Beautiful Gansu

Written by doubleoexplorers


My first thought was ‘okay need to GTFO’..I mean I know it’s only three days but why stay in the same city when there’s so much to explore? 😀

Pic source:
Originally I wanted to go to Taiwan or somewhere in the south of China but flight prices were actually super ridic ($600 CAD to stay in the same country…) and the flight times were also super chaotic (a million and one stop overs).  And then…I found a picture online of The Rainbow Hills and after searching the place up, everyone claimed the pics they posted are not photoshopped in any way.   Really? Something this beautiful exists and it isn’t part of the World’s 7 wonders?  (Or whatever it’s called. haha)

But anyway, I decided to check it out nonetheless since this place is in Gansu, which is pretty close to Beijing.  

Here’s my trip itinerary and everything else that happened haha.
I flew out from Beijing (北京)  to Lanzhou (兰州).

I landed at 9:30 pm and I wanted to get to the night market asap.  The airport is AN HOUR (why?!?) away from the city and so I wanted to just get there right away.  I didn’t bother trying to figure out how long their one and only subway route will take to get me to the city.  And of course there were lots of randos chasing after me asking me if I want a ride for $ (aka black cabs) and I just ran through all of them, went downstairs to the taxi waiting area..only to find more of them. fml! And of course they all pounds like vultures cause since my plane was the only one that landed, and i was the only one down there, I was fresh meat.  I thought the cab drivers would be decent and turn their meters on so I went to the first cab in line and got in, showed him the night market address and he said…200 RMB. and I was like…oh hell no. And got out.  Then they were all like.. COME TO MINE, I GIVE YOU CHEAP CHEAP!! (Okay they said all of this in Chinese) And I didn’t know how to say meter so I just did the hand gesture until one of them was like..okay come to mine.  So I followed him and got in and off we went….

He was alright but was still kinda sketch.  Basically, just don’t trust them.  Cause this one kept trying to pick up randos on the road while the meter was ticking and I had to say to him ‘LETS GO BUDDY’. Then after he dropped off all the others, he turned to me and started making convo. Blah blah blah it was alright.  THEN he pulled out this stupid sign that was all written in Chinese and asked me to read it.  Of course I couldn’t so he tried to tell me (and this is what I think he said) ‘if I drive you for more than 10km, you need to pay 50% more of what the meter says’ and I looked at him and was like thinking…do you really think I am that dumb?  So I was like..okay NO, and waved the piece of paper away.  Of course he tried it a few more times and I was just rolling my eyes at him. In the end my cab ride was 140 RMB.

Night market:
Zhengning Road Market (正宁路小吃夜市)

The popular hot milk/yoghurt stall

This was only a street long but the variety of food and drinks were amazing. haha fooooddddd. They were really different from the food stalls in Beijing.  They have a lot of Muslim foods but also a lot of pig parts… :S… as in pig noses, pig ears, pig heads, pig feet, pig tails lol you name it, it’s there.  
I tried this hot milk/yoghurt thing that is mixed with an egg, raisins, some sorta seeds and nuts.  It was quite…different haha.  Different but good. 


Love Hostel
+86 186-9327-3782  Room 2506, Forth Shui Dian Bureau, No.570 Xi Jin East Road, Qilihe, 730000 Lanzhou (You should see a KFC across the street)

This is the address for the hostel in Chinese. (My fantastic Chinese writing…)

I know right, I thought the name was kinda sketch but it wasn’t like the love hotels in Korea..not that I’ve been in one before haha.  Anyway, this place is run by university students.  There’s essentially 3 rooms, with one living area, one kitchen, and one bathroom (with 2 stalls).  

The university students basically live in the three dorms: mixed, male, and female.  They have some extra beds so that’s why they have their place posted on Hostelworld /…for about 30 RMB.  They also have a tent option for 20 RMB.  DO NOT…LOL I repeat DO NOT think you can suck it up and just go for the tent option.  That’s what I originally wanted to do but first of all their tent was indoors…and second of was in the indoor balcony space that was FILTHY (full of bugs and dust bunnies) and you will have to trek through their gross smelling male dorm room filled with ‘stressed-out’ university students who smell like they haven’t showered in years. LOL so yea…I changed it to the female dorm room asap….It still kinda smelled but it was alright.

Anyway, they were super nice and super legit.  I called them twice and they said I can check in whenever cause they were all just hanging out there.  They do speak English, but were not super fluent.  The taxi dropped me off at the address and I called them and they came out and got me :).

Wowy…story of my life. lol 
So…me being a smart ass…decided to WALK to the train station at 7:50 am to catch my 8:30 am train.  According to google, it would only take 20 minutes to stroll there from my hostel and since I speed walk everywhere I decided I would be able to make it in 15 ;).

And I did get there at around 8:10 am..but the Lanzhou West Station (兰州西) was nowhere to be found….I had to ask locals and they were like..huh what are you saying?  I was literally in some alleyway..and with 15 minutes until my train departs I was running around trying to find a cab.

I finally got one…and if you look at the picture…where the blue location dot is is where the train station actually is and the star is where lovely google maps think it is…..

