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4 Days Lanzhou Labrang Monastery Tour $592

Gansu Buddhism Contrast Exploration


Wondering what you can get from this trip? An impressive contrast of different insects of Buddhism - Zen Buddhism and Tibetan Buddhism. Explore their difference from their architecture styles, history, arts, monks, etc. The biggest highlight is the "World University of Tibetan Buddhism" - Labrang Monastery. Wonderful landscape of endless grassland, gently-rolling hills and spectacular Yellow River is a special reward for this visit.

Highlights of this tour

  • Visit famous local landmarks in Lanzhou City along the Yellow River;
  • Learn about Tibet Buddhism in Gelug Monastery - Labrang Monastery and enjoy beautiful grassland scenery nearby;
  • Take a speed boat ride to discovery marvelous ancient Buddhist grottoes art in Bingling Temple cliff side.

Basic Trip Information

from $592
  1. 1. This price is for one person, based on a group of 2 adults sharing one double-bed room in a 4-star hotel and traveling in low seasons;
  2. 2. This price is subject to change according to your traveling season, group size, hotel class, change of activities and possible fluctuation of currency exchange rate.
Travel Route:
Lanzhou - Xiahe - Linxia - Lanzhou
Travel Length:
4 Days and 3 Nights
Tour Code:
Group Size:
You, your family, friends or group
Any day you want
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Full Itinerary Day by day

Day 1 Lanzhou Arrival - Xiahe

Welcome to Lanzhou - a city of Yellow River and a major transportation hub to Zhangye, Dunhuang and other destinations of Gansu. Your tour guide will pick you up at the airport/train station in Lanzhou, and then drive about 3.5 hours to Xiahe in southwest of Lanzhou, a small pastoral county featuring in Tibetan culture and history and amazing grassland and plateau scenery.

Stay overnight in Xiahe County.

Tips: The average elevation of Xiahe County is within 3,000 m (9,843 ft), seldom incurs high altitude sickness when visiting Xiahe.

Day 2 Xiahe - Labrang Monastery - Linxia ( B, L )

This morning you will go to visit Labrang Monastery, the most influential monastery outside the Tibet Autonomous Region and also one of the six great monasteries of the Gelug (Yellow Hat) school of Tibetan Buddhism. It is also famous for having the most complete Tibetan Buddhism teaching system in China. The monastery is large in scale and magnificent in architecture style, enshrining a lot of huge Buddha statues and various exquisite sculptures, murals and magical instruments. Its pilgrimage corridor has over 2000 prayer wheels, as the longest of its kind in the world. In the southwest corner of Labrang Monastery, there is an ancient wooden bridge. Walking crosses the bridge and walking up to the hill, you can enjoy a panoramic view of Labrang Monastery and surrounding.

In the afternoon, you will take an excursion to Sangke Grassland which is a natural pasture of Tibetan nomads. The grass is lush like a blanket in summer and the cattle and sheep are herding in groups under the blue sky and white clouds. What a pastoral scenery. Every year on July 13th of the lunar calendar, the seven tribes of Sangke region will gather at Sangke Grassland and hold a horse racing festival here.

After Sangke Grassland visit, drive about 2.5 hours to Linxia, the capital of the Linxia Hui Autonomous Prefecture. Check in to your hotel. The rest time is your free time to explore this beautiful city full of Muslim culture.

Labrang Monastery Sangke Grassland - a natural pasture of Tibetan nomads
Day 3 Linxia - Bingling Temple - Lanzhou ( B, L )

Today you will drive back to Lanzhou (about 3 hrs). On route, you will take a side trip to visit Bingling Temple, a Buddhist cave with a long history of over 1,600 years. First, you will drive about 1.5 hours to Liujiaxia Dam, a big national hydroelectric reservoir on the upper Yellow River. From the dock, you need to take a speed boat to get to Bingling Temple. During the 40-50 minutes’ boat ride, you can see a different section of Yellow River, very limpid and clear unlike the muddy sights seen in Lanzhou, and layered, red-colored huge Danxia landforms along the riverside, without coverage of any plantations.

