis in ancient times, is a famous historical and cultural site in China and was once an important city along Silk Road, a bustling trade route which once linked China with India, Central Asia, and the Middle East.


The city of Dunhuang is situated at a point of vital strategic and logistical importance, on a cross roads of two major trade routes within the Silk Road network. Dunhuang was one of the first trading cities encountered by merchants arriving in China from the west. It was also an ancient site of Buddhist religious activity, and was a popular destination for pilgrims, as well as acting as a garrison town protecting the region. 


The remarkable Mogao Caves, a collection of nearly 500 caves in the cliffs to the south of Dunhuang,  contain the largest depositary of historic documents along the Silk Roads and bear witness to cultural, religious, social and commercial activity that took place in Dunhuang. 



According to these documents, a large number of imports arrived from as far away as north-east Europe. Interestingly, the scrolls that mention merchant caravans are usually written in Sogdian, Uighur, or Turco-Sogdian, indicating that they were produced by the foreign traders in the city. The range of imported goods included brocade and silk from Persia, metal-ware, fragrances, incense and a variety of precious stones, such as lapis lazuli (from north eastern Afghanistan), agate (from India), amber (from north east Europe), coral (from the ocean) and pearl (usually from Sri Lanka). 


The history of this ancient Silk Road city is reflected in the Mogao Caves. Mogao Caves illustrate not only the religious importance of Dunhuang however, but also its significance as a centre of cultural and commercial exchange.


Are you tired of traveling to common cities, architectures and nature sightseeing? If yes, Dunhuang is the best choice for you to experience something different.



Highlights of this Tour


Traveling from east to west, this tour covers Zhangye, Jiayuguan, and Dunhuang. Gansu province was one of the most important sections during the ancient Silk Road. Located in the upper reaches of the Yellow River, northwest China, Gansu is one of the cradles of Chinese cultures.


  • Take the chance to see the breathtaking rainbow mountains in China - Zhangye Danxia Landform;

  • Go to see "the First and Greatest Pass under Heaven" and see starting point of Great Wall of Ming Dynasty-Jiayuguan Pass; 

  • Be amazed by the spectacular Gobi desert landscape which can only be seen in Dunhuang

  • Catch a deep insight of about Dunhuang's history and culture by visit the world famous Mogao Grottoes and other historical sites;

  • Enjoy the stunning desert views of Mishashan Mountain, visit World Heritage Site, and explore local custom.;

  • Once in a lifetime journey to the Louvre of Buddhist Art-Mogao Grottoes.


Dunhuang, the shining pearl in the Gobi desert, a bright star of ancient Silk Road. It has been a popular travel destination for more than 2,000 years since Han Dynasty. There used to be many travelers from Europe and Middle Asia traveled to Dunhuang for its amazing desert scenery and magnificent Buddhist art. Today, you will follow the footprints of ancient travelers to explore this legendary city!



Trip Overview


The Silk Road routes from China to the west passed to the north and south of the Taklamakan Desert, and Dunhuang lay on the junction where these two routes came together. Additionally, the city lies near the western edge of the Gobi Desert, making Dunhuang a vital resting point for merchants and pilgrims travelling through the region from all directions.


  • Day 1: Zhangye City Gather! Whole Day at anytime. Overnight in the Zhangye City.

  • Day 2: Zhangye Danxia Landform Geographical Park-Taolai River Canyon Overnight in Jiayuguan City.

  • Day 3: Jiayuguan Pass-Great Wall Mesum-Jiayuguan Fort-Shazhou Night Market-Dunhuang City, Overnight in Dunhuang City.

  • Day 4: Echoing Sand Mountains-Crescent Lake-Dunhuang Musum-Mogao Grottoes, Overnight in Dunhuan City.

  • Day 5: Dunhuang Leave, Service ends!


Want to explore the brief highlights of Ancient Silk Road? This is the ideal trip. You will recall the ancient memory that the caravans of merchants and travelers from far Europe and Middle Asia steamed to Dunhuang. 



Basic Tour Information


Activity Place: Dunhuang Gansu Province

Activity Date:  Private Tour provided if you want to go with your family or friends!