So I got out of the cab and RAN for my life.  I got to the ticket window right at 8:26 and I was thinking please please please please let me on.  She gave me the ticket but then told me to go to the next window to get a refund…har har har….So I boarded the 9:30 train instead haha.  Woohoo but didn’t have to pay a cent more. 😀

Lanzhou West (兰州西) –> Zhangye West (张掖西)
I suggest taking the earliest train possible.  There was an 8 am option that I could have taken.  This is a 5-6 hr train ride and most buses that go out of Zhangye to the nearby mountains leave at 2 pm or earlier.  

The ride was really beautiful.  There was one stop with SNOW on the ground in April.

Danxia Landform Geopark 
Rainbow Valley & Ice Valley

WELL…after trying to take several buses but not working out…Originally I thought I would have 3 hours to spend at this place….I grabbed a cab and they charged me 200 RMB for the round trip plus the waiting time.  This person I met during my trip said he was able to do it for 150 RMB, so try to bargain it down first :).

If you want to take the bus there…

From Zhangye West TRAIN Station, take bus 22.  Get off at a bus stop that bus 4 stops at.  Bus 4 will take you there. (The bus driver told me it will go there).

From Zhangye West BUS Station, take either bus 9,10,11 or 12. (I got this info from the internet but didn’t try it out).

Here’s the operating hours.  I thought it would close at 7 pm and all the locals thought it closed at 6 pm.  There were plenty of people begging to be let in haha.  I arrived right at 5 pm and when I realized it just closed….I literally was about to slap myself for wasting an hr with the buses.   

Haha this vid basically explains what happened…


I was honestly starving at that point.  The only food I had a that point was the nan stuff that I got from the night market the night before in Lanzhou.

I wasn’t able to find Youyou hostel…plus they were super sketch and didn’t provide a proper location.  All the smaller hotel chains didn’t take foreigners so I just went for food first.

These things are basically potstickers…with lamb inside haha. Yummy.

Okay so I was exhausted at that point.  I asked the restaurant owners for a hotel and they told me to go down the road to this one.  It was 200 RMB for THE NICEST room ever.  Definitely had a good shower and a good nights sleep…haha I was probably good that I stayed there.  That was the last shower I took before showering at home in Beijing again. haha life of a backpacker…. 😛 

Ventured off to….
Matisi (马蹄寺)
Show this to the taxi driver :P. It’ll get you 
to the South Station.

You need to get to the SOUTH BUS STATION.  Don’t listen to anyone who tells you it’s the West Bus Station cause I went there and it wasn’t it.

This is what the South Bus Station looks like.

Ticket for the bus ride to Matisi 

Things were pretty straight forward after I found the bus station.  I got on one of their orange buses and we left at 9:15!  We stopped several times to pick up others on the road so the bus got pretty packed real soon.  The ride was approx 2 hours long.

This bus WILL take you all the way there.  BUT you will come across a fork in the road with a sign that says Matisi -> .  They will stop and tell you to get off and take one of those black cabs to get there.  DON’T DO IT! Cause it’s 80 RMB per cab for just a 5km ride.  The bus will take the other road, but will do a U-turn about 3 km in and go back out to the fork and the take the road to Matisi.

The mountains are calling, and I must go  

AIN’T IT BEAUTIFUL?!? 😀 !!!!!!!

Your driver will ask everyone to pay an extra 25 RMB for the bus ride home.  He will also tell you to not go to the waterfalls cause you won’t have enough time….GO to the waterfalls cause you will have PLENTY of time. My bus arrived there at 11 am and the driver gave us until 3:30.  I believe there is one last bus at 4:30 but you will need to talk to the driver ahead of time to see if there’s room for you.

The best thing about travelling alone is meeting random people 😀

Met a university hiking group from Lanzhou! 😀 

Hehe I found them at the waterfall and this girl just literally ran after me after taking pictures and all.  So then we started to talk and just ended up doing the rest of the hike with them. White boy travel celeb status level 1 has been reached 😉

There were plenty more to check out after the hike.  I went to the sword splitting stone…which wasn’t that spectacular.  I didn’t even know it was there actually.  The only thing that attracted me go to there were the colourful Tibetan flags!

At the very end I quickly checked out the temples in the cave.  It was really cool cause of the narrow spaces and the steep stairs.

After I got back to Zhangye, I walked around town a bit, then met up with someone I met on the hike and just hung out around town…and waited for our overnight trains!  

Zhangye -> Lanzhou 
Luckily there was an overnight train so I didn’t have to spend time travelling during the day :D.


Arrived in Lanzhou at 7 am!  I wanted to go to Liujiaxia but it was ridiculously far so I just ended up staying in the city.  Checked out a ‘wetlands’. Haha…That’s what they called it, but it’s not really a wetland at all.  It was a nice place to just walk around though.

Also checked out a ‘mountain’ right next to the golden bridge.  Once again…it was just nice to have something to go to.


Apparently they are FAMOUS for their beef noodles.  What I wanted to know is WHY are there no beef in their beef noodles!? (It wasn’t that great….)  I tried it twice from two different places and still dunno what all the rave is about.

Non deelish beef noodles… :/

theeeee end!!!! Flew back to Beijing that night 😀

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *