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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.

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