Zhangye became the garrison headquarters after General Huo established control of the Hexi Corridor. Originally known as Ganzhou, the town was part of the Western Xia dynasty until conquered by Kublai Khan in 1227. Although the city is not a tourist destination as such, it serves as good place to make stop when passing through the Hexi Corridor. Zhangye currently has a population of around 1,250,000.
There also live minority Yugu, which is only in Gansu.
Xining - takes about 7 hours (77.5 yuan Apr 2013). (AUG 2013: Bus leaves at 7.40am, 9am, 11.10am, 18:10. We had trouble getting tickets on the 11.10am as it was full by 18hours in advance. We are warned that exact times can change on a weekly/monthly basis, so definitely book the day before and double check times.)
West Bus Station
Zhangye Danxia Landscape - take about 1.5 hours (8.5 yuan)
Xining - takes about 7 hours (77.5 yuan Apr 2013). Apparently there is a 7am bus ONLY from the West station. More options from South.
Da Fo Si, 大佛寺步行街, ☎ (0936)6933666, . (大佛寺), Giant Buddha Temple, biggest chinese wooden indoor Reclining Buddha. 34.5m long, 7.5m high. This temple is the reputed birthplace for the Mongol emperor, Kublai Khan.¥41/ ¥21. edit
Da Fo Si - Inside the Tibetan style stupa
Da Fo Si - This hall is reputed birthplace of the Mongol Emeror Kublai Khan
Da Fo Si - Housing the largest wooden reclining Buddha in China
Zhangye Danxia Lanscape, (By bus from West bus Station). This is a small park about 40km from Zhangye where you can see a unique geological landscape. The layers of multi-coloured rock in the mountains amid a green oasis basin is truly spectacular. When you visit you will be driven the viewing platforms by bus, where you can get off and take your time to view and photograph the scenery. The platforms & roads are brand new. The Danxia is one of the highlights of Gansu province.40 Yuan entrance + 20 Yuan mandatory shuttle + 10 Yuan each way for a bus from Zhangye. edit
Blackwater National site (黑水国遗址), . In the 12.5 km northwest of the Zhangye. 15 km long from north to south and 10 kilometers long from east to west, ancient cultural sites of the Neolithic period, a national key cultural relics protection units. Sites within the Han Dynasty tombs, about four square kilometers. Most of the tombs have been buried in sand, who have not traveled was buried by the desert, most of the liberation excavation.edit
Nanhu Park (南湖公园). Nanhu Park, also known as South Lake Ecological Botanical Garden, located in the south county, is the the Shandan experiment to promote flower species of new varieties of forestry demonstration garden, but it is also a set of historical and cultural landscape of the land and the natural landscape as one of the tour.edit
Mati Si Temple & mountain scenery. 65 kilometers south of the city proper, in the Sunan Yugu (Tibetan) Autonomous Prefecture, lies the Mati Temple, or Horse's Hoof Temple, (Mati si). Besides the temple you can do a 2h horse tour passing a fantastic landscape ( horse ride 150-200 RMB)edit
During the day, give Qing Ming Street a try (a pedestrian street leading north off Xianfu street).
At night, give Xiaochichang (Little Eat Market) a try, which is the outdoor area to the north and adjacent of the drum tower. There are a lot of outdoor food stalls, prices are reasonable though not super budget. There is also an indoor food court area slightly to the east of Dicos. The restaurant in the far right corner after walking in has a limited picture menu but prices are a little higher than other restaurants (though still cheap by Chinese standards). The dumpling restaurant in the far right corner has simple food very cheap (big dumpling soup for 10Y) and the owner was very helpful.
In the food alley Ming Qing Jie there is a friendly and good restaurant with tasty and inexespensive food.
The restaurant does'nt have a name in latin alphabet however, it is placed 20m circa from the gate, it is opposite a plant shop and it has blue chairs and black tables (2013 May). There is no english menu, but the owner was really helpful and proactive. Try the aubergine and pulled noodles!
(AUG 2013) If you are looking for a massive feast there is an all you can eat Hotpot restaurant on the Jinmai pedestrian street (where all the fancy clothes shops are). Like all the restaurants along that street they are on the second floor so are not obvious straight away. This one is above a store called "HLA" (about 50 metres down the street if you enter from the drum tower end opposite the construction bank. Yellow writing). The actual entrance is around the corner of the shop down a wide alley. its 48Y per person for a 2 hour all you can eat and drink session. The help-yourself buffet selection was very broad, seafood, meat, veg, tofu, noodles, beer and even cider! Friendly staff, no English spoken. We went at lunch time, I can't promise the deal is available in the evening too but it may be!
Unusually expensive and excellent coffee but nice environment and wi-fi available at UBC cafe in Oushi Je. To find: On second floor, no English sign outdoors,but it says COFFEE in large red letters outside. Close to intersection with main street (West street). There are some drinks cheaper than coffee, but it seems there may be a minimum order amount per person (30yuan).
Huayi Hotel (Huayi Binguan), East Street (East of Xiaochichang), ☎ +86 936 8242118. No English sign or English spoken but easy to find - opposite the pedestrian street, about 100m east of the Drum Tower. (Close to Dico's, next door to the China Construction Bank) It has two stone lions either side of a revolving doors. Twin rooms for 128 yuan (Oct 2013) with free (wired) internet, TV, a/c and private bathroom, 24hr hot water. The hot water works but takes 5 to 10 minutes to go from cold to hot.edit
Zhongguang Hotel (Zhongguang Zhaodaisuo), Second Floor establishment, Xianfu Street (On the south corner of Minsheng West Street), ☎ +86 936 5985449. edit