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Lanzhou (兰州; Lánzhōu) is the capital of Gansu province



Lanzhou is an industrial city of about three million people. It is located on the shores of the Yellow River and was a major stop on the Silk Road, where it was known as the Golden City. From the 5th to the 11th century the city was a major seat of Buddhist learning, and it acquired its present name during Qing Dynasty in 1656. Until 19th century, Lanzhou was the primary point in crossing the Yellow River via a bridge made by chaining a flotilla of boats together with a road on top to cross on.

Lanzhou is no longer one of the most polluted cities in China since 2010. The environment has been improved significantly. There was a lot of industry here, and reasonably remote but well paid teaching opportunities.

Get in[edit]

The #1 Bus is really useful getting around Lanzhou. It travels from Lanzhou Station to the Lanzhou Hotel, Qingyang Lu, Xihu Gongyuian Park, Qiliheqiao and ending at Lanzhou West Station.

By plane[edit]

Langzhou airport is called Lanzhou Zhongchuan International Airport and it is located 67km from downtown Lanzhou. You can reach the airport by train and bus.


  • Airport Night Bus (Line 1): The night buses run until the last flight arrival everyday at intervals of 15~20min. It starts from Zhongchuan Airport, stops at Tianshui Road North exit, Oriental Hotel (Lanzhou University), Lanzhou Railway Station (Ruida Fine Goods Hotel), Gansu Civil Aviation Yunmei Travel Internation Hotel. Ticket price is ¥30. Customer service hotline: 18909312038, Customer complaint hotline: 18909313038

Get around[edit]

The #1 Bus is really useful getting around Lanzhou. It travels from Lanzhou Station to the Lanzhou Hotel, Qingyang Lu, Xihu Gongyuian Park, Qiliheqiao and ending at Lanzhou West Station.

  • VISA EXTENSION : The PSB is no longer in Wudu Lu. It is now located in a big administrative building located in the southwestern corner of Qingyang Lu & Jiuquan Lu, on the 4st Floor, easy to find, follow the VISA signs. You can search for "Min'an Mansion" on Google Maps to locate the building. Opened from 9:00 to 17:00. Friendly english-speaking staff. No need for photos & passeport copies, they will take a digital photo. You just need a proof of lodging. Takes 3-4 working days.

From west railway station take bus 129 to reach the south bus station or taxi (beneath the station, in the parking lot at the east exit) cost less than 15Y. Bus to xihae at 13:30 75Y 3-3,5hours.

See[edit][add listing]

