Showing posts with label Lanzhou. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Lanzhou. Show all posts

Tuesday, August 13, 2019

Travel China: Day Trip to Bingling Temple Caves, Lanzhou

I decided to book the local group tour on my 3rd final days at Lanzhou. I was looking forward to visiting Dunhuang for famous Mogao Grottoes but the place was affected by the flood . I am more interest in Mogao Grottoes than Bingling or Maijishan Grottoes. I have visited Longmen Grottoes in Luoyang so Bingling Temple cave doesn't impress me at all. Maybe I will try to visit Mogao another year when I continue my silk road journey to Urumqi.

I booked the tour from the local travel agent. It was a bus group tour with Mandarin speaking tour guide. Joined me that day are all local Aunties and Uncles. A bit havoc but overall fine. Just do your own thing, everything would be fine. The bus departed as early as 7am from Lanzhou City Hotel where everyone gathered. 

My hotel packed some breakfast for me. Cold breakfast! Well..better than nothing. Forgot to snap my breakfast box from Hotel - hard-boiled egg, cold mantao, halal sausage, bread and box of milk.

How I communicate with people? No, I don't! I just observe the situation and follow people accordingly. English speaking group tour is kind of expensive. Not worth since I don't listen to people anyway! huhuhuh...stubborn case.

The bus ride is almost 2 hours from the city centre to the Lianhua Wharf. From there you can choose to take the ferry or speed boat. Thank God the majority agreed to take the ferry instead of the speed boat. The speed boat will be around one hour journey. While the ferry will take around 3 hours journey. YES!!! 3 hours in the ferry and then later another 3 hours ride back. So total 6 hours ferry and 4 hours bus ride. Hurl!!!!

With my back and neck pain, I would rather take the 6 hours ferry ride and enjoy the view along the way. I can even walk around to enjoy the river breeze too. The speed boat ride will be too small and compact. Furthermore, the bumpy ride might hurt me more.
I was lucky to meet with the herd of yaks drinking water along the river. Check out my video on my youtube channel here for the better close up view.

The tour guide brought all of us one round while explaining in Mandarin and the time spent at Bingling Temple Cave is around one and a half hours. Interesting to visit ancient place built-in 420 in Western Qin Dynasty. 

As at today, there are existing 183 caves and 694 stone statues, 82 clay statues and about 900 sqm frescos stretching 200 meters along the west bank of temple channel on 60 meters high cliff. Many of those are not open to visitors. The main attraction is  Giant Budha of No. 169 caves. 

Some of the scattered small statues around the terrace are with colour. Thinking about old days, without much equipment how those carvers climb up there and carve all those statues which his embedded very high in the caves? Interesting efforts!

The place is super dry and I really feel like in the dessert. The weather is hot too during July. Check out my youtube video on my journey to Bingling Temple Cave.

If you interested to visit to Lanzhou, please check out my other post Things To Do At Lanzhou.

This article is also available on GPSmyCity.

Monday, August 12, 2019

Travel China : 10 Things To Do At Lanzhou

I continued my Silk Road Journey last July. I have been to Beijing, ShanghaiHangzhou and Xi'an. From Xi'an, I head to Lanzhou. Big Thank You to AirAsia to fly direct to Lanzhou since last year. I was the happiest when they announce the new route.

Lanzhou is the capital of Gansu province and a door to northwestern China and a great start place if you are planning to take the bullet train or even domestic flight to Urumqi. My initial plan is to visit Urumqi but due to time constraint, I forgo my intention and settled with Lanzhou - Xining instead. I will continue my silk road journey some other time.

Most people say not many things to see in Lanzhou. As for me who don't believe in touch n go travel spend few days at Lanzhou to explore more. Traveller especially foreign will only spend a day or two here at Lanzhou before head to Jiayuguan and Dunhuang.

If you have 4 days 3 Nights, here some idea Things To Do in Lanzhou.

1. Explore the Yellow River

Yellow River is the third-longest river in Asia. You can start the journey from the Waterwheel Garden but during my visit time, the water wheel area water level rose up at the danger level. So I skip it. I walk along the river while passing the Lanzhou Water Mosque which situated across the river until reach to Zhongshan Bridge.

Zhongshan Bridge
Since I visited this area Yellow River area a few time during my visit, I experience different experience every time there. Zhongshan Bridge area can be very crowded day and night. Mostly local tourist. For your information, I hardly see a foreigner at Lanzhou.

2. White Pagoda Hill (Bai Ta Shan)

Address: Central Beibinhe Road, North of Lanzhou City

I advise you to buy a one-way ticket up to White Pagoda Hill or locally known as Bai Ta Shan and walk all the way down.

You can see many things on the way down after the cable car. I bought return ticket but end up walk down since I asked people for the toilet and they keep saying go further and further.

I end up exploring the area while holding up my pee. isk isk isk...Suffering like hell. My bladder almost burst by the time reach the toilet which is really further down. I found earlier but the toilet condition full of 'uncivilized human-made bomb'!

