On this trip we spent five perfect days in the northwest of Gansu Province, visiting the Zhangye Danxia Landform and various Silk Road sights in Jiayuguan and near Zhangye City.
Day 1: Beijing to Jiayuguan
We visited the Jiayuguan Fortress, the western end of the Ming Dynasty Great Wall
Day 2: Jiayuguan to Zhangye
We explored the Danxia Landform at Zhangye, and then made an afternoon visit to the Giant Buddha Temple. The giant buddha is the largest indoor reclining buddha in the world.
Day 3: Hiking near Zhangye
We did a good tough hike today, walking far into the canyons and hills of the Bing Valley.
Day 4: Horsehoof Temple hike
After visiting the Horsehoof Temple we hiked up into the nearby mountains. At the temple we felt like we were on the Tibetan Plateau, and on the hike we felt like we were in the Swiss Alps!
Day 5: Jiayuguan to Beijing
After taking a look at some of the older Great Wall near Jiayuguan, we flew back to Beijing.
See all Katie’s photos below!
The fortress at Jiayuguan
Stairs up to the top of the fortress.
A view of the fortress walls—very nice Ming Dynasty architecture.
We took a stroll around the walls.
Taking a break to soak up the views.
In the background of the photo we can see the Qilian Mountains.
Hiking into the park area at the Zhangye Danxia Landform.
Our special guide took us further in.
Closer to the colourful hills.
Taking a break in the shade.
Views of the hills.
A stupa in Zhangye city.
Beautiful wooden ornamental gate.
The Giant Buddha Temple is really peaceful, despite being in the middle of a large city.
Views in the Bing Valley Park.
The landform looks like a castle from far away.
The landform looks like a castle from close up, too!
Our local guide took us hunting for congrong, a local medicinal herb
We thought these rocks looked like a giant.
Super guide Yanjing getting a different angle for a photo. Poor fellow, spending five days with six ladies for company on this trip.
Rock formations and hiking ladies.
The famous Horsehoof Temple, built into a cliff.
With the prayer flags and snow mountains we could be in Tibet.
Group photo again.
Impressive view of the temple.
Looks like the temple was built with shorter people in mind!
We hiked up towards the snowy peaks of the Qilian Mountains.
Prayer flags behind a holy stone.
We spotted some locals riding horses as they herded their sheep.
The shepherds came to take a closer look at us.
The First Beacon Tower of the Great Wall, from the Ming Dynasty.
Old Great Wall near Jiayuguan
We walked over the wobbly swing bridge, crossing the Taolai River.
Our hotel? No, a mid-Ming Dynasty-era structure.