[ Sept.1996 ] No tourist misses Magao Caves if you visit Dunhuang in China.
This is the famous Buddhism ruins which were carved from the 4th century for 1000 years.
There are nearly 500 stone caves with Buddha and murals, and this site is listed as the Unesco World Heritage.
We went there by a minibus which we had booked the day before.
The entrance fee for the site was as much as 80 yuan ($1 = 8.28 yuan in those days) and on top of that they charged 2 yuan for leaving our luggage.
It is normal that they charge us in every touristy place as that is their business, but the attitude was so blunt that I felt the lack of hospitality for the foreign tourists.
When we entered the site, we were told to follow a Japanese tour group because they did not have any English guides.
So we joined the Japanese group who had already seen some of the caves for a while, but at one point, they were going to the special cave with extra cost, so we left them.
Now we did not know what to do.
We followed another Japanese group for a little while and changed to follow a Chinese group and so on.
Because they lock every cave each time the group came out, the independent tourists could not see them freely.
Every cave had a number and underneath that, there was a cheap door, so the place looked similar to a cheap hotel or even a prison.
Having said that, when we managed to get into a cave and got some explanations, it was interesting, for example, the impressive huge Buddha of 32.5 metres, the interesting lip of another statue of South Buddha, the sleeping Buddha which was in a cave which had been planned to be a coffin and so on.
Unfortunately we could not take any photos of them, but they were memorable.
Also the pale green of the paintings on the wall was nice.
But overall, because of the discriminatory arrangement for the independent tourists, I did not particularly enjoyed there.
Probably we managed to enter only 10 caves or fewer in the end.
When we got out and went to the front of the site, a woman renting the costumes approached me, so I paid 10 yuan for her to take some pictures of me wearing the costume of an imaginative princess in this region.
That was a fun.
After coming back to Dunhuang town, we went to China International Travel Service to see if they had got our train ticket.
But they said that we should come back there after 8 pm.
So we killed about two hours and went back there.
Then they said we should come back next morning.
Now we felt fed up and we did not particularly want to stay in Dunhuang longer as we were not attracted to this town itself much, so we cancelled the train and bought a bus ticket instead.
By the way, the worker at CITS here spoke Japanese.
When people spoke in Japanese, even Chinese people seemed polite and mild-mannered.