Things to do in Gansu

Top Things to Do in Gansu

Things to Do in Gansu

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Top Attractions in Gansu

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Tours, activities and experiences bookable on Tripadvisor, ranked using exclusive Tripadvisor data including reviews, ratings, photos, popularity, user preferences, price, and bookings made through Tripadvisor.

What travellers are saying

  • Joe
    Budapest, Hungary3,321 contributions
    The rainbow mountains. An UNESCO heritage sight and one of my absolute best memories from China.

    It is a geographic marvel of astonishing beauty. When the sun hits the mountains they really do have a rainbow pattern. You can't actually hike on or climb on the mountains but you do get several viewing platforms which allow you too see different views and perspectives of the scenery.

    It's less busy here than you may think, it's a well known spot but it's in remote Gansu province so it's really quite far away. It could be combined onto your 'Silk Road' trip.

    If you're in China these really are a must visit

    Written 3 October 2022
    This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
  • Zarza's Travels
    China391 contributions
    Probably one of the most informative attractions I have been to in China. After buying tickets you go and watch 2 films in 2 different cinema rooms, which tell you all about the history and show some amazing close up graphics of the the caves - they give you a headset for English audio. Following this you go on a tour bus and drive about 15 minutes to the caves, where if you have booked a tour (280RMB) they show you around 8 of caves - a random 8 depending on how busy each cave is. Everyone gets to see the biggest indoor buddah. Tour guide was very knowledgeable and was interesting to hear more about the history of them. Leaving the tour area was very busy, again a barage of selfie sticks! A few restaurants and souvenirs shops around, then a bus back to the ticket centre. Great to see though, and amazing history to learn about. No photos allowed inside the caves, I think tourists should respect this and not be slyly using a go pro to take photos as someone else in the group was!
    Written 16 July 2021
    This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
  • Joe
    Budapest, Hungary3,321 contributions
    The desert can be harsh, difficult and dangerous. But also incredibly beautiful and exciting.

    In Gansu province there is a huge desert which is full of life. Not green life but human life. It's become an attraction for fun. Formed around a Cresent Lake, it's become a form of Oasis

    You can ride ATV quad vehicles across the sand, admire the sweeping awesome beauty of the sand and skyline. You can ride camels, and even check out the camel crossing which is a surreal sight.

    There are also sky activities such as helicopter and gliding. There is more to the desert than just sand
    Written 3 October 2022
    This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
  • Stephen C
    Singapore, Singapore1,080 contributions
    Despite the fact that most part of the wall is reconstructed rather than the original.

    If you only want to see the real thing then you can give this place a miss. Else, it is still worth visiting as it sits on the original site and is rich in history. Apparently, this wall is considered to be the start of the Great Wall and is located along the Silk Road.
    Written 11 October 2020
    This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
  • BobbyGentry
    Nanjing, China493 contributions
    A truly great place to visit. Tickets available across from the Norden Café.

    Brief take-away from our yellow sect monk guide སྟོང་ཉིད། tongnyi东尼

    Light of knowledge removes darkness of ignorance

    We each have 6 souls
    6 elements (with a little help from Wikipedia)
    sky (green (peace/jealousy))
    earth (yellow/orange (beauty/pride))
    air (blue (awakening/anger))
    fire (red (compassion/attachment))
    water (white (being/Ignorance - centre))
    space (black (awakening/death))

    Our consciousness stems from our 5 senses plus the central soul

    Labrang monastery, Yellow Hat sect, Gelugpa order, Tibetan Buddhism, founded in 1709.

