Combining Badain Jaran Desert and Zhangye Rainbow Mountains, this 5-day trip is a fabulous tour of geographic miracles. Only 160 km away from the Badain Jaran Desert, Zhangye stands as the best gateway to the Badain Jaran Desert. In Zhangye, you will be entertained by the breathtaking view of Rainbow Mountains while layers of bright colors stretching among the rolling mountains. While visiting Badain Jaran Desert – the most beautiful desert in China, you will hop on a jeep through the desert and marvel at some of the highest sand dunes in the world, a plethora of harmonious lakes and more captivating desert landscapes.
Sure, other highlights of Zhangye, like Pingshan Lake Grand Canyon, Matisi Grottoes, Zhangye Giant Buddha Temple, will also be included to enrich your experience.
*Appreciate the breathtaking Zhangye Rainbow Mountains, a geographic wonder which is distinguished from common Danxia landforms by its gorgeous colors and striking shapes.
*Go hiking through Pingshan Lake Grand Canyon described as “Comparable to the Grand Canyon of Colorado”.
*Visit the Matisi Grottoes and Giant Buddha Temple to explore the previous splendid Buddhist culture and be shocked by many precious Buddhist statues, murals, caves and woodcarvings.
- Day 1: Zhangye Arrival
Welcome to Zhangye. Once you arrive at Zhangye Ganzhou Airport, our local driver will pick you up and transfer you to the hotel for check-in. Enjoy the rest of the day at leisure.
Accommodation: Zhangye Hotel
- Day 2: Zhangye Danxia National Geological ParkZhangye Danxia National Geological Park, Ice Valley Mountain Scenic Area (aka Binggou Scenic Area), The Binggou Scenic Area & Rainbow Mountain Scenic Area
In the early morning, meet the guide at hotel lobby and then drive directly to the Zhangye Danxia National Geological Park which is listed as one of the 'Top 10 Geographical Wonders of the World' by National Geographic. Visit the Ice Valley Mountain Scenic Area (aka Binggou Scenic Area). Although the color of the hills here is not as bright as Rainbow Mountain, The Binggou Scenic Area is known for its magnificence and strange shapes. Scattered among this area is a kaleidoscope of various rolling hills in weird shapes of temples, pagodas, castles, cones, birds, figures of Buddha, etc.
Then move on to the Rainbow Mountain Scenic Area, the highlight of the geological park which are masterpieces of nature with layered undulating ridges and colorful mountain folds. The sightseeing of sunrise or sunset from the viewing platform is so breathtaking to inspire photographers around the world.
Overnight in a Mongol yurt in Kaoshan Tent (situated back against the colorful Danxia mountains )
Note: Only public toilet and bathroom are available in the Kaoshan Tent. Breakfast is included.
- Day 3: Zhangye - Badain Jaran DesertBadain Jaran Desert & Badain Jaran Temple
After breakfast, drive about 3 hours to Badain Jaran Desert. Praised as “the most beautiful desert in China”, it is characterized by five wonders, namely, sandy peaks, singing dunes, colorful lakes, clear springs, and ancient temples. Upon arrival, you will embark on a thrilling off-road adventure.
You will hop on a desert jeep to get to the heartland of the desert. The desert covers over 45,000 km, riding a SUV is the best way to absorb all its highlighting lakes and sand dunes, since you will need several days to trek through the desert. You will stop at Badain Jaran Temple in the deep desert and glimpse into many precious Buddhist murals, statues, and wooden carvings.
Then more spots are waiting to delight you, include Badain Lake, oasis in the desert, Genghis Khan Sand Carving, Dagetu Lake, Yinderitu Spring, Temple Lake, Bilutu (the highest sand dune in the world), etc. Enjoy your leisure time to immerse in the wonders and sunset in the desert.
Overnight in a Mongol yurt in the center of the desert.
Note: Tonight you will overnight in a local farmer’s yurt with simple Chinese breakfast provided, the toilet is basic and set outside of the yurt.
- Day 4: Badain Jaran Desert - Pingshan Lake Canyon - ZhangyePingshan Lake Grand Canyon
Enjoy your breakfast in the camp base after appreciating the enchanting sunrise in the early morning. Then continue your off-road adventure through the desert.
In the afternoon, drive back to Zhangye. En route, make a visit to the Pingshan Lake Grand Canyon. A magnificent grand canyon that is comparable to the famous Grand Canyon in the United States, Pingshan Lake Grand Canyon is the place not only for beautiful scenic views but also for witnessing a wide species of wild animals and birds. The basic geomorphic features of the canyon are water flowing gully, and colorful mountains being engraved into breathtaking landscapes. Then you will be escorted to the hotel in Zhangye for check-in.
Overnight in a hotel in downtown Zhangye.
- Day 5: Matisi Grottoes - Giant Buddha Temple - Zhangye DepartureMatisi Grottoes & Zhangye Giant Buddha Temple
In the morning, you will visit Matisi Grottoes, one of the “Three Artistic Grottoes of Hexi Corridor”. Standing against the hills where plenty of grottoes were engraved, it will offer you an incredible combination of Buddhist temples and mountain grottoes. Another highlight of the Mati Temple is that it combines both Han Buddhism and Tibetan Buddhism.
Then, move on to the Zhangye Giant Buddha Temple to marvel at the largest sleeping Buddha statue of Sakyamuni in Asia. It draws a lot of travelers for the impressive woodcarvings, wall paintings, statues and the brilliant Buddha culture. At the end of the day, you will be escorted to the Zhangye airport or train station for departure.