Dunhuang Research Academy ​- research academy focusing on the caves in Dunhuang

Last Update: 17th October 2020


Originally as the National Dunhuang Art Research Institute established in 1944, Dunhuang Research Academy is situated at the Mogao Caves. It is the research unit of Dunhuang Studies as well as a heritage institution that studies, conserves and maintains Dunhuang caves (Mogao Caves, Yulin Caves, Xiqian Buddha Caves) and Maiji Mountain Caves, Bingling Temple Caves, and Beishiku Temple.

Dunhuang Research Academy ​Fast Facts
  • Chinese Name: Dunhuang Yanjiuyuan (敦煌研究院)
  • Location: Mogao Caves
  • Things to do th​ere: Photography, Dunhuang Frescoes Study
  • Who visits: Photographers, Artists, Archaeologists
  • Time required: 2 – 3 x hours
What to expect at the Dunhuang Research Academy

Dunhuang Research Academy is composed of party committee office, administrative office, security department, conservation and research institute, art research institute, archaeological research institute, literature research institute, Cultural Relics Research and Exhibition Center of Dunhuang Caves, Dunhuang Data Center, Editorial Department, Photography and Video Department, Reception Department, and Academic Committee.


The art research institute is mainly engaged in the copying and reproducing Dunhuang frescoes, the theoretical research and the artistic creation activities of Dunhuang art. Dunhuang Data Center has a collection of about 120,000 books in Chinese and foreign languages. It is one of the professional libraries with rich collection of books and materials on Dunhuang Studies. The center consists of a book purchasing room, a cataloging room, a periodical reading room, a special collection room for Dunhuang Studies, an academic archives room, and the website of the Dunhuang Research Academy. On the official website (http://en.dha.ac.cn/), readers can easily and quickly retrieve the books and materials they need.


With an area of more than 20,000 square meters, Cultural Relics Research and Exhibition Center is the only one collection agency for the cultural caves relics in China. At the center, you can explore the Cave 275 built between 304 and 439, Cave 249 and Cave 285 in the Western Wei Dynasty (535 – 556), Cave 419 in the Sui Dynasty (581 – 618), Cave 220 and Cave 217 in the Tang Dynasty (618 – 907), and Cave 3 in the Yuan Dynasty (1271 – 1368) at No. 1 Area. At No. 2 Area, there are cultural relics discovered in Dunhuang Caves on display.


The Reception Department offers 7-languages interpretation service, including English, Chinese, French, German, Russian, Japanese, and Korean. Between June and October, the department offers foreign language interpretation at 09:00 and 14:30. At any other periods, foreign visitors can enjoy the service at any time when they explore the caves during the opening hours.

Best time to visit the Dunhuang Research Academy

If you are planning to visit the caves at the academy for photography purposes, the best time to visit is during the sunset.


The best months to visit are from May to October.


How to get to the Dunhuang Research Academy

As it is situated at Mogao Caves, you have to get to Mogao Caves. There are only a few buses passing by Mogao Caves. Therefore, there are only a few options.

  • Rent a vehicle to the caves. This is the quickest and most direct option.
  • Take Bus 3 to the Stop of Echoing-Sand Mountain (鸣沙山).
  • Take a bus from Duanghuang Hotel (敦煌饭店) to the caves. The bus always passes by Dunhuang Train Station. It runs every 30 minutes.
Additional Dunhuang Research Academy Travel Advice
  • Opening hours: 08:00 – 18:00 (May – October); 09:00 – 17:30 (November – April)
  • As at 17th October 2020, from May to October, the entrance pricing (including 8 caves, round-trip shuttle bus, museums, Mogao Caves Digital Display Center Experience (7 Digital Caves)) is 180 CNY per person (English interpretation not included) / 200 CNY per person (English interpretation included); from November to April, the entrance pricing (including 8 caves, round-trip shuttle bus, museums, Mogao Caves Digital Display Center (7 Digital Caves)) is 90 CNY per person (English interpretation not included) / 110 CNY per person (English interpretation included); children between 4 years old (4 years old included) and 5 years old (5 years old included) are charged 10 CNY per person. For the latest pricing information, please contact us via email (info@wendyweitours.com)
  • The academy just allows 6,000 persons to visit the caves in one day. Therefore, you are required to book the ticket online 1 day prior to your visit date at least.
  • The luggage, big handbags, cameras, selfie sticks, cameras are not allowed to be brought in. They could be storage at the entrance for free.
  • It is not allowed to take photos in the caves.
  • It is suggested that you check out some information on Mogao Caves beforehand, which will make your exploration more wonderful.
  • If the weather is very bad, such as rainy or sand storm, the caves are closed. Please check out the weather ahead of time.
  • Before exploring the caves, you are required to visit the Mogao Caves Digital Display Center to watch two documentaries on the caves. Then, you can visit the caves from the center.
Interested in visiting the Dunhuang Research Academy on a Tour?

Wendy Wei Tours offers a variety of different packaged tours as well as custom tours including the Dunhuang Research Academy, among other attractions and destinations. To find out more, please visit our Tours page or Contact Us directly to find out more.