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How to Plan a Zhangye Tour: Ultimate Zhangye Trip Planning Guide

Planning a trip in Zhangye is easy and simple because Zhangye is a small destination with easy-to-choose attractions, convenient transportation and flexible choices of hotels. What very important is to organize your itinerary in the right way to make best use of your time and money. As an expert of Zhangye for years, China Discovery always knows what are the best places to see, how to choose the right transportation to save money, when is the best time to see the best views while escaping the crowds. Read below conclusive guide to plan your own Zhangye trip now!

Places You Must Visit in Zhangye and Best Travel Time

Even though as a small place, Zhangye has a lot of unique places to see. Having a history over 4000 years, Zhangye used to be a vital frontier to protect China from the nomads of the northwest, also an important outpost on the Silk Road. For natural lovers, Zhangye has many incredible landforms to savor at, such as Danxia landform, Gobi, desert, snow mountain, etc. Below is the list of the top places to go:

Zhangye Danxia Landform

Zhangye Danxia Landform is the No. 1 highlight of Zhangye that you can never miss in any trip there. It is only about 30 kilometers (19 mi) west from Zhangye City. The naturalists praise the Danxia Landform as one of the greatest masterpiece of our Mother Nature. As for tourists, you really have to visit this incredible natural wonder, and if possible do some real photography here.

Opening Hours: Summer (7:00-18:00); Winter (7:30-17:00)
Tickets: ¥74/person

Matisi Grottoes (Horse Hoof Temple)

Matisi Grottoes is 65 km north from Zhangye city. Built in Northern Liang period (A.D. 397 - A.D.460), this Temple blends Buddhist culture, grotto art, Qilian Mountain landscape and Tibetan culture together in a single site. The highlighting part is the 21 grottoes around the 5-storey Puguang Temple which is set in the side of a sheer mountain rock wall.

Opening Hours: 08:30-18:00
Tickets: ¥73/person

Giant Buddha Temple

Giant Buddha Temple is conveniently located in the central Zhangye city. It is a great place to stroll leisure to learn about Buddhist culture. Its famous treasure is the Reclining Buddha which is the largest indoor sleeping Buddha in Asia. The Buddha statue was carved by woods with a length of 34.5 meters, telling the story of Buddha’s Nirvana. His ears are as big as the space in which 4 adults can sit side by side.

Opening Hours: 07:00-19:00 (Summer)
Tickets: ¥40/person

Other Optional Attractions you can visit: Pingshanhu Canyon, Wetland Park, Drum Tower, Muta Temple, etc.

Top-Recommended Zhangye Tour:

3 Days Zhangye Danxia Classic Tour
6 Days Hexi Corridor Discovery Tour(Zhangye/Jiayuguan/Dunhuang)

Zhangye Weather & Best Travel Time

Zhangye demonstrates a typical continental climate with its dryness all year round, an annual average temperature of 6 ℃/43 °F. The coldest days occur in January and the hottest weather is in July. June to September is the best time to visit Zhangye.

Zhangye Trip Plan Zhangye Danxia Landform
Zhangye Trip Plan Matisi Temple (Matisi Grottoes)
Zhangye Trip Plan Giant Buddha Temple (Dafo Temple)

Zhangye Danxia Landform In-depth Exploration

Zhangye Danxia Landform is the biggest highlight of Zhangye trip. it was only known by outside world in 2009 after a Chinese journalist reported in on a newspaper. Till today, this magic land has become one of the most popular tourist attraction along the Silk Road. One should spend at least a half day there. For naturalist and photographers, you should spend a full day to see several different kinds of Danxia landforms and watch the magnificent sunset. Our recommendations are Zhangye Danxia Geopark and Binggou Danxia Scenic Area. Both two places are not far away from Zhangye city.

Zhangye Danxia Geopark

Located in Linze County, about 30 kilometers (19 mi) west from Zhangye City, Zhangye Danxia Geopark is also known as Linze Danxia Scenic Area. Compared with Binggou Danxia, Zhangye Danxia Geopark is chosen by most of travelers because it is larger and the views are more diverse. Its Rainbow Mountains are famous all over the world. To help travelers enjoy the best beauty of the Danxia Landform, there are five sightseeing platforms 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. There are sightseeing buses running between the sightseeing platforms.

Opening Hours: 05:30-19:00 (subject to change by month)
Tickets: ¥74/person (ticket+sightseeing bus)

Binggou Danxia Scenic Area

Keeping driving 13km from the Linze Danxia Scenic Area, you wil arrive at the Binggou Danxia Scenic Area. 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.

