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Zhangye (张掖; Zhāngyè) is a city in Gansu Province.


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 are many Yugu in the city, a minority people only found in large numbers in Gansu.

Get In[edit]

By Air[edit]

Newly built airport 13km south of the city. Flights every day to/from Xi'an on either China Eastern (3x weekly) or Tianjin Airlines (4x weekly), four times weekly flights to/from Lanzhou on Tianjin Airlines and three flights per week from Guangzhou on China Eastern. Direct flights have commenced from Shanghai to Zhangye with Spring Airlines three times a week.

By Train[edit]

Two railway stations serve the city of Zhangye. Firtly, Zhangye Zhan (Zhangye Station) at the end of Zhanghuo Gonglu, 13km northeast of the central part of town. This is the original station in the city serving conventional trains West to Urumqi and East to Lanzhou via Wuwei.

Bus No.1 runs from the train station to the centre of town (Drum Tower) and costs ¥1.5.

In 2014, a new high-speed railway was completed and thus Zhangye Xi Zhan (Zhangye West Station) was opened on the western end of Danxia Lu. It has high speed connections between Urumqi and Lanzhou, with some conventional trains serving other cities in China, such as Chengdu.

Bus No.8 runs from the train station to the centre of town (Drum Tower) and costs ¥1. A taxi can also be hailed into town with the meter starting at ¥5. It should cost approximately ¥7-10 to get into town. Insist that the driver use the meter.

Xining 2 hours by bullet train & costs ¥91. Lanzhou is 3 hours by fast train and costs ¥149.5. There are six eastbound and six westbound high speed services daily. Being the highest fast train service in the world, the train passes some amazing snow covered mountains and meadows but spends a lot of the time in tunnels and wind sheds. Way better than the 7 hour bus ride though.

By Bus[edit]

East Bus Station (on Huaicheng East Road)[edit]

  • Wuwei - takes about 3-6 hours
  • Lanzhou - takes about 11 hours
  • Yinchuan

South Bus Station (on Huaicheng South Road)[edit]

  • Dunhuang - takes about 12 hours
  • Jiayuguan - takes about 4 hours
  • Lanzhou - takes about 10 hours
  • Mati Si - takes about 2-3 hours
  • Xining - takes about 7 hours (¥77.5 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 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 (the biggest, most modern station - reachable by bus 3 or 4)[edit]

  • Zhangye Danxia Landscape - takes about 1.5 hours (¥10). Luggage storage available at the station.
  • 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.
  • Jiayuguan - bus at 9:30am (perhaps a better option than the awkwardly timed trains). 3.5-4hours, ¥52.

Get Around[edit]

By bus[edit]

Take bus No. 4 to the West Bus Station, bus No. 1 to the train station. Bus service stops much earlier than in larger cities in China (6pm- 8pm). Bus fares are ¥1 for short distances around town.

By taxi[edit]

There are many taxis in the town, with rates starting at ¥5.

By private car[edit]

You can book a private car via a travel agency or at the reception of most hotels. A trip to Mati Si + Danxia Landscape will cost approximately ¥500).

May 2016 negotiated rates with a hired taxi from Zhangye downtown (all rates inclusive of waiting time):

Zhangye Danxia to and fro = ¥180 (1hr drive)

Mati Si to and fro including driving into the 3 main stops = ¥220 (1hr 20min drive)

Pingshanhu Grand Canyon = ¥240 (1hr 40min drive through bumpy, damaged and unpaved roads due to construction works)

See[edit][add listing]

