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Movie lover. Growing Capoeirista. Space enthusiast. Dedicated craftsman. And best of all, homegrown Los Angeles native. Wait, how in the hell did I end up in China!?
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Ah, China's Rainbow Mountains. Have you been? Well then, are you looking to go!? Here's a breakdown of how to get to Danxia Geological Park, aka Rainbow Mountains, in Zhangye!
1. Fly into Lanzhou Zhongchuan International Airport (LHW).
2. At Lanzhou Zhongchuan International Airport, take the Airport Bus into the city. Tickets costs 30RMB.
3. Get off at the last stop which is close to Lanzhou Railway Station. Spend the night in Lanzhou or directly head to the train station. While in Lanzhou, make sure to try some Lanzhou noodles and see the Yellow River at Zhongshan Bridge. They're not to be missed!
4. Take a D-Train from Lanzhou Railway Station to Zhangye Railway Station. The trip's duration is about 3.5hours. You'll have the chance to see a lot of China's countryside so make sure to grab a window seat if you can. You can book train tickets in China at the following website: https://www.trip.com/trains/#ctm_ref=nb_tn_top
5. Here's where it gets tricky: During your stay in Zhangye, if you can, have the receptionist at the front desk call and reserve a taxi to take you to Rainbow Mountains. The full name is Zhangye Danxia National Geopark (张掖丹霞国家地质公园冰沟丹霞景区正式揭牌). If you can't speak Chinese, I suggest calling a local friend to help translate or, at the very least, try using a translation app. You should also have the Chinese already written on a piece of paper with details of where you'd like to go, what time you'd like to go and return, and questions such as how much and how long.
UPDATE: Nowadays you can also try using Didi to get there. I do suggest getting the Didi driver's contact info and inquiring as to whether or not they can pick you up too.
Taxi Price to Rainbow Mountains
How much is a taxi to Rainbow Mountains from downtown Zhangye? Our fare was 180RMB for a ROUNDTRIP taxi ride with the same driver. He'd pick us up, take us to Rainbow Mountains, wait there while we explored it, then take us back. He even said we could pay him ALL of the money owed after taking us back to the hotel. How AWESOME is that!
How long to get to Rainbow Mountains from Zhangye's city center?
The ride from our hotel took about an hour. The route is very scenic so make sure to have your camera ready.
What if you only want to make a one-way trip with your taxi driver?
If you can arrange the deal I mentioned before, I think that's best. However, I can recall that while exiting Rainbow Mountains I saw many taxis—both legal and illegal—waiting outside its gates. It's a risk you'll have to take, and you'll probably end up spending more money as they'll most likely charge extra to take you back home. Nevertheless, Zhangye is a city with a very low cost of living, so it may not be so expensive.
How much was the entrance ticket to Rainbow Mountains?
The entrance fee to Rainbow Mountains was 40RMB. An additional 20RMB was needed to pay for the shuttle buses that take you to different scenic spots within the park. Total = 60RMB.
How long did I stay at Zhangye Rainbow Mountains?
We ended up staying at Rainbow Mountains for about 4 hours. One scenic viewing spot of the mountains was closed, so we could have possibly stayed for 5hrs. That was a good enough time to see everything.
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