  • 8th Tour: Jun.14th-Jun.19th

  • 9th Tour: Jun.21th-Jun.26th

  • 10th Tour: July.5th-July.10th

  • 11th Tour: July.19th-July.24th

  • 12th Tour: Aug.9th-Aug.14th

  • 13th Tour: Aug.23th-Aug.28th

  • 14th Tour: Sep.12th-Sep.17th Mid-Autumn Festival

  • 15th Tour: Sep.27th-Oct.2nd

  • 16th Tour: Oct.1st-Oct.6th National Holiday

  • 17th Tour: Oct.25th-Oct.30th

  • 18th Tour: Nov.15th-Nov.20th

  • 19th Tour: Nov.29th-Dec.4th

  • 20th Tour: Dec.20th-Dec.23th

  • For people who are not in Beijing, if you are interested in our trip as well, feel free to contact Lucy 13810841880.

Leaving Date: D1 leave at 10:00am from Beijing and arrive Zhangye City at 04:35am on D2

Arriving Date: D5 leave at 07:30am from Dunhuang and arrive Beijing at 19:42pm on D6

Meeting point: Beijing Train Station,at the Flag Tower (Find CET Green Flag)

Meeting time: 1 hours before the leaving time of your train tickets

Trip fee: Local Traveling Bus+Accommondations+Entrance Tickets+Meals+CET English Guide

  • Normal Price: 2185RMB/pax, pay the deposit 685RMB/pax when you book the trip.

  • Group Discount: 2135RMB/pax if 3 or more than 3 seats booked together, pay the deposite 635RMB/pax when you book the trip.

  • VIP Price: 2135RMB (Buy CET VIP on our wechat offical Menu), pay the deposit fee 635RMB/pax when you book the trip.

  • Single Supplement: 380RMB for the Single room supplement if you want live alone.

  • Please Note: The left 1500RMB trip fee will be collected 7 days before depature. The trip fee of the 10th tour to 16th tour will be 300RMB more than normal due to Tourist Peak Season.

Participants: If less than 8 participants, the trip fee will be different.

Travel Advisor:  Lucy 13810841880  (English & Mandarin)


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CETtrip to Dunhuang 2017-10-1

Statement about the Trip Fee


What is includes in the cost?

  • Accommodation:  3 nights in 3-Star hotel. D2 in Jiayuguan City; D3 and D4 Dunhuang City. Single Room Supplement is not included.

  • Meals during this trip: D2 Lunch and Dinner; D3 Breakfast and Lunch (Dinner will leave for you to taste local food in food street); D4 Breakfast、Lunch and Dinner.

  • Entrance Ticket: Zhangye Danxia Landform Geographical Park and Eco-Car

  • Entrance Ticket: Taolai River Canyon and Eco-Car

  • Entrance tickets: Jiayuguan Pass

  • Entrance tickets: Mogo Cave and English Commentator

  • Entrance tickets: Echoing Sand Mountains

  • Entrance tickets: Crescent Lake

  • CET English Guide for the whole trip.

  • Local travelling bus with experienced driver.

  • 6 Days outdoor insurance.

  • Please Note: We will book all the tickets as Adult ticket firstly, If you are student, please take your student book and we will refund the price difference to you if your student book works.

What is not included in the cost?

  • Round Berth Train Ticket: From Beijing to Zhangye 343RMB and from Dunhuang to Beijing 463.5RMB; 5RMB/ticket booking service fee if there is ticket available online, 65RMB/ticket book service fee if there is no tickets available online.

  • Additional personal consumption which is not mentioned in the cost.

  • Please Note: We want to have a positive effect everywhere we go, we don’t take commissions or kickbacks, and we don’t take you on detours for shopping.

Statement about the Refund

  • If you cancel this trip more than 7 days before depature, we will fully refund.

  • If you cancel this trip 3 days before depature, we will refund 50% trip fee to you.

  • If you cancel this trip within 3 days before depature, no refund.

