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Explore Lanzhou & Tianshui on Your Own

In history, Lanzhou was called “Gold City” because its crucial role regarding national defense and its important function in international trading along ancient Silk Road.

A complete and comprehensive Silk Road tour usually requires about 15 days, which is not practical for many people since they have no such a long holiday. Then if you have only 2-3 days, how to plan a fast Silk Road tour? In this blog, ChinaSilkRoadTours will recommend a 3 days Lanzhou & Tianshui Independent Tour for you to have a great time in the two Silk Route cities.

Brief Itinerary:

Day 1 Lanzhou Arrival: Dazhong Lane – White Pagoda Hill Park – Gansu Museum

Day 2 Lanzhou – Tianshui by Train: Maiji Grottoes

Day 3 Tianshui – Lanzhou by Train: Water Wheel Park

No matter you choose the train or flight to Lanzhou, you will be impressed by the unique loess plateau physiognomy. Lanzhou is a east-west trend long and narrow city locating in a basin on loess plateau. The city lies on bank of Yellow River and is surrounded by mountain ranges. Most of mountain far from city are bare and the mountains close to city area are usually greened with plants.

A hint on transportation regarding Lanzhou travel. There are two ways from Lanzhou Airport to city area:

Inter-city bus departs each hour and it cost about CNY20 per person. Running time lasts for about 1 hour.

Airport shuttle bus charges CNY30 per person and it stop fixedly at Lanzhou train station. Running time is also about 1 hour.

By the time you get to Lanzhou city it will be time for lunch. What to have for lunch? We recommend Ma Zilu Beef Noodles .

Lanzhou Beef Noodles wins good fame in China. In each city you may see Lanzhou Beef Noodles Restaurant. While if you come to Lanzhou, trying a bowel of authentic Beef Noodles is the must. Ma Zilu Beef Noodles we recommend locates in Dazhong Lane Food Street. A bowel of beef noodles plus carrot juice will ensure you a good local style lunch. Eat like local!

After lunch step out of the Dazhong Lane you will arrive the South Binhe Road. Regardless of the turbid river, you may find it looks like West Lake in Hangzhou. Looking afar you will see the bridges crossing the river, some bars, restaurants, and coffee shops on the river, and the amusement facilities on river banks.

Among many bridges on Yellow River, Zhongshan Bridge is the best known one. That bridge was built in the late Qing Dynasty. It is the first well constructed bridge across Yellow River. The river connects the body city area with White Pagoda Hill Park.

Next move on to White Pagoda Hill Park, a landmark site and popular attraction  in Lanzhou, which is often recommended in Silk Road travel guide. Climbing up to the White Pagoda Hill you could see the building forest on the other bank of Yellow River. The hill is also the nice place to see sunrise and sunset. The park is open for free. And the strop in park charges CNY30 per person. That is quite exciting!

The following stop will be Gansu Provincial Museum. The representative treasure of the museum is the bronze Galloping Horse Treading on a Flying Swallow. In the museum you could also see several copies of grottoes so to learn about grottoes culture.

In the late evening take the overnight train to Tianshui. The train ride is about 5 hours. So we advise you book a sleeper train. After a good sleep you will arrive in Tianshui. After a simple lunch at train station, take the bus to the famous Maiji Grottoes. The bus cost about CNY5 per person. Maiji Grottoes is one of the top 4 Buddhist grottoes in China. The recommended visiting time is about 2 hours. Besides the grottoes itself, the trees covering the mountain is also eyeable.

Stay overnight in Tianshui City and in the morning of next day take a train back to Lanzhou. If time allows take some time in the Water Wheel Garden. Water wheel is an ancient irrigation tool (or equipment) which used to widely spread along Yellow River. The various kinds of water wheels in the garden create a pretty pastoral scenery. Here you will also learn about how they works to irrigate farming fields.

At last, say goodbye to this Silk Road city! Your pleasant Lanzhou & Tianshui Independent travel ends.

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