Tianshui Travel Guide

Tianshui Travel Guide

Tianshui Map

Tianshui Facts

Chinese Name: 天水市 (tiān shuǐ shì)
Population: 2,266,600
Area: 14,300 square kilometers (5,521 square miles)
Location: in the southeast of Gansu Province, northwestern China
Administrative Division: 2 Districts (Qinzhou, Maiji); 1 Autonomous County (Zhangjiachuan Hui Autonomous County); 4 Counties (Qingshui, Qin'an, Gangu, Wushan)
Area Code: 0938
Zip Code: 741000
GDP (2018): CNY 65.2 billion (USD 9.9 billion)

Known for Maijishan Grottoes & Fuxi’s Birthplace

Tianshui was once the first stop that the Silk Road made upon entering the Gansu Province. Situated in the southeastern region of Gansu, it lies halfway between Lanzhou and Xi'an, and along the upper branch of the Weihe River, where Shaanxi, Gansu and Sichuan converge. Tianshui embodies brilliant Maiji Grottoes Culture and Fuxi Culture. The Maijishan Grottoes, one of China’s Four Greatest Grottoes, are hundreds of caves built along the cliff with thousands of exquisite Buddha statues from the late Northern and Southern Dynasties (420 - 589). Fuxi was one of the Chinese earliest ancestors in legend and the first person who had a surname in Chinese history. And since Fuxi, all the Chinese people have their own surnames. In addition, after Fuxi taking the dragon totem as the family crest, the dragon spirit to maintain the unity of the Chinese nation has been inherited. Besides, Tianshui is one of the old industrial bases and important equipment manufacturing bases.

Tianshui Attractions - Things to Do

Maijishan Grottoes: 40 kilometers (25 miles) southeast of Tainshui City, the Maiji Caves features one of the four famous grottoes of China, which were built between 348 AD and 417 AD. Today thousands of statues and frescoes remain in the grotto. 

Fuxi Temple: This temple was built during the Ming Dynasty, as a means of appeasing Fuxi in hopes that local prayers for happiness and safety would be granted. Today, the Tianshui Fuxi Culture and Tourism Festival is held here each year. 
 Fu Xi Temple Video

Tianshui Fu Xi Temple
Fu Xi Temple
Tianshui Maiji Caves
Maiji Caves

Water Curtain Cave: This cave is in the Zhonglou Mountain, 25 kilometers (16 miles) northeast of Wushan County. In addition to beauty of the surrounding valley scenery, the Water Curtain Cave Grottoes and cliff-side inscriptions are also unforgettable sights. 

Dadiwan Site: This is an ancient village site from the Neolithic Era, which gives a glimpse into the daily life of those who lived 4,800-7,800 years ago. Excavations in the site best show the Yangshao Culture of ancient China.

How to get to/around Tianshui

1. Tianshui Maijishan Airport is 14 kilometers (8.7 miles) away from downtown Tianshui and 50 kilometers (31 miles) from Maiji Mountain. The airport has opened air routes to Tianjin, Nanjing, Hangzhou, Chongqing and Xi’an. Airport shuttle bus and city bus 1/ 5/ 8/ 16/ 35/ 58/ 59 take you to downtown from airport.

2. Tianshui is a five hour drive from Lanzhou. From downtown area, visitors can take city buses to the foot of Maiji Mountain (a 40 minute trip; busses are located opposite the train station), and it is still 5 kilometers (3 miles) from the Maiji Caves.

3. The Fuxi Temple is easily accessible once you are in the downtown area of Tianshui - simply walk down the street south of Central Square. Temple admission is free from the first day to the seventh day of the first lunar month.

4. There are two railway stations in Tianshui: Tianshui Railway Stations and Tianshui South Railway Station.  Trains are available from Tianshui to Xi'an, Beijing, Shanghai, Lanzhou...
See detailed Xi'an - Tianshui Train, Lanzhou - Tianshui Train


Enjoying a temperate continental climate, Tianshui has distinct seasons, with extreme heat appearing in July, fading into an overcast and rainy autumn. The yearly temperature is around 11C (52F).

 When to Go: September, October, and November are the best months to visit there.

Tianshui Travel Tips

Tianshui Yuquan Temple
Yuquan Temple

 History: Tianshui is said to have been the hometown of Fuxi, one of ancient China's three wise kings. As such, the city is praised as the root of ancient Chinese culture. In 688 BC historical records referenced the city (though it was then called Qinting). The name 'Tianshui' appeared during the Qin Dynasty (221BC-206BC) when it was given the name Tianshui Shire.

 Physical Features: The southern and eastern parts of the city are mountainous, while the north is a loess hilly area (with soil comprised mainly of wind-blown sediment). A fraction of the central area lies in the river valley. As a whole, the City's terrain slopes downward, from northwest to southeast.

 Local Highlights: Tianshui Fuxi Culture and Tourism Festival (June)

 Special Local Products: Sea Backthern from Qingshui County, carved lacquer products, silk carpets, Wushan jade cavings

- Last updated on May. 24, 2022 -
Questions & Answers on Tianshui Travel
Asked by Tom from THAILAND | Dec. 01, 2020 20:59Reply
How can I travel between Tianshui south train station and Tianshui bus station?
Answers (2)
Answered by Ella | Dec. 03, 2020 19:47

It is suggested to take bus no.88 from South Railway Station to Tianshui General Bus Station directly. The ticket fare is CNY 3 per person. The whole way takes around an hour.
Answered by Tom | Dec. 03, 2020 20:04

Thank you so much
Asked by Janus from SINGAPORE | Jul. 20, 2019 02:31Reply
Is there public transport from Tianshui South train station to Xixia Gorge(成县西狭颂)?
What are the options available?
How much would a taxi cost if there is no public transport available?

Answers (1)
Answered by Meg from USA | Jul. 22, 2019 19:13

Maybe you need to take bus No.1/35 to Tianshui Railway Station first, which takes around 30 minutes with CNY3. And you can take bus from there to Xixiasong.
Asked by Malc from UKRAINE | Mar. 15, 2019 01:08Reply
Where can I catch a bus from Tianshui to Wushan ?
bus frequency and time please.
Thank you.
Answers (1)
Answered by Nolan from CANADA | Mar. 19, 2019 18:26

Sorry, I didn't find the direct bus between these two places. The train schedules are 03:44, 09:24, 10:08, 14:57, 15:10 and 15:24. The duration is around an hour. The ticket fare of soft sleeper is CNY141.5, hard sleeper is CNY107.5 and hard seat is CNY16.5.
Asked by Kambalah from PHILIPPINES | Feb. 15, 2019 16:02Reply
Hi., where can I ride bus from maijishan going back to TS south bullet train station. Ty
Answers (1)
Answered by Sarah from USA | Feb. 19, 2019 22:17

You can take bus no.60 from Maijishan Bus Stop to Qilin Hospital first. Then take a taxi to the railway station.
Asked by Malcolm from UK | Dec. 25, 2018 01:03Reply
Can I visit The Daxiangshan Grottoes 甘谷大像山 in May ?
I read somewhere it's only open for July and August, is this true or is it best to visit during July and August, why ?
Thank you.
Answers (1)
Answered by Juliana from POLAND | Dec. 27, 2018 23:56

Don't worry. It will open in May. Some people say July to October are the best time to visit there. :)
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