  • Gansu Provincial Museum (甘肃省博物馆), XiJin Dong Lu (Take bus 1, 18, 31, 50, 53, 58, 59, 71 and get off at Qilihe Qiao Station. The museum can be found on the south side of the road.). 09:00-17:00 (Closed Monday). Silk Road history in one place. The museum is divided into two sections-natural resources and historic exhibits. It houses collections of various color-painted potteries of Neolithic Age and treasures of ancient grottoes. In addition, the museum is home to precious linen and silk fabrics, books, wooden and bronze vessels, a great many bamboo slips for writing from the Han Dynasty (206 BC-220), frescos and so many other items. A 4-meter-tall Mammoth fossil replica is stored in the museum whose remains were excavated from the Yellow River basin in 1973. Aside from the prehistoric presentations, there are also rare animal exhibits, such as pandas, golden monkeys and red -crowned cranes. The world-famous bronze Galloping Horse's Hoof Stepped on a Flying Swallow, also named as Galloping Horse, is a treasure of Gansu Provincial Museum. Excavated in 1969 in Wuwei County, Gansu Province, the piece depicts a vigorous horse with long tail waving and head perking. Its three hooves are in the air, galloping like lightening. What makes this sculpture amazing is the right back hoof of this galloping horse lands on the back of a small flying bird. The bird turns in surprise to look at the big creature on its back. At the same moment, the horse's head also turns slightly in attempt to know what has happened. The whole statue is honored as the mysterious and rare treasure in the history of Chinese ancient sculpture art. You need to show passport or Chinese id card at the street gate to get a free ticket to enter at the front door. Free. (36.066966,103.77462) edit
  • Green Corridor along Binhe Road. (滨河路绿色长廊)  edit
  • Five-Spring Mountain (Wuquanshan Gongyuan). (五泉山) A jumble of a poor amusement park and some renovated temples.  edit
  • White Pagoda Mountain (Baitashan). (白塔山) Yuan dynasty White Pagoda Temple overlooks the Yellow River.  edit
  • Sun Yat-Sen Bridge (Zhongshan Qiao), Zhongshan Lu (Intersection of Nanbinhe Dong Lu & Zhongshan Lu). (中山桥) "First Bridge across the Yellow River". An old narrow ironwork bridge that holds important significance to Chinese people. Pedestrian only now in order to preserve the bridge. (36.063497,103.817106) edit
  • Waterwheel Garden, Nanbinhe Dong Lu. (水车博览园) Small park along the Yellow River housing impressive traditional waterwheels, originally used to irrigate farmland around Lanzhou. 10RMB. (36.06315,103.845795) edit
  • Sculptures of the Mother River. (黄河母亲像)Gansu sculpture by the famous sculptor He E creation,6 meters long,2.2 meters wide,2.6 meters tall, weighing 40 tons, from "mother" and a "baby" of composition.  edit
  • Gaolan Mountain. (皋兰山) Cool place to be when the summer heat kicks in.  edit
  • Qiaomen Mosque. (桥门清真寺)  edit
  • Tianfusha Palace. (天斧沙宫)  edit
  • Bingling Si (炳灵寺石窟), (50 km southwest). Cave grottoes with Buddhist sculptures on the banks of the Yellow River. This place is not easily accessible, but definitely worth the effort. One-day trips are offered by travel agencies, e.g. Western Travel Service (西部旅行社) at Lanzhou Hotel starting from 150 RMB, and first go by bus to Liujiaxia (刘家峡)reservoir and then by boat to the grottoes. Starting in the fifth century AD more than 200 caves have been cut into the rock with colourful mural paintings and beautiful sculptures ranging from tiny statues to a giant Buddha. It is all pretty easy and private transportation is definitely not necessary for a day trip there 1. Get to Lanzhou west bus station and buy a ticket from the counter to LiuJiaXia/Bingling Si (1,5 - 2 hours,25 yuan). These buses run every 20 minutes fro 7 AM. 2. Just say Bingling Si to the bus driver and they will drop you of about 200 meters from the tourist center, at the level of the dam. 3. Ignore everyone wanting to sell you a boattour, it's far more expensive then the official ones at the immense tourist center which you will definitely find when walking up towards the dam. It's a big complex on your left hand (when leaving the bus) 4. Buy a speed boat ticket (around 125 yuan - 120=5 for insurance) They will bring you to the Bingling Si caves 55 kilometers further in about 1 hour. You will need to be at least 7 before the boat to leave but we did not wait for more than 15 min. 5. They give you 1,5 - 2 hours to explore the caves and bring you back in another hour. 6. At Bingling Si you have to buy the entrance tickets for the park (50 yuan or so). But students get a 50% discount! 7. Taking the bus back: just go to the point where they dropped you of and wave when a bus is coming. Note: there are also slow/big boats running, which are less expensive. But they will take around 3 hours for the 55 km trip, so this way you won't get the last bus back to Lanzhou. You don't necessarily need to take the earliest bus, we did though and while we were leaving the site, huger groups were coming in. This also allowed us to take a bus back from Bingling Si at 3 PM (last bus back runs at 6.30PM we think). 50 RMB entrance fee off-season.  edit
  • Yantan Park (雁滩公园), [1]. Since founding a state, here has built up to 20 km ring at the dam and 10 km asphalt road, and across the Yellow River tributary, the Yantan and urban integration. Later turned into parks, gardens lush forests, beautiful scenery, has built a pavilion, and the Yellow River scenery mutual authentic, very magnificent.  edit
  • Solemn Temple (庄严寺). The great cause of thirteen years (617 years ), Xue Ju in Lanzhou later became the emperor, the solemn temple as the palace. Tang Pingdingxue cited later renamed the temple, by the gate, and QianDian rooms, the main hall, houdian constitute HHS falls. Original gate board, "Chi stately Temple" six characters, is the famous calligrapher Li Puguang the book, font bold. The main hall after a Buddism godness Guanyin wall murals, dignified and beautiful, wearing white, wanran such as yarn, Panicum Jingping, Cuise such as the new. (Note: apparently the Solemn Temple was knocked down to make way for a residential building complex - how sad)  edit

Do[edit][add listing]

  • Walk across the Zhongshan Bridge for the night lights, people and the immense Yellow river.

