China Rainbow Mountains,Zhangye Danxia Landform Geological Park

Post Date: Nov 07th, 2012

Introdcution of Zhangye Danxia Geopark

Nestled in the north of Qilian Mountains, 30 kilometers of Linze County of Zhangye City Gansu Province China, Zhangye Danxia Landform Areas (China Rainbow Mountains) are magnificent with gorgeous colors, which developed at about 200 million years ago, from the Jurassic to Tertiary. Covering an area of over 400 square kilometeres, it is composed of lots of smooth and sharp cliffs, most of which are several hundred meters high, and cliffs look very powerful for their neighbors are plains and rivers. Meanwhile, those castles, cones, towers, as well as humans-like natural creatures give us too much imaginations. "Yes, we had a hard time believing that this insane mountain formation was actually real, because we haven't fallen down the rabbit hole. But, believe it or not, this technicolor range actually exists", those words come from The Huffington Post.

Danxia Landform Areas in Zhangye can be divided into three areas: Zhangye Danxia Landform Geological Park(China Rainbow Mountains)-Linze Danxia Scenic Area (临泽丹霞景区), Sunan Danxia Scenic Area (肃南丹霞景区) and Binggou Danxia Scenic Area (冰沟丹霞景区).


Linze Danxia Scenic Area

40 kilometers from Zhangye City and 20 kilometers from Linze County Town, Zhangye Danxia Landform Geological Park (Linze Danxia Scenic Area) is the north gate of the Danxia Landform Areas. Meanwhile, it's the most frequented one among the three entrance for the four viewing platforms, convenient inner transportations and gorgeous scenery. Moreover, It takes about 1 hour to finish the trip by taking the Sightseeing car. 

Location: Nantaizi Village, Nijiaying County, Zhangye Prefecture 张掖市倪家营乡南台子村


Sunan Danxia Scenic Area

The south gate the Danxia Landform Areas, the Sunan Danxia Scenic Area has more beautiful scenery, and it is bigger than Linze Danxia Scenic Area but has fewer tourists. The reason is it has no sightseeing cars running inside, but you can tour with your vehicle instead. 20 kilometers from Sunan Danxia Scenic Area, the Sunan Danxia Scenic Area is not very developed and without any completely constructed roads, so few people know it, but it does have gorgeous danxia scenery. Geologists call it "window lattice and palace-shaped Danxia topography”. Meanwhile, many movies are shot here, such as The Sun Also Rises directed by Wen Jiang, Di Renjie The Brillian Detetive 3 directed by Yanqiu Qian, A Simple Noodle Story directed by Yimou Zhang and so on.


Binggou Danxia Scenic Area

Binggou is smaller and different to ZhangYe DanXia. BingGou is about rock formations whilst ZhangYe is more about landforms, geometry and colours; colours here steal the show. Binggou has totally different landscape and absolutely worth a visit. It is about an hour from Zhangye and the formations are quite interesting. These formations really do look like ice sculptures melting, which rings true to it's name bing which means ice in chinese. 


Entrance fee: 60 RMB, which includes the entrance ticket of 40 RMB and the sightseeing car cost of 20 RMB. People over 70 years old can enjoy free admission after showing their credentials. Children less than 1.2 meters in height can also enter free.

Powered hang glider rides: RMB 200 for 3-4 minutes, RMB 300 for 5-7 minutes, and RMB 500 for 10-12 minutes.

Opening times: 5:30am–8:30pm in summer, 8am–6pm in winter.

Dining: There are many restaurants around the entrance of Danxia Landform Geological Park

Accommodation: Around the entrance, there are some Guesthouses, but the condition is not so good as Zhangye's.




How to make your way to Zhangye Danxia Landform Geological Park ?







Steps 1  Arrive at Zhangye


By Flight  

Zhangye Ganzhou Airport (IATA: YZY), or Zhangye Southeast Air Base

Zhangye Ganzhou Airport is a dual-use airport, located in Zhangye City, Gansu Province. It is 24km southeast from the center of the city. It was expended from the former Zhangye Air Force Flight School's airport. Zhangye Airport has been in use since November, 2011. It is about 13km to the south of the city. Currently, it only has flights between Xian and Zhangte via Lanzhou every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday. The flight between Shanghai and Zhangye will be arranged since Jun24th, 2015.

Recommended Tours: 4 Days to China Rainbow Mountains in Zhangye





By Train

Zhangye Railway Station

Zhangye Railway Station is located 6.4 km north east of Zhangye, Gansu. It handles about 49 passenger services per day along the Lanzhou–Xinjiang Railway as well as being a major freight depot.   

Click here to see all Zhangye Danxia Landform Tours >>



Train Beijing to Zhangye:  19.18 hours-30.8 hours  price from RMB 201 to 611 for seat ticket, hard sleeper and soft sleeper

Train Xian to Zhangye:  11.50 hours-19.47 hours price from RMB 153 to 467 for seat ticket, hard sleeper and soft sleeper

Train Shanghai to Zhangye:  30.27 hours price from RMB 300-798 for seat ticket, hard sleeper and soft sleeper

Train Guangzhou to Zhangye: 34.58 hours price from RMB 323 to 1075 for seat ticket, hard sleeper and soft sleeper

Train Lanzhou to Zhangye: 02.51 hours-03.04 hours, RMB150 2nd seat, RMB150 1st seat.