  • Da Fo Si, 大佛寺步行街, (0936)6933666, [1]. (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. The entrance is off a pedestrian precinct to the west, opposite a square.
    Da Fo Si - Inside the Tibetan style stupa
    ¥40/ ¥20.  edit
  • Blackwater National Site (黑水国遗址), [2]. In the 12.5 km northwest of the Zhangye. 15 km long from north to south and 10 kilometres 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 kilometres. 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, (Take the bus from Zhangye South Bus Station towards Nangu 11CNY, get off at the junction with the brown tourist Mati Si sign, 9km to the grottoes 5km to the park entrance. Take a taxi, hitch a ride or walk (last return bus is at 5:30pm)). 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). Can be combined with Danxia Landscape if hiring a car and driver. Price 74CNY in February 2018.  edit
  • Zhangye Danxia Lanscape, (By bus from West Bus Station or private car). This is a small park about 40km from Zhangye where you can see a unique geological landscape, one of the highlights of the Gansu Province. The layers of multi-coloured rock in the mountains amid a green oasis basin are truly spectacular. When you visit you will be driven the viewing platforms by bus (running every 10-20 minutes), which you can hop-on and hop-off, taking your time to view and photograph the scenery. The platforms and roads are brand new (completed by June 2017, however one platform was temporarily closed). Paying for the shuttle bus is unavoidable, but once inside the park you can walk between the stations. Note that there are TWO entrances into the park, the East and West Gates and shuttles to both gates - be careful, it can be unclear which shuttles go to which gate (unless you speak Chinese). The buses have a sign with the gate on them, perhaps learn the characters for East 东 and West 西. Buses from Zhangye to Sunan, passing Danxia, leave the west bus station every hour. There is also an hourly direct bus from the Zhangye west bus station to Danxia. If coming from the Gaotie (rapid train station), the Danxia bus can also be flagged from the side of the road if you turn left immediately on coming out of the train station. The return bus from Danxia can also drop you off at the rapid train station. Be aware that the last bus back to Zhangye leaves between 6:20pm and 6:30pm, thereafter you are at the mercy of the waiting taxi drivers. Take the shuttle to the West Gate from the last viewing point no later than 6pm to make it back in time. (However if you miss the last shuttle you will quite easily find a group taxi that will take you back for around 30 RMB per person) The same public bus that drops you along the main road for Danxia park also stops at Binggou park, a short 20 min. further on the same road. Tell the ticket lady when boarding at zhangye west bus station where you want to get off. Binggou park is quite new and far less visited than Danxia. It's worth combining the two parks on one day. Binggou first, then Danxia, to catch the late afternoon sunshine on the coloured rocks. (Red) Buses from Zhangye to Sunan and back run every hour. Just wait along the main road, at the entrance of Danxia or Binggou park. Last bus back to Zhangye departs Sunan at 6.10 pm, so expect 10 minutes later at Binggou, and 20 to 25 minutes later at Danxia. Better be early. In February 2018 the entrance price for Zhangye Danxia is 75CNY (includes shuttle) and for Binggou is 60CNY (includes shuttle) + ¥10 each way for a bus from Zhangye.  edit
  • Zhangye Wetland Museum, Bei Da Jie (Extreme northern end of this street). This is a fantastic newly opened musuem with a bit of everything in it. Set in beautiful wetlands and adjoining a national park, it is in a great setting. The museum has only a few signs and displays in English but it is full of hands on and interactive displays. Set up in separate halls, there are displays on the ancient history and impact of the Silk Road on this area, an environmental awareness educational display, natural habitat, flora and fauna displays and a large model of the current city with planned improvements. There are many large video displays of all shapes and sizes, including a 4D theatre.  edit
  • Wooden-tower pagoda/Mù Tǎ Sì 木塔寺. Climb the wooden-tower pagoda/Mù Tǎ Sì (木塔寺) at Central Square/Zhōng Xīn Guǎng Chǎng,(中心广场), located in the central part of town off of Xianfu Jie. Although you won't have a view of the whole city and it's surroundings, as the city grew too large an high.  edit

Do[edit][add listing]

  • Swim in Hei river
  • Desert Park Shā Mò Gōng Yuán (沙漠公园) - If you're looking for a taste of desert life, then take the number 8 public bus (painted in Paris/Copper Green livery) to the southern part of town closer to the Qilian Mountains, where you'll be dropped off at the last stop (desert park). **During winter months the bus may not drop you off at the park, and a taxi arrangement from that stop is then required from the second to last stop to the park and then back again.** The ride takes about twenty-five to thirty minutes each way from the Drum Tower (about 50 meters north of the drum tower on the west side of the street, across from the public toilets and the park) and costs 3/yuan. As of this writing (May 2014) there is no entrance fee to the park, but that will soon change, as the park has upgraded its facilities, including a new gate with turnstiles. See fantastic shifting dunes that are as fun as they are tiresome to climb. You'd be hard pressed to find the variety of landscapes in such proximity that this place offers anywhere else. A really great and unique place to take photos, but be careful not to change your lenses at the risk of damaging your camera, as the tops of the sand dunes can be windy! **NOTE: BRING BOTTLED WATER AND SUNSCREEN WITH YOU! Buses return to town at different times, but depending on the season there is usually a bus heading back to town at 4:00pm. Check with your bus driver before getting off the bus about when the bus will return. Private taxis and vans are also available near the front entrance, but don't forget to bargain!

