Zhangye is a small city in central China. It borders Inner Mongolia tothe north and the Quinhai province to the south. In history, it was one of the most western outposts of Chinese civilisation. It was an important stop on the Silk Road; before that it was dominated by Mongols, and prior to that, the Uyghurs. You can fly here from Xi'an, Lanzhou, Guangzhou, or Shanghai. The new international airport is only 13km from the city.Buses run regularly into town.
Because Zhangye is quite small, there are few to zero hostels here. If you are interested in coming here to see the incredible rock landscapes, your best bet is to find an inexpensive hotel instead of a hostel. If you still want to ask for a hostel, the word for “hostel” in simplified Chinese is 宿舍 (pronounced “su-she”).
The rock landscape mentioned above is the unparalleled Zhangye Danxia Lanscape, about 40km from the city centre and accessible by bus. It is a rolling landscape of brightly coloured, layered rocks. Its possible to walk among the landscape for as long as you want, but be aware that the last bus leaves in the late afternoon and then you may have to pay a taxi to get you back into Zhangye. Another popular outdoor destination is the Desert Park Shā Mò Gōng Yuán, where you can wander the desert and explore the dunes. In the city, there are several temples and parks to see. The most famous temple is the Da Fo Si Temple, which is reputed to be the birthplace of Mongol emperor Kublai Khan. It also boasts the largest indoor wooden reclining Buddha. The Zhangye Wetland Museum offers a little bit of everything; you can see the history of both city and province, plus learn how the Silk Road impacted this remote region.
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