Code: XA31

Xian Independent Tour to Lanzhou

Day 1 Xian - Lanzhou
Bingling Thousand Buddha Caves, Lanzhou
Please find your own way to Xian North Railway Station. Subway Line 2 is probably the best mode of transport. Buses No. 108, 263, 264, 265, 266, 329, 360, 362, 723, and 727 all get you there. You may choose one depending on your location. If you need to collect the train ticket at Xian North Railway Station, you'd better arrive there one hour before its departure. We suggest you take the train D2685 0930/1210 to Lanzhou, the fastest one with only 2 hours and 40 minutes journey.

On arriving at Lanzhou West Station, please take taxi at a cost of CNY 15 - CNY 20 to a hotel in the downtown area. Our suggestion is the Ibis Hotel (Lanzhou Zhangye Road). After a brief rest at the hotel, you can start your independent trip in Lanzhou with the Zhongshan Bridge and the Waterwheel Garden.

Walk southward for 80 meters from the hotel, turn left and walk for 280 meters, turn left again and continue walking for 140 meters, turn right to Yongchang North Road. Walk along this road for 100 meters, turn left to G109 and walk for 310 meters, you will find the Zhongshan Bridge on your right. The whole walking takes about 15 minutes. As the first bridge over the Yellow River, this 110-year-old bridge is a signature landmark of the city and still in use today.

After that, you can take bus No. 25 from Zhongshan Bridge Station on the other side of G109, and get off at the Green Park after 4 stops. Walk eastward for 220 meters, turn left and then move forward, you will find the Waterwheel Garden very soon. It was a common and wise way to irrigate the area along the Yellow River by using waterwheel since the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644). To display how the old irrigation tools work, Lanzhou City has built this garden. When finishing your visit, you can take bus No. 25 from Green Park Station and get off after 3 stops at Yongchang Road. It is easy to find the way back to your hotel, which is less than 10 minutes walking distance away.
Day 2 Lanzhou
A visit to the Bingling Thousand Buddha Caves is suggested today. Walk southward for 140 meters from your hotel, turn right and walk along Longxi Road for 340 meters, turn left and then you will find a bus station 30 meters ahead. Take bus No. 118 for 3 stops, get off at Gongjiao Jituan, and then you will find the West Bus Station very near. Buy the bus ticket to Liujiaxia at a cost of CNY 20. It takes two hours to arrive at Liujiaxia Bus Station. Here you will need to take a taxi at a cost of CNY 8 to Liujiaxia Reservoir where you can board yacht to visit the Bingling Thousand Buddha Caves. A round trip ticket fee for the yacht is CNY 120 per person. The yacht trip is about 50 minutes for one way. You will be told the departure time for the return trip when getting off the yacht. Usually 1.5-hour is allowed for one to visit the Bingling Thousand Buddha Caves.

In Tibetan language, 'bingling' means 'ten thousand Buddhas'. The grottoes were initially excavated on the cliff in the early Western Jin Dynasty around the third century. It was also constructed in the subsequent dynasties. Thanks to the good natural conditions and less artificial destruction, some of the caves are still well-preserved. After your visit, please get back to the dock on time and take the yacht back to Liujiaxia Reservoir. Again, you need to take a taxi to Liujiaxia Bus Station for the return bus to Lanzhou.
Day 3 Lanzhou - Xiahe
Labrang Monastery, Xiahe
You may leave your large luggage at the hotel concierge and travel light to Xiahe. To save time and energy, we suggest you take a taxi at a cost of CNY 18 to the South Bus Station. There are three morning buses available from Lanzhou to Xiahe daily, and they leave at 07:30, 08:30 and 10:30 respectively. You may take the one at 08:30, which allows you some time to do sightseeing in Xiahe this afternoon. The bus journey is about 4 hours and ticket costs CNY 80 per person. For the accommodation tonight, the Labrang Wangfu Hotel is recommended. It is just 370 meters southwest of Xiahe Bus Station. Have a short break at the hotel and find a restaurant for your lunch.

Afterwards, you can head to the Sangke Grassland. You may ask the hotel staff to help you get a taxi to the grassland, and the cost is about CNY 30. Remember to make an appointment with the driver for the return journey. The taxi ride is about 20 minutes for a single way. Sangke Grassland is a natural prairie for Tibetan people. The Grassland Reception Station provides tourist with many services, such as traditional Tibetan meals, local snacks, needfire evening, ethnic songs and dances performances, and riding horse.
Day 4 Xiahe - Lanzhou
After checking out of the hotel, we suggest you visit the Labrang Monastery. Built in 1710, Labrang Monastery is the center of Tibetan Buddhism and Tibetan culture, as well as an essential place for religious activities and ceremonies outside Tibet. The huge monastery occupies an area of around 823,000 square meters consisting of six grand halls, 84 temples, 31 Tibetan-style buildings and 30 Buddhist palaces and so on. It has kept the best teaching system of Tibetan Buddhism. Besides, the prayer wheel here is the longest in the world.

You can walk from the Labrang Wangfu Hotel to the monastery in 25 minutes. Walk southeast for 40 meters from the hotel, turn right to Zhaxiqi Street, move along this street for 1.5 kilometers, turn right and continue walking for another 120 meters, you will find the Labrang Monastery. If you arrive early, you may get the chance to watch the Morning Prayer. When you visit a hall, please note that you have to walk in clockwise direction, and you need to take off your hat if you wear one. Visitors are not allowed to touch or point at the Buddhist statues and sutras. Besides, taking pictures in the main halls and Gongtang Pagoda is prohibited. It usually takes 4 hours to visit the major area of the monastery.

After your independent travel in Labrang Monastery, please get back to Xiahe Bus Station to catch a bus to Lanzhou. There are three buses available, and they leave at 12:10, 14:30 and 14:55. For your information, you can continue your self-guided exploration to Xining or Zhangye by taking the very fast bullet train. Alternatively, you can take an overnight train to Dunhuang, which is a dreaming destination for many backpackers visiting China.

Admission Fee for sightseeing spots specified in this travel plan:
Bingling Thousand Buddha Caves CNY 50
Labrang Monastry CNY 40 for visiting several main halls.
CNY 20 for Gongtang Pagoda
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Questions & Answers
Asked by Liew from MALAYSIA | Nov. 03, 2015 20:52Reply
Can visit the Guanshan Grassland in November?
Answers (1)
Answered by Tim | Nov. 04, 2015 19:12

It is not suggested to visit the Guanshan Grassland in November as the scenery is poor and the weather is cold. Summer is the best time to visit there.
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