Brave the caves in Dunhuang
If you’re tired of air-conditioned art galleries, travel to Dunhuang in northwest China for an up-close art history lesson amidst its rocky grottoes. Located in Gansu Province on the winding Silk Road, the Mogao Caves are steeped in 17 centuries of history, nicknamed the “Thousand Buddha Caves” for the rows of tiny stencil-replicated Buddha figures covering the inside of the caves.
Check out the Indian-influenced rock-cut architecture, all hewn out of solid rock, and snap a selfie with the murals which depict flying apsara spirits and intricately painted Bodhisattvas. History fanatics can venture into the Library Cave, a treasure trove filled with up to 50,000 manuscripts. The caves are normally restricted, so you’ll have to join a tour group (around $255 per person) to get in.