(CNN) -- The following day I headed out to Dunhuang's other must-see site -- the Mogao Caves, which house some of the world's most impressive Buddhist art.
I'd negotiated an 80 RMB ($10.50) taxi fare for the 30 km (18.5 miles) trip, while the guided English tour of the caves cost 120 RMB ($15.70).
The drive out was amazing. After leaving the green surroundings of Dunhuang the country side quickly turned flat and dry, making me think of the camel trains that once plied their route with silk and other goods in this area 2,000 years ago.
As I neared the caves, a two-kilometer (1.25 miles) stretch of grottoes -- built into the side of large, sandstone hills -- came into view.