    We spent three days in Labrang. Staying at the magnificent Shangu Guesthouse, located across from the White Stupa. We walked the inner (monastery) and outer (mountainous) kora.
    Written 14 July 2021
    This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
  • Gary, Australia
    China72 contributions
    I visited Maijishan Grottos in December 2020 as I wanted to see the area in snow and avoid the huge summer crowds. I have visited hundreds of places in China (an Australian working in Guangzhou) and this is undoubtedly one of my top 3 favourites. I think ‘grottos’ is a more apt name than caves as the openings in the cliff face are quite small. Maijishan is one of the four famous grottos of China, the others being Mogao, Yungang, and Longmen – all in different provinces. One does not have to be a Buddhist, or even spiritual to appreciate the awesomeness, craftsmanship and cultural value of these grottos. The eagle-eyed will see an evolution of styles spanning the dynasties and centuries.
    Visiting Maijishan needs preparation and some of the information I found on websites seems now to be incorrect. I flew from Guangzhou to Lanzhou for a week. I took a taxi from my hotel to Lanzhou West Train Station; then caught the high speed train from Lanzhou West Station at 7.05am and arriving at Tianshui South Station at 8.33am (159RMB for 1st class ticket one way). I walked to the far end of the station and descended two escalators to the bus station in the basement. I waited about 40 minutes and caught BUS 60 to the entrance of the Maijishan site. Bus 60 is a tourist shuttle bus costing 7 RMB each way. I think there are only 2 morning buses in winter but more in other seasons. Once arriving at the site, pay 80RMB to enter, then choose to walk to Maiji Mountain (It took me 20 minutes walking briskly uphill along a road) or take a small electric vehicle (there will be a small charge). Walk up a steep set of stone stairs to the second admission gate. Here you just show your ticket and enter OR pay extra for a private tour in which extra grottos will be open for viewing. I chose not to have a private tour as it was a minimum of 600 RMB per grotto and in winter, there are no English-speaking guides. I caught the 2pm shuttle bus back to the station, and then the 4.05pm high speed train to Lanzhou. By 6.30pm I was sipping craft beers near the Zhengning Night Market and editing my photos.
    I was totally amazed at the technology of the ‘out-of-cliff walkways’ (totally safe I think), the view of the valleys and mountains, and of course the hundreds of Buddha-clad grottos. Most of the grottos are protected by metal gauze; however, I placed my iPhone camera in a gap and took oodles of great photos. I also had a downloaded guide of the grottos and read this beforehand. There are a few larger, gauzeless grottos open all the time, and these had amazing sculptures and murals depicting a thousand years of evolving Buddhist history. I won’t provide any details of the sculptures as I think these need to be discovered.
    A few tips if travelling privately from Lanzhou:
    # Best to use the high speed train – forget slow trains and buses as these leave little time to explore the mountain; remember to use the special entry and exit channel by showing your passport and train ticket
    # have the correct names of the high speed stations in Chinese characters for the taxi drivers etc
    # book the high speed train tickets in advance – use a Chinese travel agency or a Chinese friend who can book and pay online
    # bring your passport, and your mobile phone with the latest Health Record for the province (if travelling in 2021)
    # bring water and snacks, comfortable walking shoes to negotiate the stairs and walkways, and appropriate clothes for the season
    # don’t whinge if many of the grottos are protected by gauze as cultural heritage is more important than photo addictions; there are c. 200 grottos and 7000 sculptures – you do not need to see them all!
    # take it slow and easy on the steep stairs and on the overhang walkways; be conscious of people around you in tight spaces
    # avoid Chinese national holidays at all cost
    Written 30 December 2020
    This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
  • C B
    Europe71 contributions
    This is a nice pool nestled in the sand dunes. It is important to note that you cannot just go to this pool it is completely contained within the larger park that includes the sand dunes. The admission to the park is around 100 RMB, but once you pay you can either walk about 20 minutes to the pool or buy a ticket on a small shuttle.
    Written 13 July 2021
    This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
  • AZCasualTraveler
    Mesa, AZ1,831 contributions
    The Yadan (Dunhuang) Geological Park is a large, remote desert area that had been designated by UNESCO as both a World Cultural Heritage Site and a Global Geopark for its importance in the history (Silk Road) and a unique, natural scenic area. in the GeoPark, there is a modern visitor center with displays describing the area's history. Just outside the rear door of the visitor center, is the Small Fangpan Castle and is located in Yumen Pass.

    Also from the Visitor Center, there are shuttle buses that takes you to the ancient Han Dynasty Great Wall section. As can be seen in my photos of this section of the Great Wall, the design and construction is very much different than the sections of the Great Wall that is located in central and eastern China.