Buy[edit][add listing]

Eat[edit][add listing]

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!

Drink[edit][add listing]

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).

  • There is a pedestrian street located one intersection west of the Drum Tower, and marked with a wooden Ming-Dynasty style archway street called, "Fang Gun Jie." It's a great place for street shopping during the day, and eating food at the end of the night. The intersection is located at Xi Da Jie and Xianfu Jie. During summer months, a beer garden of sorts set up at the end of the street, near the entrance of Ganquan Park, and all sorts of local inexpensive street foods are available.
  • **There is a cheaper coffee place not for from the end of Fang Gun Jie, if you turn left down the street toward Oushi Jie (heading toward the Marco Polo statue at the intersection). You have to look for it, but it will be on your left side. It's located closer to Fang Gun Jie and the beer garden, barbecue area, and a delicious, freshly made 12 Yuan cup of coffee is available there. The lady who runs the place uses a bunsen-burner style apparatus to make the coffee, and vacuum coffee maker which uses gravity to brew individual cups, and she'll do this in front of you. Cool experience, friendly owner, and worth it for the spectacle alone.

Sleep[edit][add listing]


  • Zhangye Qicai Danxia International Youth Hostel (青年旅舍). 182 Huangcheng West Road" directions="Take bus 4 from Xidajie towards the west. About 1.5 km past the West Bus Station - look for the YHA sign on a large arch (the second arch after a string of restaurants)." phone="0936-858891" >Basic, but clean. Poor location, far away outside of the city center. Closing for winter between November and April (without any previous notice anywhere on internet). 50¥ dorm  edit
  • Footprint International Youth Hostel, 89 Qingnian West Street (青年西路89号) Zhangye 734000 (By taxi: Most taxi drivers won't know the exact address, but they will drop you off in the Qingnian Xi Lu (Qingnian West Street 青年西路). At the end / the beginning of the street there is a police station. Go to the police station's side and walk further into the street (so that the police station is to you right). When you reach a shop with the house number 85. Go to the side street on the right and enter the small metal gate. Walk up the stairs and go to number 89. At the ground floor of the house knock on the door. The hostel is fairly close to the drum tower. By bus: Take bus 1 from the train station to the city center, and take the street just north of the square with the drum tower and walk about 200-300m to the east. Once you get to the number 85, enter into the small side street, go up the stairs on the left. On the left on the ground floor is the hostel (it is a bit dark and difficult to find).). Little English spoken. Good and clean facilities. 40¥ dorm December 2014 / 99¥ dorm. Open in winter.  edit
  • Zhongguang Hotel (Zhongguang Zhaodaisuo), Second Floor establishment, Xianfu Street (On the south corner of Minsheng West Street), +86 936 5985449.  edit


  • Honghao Hotel (Honghao Binguan), 11 Xianfu Street, +86 936 8250588.  edit
  • Jindu Hotel (Jindu Binguan), 19 East Street, +86 936 8245088 (fax: +86 936 8245122).  edit


  • Zhangye Hotel (Zhangye Binguan), +86 936 8212601 (fax: +86 936 8213806).  edit
  • Huachen International Hotel (Huachen Guomao Binguan), 162 East Street (Dong Jie),Zhangye, +86 936 8257777 (fax: +86 936 8277667).  edit
  • Tianyu International Hotel (Tianylu Guomao Binguan), Ganquan Cultural Square, South Avenue (Nan Jie), Ganzhou District, Zhangye 734000, China, +86936 8516666, 8513333 (fax: +86 936 8860331).  edit

Get out[edit]

  • Mati Temple - in the Tibetian town of Mati, more caves carved into a cliff.
  • Qilian mountains
  • Zhangye Danxia Landscape - about an hour by bus from the West Bus Station.
  • Ping Shan Hu Grand Canyon (平山湖). Located around 56 kilometers from Zhang Ye, Ping Shan Hu, also known as the Hirayama Lake Grand Canyon, is a chinese version of The Grand Canyon. A big area with 4 different viewpoints, each one of them offers a fantastic view of the geological formations and valleys of the area. The hike to go down the canyon should take a couple of hours and is definitely worth it. The only public bus to the place departed from the west bus station at 9:40 and went back to Zhang ye at 16:30 from the entrance of the park. Hostels also offer private cars to the place. ¥130.  edit

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