Opening Hours: 6:30-18:30
Tickets: ¥40/person

Conclusion: if you have a full day, you can visit both Danxia Geopark and Binggou Danxia; if you have only a half day, you can skip the Binggou Danxia.

3 Days Zhangye Danxia Classic Tour

Zhangye Trip Plan Zhangye Danxia Geopark (Linze)
Zhangye Trip Plan Zhangye Danxia Geopark
Zhangye Trip Plan Zhangye Trip Plan

How to Organize an Itinerary

1 Day Zhangye Tour

If you have only a day to spend in Zhangye, you can visit the Giant Buddha Temple in the morning and visit the Danxia Geopark in the afternoon; or visit Matisi Temple in the morning, and visit the Danxia Geopark in the afternoon. The former option is more popular, costing less time and money.

2 Day Zhangye Danxia Classic Tour

If you have 2 days to spend, you can take an in-depth Danxia landform exploration with morning visit to Binggou Danxia and afternoon visit to Danxia Geopark in the Day 1; On the Day 2, you can visit the Giant Buddha Temple first, then go to visit Matisi Temple. After that, you still have enough time to take a flight or train to next destination.

3 Days Zhangye Danxia Classic Tour

3 Days Zhangye In-depth Tour

If you have 3 days to spend in Zhangye, you can take the 2 Day Zhangye Danxia Classic Tour first, then spend a half day to explore the mysterious Pingshanhu Grand Canyon and a half day for departure.

4 Days Zhangye Badain Jaran Desert Tour

Badain Jaran Desert is the most beautiful desert in China. It is about 3~4 hours’ driving from Zhangye. After taking the 2 Day Zhangye Danxia Classic Tour, you can drive from Zhangye to Badain Jaran Desert and spend a night in the desert, then get back to Zhangye or transfer to Jiayuguan.

8 Days Zhangye Danxia and Badain Jaran Desert Tour

Zhangye Trip Plan Zhangye Attractions Map
Zhangye Trip Plan Badain Jaran Desert

How to Get to & Around Zhangye

Zhangye is located in the northwestern China. It can be reached by both flights and trains. Currently it has one airport, two railway stations and several bus stations.

Get to Zhangye by Air

Zhangye Ganzhou Airport is the only airport in Zhangye. It is a small airport with not very frequent flights. Travellers can take flights to Zhangye from Lanzhou (1h), Xian (2h), and Chengdu (3h with a stopover in Lanzhou). If you travel from somewhere else, such as Shanghai, Guangzhou, Hangzhou, etc., you may need to take a transfer in these cities. There is no any international flight yet. The airport is about 25km (35min by car, CNY 70 by taxi) to the southeast of Zhangye city.

5 Days Xian to Zhangye Impacting Tour by Flight

Get to Zhangye by Train

There are two main railway stations in Zhangye. Zhangye Railway Station operates normal trains to major cities in western China some other big cities like Beijing, Xian, Shanghai, Chengdu, and Dunhuang. While Zhangye West Railway Station only serves for high speed trains to/via Zhangye. You can get to Zhangye West Railway Station by high speed trains from Lanzhou (4 hrs), Xining (2hrs), Xian (7.5hrs), Dunhuang (4hrs), Jiayuguan (1.5hrs), Urumqi (8hrs), and so on.

Get Around Zhangye

Taxi and public bus are two major transportation tools to get around Zhangye city. There is no subway in Zhangye. The bus routes have covered around Zhangye city (including bus lines to train stations, airport nearby counties) and the bus fare is usually no more than CNY 20 per person. As for taxi, if you pay according to the meter.

Zhangye Trip Plan Zhangye Location Map
Zhangye Trip Plan Zhangye West Railway Station

Where to Stay in Zhangye

If you have more time, it’s highly recommended to stay at least 1 night to different views of the Zhangye Danxia Landform, including the scenery during day and night, different colors at sunrise and sunset. Your accommodation can be flexible arranged in downtown or nearby the Zhangye Danxia Geopark.

Hotels close to Zhangye Danxia Geopark

Those who plan to see the amazing sunrise at Zhangye Danxia Geopark often choose the hotels outside the entrance gate. Most are comfortable and economy hotels with essential facilities. The Kaoshan Tent offers unique Mongolian Yurt for you to try. It’s quite fast and time-saving living next to the scenic area, especially when you need to wake up early to catch the sunrise moments.

Hotels in Zhangye City

Downtown area has more accommodation choices and good location to shopping and dining area. It’s also convenient to walk to visit other attractions, like Giant Buddha Temple, Drum and Bell Tower. Local star-rated hotels with better facilities and service are located in city center area. Besides, the downtown is much closer to Zhangye West Railway Station, where some travelers may continue their travel travel to Dunhuang, Jiayuguan, Urumqi and else destinations on ancient “Silk Road”.

