On the year 2,000, a journalist and a farmer Lei Yixing in Leize County found the magical Danxia Landform land and reported on the newspaper. People were all shocked after seeing the photos, and attracted to explore this rare and new landscape. Till today, this magic land has become a popular tourist attraction – Zhangye Danxia Landform Geographical Park (Chinese: 张掖丹霞国家地质公园), and listed as UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2009.
Zhangye Danxia Landform is famous for the spectacular colorful mountain range of rock formation – with mixed colors of red, yellow, blue, white, green...It took more than 24 million years of arduous deposition of mineral settlings with different colors to form layers. As time passed by, these weighty rock layers were condensed into rock mountains, and then a slight and slow ripple from the impact between Indo-Australian and Eurasian continental shelfs wrinkled the mountains into some incredible fluctuation. At the same time, wild, rain, sunlight and time together sculpted the mountains extraordinary shapes with different colors, patterns and sizes – towers, palaces, stage, pillars, ravines…
Traveling in Zhangye Danxia Landform Geographical Park is simply to views the splendid Danxia landscape from great high sightseeing platforms and hiking on the well-paved stop paths from one sightseeing platform to next. To help travelers enjoy the best beauty of the Danxia Landform, there are four sightseeing platform having been built on the top of some higher mountains. Travelers need to hike up some uprising winding stone steps to get to the top of the platform. Since the Danxia Landform Park covering large areas of mountains and valleys, the distance between 4 platforms are over 20 kilometers. So it is not recommended to walk the whole distance also because of the very high temperature, dry air and strong sunlight. Traveler can take the park bus to transfer between sightseeing platforms.
After entering the gate of the Linze Danxia Scenic Area, you will get on a park bus to the foothill of the No. 1 Sightseeing Platform, which will take only about 10 minutes to get there. Getting off the bus, you will climb up stone steps to a wide, long and gentle slope where is the No. 1 Platform seated on. The No. 1 Sightseeing Platform is the largest platform in the park which is the best place to get the panoramic views of Danxia landscape. The biggest feature here is that you can see many incredible shapes of red-yellow-white mountains – some looking like a giant scallop, some looking like monkeys seeing over sea, some like many Buddha statues sitting together, some like flowing rivers…Here you can spend about a half tour to see around.
Walking down from the No. 1 platform to the site of broadways, you will board a park bus to No. 2 Sightseeing Platform, which will take about 20 minutes. The No. 2 platform is located in a flat area in a valley. Here you will get a closer view of Danxia Landform – a bold mountain range without any plants but appearing beautiful long and colorful wrinkle on the layer of the mountains.
To get to the No. 3 Sightseeing Platform, you don’t have to take a park bus this time. Because it is on the top of a mountain just hundreds meters away. You only have to take the path aside the broadways, and climb up the stone steps to get to the platform. The biggest highlight here is in front of your eyes sitting a large and stretching Danxia mountain which is the biggest in the park with clear red colors.
At the foothill of No. 3 platform, you will take a short ride by bus to the final platform which is also believed to the most beautiful platform in the park. Still you have to hike up several hundred meters’ stone steps to reach the top of the No. 4 Platform. Here is the best location for Danxia landscape photography. During the late afternoon hours, the golden sunset lights spraying over the Danxia mountains which create a stunning scene. This platform is relatively narrow, so you’d better get there early to get a good position.
The best months of a year to see Zhangye Danxia Landform are June, July, August and September when the weather is comfortable. The moderate rainfall in the summer can cool the high temperature, more importantly deeper the colors of the mountain. Other months are usually very dry and windy. Winter is very cold, not a good time for visit Zhangye.
The best hours for sightseeing are the early morning and late afternoon when the temperatures are lower, colors are clearer. The most beautiful moment is the sunset when the golden sunlight shining on the red mountains.
The four sightseeing platforms are the best locations to take photos. Generally, autumn is the best season for both visiting and photography when the weather is cool and fresh. The snow in winter is helpful to take some spectacular photos of Danxia Landform in winter. Sunrise and sunset are the best hours for taking photos. The golden sunlight makes the red mountains morbidezza and soft. The sunrise usually appears around 06:00 in summer and 07:30 in winter. The sunset happens around 19:00~20:00 in summer and 18:00~19:00 in winter.
As for equipment for photography, you can bring frequently-used lenses and tripod (for sunrise and sunset).
The most popular and classic Zhangye travel route is to explore the famous holy Buddhist site – Giant Buddha Temple in the morning and other places of interests in Zhangye city, such as Wooden Tower, Zhenyuan Tower, etc. Then you can find a cool place to escape from the heat in the noon and afternoon. Don’t go to Danxia Landform Geographical Park too early in the afternoon because the temperatures are very high during 12:00 and 15:00. You can leave the city for the park at middle afternoon (around 15:00). Spend about 4 hours in the park, and return back to the city after seeing sunset (around 19:00~20:00).
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Even though just being visited by fewer travelers, the Binggou Danxia Landform Scenery Area has its own featured charms. If the Linze Danxia Scenery is a visual feast of colors, then the Binggou Danxia is a great joy to find how the Mother Nature became a sculptor who sculptured the mountains to amazing differnt shapes, like grand palaces, long corridors, giant pillars, etc.
Keeping driving 13km from the Linze Danxia Scenic Area, you wil arrive at the Binggou Danxia Scenic Area. There are also buses from Zhangye city to the attraction. If you want to see both Danxia scenic areas together, you can visit the one in Lizen in the afternoon, then go to Sunan for accommodation and visit the one in Sunan in the morning. Last, transfer back to Zhangye.
The Zhangye Danxia Landform Geographical Park is located in two adjacent counties of Zhangye, Gansu Pronvince – Linze and Sunan, covering an area of about 510 square kilometers. The main areas for tourists are Linze Danxia Scenic Area and Binggou Danxia Scenic Area.
The Linze Danxia Scenic Area is chosen by most of travelers because it is larger and the views are more diverse. It is located in Linze County, about 30 kilometers (19 mi) west from Zhangye City. It takes only about 30 minutes to drive to the scenic area. There are hourly public bus and taxi for independent travelers to transfer to and return from. The last bus back to Zhangye leaves at 18:00. You may miss it if you are going to enjoy the magnificent sunset views. But don’t worry, you can take a taxi back to the city. 13 kilometers from the Linze Danxia Scenic Area is the Sunan Binggou Danxia Scenic Area which is also can be reached by bus and taxi.
If you want to get rid of hustle of public transportation and troublesome navigation, you can book a private tour package with us which covers sightseeing, dining and transfer. Our local tour guide and driver will take care of all the details. You just need to focus on sightseeing.
1. Wear slight, long-sleeved and breathable clothes and shoes to protect from strong sunlight, wind, sand. A shady hat is recommended;
2. Stepping over the guardrails to walk on prohibited areas is not allowed, which will bring damage to the Danxia Landform.
3. The toilet is located near to the No. 1 Sightseeing Platform.
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