    So if you are interested in seeing ancient and historic sites of the Silk Road era like I am, then these attractions are for you.
    Written 15 January 2020
    This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
  • Zarza's Travels
    China391 contributions
    A bit of an adventure trying to see these grottos but well worth it! The speed boat was a brilliant ride, seeing some stunning scenery along the way, and the wind blowing through your hair only added to the experience. Note - it is not a speedboat like on the films, instead a 9 seater enclosed mini boat which crashes against waves - but with the windows open you can you use your imagination and pretend! 40 minutes later we arrived and had a lovely walk around the grottos, saw the giant buddah and the amazing mountain scenery. Make sure you buy your ticket down where the boats arrive, you can't actually buy a ticket at the entrance. It is all outside, mini caves containing various religious statues. An interesting place to see off the beaten track - away from main tourist routes! A must see if you are in this area 😃
    Written 19 July 2021
    This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
  • Samantha
    11 contributions
    Great collection of fossils and some lovely bronze age horses! There is an entire room dedicated to just pottery from pre-bronze age which was a bit repetitive for me but to each their own! The fossil/dinosaur rooms were great with good mix of English signs. There are entire rooms made up to look like some of the great sights of the silk roads which was different! But fun.
    Entrance was tricky as the tickets are only available through their Chinese only app and they were quite rude about allowing me entrance dispute my various green codes and recent NAT negative result so be warned!
    Written 6 August 2021
    This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
  • Chan Roberts
    Copan Ruinas, Honduras716 contributions
    The mountain itself provides a natural barrier for Lanzhou. The pagoda for which the mountain is named sits atop one of the peaks and was originally built during the Yuan Dynasty in memory of a Tibetan Buddhist Lama who died of an illness while traveling to meet with Genghis Khan. The pagoda and surrounding temple complex is considered a holy religious site among locals. NOTE: you should only visit this site if you are in sufficiently good shape to climb all the stairs.
    Written 2 May 2021
    This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
  • Andrew M
    7,160 contributions
    We visited this museum on our last day in Dunhuang. The museum is free and opens at 9am. We arrived at 8:30 and expected a queue, but there were very few persons waiting. The ticket office opens a few minutes before 9am. There are lockers in this section where you can leave your personal items. The museum is on two levels, which you gradually go up whilst viewing the exhibits. The first exhibits related to the history of Dunhuang and its' importance on the Silk Road. There were models of ancient cities in the Region, including the Shazou site, which we had visited earlier. The next display was of petroglyphs.

    There are quite a few sculptures of important persons in Dunhuang history as you make your way through the museum. There are many exhibits of buddhist inspired objects for which the area is famous. The Magao Caves were mentioned many times on the displays. The buddha displays and recreation of an ancient grave were the best. There was also a great display on coins used to trade on the silk road. The final section is a model of the new city which shows the development of the town. We thought that this was very well done, and gave a good understanding of the layout of the city.

    It is a long walk down to the special exhibit area, which had great Buddhist pictures and an exhibition on silk. There were two gift shops here which had quite a wide variety of items on sale. We enjoyed this small but well presented museum. The museum is easily reached by taking bus # 3, which has a stop in front of the museum. Nearby attractions include the White horse pagoda, Baimata Bridge and Xiangyun Square.
    Written 26 August 2019
    This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
  • Chan Roberts
    Copan Ruinas, Honduras716 contributions
    This bridge is part of Lanzhou's history as the first bridge across the Yellow River and was originally built in 1907 during the 33rd year of Emperor Guangxu's reign (Qing Dynasty, which came to an end in 1911). The bridge provides easy access to various Lanzhou attractions. At the north end of the bridge is White Pagoda Mountain and access to the park along the north shore of the river. At the south end of the bridge is access to the park along the south shore of the river and not far from other area attractions such as the water wheel and the mother river statue. From the south side of the bridge you can also easily walk to Zhangye Walking Street. The bridge is a popular photo spot for the locals.
    Written 1 May 2021
    This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
  • OlegButenko1974
    Ukraine337 contributions
    Tibetan statues are the real masterpieces of art. Great and unexpected experience. The most striking fact is that statues are real. Rest of items and pictures in the Center are copies.
    Written 5 August 2015
    This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
  • AZCasualTraveler
    Mesa, AZ1,831 contributions
    The Dafo or Buddha Temple of Zhangye is centrally located near city center and the street in front of the entrance to this Temple is lined with beautiful weeping willow trees - very nice to walk here. There are a number of small shops and eateries that are also located on this street at the Temple entrance. Visiting the Buddha temple was a very nice experience - the Temple was well maintained, and there is also a tall, prominent Stupa located in the temple complex as well.
    While in Zhangye, the Dafo or Buddha Temple is a must see place to visit.
    Written 31 December 2019
    This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Gansu Attractions Information

Attractions651
Attraction Reviews6,270
Attraction Photos10,496
Local TimeSunday 11:12 PM