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Anthony Carlile

Dun Huang

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As a major stop on the ancient silk road, Dun Huang is a city surrounded by ancient sites and points of interest. This makes the city the perfect base to see so much natural and ancient beauty that this part of China has to offer. 

Crescent Lake and The Gobi Desert

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Desert "entrance" 

Dun Huang offers a gateway to the sand dunes of the Gobi Desert, and the famous Crescent Lake. The "entrance" to the desert is on the edge of the city and offers you breathtaking desert views straight away.

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Gobi Desert

You will undoubtedly be here for a camel ride into the dunes and to the Crescent Lake, and this is a trip that is well worth the time and money. 

Most of the locals choose to wear the orange "cloth boots" to keep the sand out of their shoes and off their feet. These aren't expensive to hire (20 kuai) but be warned that they are never really washed, so the hygiene of the boots  is questionable.

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Me with my camel for the desert trek 

Once you get on the sand you will be greeted by your group guide and your camel, who you will get to know very well over the next few hours. 

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Camel Pick-Up Point 

Once you've got your camel and you're safely on board, you will be guided through the dunes in small groups, at a steady pace, until you reach the first rest point. 

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Trekking through the dunes on camel 

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At the first stop point 

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Sand sledge

At the first rest point you will find drinks, shade, and activities including sand sledging, which you can do for a small fee. 

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Camels at the first rest point 

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Camel trekking 

After some more trekking you will find yourself at the Crescent Lake, which is quite literally a lake shaped like a crescent in the desert.  

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The Crescent Lake 


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Me at the Crescent Lake

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At the Crescent Lake 

At the Crescent Lake there are a series of buildings including pagodas and shops. 

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At the Crescent Lake 


Dun Huang City

Dun Huang is a great base from which to see so many different things in the area, but the city itself is also worth spending time in. It's a typical Chinese city that has grown fast with China's economic rise, but it lacks the western influence that places like Shanghai and Beijing have. 

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Entrance to the main market in Dun Huang 

One of the main attractions of the city are the bustling market streets, which are busy both during the day and at night. Here you can spend hours shopping for souvenirs, local produce and also dine in one of the many restaurants. 

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Main market in Dun Huang 

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Dining in Dun Huang market 

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The Danghe River

The river Danghe runs through Dun Huang and provides a cooling rest bite from the hot city. A walk along the river will also give you chance to see some ancient looking (but modern built in reality) buildings which make for good photo opportunities. 

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Me on the Danghe River

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Chinese men playing cards on the Danghe River 

Like all Chinese cities, Dun Huang has temples that you can visit. 

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Temple entrance in Dun Huang 

Jade Pass / Yumen Pass

The Jade Pass (also known as the Yumen Pass) is located west of Dun Huang city, and was a pass on the Silk Road. It acted as the final outpost in Ancient China for travellers heading to India and the Roman Empire.

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The Jade Pass / Yumen Pass 

Today, visitors can walk around the ruins (although some parts are fenced off). 

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The Jade Pass 

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The Jade Pass 

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The Jade Pass 

Han Great Wall

At this westerly end of the Han Wall, the building materials are dirt and sand mixed with layers of straw and wood.  Construction on this part of the wall started in 127BC, dating it much older than the more famous Great Wall of China. 

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The Han Great Wall 

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Me at the Han Great Wall 

The wall is fenced off, but you can still take some decent pictures and have a good look at the wall. 

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The Han Great Wall 

Ya Dan

With its unique rock formations, unique desert and breathtaking scenery, Ya Dan is a must visit if you find yourself in this part of China. It's a fair coach journey from Dun Huang, but is well worth the visit. 

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Ya Dan 

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Me at Ya Dan 

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Me (in the distance) at Ya Dan 

Anthony Carlile 

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