Zhangye lies in the center of Hexi Corridor in the province of Gansu. It borders Jinchang to the east, Jiuquan to the west, Beizhou on the south, and Jiheiqi on the north. Due to its strategic location, Zhangye, formerly known as Ganzhou, has strategic importance in the province. It has always been the center of economy, politics, diplomatic activities, and culture of all the dynasties in the northwestern part of China.
Zhangye is one of the most important cities in the history of China. It has very long but interesting history, beautiful mountains, profound culture, rivers, plain, and folk customs of Ancient Zhangye. The city’s natural scenery is endowed with unparalleled Danxia Landform, historical sites, and huge horse field that features blue sky and green grass.
Weather and Climate
There are basically four seasons in the Zhangye region and these change clearly. The city is less rainy due to the continental climate. January is the hottest month while July has an average temperature of 7C. June to September is the best time to visit Zhangye.
The local specialties in Zhangye include Minyue Garlic, Linze Chinese Date, Wujang Rics, and Gaotai Capsicum. Must-try local food includes Cuoyumian, Saozi noodles, stewed pork, and Niangpizi.
Where to eat: There is a snack area right around the Drum Tower called Antique Food Street. In here, you can find the best Saozi Noodles and local snacks from food stalls. There’s also Ganzhou Snack Street where you can buy local snacks.
Ganzhou Snack Street
Location: Minzhu East Street
The Giant Buddha Temple
Towering 33 meters high, this is the largest temple in Gansu. Inside, visitors will find a lying Buddha, said to be the largest in all of China, which is made of wood, soil and plastic. The temple is very popular as it is the birthplace of Kublai Khan, the famed Mongol emperor.
Address: Southwest corner of Zhangye
Hours: 7:30am – 5:30am
How to get there: Catch a bus from Xining to Zhangye
Wooden Pagoda Temple
The Wooden Pagoda Temple was built in 557-588 A.D. during Zhou Dynasty and is considered to be one of Zhangye’s “Five Elements” pagodas. It has nine storeys with the height of about 33 meters. The structure is octagon shaped and features eight dragonhead carvings in each angle. The one thing that sets this pagoda apart from the rest is that it was built without nail or rivet.
Admission fee: CNY50
Shandan Horse Ranch
Shandan Horse Ranch lies in the Qilaian Mountain’s Damayin pastureland. Its history started 2,000 years ago and is the largest of its kind in Asia. There are about 10,000 horses here and they are used by the army of China. Aside from watching the horses, visitors can also enjoy lush grass, colorful hills, and beautiful scenery.
Location: South of Shandan County
How to get there: Take a bus from Shandan that leaves at 10:30am.
The best time to visit the ranch is during summer.
Just like other cities in the Gansu province, the best ways to get to Zhangye is by bus and train. The railway station is located at the northeastern part of the city. Bus no. 1 can get you here. There are daily trains to Urumqi, Beijing, Lanzhou, Shanghai, Jinan, and Xian.
The city of Zhangye is relatively small. Visitors can easily access most scenic spots by foot. They also have the option to rent a three-wheeled motor vehicle to their destinations. There are also taxis and the flag down rate is thee Yuan. Also, there are buses plying 10 different routes and the fare is one yuan.
Marco Polo is the center of Zhangye’s nightlife and it lies on the northwest quadrant of Zhangyet. In here, you can find bizarre architecture, pavement cafes, and great restaurants.
Location: No. 64 Shifu Street
Phone number: +86 0936-8232 598
Hours: 7pm – 2am