Quick Weather Info: Dunhuang belongs to arid continental climate zone. Located in continental hinterland with a high altitude, Dunhuang weather is dry, accumulating to 35mm of annually precipitation; and the temperature difference between day and night is large. The hottest month is July with the average highest temperature of around 34℃. The coldest month is January with the average lowest temperature of around -16℃.

About the Local Food:Located in Western China and bordering Xinjiang Province, Dunhuangs cuisine is influenced much by the nomads, Grilled Mutton being the most popular dish in both restaurants and hotels in this vibrant city. The cultural taste of Dunhuang dining though is far deeper. The modern New Wave of Dunhuang and the Various Snacks from Street vendors, local flavors that will satisfy any tourists' hunger pangs.


CETtrip to Dunhuang 2017-10-1


Statement about the transport for this trip


  • The suitable berth train from Beijing to Zhangye is Z69 leaves from Beijing around 10:00am and arrive at Zhangye around 04:35am. It is 343RMB.

  • The suitable berth train from Dunhuang to Beijing is K43 leaves from Dunhuang at 07:30am and arrive at Beijing around 19:42. It is 463.5RMB.

  • If you dont know how to book the train ticket, please inform us when you book this trip. We will book the train ticket for you. If there are tickets available online, the booking service fee is 5RMB and we will give you the paper ticket at the train station. If there is no train ticket available online, CET will let our train ticket cooperater to help us book the train ticket: 65RMB/ticket for the service fee.

  • We will try to arrange all of the participants in the same train firstly, but if there is no tickets available, we have to take different train, please be cooperative.


Statement about China Train Ticket


  • All of the train tickets will start to be sold online 30 days before the train starts, and if you have special needs of the train tickets, please inform us 30 days before the tickets are sold online.

  • All of the train tickets are sold randomly once it is sold online, so it is difficult to get the sequential tickets, hope you can understand and book the trip in advance.

  • All of the hard sleeping bed tickets will be sold out soon once it is put online to sell, especial for some hot tourist cities like harbin, Xian, Luoyang, and so on.

  • It doesnt mean you couldnt get the sleeping bed ticket when it is sold out online, CET has train ticket cooperater who can help us to book the sleeping bed train ticket (when the others cancel theirs), the service charge is 65RMB/ticket.

  • If you cancel your tickets 48hours before the train depature, you can get 95% of your ticket fee, the train ticket booking service fee is non-refund. If you cancel your tickets 24hours-48hours you can get 90% refund, and within 24hours, you can get 80% refund.



Full Itinerary Day by Day


Day 1: Beijing-Zhangye City, take the berth train at 10:00am. Overnight in the train.

Transfer: By Berth Train, From Beijing to Zhangye City, 1698km, 18h and 35mins on the way

Meals: None meals

Accommodation: Overnight in the Train, Sleeping bed ticket.

Please Note: Dont forget to take your passport and student book if you are student. Prepare some snacks before you get on the train, you will have your Lunch and dinner on the train, food is also provided on the train.


Leaving from Beijing to Zhangye City, Find our trip leader at the Flag Tower of Beijing Train Station  ( Find CET Green Flag)  to get your train ticket. and then get together to check inside and take the train. It will take around 18.5 hours on the train. So remember to bring some food with you.


Transport ideas: Actually most of CETtrips are planed for foreign students, in order to make our trips more affordable, most transports of our trips are by normal train. But in fact, there are many flights and high speed train available for this trip, you can take flight to Lanzhou and then take the High Speed train to arrive Zhangye city from Langzhou, if you need, please feel free to consult our travel advisor.



Day 2: Zhangye City-Zhangye Danxia Landform Geographical Park-Taolai River Canyon Overnight in Jiayuguan City.

Transfer: By Local Traveling Bus, From Zhangye City to Jiayuguan City, 230km, 2.5h on the way

Meals: Lunch and Dinner

Accommodation: Overnight in Jiayuguan.

Please Note: There is fire balloon available in Danxia Park usually, you can have a bird view of the whole Danxia Landform, It is around 200RMB/ticket, inform us if you need.