The view on top of the hill is astonishing and you can see the whole Lanzhou city from here. I would recommend this place. You can hike up and down if you don't have limitation like me.

I visited the Yellow River area during night time too. The view is so magnificent since some of the places have been lighted up beautifully.

For your information the sunset at around 8:30pm in Lanzhou. So, plan your visit a bit late to see the light on. There is some light show from the Zhongshan Bridge as well. You will never get bored to visit the Yellow River. As you see the murky water suit the name well.

3. Muta Xiang Alley

I found this area by accident while on the way to the Starbuck cafe after getting down from Bai Ta Shan. From the Zhongshan Bridge take the overhead bridge on your left to cross over. Then walk straight until you will see a small alley with the road sign call Muta Xiang.

It's a small alley but yet many things to try out here. This is a great place for last-minute shopping for local items too.

Walk until to the end of the road, you will find the Muslim snacks like potatoes pan-fried and bread selling hot. I tried the fried potatoes pancake and it was so delicious. It will be perfect if I have chilli sauce to eat with this potato pancake. Quench your thirst with delicious Peach or Plum tea here. Perfect!

4. YaOu Supermarket

From Muta Xiang Ally turns to your left and walk straight ahead and you will see a Starbuck located on your left side. Just get into this Shopping Mall and go down to the basement level.

Here, you will see the local Supermarket. It's a great place to get some snacks and shop for some local items. I bought one basket of sweet Blackberries for only approximately RM7.50.

5. Xiguan Mosque of Lanzhou

Address : Chenguan District , Lanzhou City, Gansu 

This place is not that far from the Yellow River area. But I think its a bit far to walk. Just take a cab if you have the energy to visit this place. I visited this place in another day. I take my sweet times in all my travel. 

Xinguan Mosque is one of the oldest mosques in Lanzhou. This place was built by Muslim merchants in the Ming Dynasty (1368 - 1644). It is interesting if you have the chance to visit this place on Friday during Friday Prayer.

I happened to visit this place after the afternoon prayer. As you see many of the just finished the prayer and there is someplace where they teach religion to children too.

6. Zhengning Road Night Snack Market

Address : Zhengning Road, Chengguan Qu, Lanzhou

I visited this place once and never want to visit this place again. Why? Since the road is so narrow this place is super packed with people. You will be literally hugging the stranger in front of you. That if you start your visit from the east entrance. But once you are moving towards the west the crowd getting at ease. The worst part will be in the mid part of this long stretch lane.

If you love to sample the local food here, this place is perfect. But for me, I don't find the snacks or food here appealing since the price is expensive and the taste is not up to par. The best Lao Ma is still here at Zhengning Night Market but the queue is super long. I end up buying one near to the west entrance and it tastes delicious too.

I will be writing the separate post on snacks and what to eat at Lanzhou soon. So stay tuned and please subscribe to my blog for the latest update from me.

7. Wet Market, Lanzhou

I discover this place while walking to find Gansu Museum. Its a great place to see the local shop for fresh items here.

I discover lots of items here. I wish can drag my trolley bag to carry mt shopping item.

Lanzhou is famous with delicious juicy melon. I visited during summertime so peaches and cherries are all over.  I have an abundance of peaches and melons during my trips here.

8. Gansu Provincial Museum

No. 3 West Xijin Road, Qilihe District

Recommended to visit this place in the morning and avoid weekend (too many people) and Monday (closed). I came here twice and one the second time able to get in. My first time visits the queue to get the free ticket and even buy the ticket is super long. Beh Tahan to line up under the hot scorching sun. I know it listed as free but you still have to queue for the ticket. I bought a ticket for the other part where they display the silk road journey. 

Is it worth to visit this museum? You should visit this museum on your first day at Lanzhou to understand more about what kind of travel you get yourself into. It is great historical learning here at Gansu Museum. I spent almost 3 hours here.

9. China Lanzhou Centre

This big shopping mall is right opposite the Gansu Museum.

It is worth to visit this place to sit down at one of the cafes and see the locals spend their weekend there.

I have a fun time there since it was aircond and outside is super hot. Shopping? I am not a shopping person so nothing much for me. There are many big international brands and also a local brand as well. 

Right opposite of this shopping centre there is a place call Clothing Fashion Center. I gave this place a visit. Not bad! You can get local brand clothing and fashion here. The top floor is almost dead area, only the lower level has many things to shop!

10. Shopping area opposite Lanmei Boutique Hotel West Station Branch Lanzhou

I won't say this is a great place for shopping but this place right opposite of the hotel I stayed in Lanzhou. The environment kind of instagrammable place. Everything is so pretty and sweet here.

At night when the light is up the place look so magical. Its a great place for coffee!

Next post will be my adventure to Bingling Temple Caves.

This article is also available on GPSmyCity.