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On the year 2,000, a journalist and a farmer Lei Yixing in Leize County found the magical Zhangye Danxia Landform and reported on the newspaper. People were all shocked after seeing the photos, and this amazing landform attracted many visitors to explore this rare landscape. At present, 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), Zhangye Danxia Landform Geopark for short, and was listed as UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2009.
Zhangye Danxia Landform Geopark 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…
★ Recommended Zhangye Danxia Tour: >>3 Days Zhangye Danxia Classic Private Tour
Traveling in Zhangye Danxia Landform Geopark is simply to view the splendid Danxia landscape from great high sightseeing platforms and hiking on the well-paved stop paths from one sightseeing platform to another one. To help travelers enjoy the best of the Zhangye Danxia Landform, there are mainly five sightseeing platform having been built on the top of some higher hills. Travelers need to hike up some uprising winding stone steps to get to the top of the platform. Since the Zhangye Danxia Landform Geopark covers a large area of mountains and valleys, the distance between 5 platforms are over 20 kilometers. So it is not recommended to walk the whole distance for the very high temperature, dryness, and strong sunlight. Traveler can take the sightseeing bus to transfer between different platforms.
▶ Note: There are 3 gates at Zhangye Danxia Landform Geopark, namely West Gate, North Gate and East Gate. West Gate is the most frequently entering gate. You can get to platforms 1 to 5 with your ticket. If you would like to visit more platforms (from 6 to 9), you need to purchase another ticket for in-depth exploration.
★ Recommended Visiting Route to Enjoy the Sunset from West Gate: 1→2→3→5→4
★ Recommended Classic Visiting Route from West Gate: 1→5→4→3→2
★ Recommended In-depth Visiting Route from West Gate: 1→2→3→5→4→6→7→8→9
After entering the gate of the Zhangye Danxia Landform Geopark, you will get on a sightseeing bus to the foothill of the No. 1 Platform, which will take only about 10 minutes to get there. Getting off the bus, you will climb up stone and step to a wide, long 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 the Danxia landscape. The biggest feature here is that you can see many incredible shapes of red-yellow-white mountains – like a giant scallop, monkeys seeing oversea, Buddha statues sitting together, flowing rivers…Here you can spend about half an hour to look around.
Walking down from the No. 1 platform to the site of broadways, you will board a sightseeing bus to No. 2 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 wrinkles on the layer of the mountains.
To get to the No. 3 Sightseeing Platform, you don’t have to take a bus this time. Because it is on the top of a mountain just hundreds of meters away. You only have to take the path aside the broadways, and climb up the stone 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 the 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 enjoying sunset. 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.
Besides the No. 4 platform, the No.5 Sightseeing platform is also a good spot to enjoy the sunset and sunrise with vibrant colors. Even a popular film in China has chosen the No. 5 sightseeing platform as its shooting site. Walking from here for hundreds of meters, you can have camel experience and visit an interesting ancient styled building Mazi Noodle Shop.
Except for sightseeing sites from 1 to 5, visiting the other sites from 6 to 9 needs to purchase the other ticket which covers all the sightseeing platforms from 1 to 9 and the ticket is about CNY 348 per person and visitors can use it for two days with buying another bus ticket for the second day. At No. 7 Platform, you will witness the most colorful and vibrant Danxia landforms. No. 6 Platform is the best photography site to capture the Danxia and landscape and No. 8 and 9 Platforms are best sites to enjoy the beautiful sunrise and both of the two sites are near to the East Gate.
The best months of a year to see Zhangye Danxia Landform Geopark 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.>> Learn More about Zhangye Weather
★ Recommended Zhangye Danxia Tour: >>5 Days Xian to Zhangye Impacting Tour by Flight
Visiting the whole Zhangye Danxia Landform Geopark may take about 4 hours since the scenic area stretches for over 20 kilometers and tourists can only take a sightseeing bus to visit, the bus usually stops at very sightseeing platform and you can get off there to visit and take photos.
① The tickets which include the common sites from platform 1 to platform 5 is about CNY 74 per person (including Entrance Fare and Scenic Bus Fare).
② The tickets for in-depth travelers who would like to visit all the sightseeing platforms from 1 to 9 is about CNY 348 per person (including Entrance Fare and Scenic Bus Fare).
Note: The entrance ticket is valid in two days. If you can not finish your visiting in one day, you can still use it for the next day with only purchasing another bus ticket (CNY 20) for your second visit. The entrance may be subject to change in different seasons. Please do not hesitate to contact us for the updated info!
★ Recommended Zhangye Danxia Tour: >>5 Days Xian to Zhangye Impacting Tour by Flight
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 fine. 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 veils on the red mountains. 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).
★ Recommended Zhangye Danxia Tour: >>5 Days Zhangye to Dunhuang Highlights Tour by Bullet Train
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 Muta 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 Zhangye Danxia Landform Geopark 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). >>Learn More about How to Plan a Zhangye Trip
★ Recommended tour packages including Zhangye Danxia National Park
Even though just being visited by fewer travelers, the Binggou Danxia Geopark has its own featured scenery. If Zhangye Danxia Landform Geopark is a visual feast of colors, then the Binggou Danxia Geopark is a great joy to find how the Mother Earth sculptured the mountains to amazing differnt shapes, like grand palaces, long corridors, giant pillars, etc.
Keeping driving 17km from Zhangye Danxia Landform Geopark, you wil arrive at the Binggou Danxia Geopark in Sunan County. There are also buses from Zhangye city to the attraction. If you want to see both Danxia Geoparks together, you can visit Zhangye Danxia Landform Geopark in the afternoon, then go to Sunan for accommodation and visit Binggou Danxia Geopark in the morning, and transfer back to Zhangye city.
The Zhangye Danxia Landform Geopark is located in two adjacent counties of Zhangye, Gansu Pronvince – Linze and Sunan, covering an area of about 510 square kilometers. The main scenic areas for tourists are Zhangye Danxia Landform Geopark and Binggou Danxia Geopark.
Zhangye Danxia Landform Geopark is chosen by most of travelers because it is larger and the views are more diverse. It is located in Linze County, about 40 kilometers (25 mi) west from Zhangye City. It takes only about 50 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. 17 kilometers from Zhangye Danxia Landform Geopark is Binggou Danxia Geopark which is also can be reached by bus and taxi.>> Learn More about How to Get to Zhangye Danxia
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. Choose a tour in our Zhangye Tour Packages and Gansu Tour Packages
We have helped many global travelers enjoy their memorable wonderful trips to Gansu for the past few years. Among them, Marcin and his friends traveled with us and spent 13-Day to explore the silk road from Lanzhou to Khasgar, visiting Zhangye, Jiayuhuan, Dunhuang... in Gansu province, and shared us their special travel story! Travel with China Discovery to create your great China trip memories!
❶ Wear slight, long-sleeved and breathable clothes and shoes to protect from strong sunlight, wind, sand. A shady hat is recommended;
❷ Stepping over the guardrails to walk on prohibited areas is not allowed, which will bring damage to the Danxia Landform.
❸ The toilet is located near to the No. 1 Sightseeing Platform.
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.
Lanzhou - Zhangye - Jiayuguan - Dunhuang
Zhangye / Danxia / Matisi / Zhangye
Lanzhou - Zhangye - Jiayuguan - Dunhuang - Turpan - Urumqi - Kashgar
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[Important] Travel News for Expats: China travel is reopening now! Travel with China Discovery and learn about where to visit & requirements for each destination! Read Details >