Mogao Caves ​- the largest and most abundant existing Buddhism art spot in the world

Last Update: 17th October 2020


Located 25 kilometers of the southeast of Dunhuang, Mogao Caves originally built between 350 and 394. It includes 735 caves with 45,000-square-meters frescoes. The caves are situated on the cliffs of the Echoing-Sand Mountains, stretching for 1,680 meters long from south to north.

Mogao Caves ​Fast Facts

  • Chinese Name: Mogaoku (莫高窟)
  • Number of Caves: 735 x caves
  • Things to do there: Photography, Hiking, Frescoes, Caves, Sculptures
  • Who visits: Photographers, Art Lovers, Adventure Enthusiasts
  • Time required: 1 x day

What to expect at the Mogao Caves

Mogao Caves is divided into two areas, the south and the north. The southern area is the place where people worship for the Buddha. There are 492 caves from the Former Qin Dynasty (350 – 39) through the Tang Dynasty (618 -907) to the Q ing Dynasty (1644 – 1912) and more than 2,400 painted sculptures in the southern area. The 243 caves in the northern area are the places where monks practiced, lived, and where they were buried after their deaths. In these caves, you will find living facilities such as heatable adobe sleeping platforms, hearths, chimney flues, niches, lampstands, and etc while there is no frescoes in the caves.


At Mogao Caves, you can appreciate painted sculptures, such as Buddha, Bodhisattva, Buddhism disciples, Heavenly Kings, and Hercules. There are circular engravure and reliefs. Most of the sculptures are made in clay. The Buddha statue is centered with the disciples, Bodhisattvas, Heavenly Kings, and Hercules on both sides.


The frescoes are painted on the walls, ceilings and in the niches for Buddha. They present the information of seven themes including Buddha statues, Buddhist stories, Buddhist historical sites, changes, gods and spirits, donors, and decorative patterns. Some frescos also demonstrate the then various aspects of social life such as hunting, farming, textiles, transportation, wars, construction, dancing, weddings and funerals. They reflect the artistic style and characteristics of different periods.

Best time to visit the Mogao Caves

As it always takes several hours to explore Mogao Caves, it is suggested that you visit the caves in the morning during the opening hours.​


How to get to the 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 Mogao Caves 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 (
  • The caves administration 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 Mogao Caves on a Tour?

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