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Crescent Lake

Just as water and fire are incompatible, neither can desert and spring coexist. However, it is not the case for the Crescent Lake that is surrounded by the Echoing-Sand Mountain. The golden sand hill and the blue lake cast a beautiful contrast in a harmonious existence.

The Crescent Lake, also known as the Crescent Spring or Yueya Spring, is located at the north foot of the Echoing-Sand Mountain, about four miles (six kilometers) south of Dunhuang City. It can be called a natural wonder in the Gobi Desert. Just as its name implies, the lake resembles a crescent fallen down into the desert. With the crystal water, it is like a turquoise or pearl inlaid in the vast desert in west China. Some say it reminds them of the eye of a beautiful woman, lucid, beautiful and amorous. Some say it looks like the mysterious, gentle and seductive lips of a pretty woman, or a slice of a lush, sweet and crystal cantaloupe.

The Crescent Lake should be toured together with the Echoing-Sand Mountain, and it is not far from the entrance of the scenic area. Shuttle buses are available on the left of the entrance or visitors can walk along the main road to the lake if time permits. If you choose to ride a camel to the Echoing-Sand Mountain, you can slide down the mountainside to the lake. On the southern bank thick reeds grow, swaying gracefully in the breeze. Also to be found on the southern bank is a group of elegant pavilions and temples dominating the skyline.

In the morning, the lake unveils itself softly as the sun rises. At dusk, as the sun sinks in the west, the lake turns into a smooth mirror reflecting rosy clouds and golden dunes. While in the evening, blue neon light encircling the lake is on and you may think there is a moon on the ground. The scenic area is not closed until it is late in the evening, allowing visitors to lie down and chat with friends at the starry night. It is always deeply loved by photographers. With the ticket valid for three days, it is very convenient for photographers to take pictures at different time in a day.

Here you can enjoy not only the rare view where an oasis meets the desert, but also some fun sand adventures, such as riding camels, 'dune surfing' sand sliding and shooting arrows. It also provides with various exciting facilities such as gliders, motorcycles, karts, SUVs, and helicopters. At the top of the dunes, you can't help but marvel at the dramatic view. You have discovered the wondrous sight of the Crescent Spring!

Dunhuang Crescent Lake

 Why do sands not bury the Crescent Lake

You may wonder how this desert wonder formed. Research has discovered that in this special crescent landform the wind created this depression. As the cross-ventilation theory states, the sands falling from the surrounding mountains would be sent back to the other side of the nearby Echoing-Sand Mountain. Thus, the sands do not smother the spring. And this particular earth movement keeps the sand dunes and spring in a harmonious and almost paradoxical existence.

 Crescent Lake facing the threat of disappearing
The crescent shape has been considered as one of the “Eight Great Sights in Dunhuang” since the Han Dynasty (202BC-220AD). Having been lying among these sand dunes for thousands of years, the Crescent Spring survived in many sandstorms. It now still gurgles clear and remains worthy as the No. 1 spring in the desert. However, there was a time when the water was lower than 2.3 feet (0.7 m). Due to severe soil and water loss, we may lose the Crescent Lake Oasis in the future. So don’t hesitate to visit it before it disappears.

1. It is suggested that you visit the attraction in the morning or in the afternoon since it is hot at noon.
2. Take sunscreen cream, hats, or scarves to protect you from getting sunburn.
3. Keep your camera encased when not using it to keep the lens away from sand.

Crescent Lake, Dunhuang Crescent Lake in Gansu


1. Take a mini-bus from Dunhuang Airport or Railway Station to the downtown area. It costs CNY 3 per person. Then catch bus no. 3 from Panxuan Road to the scenic area directly. The ticket price is CNY 1 and it takes about 20 minutes to reach the destination.
2. Take a taxi from the downtown area to the scenic area, which costs CNY 15 to 20.

Admission Fee Echoing-Sand Mountain & Crescent Lake:
May 1 to October 31: CNY 120
November 1 to next April 30: CNY 80

Half price for children between 3.9 and 4.6 feet (1.2 - 1.4 meters)
Free entry for children below 3.9 feet
 Visitors can visit the Crescent Lake and Echoing-Sand Mountain for multiple times in three days after they buy the entrance tickets. Visitors who plan to make multiple visits need to record their fingerprints together with their entrance tickets at the ticket barrier before they finish their first visit and leave. More importantly, those who enjoy free entries can't enjoy this policy.
Riding a Camel CNY 100 for a round-way trip
Shooting Arrows CNY 1 per arrow
Grass Skiing CNY 25 per person
Sand Sliding CNY 15 per person
Shoe Cover Rent CNY 15 per pair
Sightseeing Bus CNY 10 for a one-way trip; CNY 20 for a round-way trip
Opening Hours 05:00 to 20:30
 Please note that the opening hours may be adjusted according to the number of tourists.
Best Time to Visit Summer evening (from June to August)