Welcome to Zhangye- the city of Yellow River! Clear the customs and retrieve your baggage by yourself upon arrival, you will be greeted by our tour guide in the train station who is holding a sign on which CETtrip. A comfortable vehicle (non-smoking) with experienced driver will transfer you directly to Zhangye Danxia Landform Geographical Park to see the sunrise! Along the travel to the spot, we will leave some time for us to have a simple breakfast.


The Danxia landform is a spectacular petrographic geomorphology landscape which is formed from red-coloured sandstones and conglomerates. The one in Zhangye was formed in the pre-Jurassic Age. Thousands of mountains and stiffs stretch like the colorful sunset glow. The barren mountains are covered by a red grit rock stratum. At the same time, some surfaces of mountains appear other colors, such as white, yellow, etc, and form many irregular lines and blocks looking like some abstract oil paintings. There are four viewing decks for you to watch and shoot. You will visit one by one, and will be transferred by park buses from one deck to another.


After we finish this place, then we will have Lunch together. Then head to Jiayuguan city which is only 230km away from Zhangye city, 2.5 hours later we can arrive and then visit the Taolai River Canyon, where the remains of the first watch tower still stand overlooking the canyon.  Although it is in ruins, you will still feel special to stand there at the starting point of such an immense structure. There is time to take a look at the canons and the drums and the soldiers’ tents.  You can feel how life was hard as a frontier soldier in those days


The major attraction is the spectacular hanging bridge over the cliff. It leads to a tourist center on the opposite site, but the crossing over the wobbly bridge is quite an adventure with fantastic views over the Taolai River flowing like a blue serpent through the canyon. And off course the Watch Tower watching over it all. A set of stairs leads down the cliff side where you can visit a reconstruction of what must have been an original military encampment belonging to the tower and wall.  



Day 3: Jiayuguan Pass-Great Wall Mesum-Jiayuguan Fort-Shazhou Night Market-Dunhuang City, Overnight in Dunhuang City.

Transfer: By Local Traveling Bus, From Jiayuguan to Dunhuang, 385km, 4.5h on the way

Meals: Breakfast and Lunch

Accommodation: Overnight in Dunhuang City

Please Note: Shazhou Market is an ideal place to learn about Dunhuang folk-customs and life. The market, divided into several areas, includes snacks, art ware, Sanpaotai, Tea House area and a special ethnic products area etc. 

After breakfast, you will go to visit the "the First and Greatest Pass under Heaven", also the westernmost starting point of Great Wall of Ming Dynasty - Jiayuguan Pass. Start your exploration with an education visit to the Great Wall Mesum to learn some interesting facts about both the Jiayuguan Fort and Great Wall, including history, old photos, relics, etc. Then enter the gate to explore the grandiose Jiayuguan Fort. It is a complex of towers, city walls and other military buildings covering more than 25,000 square meters. The city wall is nearly 11 meters high, and comprises an outer and inner wall. There are two large gates standing at the east and the west of the inner wall. Walkways lead to the top of the wall, allowing horses to climb up the wall.


If time allows and you are interested, you can take an optional visit to the Xuanbi Great Wall (Overhanging Wall) which is about 18km away from the Fort. The walls were built on lofty cliffs with incredibly large gradient looking like an overhanging cantilever. Climbing up to higher gives you excellent views of the surrounding land and mountains.


After lunch, you will be transferred to Dunhuan City which is 385km away from Jiayuguan city. The beauty of Dunhuang is unparalleled in the world. Since the day when the monk Yue Zun digged the first grotto on the cliff more than 1600 years ago, the small city in the Gobi desert started its way to become the brightest star of Buddhist art. 


In the evening, you can 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.


Stay overnight in Dunhuang.



Day 4: Echoing Sand Mountains-Crescent Lake-Dunhuang Musum-Mogao Grottoes, Overnight in Dunhuan City.

Transfer: By Local Traveling Bus, 35mins on the way

Meals: Breakfast Lunch and Dinner

Accommodation: Overnight in Dunhuang City

Please Note:"See Dunhuang Again" is a large song and dance performance with rich cultural references to the Silk Road, reflected in the ethnic art of song and dance and inspired by the content of murals in the Mogao Caves. The show is 298RMB for normal ticket, Vip ticket is 698RMB inform us if you need.