5 Days Zhangye to Dunhuang Highlights Tour by Bullet Train

Zhangye Trip Plan Zhangye Accommodation Map
Zhangye Trip Plan Zhangye Holiday Inn Express

Extend Zhangye Tour to other Gansu Destination

Gansu is not one of the biggest provinces in China, but is one of the most diverse provinces in China. It has the uprising star Zhangye as well as many other traditional destinations, such as Dunhuang, Jiayuguan, Wuwei, Lanzhou, Xiahe, etc. And Zhangye is usually the middle stop of the most of Gansu trips.

Dunhuang

Are you tired of traveling to common cities, architectures and nature sightseeing? If yes, Dunhuang is the best choice for you to experience something different - ancient grottoes, exquisite mural paintings and statues of Buddha, historical sites, ruins of Great Wall, Gobi views , etc. It is about 4 hours high speed train ride from Zhangye.

5 Days Zhangye to Dunhuang Highlights Tour by Bullet Train

Jiayuguan

Jiayuguan is now a small city locating in northwestern Gansu Province. It used to be a very important transport hub on the ancient Silk Road as well as western starting of the Great Wall. Its highlights are the grand fortress and ruins of Great Wall. There are many high speed trains connecting Zhangye and Jiayuguan each day.

6 Days Hexi Corridor Discovery Tour(Zhangye/Jiayuguan/Dunhuang)

Tianshui

Tianshui is located at the southwest of Zhangye. It is one of the birth places of Chinese civilization. The best highlight here is the famous Buddhist cave - Maijishan Grottoes which, together with Longmen Grottoes, Yungang Grottoes and Dunhuang Groggoes, are known as the "Four Greatest Grottoes in China." Caves were chiseled on a hill shaped like a stack of wheat. One usually get to Tianshui first, then travel to Zhangye via Lanzhou.

9 Days Ancient Silk Road Treasure Tour (Tianshui - Lanzhou - Zhangye - Jiayuguan - Dunhuang)

Xiahe

Xiahe is an administrative county of Gannan Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture, also component part of Amdo Tibetan Region. It is located in southern Gansu Province, about 280km from capital city Lanzhou. Xiahe is still an off-the-beaten-path place. Most visitors come here for the Labrang Monastery where you can experience a God-given tranquility. One usually get to Lanzhou first, travel southward to Xiahe and return to Lanzhou, keep travelling northward to Zhangye.

8 Days Gansu Highlights Tour (Lanzhou / Xiahe / Jiayuguan / Dunhuang)

Zhangye Trip Plan Gansu Province Map
Zhangye Trip Plan Mogao Caves in Dunhuang
Zhangye Trip Plan Jiayuguan Pass

Extend Zhangye Tour to Silk Road

Travel from Xian to Zhangye

Xian is the Eastern starting point of the Silk Road. It is also one of the most popular tourist destinations in China even the world. Its Terracotta Warriors is known as the 8th World’s Wonder. Currently you can travel from Xian to Zhangye easily by high-speed trains or flights.

5 Days Xian to Zhangye Impacting Tour by Flight

Zhangye to Xijiang

Xinjiang is an important part of the ancient Silk Road. It features in Muslim culture, ruins of lost civilizations, delicious food and fruits, beautiful snow mountains, lakes and desert. It is also the biggest province of China. There are three popular destinations to visit: Urumqi, Turpan and Kashgar. After Zhangye tour, you can travel from Zhangye to Dunhuang, then take a high speed train to Turpan and Urumqi. End your trip at Kashgar where you can easily to get to the border of China.

11 Days Northwestern China Cultural Relic & Desert Landscape Tour

Zhangye Trip Plan Silk Road Destinations Map

Recommended Zhangye Tours

Top 3 Zhangye tours chosen by most customers to explore Zhangye in the best way. Check the detailed itinerary, or tailor your own trip now with us.

Zhangye Danxia Landform Photography
6 Days Hexi Corridor Discovery Tour(Zhangye/Jiayuguan/Dunhuang)

Lanzhou - Zhangye - Jiayuguan - Dunhuang

Mogao Grottoes Giant Buddha in No. 96 Cave
5 Days Zhangye to Dunhuang Highlights Tour by Bullet Train

Zhangye / Danxia / Dunhuang

Zhangye Danxia Geopark Sightseeing
5 Days Xian to Zhangye Impacting Tour by Flight

Xian / Zhangye

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