Road Transfer

Road from Lanzhou to Zhangye about 510 kilometers, 5 hours -6 hours  Price from RMB 66 to 100. Other cities is not advised for it takes a really long time, but if you are interested in it, please contact with Full View Trip Advisor.


Steps 2  Arrive at Rainbow Mountains from Zhangye City

I have to say the best way is to take service from travel agency who can arrange your time flexibly and give you more time to take marvelous photos and make sure you will not miss the best of the geology coloration in the late afternoon sun.


Rent Vehicle

Rent vehicle from Zhangye to Zhangye Danxia Landform Geological Park is the most convenient way. It runs about 47.7 kilometers, which takes about 40 minutes and charges about CNY 150- 200 for a group of 2-3 people.

Public Shuttle Bus of Zhangye to Danxia Landform Geological Park (China Rainbow Mountains) is the cheapest way (each person may be CNY 10 - 20 one way) but most inconvenient way. Besides, Staff of the bus station may not understand any English for they mainly service domestic passengers and nearby villagers, even you know some mandarin Chinese, you will find the truth that you cannot understand a word for both passengers and staff of the bus station speak dialect language. Meanwhile, the bus condition is not comfortable and clean enough.


Bus Station: Zhangye Xiguan Bus Station

Chinese Name: 西关汽车站

Add: No. 417, Ren Min Xi Lu, Gaotao County, Zhangye

Chinese Address: 甘肃省张掖市高台县人民西路417号

Tel: 86-936-6620 005


Steps 3 Transportaions Inside the Rainbow Mountains

Sightseeing cars are available in Linze Danxia Scenic Area, which takes about 1 hour to finish the 4 sightseeing platforms. The distance between the four sightseeing platforms is around 8 kilometers. However, the other two scenic areas do not have sightseeing cars, but you can tour the Sunan Danxia Scenic Area on your own vehicle.  


Best Time to Tour & photograph Rainbow Mountains

Sun and sunrise are the best times to see the gorgeous colors change, when the colors change continuously, showing yellow and red layers covered by a light gray layer. The perfect condition is it rains the day before, and next day is sunny without cloud or rain. Then, you will find it's the right time to enter rabbit hole. The best time to visit Zhangye is from June to September, when the rainfall is relatively concentrated. During this period, it is moist and cool that makes people feel more comfortable. However, you have to make sure that the day you tour Zhangye is not a rainy day or cloudy day, or you will find the way you make to Zhangye Danxia Landform Geological Park is not so worthy. Still, you have to avoid the most crowded seasons, such as International Labor Day (May 01-03), Dragon Boat Festival, National Day (Oct01-07).


Recommended Sightseeing Platforms:

Sunset: No. 1 and No. 5 viewing platforms

Sunrise Sunrise: No. 4 and No. 5 viewing platforms

Panorama scenery: No. 2 viewing platform, need 20 min climbing

The most red color of Danxia landform: No. 3 viewing platform, must go there in late afternoon or evening


What to Bring

Face mask or scarf can protect you from wind and soil; sunscreen, sunglasses will protect you from sun; and good walking shoes will help you while climbing up to sightseeing platforms and walking on the roads among them. Weather in the mountains can change quickly, so take with you windbreaker jacket and enough water. 


Visit Zhangye Danxia Park As Soon As Possible

Zhangye Danxia Park is a Breathtaking place! The area is well developed with platforms and buses, but still not too crowded. Like many other natural landmarks in China, it will change in the future, and the area will be transformed into an amusement park.


Silk Road and Zhangye City

Originated from Chang'an (Xian) of China, Silk Road ran through Gansu Province via Tianshui, Lanzhou, Wuwei, Zhangye, Jiuquan, Jiayuguan (an important military garrison and barrier of the Great Wall) and Dunhuang along the Hexi Corridor and then ended at the Mediterranean in the West. Started from the second century BC and ended at the end of the fourteenth century AD, Silk Road was the major trade route between China with the Roman Empire and it was named the Silk Road in 1877 by Ferdinand von Richthofen-a well-known German geographer. With this road, China, India, Persia, Arabia, Greek and Rome exchanged their splendid cultures with each other.


In China, along this incredible road, the cities inside Hexi Corridor are really the jewels in the crown. Many notable scenery and historic relics scattered along this historical museum and natural art corridor. Buddha Sutras & statues in Museum, cold weapons covered by earth, temples at roadside, wooden towers, broken Great Wall, different customs, bustling crowd, Legends, Sands, Gobi deserts, vast grassland, magnificent mountains.....it's a marvelous place to spend time to know a different world with long history, to feel the breeze pass through broken historical sites, to touch the past civilization. My suggestion is: if you have time and travel plan, have Silk road tour to feel the splendid history and the cruelty of time.


In China, there are over 790 Danxia landform areas, scattered in southeastern & southwestern China, 26 provinces and regions. Zhangye Danxia Landform Geological Park is the largest and most typical geomorphologic landscape in China's arid region.  


China Top 7 Danxia Landscapes

1. Mountain Danxia in Guangdong Province: China's Redstone Park

2. Wuyi Mountains in Fujian Province

3. Lake Dajin in Taining County Sanming city Fujin Province: Danxia Landform above Water

4. Mountain Longhu (Dragon and Tiger): Four Sacred Mountains of Taoism

5. Mountain Lang in Xinning County Hunan Province

6. Zhangye Danxia Landform in Zhangye city Gansu Province

7. Chishui Danxia Landform in Chishui City, Guizhou Province

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