After Breakfast, you visit the magic Echoing Sand Mounts and Crescent Lake which are located in a 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. 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.


Tips of Echoing Sand Mountains and Crescent Lake:

  • In the summer time, travelers can stay up to late night around 24:00 to enjoy the cool time and beautiful sky of stars; 

  • Get fully prepared for the strong sunlight and high temperatures in the daytime.



After lunch, visit Dunhuang Museum where some precious arts and relics are preserved here. It is also a great place to learn about Dunhuang culture and history as well as the history of Ancient Silk Road.



After Dunhuang Museum, drive about 10km from the Dunhuang city to visit the newly opened Mogao Grottoes Digital Exhibition Center before go to Mogao Grottoes. You will watch two well-produced educational documentary movies that introduce the history, arts, and other facts about Mogao Grottoes, which will be very helpful when you visit the grottoes. After the movies, take the interzonal bus to Mogao Grottoes.

Mogao Grottoes is famed as the “Louvre of East”, which is outstanding for its exquisite mural paintings and statues. There are now 492 grottoes in which about 45000 square meters 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 7-8 caves among them 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 extensional visiting.


Tips of Mogao Grottoes:

  • During peak seasons (May to October), there are usually a lot of visitors to Mogao Caves, so it is recommended to make a reservation in advance for at least 7 days. 

  • If you want to see the Special Caves (excluded in the regular visit, and only open for limmited 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 seperate admission fee for each cave.

  • It is not allowed to take photos inside grottoes.



Day 5: Dunhuang-Beijing; take the train back to Beijing at 7:25am; Overnight in the train.

Transfer: By Berth Train, From Dunhuang to Beijing, 1698km, 36h and 12mins on the way

Meals: None meals

Accommodation: Overnight in the Train, Sleeping bed ticket.

Please Note: Prepare some snacks before you get on the train, you will have 5 meals on the train, food is also provided on the train.


Our tour guide will see you off at train station. You will take K43 to go back Beijing. Service ends!


Transport ideas: Actually Dunhuang is not a big city, so if you dont want to waste so much time on the train back to Beijing (K43 is the only one train back to Beijing from Dunhuang), you can take high speed train to Lanzhou firstly and the take the high speed train back to Beijing or take flight to your next destination, both are convenient. Inform us if you have this need.


Day 6: Arrive at Beijing around 19:42



Additional Information:

  • Please be advised that there will be approximately 10-45 travelers per group

  • The above itinerary is for reference only, and is subject to change due to the weather and traffic conditions

  • Please inform us of any dietary restrictions and allergies if you booked our tour. Please remember to bring any medication that you need with you

  • Pregnant women, guests with heart attacks, high blood pressure, respiratory diseases, severe colds, and those who are not suitable for outdoor hiking are advised to carefully decide whether or not to travel according to their own conditions or doctor's advice

  • We will contact you between 8:00pm-10:00pm a day before you travel to reconfirm the pick up time and place. Please keep your contact lines or channels available. If you have not received any confirmation after 10:00pm, please contact customer service.

  • In case of severe inclement weather or other environmental problems beyond control that causes the tour to be unable to proceed, participants can opt for a reschedule.

Things to bring

  • Passport/ID card.

  • Comfortable, sturdy shoes, and a spare pair of shoes to change into at the end of the day. 

  • Bring a few changes of clothes, including something warm for night time.

  • It's highly recommended you bring a waterproof outer layer and rain jacket.

  • Bring a book or pack of cards in case you get bored during the driving between the villages. (We don't think you'll get bored!)

  • Bring you camera and chargers for all your electronics.

  • Bring a backpack to hold water and food for the hiking. Bring a duffle bag or suitcase for the rest of your things – we can leave that at the hotel or on the bus.

  • Meals, water and snacks arenot all provided; bring extra snacks if you like!

  • Bring personal toiletries (shampoo, toothbrush, toothpaste etc) and small towel.

  • Bring any personal medicine you might need. Your guide will have a basic first aid kit.



CET Passed Trip to Dunhuang


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