Colorful market town located in the mountains south of Lanzhou. Sometimes called the "Mecca of China," many consider it a main center of Hui Muslim culture in China.
Linxia is only accessible by road.
Most travelers are coming or going to Lanzhou, which is about three hours away. Buses run throughout the day and leave from Lanzhou's West Bus Station. Alternatively it shouldn't be too hard to arrange a private taxi to take you out here. Ask any of the people hanging around the bus station for a ride (updated August 2008).
From Lanzhou - Only Lanzhou Nanzhan (Lanzhou South Bus Terminal, near Lanzhou University of Technology shortly Li Gong Da) serves the buses to Linxia, Gannan (including Xiahe, Hezuo and Langmusi, etc.). 2/3 of the road Lanzhou-Linxia is highway, thus trip time shortened now, for about 2.5 hrs. Be careful to the people around you outside the gate of Lanzhou Nanzhan. Frequency: about every 30 minutes serves a bus to Linxia, starting 7am-5pm.
From Linxia - There are 2 bus stations in Linxia. One is called Linxia Xizhan (West Terminal), which is operated by state-owned trans company. The other is named Linxia Nanzhan (South Terminal), operated by private sectors, i.e., individuals. Fares are almost the same. The principal disavantage of private transportation is their total disregard of any schedules. The driver would normally stop at every corner to get more passengers. Thus the bus heading to Xiahe (Labrang) scheduled for 6:30 left the city area only at 8:00. This took 3 hours to reach the destination instead of 1,5 hrs by the state-owned vehicle.
Usually, people in China like to take state-owned buses for their travel, maybe for the sake of safty.
The South Bus Station is at Jiefang Road
Numerous mosques (qing zhen si) and Islamic mausoleums (gongbei). Start with Da gongbei (大拱北) of the Qadiriya Brotherhood near the Red Garden (红园), which displays mostly Sinified outlook, than proceed to Bijiachang Gongbei (毕家场拱北) and Huasi gongbei (华寺拱北) of Hufiya and Naqshbandiya Brotherhoods respectively -both are clearly more Arabicised.
Hike up the escarpment of the loess plateau north of town, to the pagoda of Wanshou Guan, a Taoist temple, for the great views of the Daxia River valley in which Linxia City is located.
Bank of China branch exchanges currency.
Throughout town there are vendors that sell the skullcaps of the local Muslim Hui ethnic minority in a variety of styles.
Most of the restaurants in town serve Islamic food. Search or ask for cafes and restaurants marked dazhong (大众) for alcohol and pork-serving places.
Unlike eastern China, where people mostly eat bread in the form of steamed bread (mantou), baked bread products abound in Muslim-heavy western China, including Linxia.
There are a couple small guesthouses right across from the main bus station. There are bargains here: as little as ¥30 for a couple with bathroom. Poke around and be sure to bargain.
As of July 26, 2013, the Shuiquan Hotel didn't accommodate foreign travelers. Try Linxia Bingguan near South Bus Station. Price 158 Yuan per double room. Unfortunately no internet access.