Buy[edit][add listing]

  • Hezheng Lu Night Market, (Between Tiansuhi Lu and Pingliang Lu). A very authentic market from mid-afternoon onwards. free.  edit
  • Sanfo, 1 Youshengnan Road, Jinshui District. The leading outdoor gear stores in China.  edit
  • Xidan, (Off Zhangye Road). The main shopping district.  edit

Eat[edit][add listing]

Street food at the Hezheng Lu Night Market

Lanzhou is famous for its beef noodle soup (Lanzhou niurou lamian). The noodles are always hand made, and the broth served hot and spicy with as much beef as you care to pay for.

  • Mazilu(马子禄). Chain of restaurants specialising in Lanzhou niurou lamian  edit

Other options:

  • UBC Coffee House (Shangdao Kafei Ting), Zhongshan Road (Opposite Shengli Binguan). For when you need a Western food break thats consistent wherever you are.  edit
  • Zhengning Road(正宁路). Near Xiguanshizi.(西关十字, the central part of lanzhou) You can find all of the Lanzhou traditional foods there.(Beef noodles except) The opening time is between 6:00PM to 1:30AM.  edit

Drink[edit][add listing]

  • Huanghe Beer
  • Wuquanshan Beer
  • The Blue Bottle Coffee (Lan Zun Kafei), Chengguang Qu, 138 Jinchang Bei Lu (North West of Dongfang Hong Guangcang), (86) 0931-8878784. 11am-11pm. A cozy little cafe serving very decent coffee in central Lanzhou. Coffee prices range from 18 to 32 RMB (September 2012). (CLOSED AS OF AUGUST 2014)  edit
  • Holding Time Coffee (留年咖啡), Guang Chang Nan Lu (Across from the Hugo boss store in the Guo Huo shopping Center), 0931-8820-336. 10:30-11:00. An awesome cafe with tons antique wood and some of the best coffee in China. They do both espresso drinks and fresh roasted single origin coffees. Limited food selection but the cheese cakes are good. They also sell whole beans. It is on the second floor and well worth the trip. Address in Chinese 兰州市广场南路,东方红广场对面 Coffee Price from 18-32 RMB.  edit

Sleep[edit][add listing]


Many of the cheap hotels on near the train station on Tianshui road (天水南路) do not accept foreigners, but some do, look around. Here's a couple to get you started.

  • Yingbin Hotel (Yingbin Fandian), 35 Tianshui Road, +86 931 8886552 (fax: +86 931 8886776).  edit
  • Lanshan Hotel, (Opposite the train station). Pleasant enough rooms at decent prices. The fire escapes are locked. There is a public internet cafe in an adjoining building (ask at reception). Listed rates for doubles with en-suite ¥138 (can be bargained), double without bathroom ¥56 (summer 2006).  edit


  • Lanzhou Hotel, 434 West Donggang Road, +86 931 8416321 (fax: +86 931 8418608).  edit
  • Friendship Hotel Lanzhou, 16 Xijin West Road West, +86 931 2333051 (fax: +86 931 2330304).  edit


  • Lanzhou Legend Hotel, 599 Tianshui Road, +86 931 8882876 (fax: "+86), [2].  edit
  • Jinjiang Sun Hotel, 589 Donggang West Road, Chengguan District, [3]. A 4-star hotel business hotel. It has 236 guestrooms, meeting venues, business centre, restaurants, sauna and health club. Online reservation is accepted.  edit


  • Almost all hotel rooms have free internet in the form of an Ethernet cable. Sometimes the cable is sticking out of the wall. Sometimes you will find it in the drawer or the cupboard - plug in.
  • Although wireless networks are not common (ethernet based connections are much more common) there are a great many unsecured wireless networks in the city. For the most part downloads are unlimited for subscribers - so don't feel too bad if you help yourself.
  • You can also buy 3G internet USB modems from the major telcos. Expect Chinese language software simple enough for the English speaking to use.
  • Internet cafes exist thanks to online gaming. They are not particularly cheap, staff have extremely poor English and all applications will be in Chinese. Recommend plugging in your USB stick with Portable English applications on it:

Stay safe[edit]

Get out[edit]

  • Linxia - center for the Hui (Muslim Chinese) and Dongxiang (Muslim Mongol) minorities, nicknamed "The Mecca of China". Numerous mosques and Islamic mausolea (gongbei), colorful markets and relaxing teahouses
  • Sichuan Back Entrance Route - south via Xiahe, Hezuo and on past Langmusi into Sichuan province
  • Bingling Temple

Routes through Lanzhou
END  W noframe E  TianshuiXian

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