Things to do in Zhangye & Best Tourist Attractions 2023

Located in the northwest of Gansu Province, Zhangye is an important frontier city of the Silk Road in ancient time. It is known for its long history, beautiful landforms, and mixed cultures. The geologic parks are its main attractions, including the wondrous Zhangye National Geopark, Binggou Danxia Park, and Pingshanhu Grand Canyon, etc. Influenced by the Buddhism culture, there are also interesting temples to visit, such as Dafo Temple, Mati Temple, and Muta Temple.

Zhangye Tourist Map

  • Top Attractions
Zhangye National Geopark

No. 1: Zhangye National Geopark

Chinese: 张掖丹霞国家地质公园

Type: Nature & Parks, Geologic Formations

Recommended Length of Visit: half day

Formed about 6 million years ago, Zhangye Danxia Landform (also known as “Rainbow Mountains”) is the top one geographic must-see attraction in Zhangye National Geopark. It is located in Linze and Sunan counties, about 28km away from Zhangye city. The multicolored rock, gravel, sandstone are beautifully dyed by the geological movements. The picturesque mountains are even more wondrous with the sunshine hitting on during the sunset and sunrise.

Binggou Danxia Park

No. 2: Binggou Danxia Park

Chinese: 冰沟丹霞景区

Type:Nature & Parks, Geologic Formations

Recommended Length of Visit: half day

Located in Sunan county, Binggou Danxia Park is the sister geopark, 20km away from Zhangye National Geopark. It is less visited by tourists and more variously formed in shape. In this scenic area, the colors might be less vivid than the national park, but some said that the wildness and naturalness with the palace-like landscape in Binggou Danxia Park make it a geological wonderland where you can find rocks in the shape of camels, pillars, windows, couples, and so on.

Pingshanhu Grand Canyon

No. 3: Pingshanhu Grand Canyon

Chinese: 平山湖大峡谷

Type: Nature & Parks, Canyons

Recommended Length of Visit: half day

Pingshan Lake Grand Canyon Scenic Area is about 57 kilometers away from Zhangye urban area, where the rock is peculiar in shape. You can find “human, bird, animal, and pagoda”. It has been praised as "comparable to the Grand Canyon of Colorado" by well-known geological experts and tourists at home and abroad, and it is the new discovery of the silk road!

Dafo Temple

No. 4: Dafo Temple

Chinese: 张掖大佛寺

Type: Sights & Landmarks, Sacred & Religious Sites

Recommended Length of Visit: 2 hours

Dafo temple is located in the urban area of Zhangye City. It was built in the Western Xia Dynasty with a history of more than 900 years. The temple was named after a Buddha sculpture which is the largest indoor reclining clay Buddha sculpture in the world and Dafo literally means giant Buddha. The Buddha's body is 34.5 meters long and 7.5 meters wide. You can even lie on the Buddha’s fingers alone. Besides the Buddha sculpture, there are many other smaller Buddha statues and murals about the Chinese ancient myth.

Mati Temple

No. 5: Mati Temple

Chinese: 张掖马蹄寺

Type: Sights & Landmarks, Sacred & Religious Sites

Recommended Length of Visit: 2 hours

Located 60 kilometers southwest of Zhangye, at the foot of picturesque Qilian Mountain, Mati Temple belongs to Sunan Yugu Autonomous County. It's named after a myth that the trace of a heavenly steed's hoof is believed inside it. Mati temple is famous for its unique grottoes, and "Thirty-three Layers Heavens" is the representative one. Different grottoes are scattered, mainly in the style of Tibetan Buddhism. At the foot of the mountain, you can experience Yugu styled food and enjoy their singing and dancing performances.

Muta Temple

No. 6: Muta Temple

Chinese: 张掖木塔寺

Type: Sights & Landmarks, Sacred & Religious Sites

Recommended Length of Visit: 1 hours

500m away from Dafo Temple, Muta Temple is located in the south street of Zhangye county, the only pagoda left in Zhangye. The pagoda is 32.8 meters high, with eight sides and nine levels. Each level has a wooden dragon sculpture on the octagon, with jewels in its mouth and bells hanging underneath. There is no nail or rivet in the whole tower. When you get on the pagoda, you can have a panoramic view of Zhangye City. In addition, the square underneath the pagoda is also a popular place for citizens, where you can fully feel the city culture and citizens' life of Zhangye.

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

Zhangye Danxia Landform Views After Rain
8 Days Gansu Highlights Tour

Lanzhou / Xiahe / Jiayuguan / Dunhuang

Matisi Temple is famous for Buddhist culture, grotto art, Qilian Mountain landscape and Tibetan culture
8 Days Miraculous Land Tour from Dunhuang to Zhangye Xining

Dunhuang - Jiayuguan - Zhangye - Xining

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