Introducing Crescent Lake
Located about 6km south of the city of Dunhuang, the Crescent Lake, also known as Crescent Moon Pool, is a fresh water spring in the shape of a half moon in the arms of the Singing Sand Dunes. The lake is nearly 100 meters long from south to north and 54m wide from east to west and contains pure spring water. The Crescent Lake’s water is so pure and clear that it looks like an emerald jewel in the sand.
Crescent Lake Fast Facts
• Chinese Name: Yueyaquan 月牙泉
• Best Time to Visit: April to October
• Recommended Visiting Hours: About 1 to 2 hours
• Things to Do: Photography, Nature, Hiking
• Opening Hours: 06:00-19:30
• Entrance Fee: ¥110 from May to Oct; ¥55 from Nov to Apr
• Address: 5 km Southeast of Dunhuang, Jiuquan, Gansu Province
What to expect at Crescent Lake
Along the side of the Crescent Lake is a pagoda in traditional Han Chinese architecture. A street lined with souvenir stalls leads up from the entrance to the complex. The site is popular with tourists who are taken on camel rides by guides to the peaks of the surrounding sand dunes.
“The sand sings when the wind blows; the spring reflects the moon clearly.” It is only a distance of 10 meters between the flowing sand and the spring, but in spite of the strong wind flowing, the Crescent Lake has never been covered by the quicksand. Lying in the desert, the spring water is never muddy or dry up. This kind of geomorphological feature — “Mountain and spring coexist, sand and water are in harmony” — is nothing other than a wonder.
The lake has been in existence for at least two thousand years, but for the last few decades it has been gradually disappearing. According to measurement made in 1960, the average depth of the lake was 4 to 5 meters, with maximum depth 7.5 meters. In the early 1990s, the area of the lake had shrunken to only 1.37-acre (5,500 m2) with average depth of 0.9 meter (maximum 1.3 meter). Crescent Lake has dropped more than 25 feet in the last three decades while the underground water table elsewhere in the area has fallen by as much as 35 feet. In 2006, the local government with help of the central government started to fill the lake and restore its depth; its depth and size have been growing yearly since then. The lake’s remarkable survival in the middle of the desert is believed to be due to its low altitude, while its position is also thought to prevent excess sand from the surrounding dunes falling into it.
How to get to Crescent Lake
• Take bus No. 3 to Crescent Lake directly.
• Take a taxi to Crescent Lake from downtown (about 10 mins).