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“Ride a camel or climb the dunes” 5 of 5 bubbles
Review of Mingsha Shan (Echo Sand Mountain) Park, Dunhuang, China

Mingsha Shan (Echo Sand Mountain) Park, Dunhuang, China
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$79.00*
and up
Dunhuang Silk Road Adventure Day Tour: Mogao Grottoes and Crescent Moon Spring
Ranked #2 of 46 things to do in Dunhuang
Certificate of Excellence
Attraction details
San Francisco, California, USA
Level Contributor
14 reviews
6 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 12 helpful votes
“Ride a camel or climb the dunes”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed October 23, 2012

Very accessible dunes to climb, camels to ride up the dunes or a peaceful tea house setting to relax.

Visited October 2012
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Thank JoanneSanFrancisco
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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261 reviews from our community

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Suzhou, China
Level Contributor
16 reviews
7 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 8 helpful votes
“Camel riding at Mingsha Shan (the Echoing Sand Mountain) near Dunhuang”
2 of 5 bubbles Reviewed October 9, 2012

Our visit to this attraction was with a guide as part of a 6 day Silk Road pre booked tour. My husband and I were there during the national Golden Week holiday period so it was very busy - hundreds of camels and tourists! As a couple we wanted to do the camel ride together across the designated part of the dunes. Most camels are in trains of 5 led by one of the local handlers. The guide obtained our tickets and despite requesting we ride together the tickets given did not have consecutive numbering which apparently would have ensured we ride together. After presenting the tickets I was led away quite aggressively by one of the women camel handlers. When it was clear we were not going to ride together, I tried to come back to the camel train my husband was part of, but the female handler forcibly led me back to her camel train. So we were not able to do the ride together. I was distressed at the way the ride was managed. I also saw some handlers requesting RMB20 when asked by customers to take photographs of them on their camels with the visitors own cameras. Most people declined this offer. Based on our experience the camel handlers are not 'customer focused'. Overall I suggest others be wary in taking on this experience and insist that consecutive numbers are provided on tickets for anyone in groups of two or more.

Visited October 2012
Helpful?
2 Thank BlackBobby
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Singapore, Singapore
Level Contributor
233 reviews
179 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 144 helpful votes
“Impressive desert experience”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed October 3, 2012

Situated about 15mins out of Dunhuang, this location is actually two attractions for the price of one. The Mingsha Shan or Echoing Sands are desert sand dunes and just at the edge of the dunes is the Crescent Lake. Once inside the site, there are a few decisions to make. Firstly, you have a choice of climbing the dunes using camels, dune buggies or your own two legs. Additionally there is a para-glider option although this doesn't actually land you at the top of the dune, as far as I can make out, just provide a bird-eye's view of the site.

Then you have a choice of renting bright orange stockings to prevent sand from entering your shoes. We saw many locals walking around barefoot although our guide advised against it, saying there were broken glass shards in the sand, but we didn't see any evidence of this. It would be nice to feel the dry sand under your feet but it's your choice. Vendors will try to sell you face masks as well but there is really no need for this unless there is a wind blowing. Finally, you can pay to take a shortish tram ride to the Cresent Lake or walk about 10-15mins on flat land.

On the day we visited, there was hardly any wind and it wasn't very hot, so I decided to climb up on my own. There are various routes up or down and you can go at your own pace and rest if you feel tired. You can walk along the ridges to various dunes or sit at the top and enjoy the view of more dunes stretching to the distance. Unfortunately, I didn't hear the sound echo which this location is famed for, maybe because there was no wind. You can either chose to visit the Crescent Lake before or after you climb the dunes but do remember to bring water along with you especially if you opt to climb. Because it might well be a unique experience for many tourists, a quiet half hour at the top of the dune may provide a special experience.

Visited September 2012
Helpful?
Thank Tantiko
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Sydney
Level Contributor
12 reviews
6 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 7 helpful votes
“Spectacular but spoilt by huge numbers of noisy tourists.”
2 of 5 bubbles Reviewed July 16, 2012

Multiple extra costs if you go with a tour. You don't need to hire the boots or the camels or the jeep or the quad bike. You can walk up the dunes without all the extra costs.
Wear sandals with good soles. You'll pay if you want to slide down on a sledge and you won't hear the 'singing sounds' due to the raucous shrieks of all the other tourists. Go I early morning to minimize crowds.

Visited July 2012
Helpful?
Thank jacklesSydney
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Sydney
Level Contributor
12 reviews
6 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 7 helpful votes
“Beautiful place, too many tourists.”
2 of 5 bubbles Reviewed July 16, 2012

We paid 120 yuen just to get in and were then told we had to hire fluoro bootees, a camel , a quad bike or a jeep. I refused the boots - I wore sandals with deep treads. I refused the camel - there were hundreds of them labouring away cruelly in the hot sun, all to travel half a kilometer at walking pace. Our 'guide' insisted we pay extra for a jeep and the driver insisted that one of us drive! I refused as I have no Chinese license and he pressured a young girl to drive. Pretty stupid and scary. He eventually drove and seemed to expect an extra tip at the end.
The sandhills are beautiful but are being totally wrecked by the number of tourists being pushed through. Many are very intrusive and so noisy that there is no hope of hearing the 'singing' sand even if you could get near the sledge things .
Disappointing.

Visited July 2012
Helpful?
1 Thank jacklesSydney
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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