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Stay safe[edit]

Dunhuang is a major tourist destination. Expect to be ripped off if you don't have your wits about you. Bargain hard and remember what you originally bargained for as the bill you receive at the end of the meal may not reflect the negotiated price.

I disagree with the above comment. Yes, Dunhuang is a tourist town and like everywhere in the world, there are always people prepare to rip you off. In September 2012, we arrived at Liuyuan at 2am by train, 130km from Dunhuang, taxi drivers rushed to greet us wanting 40 yuan per person for 4 people, as we were only two of us, we waited for another person and paid 60 yuan each. That was roughly US$30 for a 130km ride at midnight ....
...We are from Australia so we took with us some little kangaroos and koala soft toys, about 20 cents each, we gave couples to the hotel staff as the service was good, in return, we got 2 breakfast vouchers worth 20 yuan....
....We love our beer, next to the hotel a can of beer (300ml) costed 5 yuan, not cheap but reasonable, walked along a side road same beer in bottle (599ml) costed 2.5 yuan....
..... We found Dunhuang clean, efficient, friendly and not expensive but take caution wherever you go.

Went to Dunhuang October 2013 - found it very clean and everyone helpful. I'd recommend Charley Johng's Cafe for camel tours - don't pay more than 450 yuan per day. John's Cafe down the road from Charley Johng's also does the same thing - serves decent western food and organises tours. You can also book quad biking in the desert for 400-500 yuan per hour - expensive but worth it. Make sure you track down the old centre with the food markets, great food for incredible prices. Don't be afraid of street food!