After getting off from the boat, walk several minutes to the entrance of Bingling Temple. The temple is actually a site of Buddhist grottoes filled with ancient Buddhist frescoes and sculptures caved into the rocks, along a long narrow valley of Yellow River. Dating back to West Qin Kingdom, the cave preserves about 183 caves, 694 stone statues, 82 clay sculptures and more than 900 square meters murals. You will tour the most spectacular Lower Temple Area, seeing the 27-meter giant sitting Buddha, many colored Bodhisattvas in different gestures and remaining murals from Wei, Sui, Tang, Song, Yuan, Ming and Qing Dynasties. Though some figures have been damaged by earthquakes, erosion, these relics are unquestionably outstanding Buddhist artworks revealing previous Buddhism prosperity and remarkable architecture and carving art of ancient China.

After sightseeing, leave Bingling Temple and drive back to Lanzhou. Check in to your hotel. The rest of today is free for you to explore this city of Yellow River.

Tips: 1. Bingling Temple in remote mountain area can only be reached by waterway in summer and autumn via Liujiaxia Dam. 2. Additional fees will be charged for visiting special caves. 3.)Be careful when walking up the serpentine plank trail on the cliff.

Bingling Temple Grottoes
Day 4 Lanzhou Depature ( B, L )

Today, you will visit three notable landmarks along the Yellow River. You will take a short leisure walk to see the Statue of Mother Yellow River first. A lovely baby nestles against chest of his loving mother. It is a work from a Gansu’s female artist, praising Mother River who created Chinese civilization and nourished Chinese people. Next, visit the First Bridge on Yellow River. Named as Zhongshan Bridge to memorize Sun Yat-sen, this iron bridge was the first sample built by foreign technology in Northwestern China, already standing over 100 years. Keep moving to enjoy an interesting visit in Lanzhou Waterwheels Park (Lanzhou Shuiche Park). There you can view large area of green plants, and the conspicuous waterwheels in different styles and structures going round and round as well as many bronze sculptures vividly showing daily life scenes of the locals. Modern buildings towering astride the Yellow River tell you that Lanzhou is speeding up to father future as the flowing yellow water.

And next, your today's last visit goes to the White Pagoda Mountain on the north bank of the Yellow River. Depending on your personal reference and physical condition, you can choose to have a short walk to the top, or take a cable car (45 CNY to go up, 30 CNY to come down) running across the river (over 1,000 m long). The mountain (alt: about 1,700 m /5,578 ft) once was an ancient fortress and now is a large architecture complex with some temples, pavilions, archways and museum hillside open to public for free. Built in Yuan Dynasty with Lamasery features, White Pagoda Temple on the top is wildly regarded as “the Window of Lanzhou” - a must-visit where you can get an impressive panoramic view of Lanzhou city and the rushing Yellow River. You can stop and rest in a pavilion, enjoy surrounding verdant natural scenery and may meet some zip line riders.

Check out from your hotel and depart from airport or train station in Lanzhou for your next destination.

Tips: You can choose one-way cable car up to near the White Pagoda Temple and walk down to see spots en route.

Yellow River Mother Statue in Lanzhou The Iron Bridge of Yellow River White Pagoda Mountain

Recommended Add-on Options

+2 more days to explore cultural and natural miracles in Dunhuang

Located in the northwest of Gansu and the westernmost of Hexi Corridor, Dunhuang is the most brilliant pearl along the ancient Silk Road. The city has sealed huge art treasury and created oasis in the desert. You can closely see the fantastic Buddhist sculptures, murals in World Cultural Heritage - Mogao Caves, visit Crescent Lake surrounded by Mingsha Mountain, view unique Yardang landform, ancient passes and more impressive scenery here.

You can take a 2-day brief trip to Dunhuang covering top highlights. On the day 1, you can go to Echoing Sand Mountain and Crescent LakeE together, witness the wonder of nature, try some exciting activities, like desert camel riding, sand sliding, motorcycling, etc., later return to Dunhuang city to hunt for local flavors at Shazhou Night Market. Day 2 is fully for your Mogao Caves tour. First watch introduction movies about the caves in the Digital Exhibition Center, and then visit specific caves in Mogao Grottoes one by one, learning Buddhist story, Chinese culture and history, which you can’t help admiring this precious land of art.

the Mogao Grottoes in Dunhuang
+2 more days to see the rainbow mountains in Zhangye

Zhangye is located in central Gansu along the Hexi Corridor between Lanzhou and Jiayuguan. It is full of history and legends, and diverse in natural scenery. Here you can see the world famous Rainbow Mountains (the Danxia Landform), beautiful deserts, mysterious canyons, vast grasslands, lofty snow mountains, etc.

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.

Zhangye Danxia Geopark - the Rainbow Mountains

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    +2 more days to see the rainbow mountains in Zhangye

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