LANZHOU - Mix of old and new buses - people stand next to the rear door before their stop arrives. Traffic congestion is a problem because there is a subway under construction.
Taxi fees - All taxis use meter. - 10 RMB/3 km + 1.40/km.
Water Wheel Park - waste of 10 RMB.
Sun Yat Sen Bridge - Free - very nice.
Yellow River scenery - very nice + Mother River Sculpture.
JIA YU GUAN - Clean city - High Speed Train from Lanzhou - 4 hours via Xining, Qinghai.
Taxi Fees - All taxis use meter. - 6 RMB/2 km + 2.20/km.
Taxi to Jia Yu Guan (JYG) Pass = 30 yuan. We took bus #4 for 1 RMB and it will take 30 minutes and ends 200 meters from main gate. Get hotel anywhere along #4 bus route.
Tickets to JYG = 120 RMB. We arrived at 0750 am (opens 0800) and we were first to enter before any tour buses. Had the place to ourselves for almost 1 hour.
Ticket also includes entrance to Overhanging Great Wall and the First Pier of Great Wall. Most people do not go to these places as you need a taxi to take you to both locations for 100 RMB. Both these places are great and very few tourists. Overhanging Wall resembles Badaling Wall in Beijing - amazing landscape diff than Beijing.
in May 2006, there wasn't much water in the Yellow River near Lanzhou. We drove into Lanzhou from Ningxia on our way to Dunhuang.
It was very dry that year and road construction for hundreds of kilometers.
Keep a lookout for Great Wall remnants on north side of the highway. In some places you can see more than one wall.
I have a pile of notes from some tourist research I conducted along the Great Wall(s) in 2003 in Gansu for an archaeologist/tourguide - if anybody is going that way, fell free to PM me and I'll make them available. Below is a little of it, without details or personal remarks/opinions:
LANZHOU - Diversion: Buddhist caves of Bingling 70 km to sw
WUWEI - In Hexi Corridor Lanzhou to Jiayuguan
- Kumararajiva Pagoda
- Haizang Temple
- Lentai underground painted Han tomb
- Museum in Wen Miao (Confucian temple)
the water wheel park in Lanzhou is free in the evening (or at least it was 4 weeks ago), you and your children if you have them can play on the various water wheels.
If you go to the sand dunes in Dunhuang, you can avoid paying by walking to the left (as you facing the gate) for about 3km. You will pass the places where the camels rest and then go through a huge burial ground. Keep following the fence and eventually the fence stops, and you can walk right in to the dunes. If you take a tent, you can camp there, that's what we did. If a warden asks to see your ticket, just tell the truth - say you walked in. This way, you avoid all the crowds. (note: this was true as of October last year - it may have changed).
DUNHUANG - Train from Jia Yu Guan to Dunhuang = 4 hours - slow and NASTY train - this is the only train that goes there.
Taxi Fees - Taxis do not use meter but charge 5 RMB anywhere inside the city limits. Taxis may take you to scenic spots at 500 RMB /day.
Lots to see in Dunhuang but the places are far (30-180 km) away. All scenic spots have already been completely controlled. Regardless if you are a do-it-yourself type person you still have to pay the piper. You can find tour services that only provide transportation but you must go to the places they included in each package tour. You pay for your own entrance tickets.
Dunhuang Old Town - 30 km away, can take taxi for 30 RMB or bus for 10 RMB. Tickets are 40 RMB. A complete waste of time and money. Totally, fake, NASTY, movie set. Completely empty except for the few suckers like me who went there. Most package tours include this nasty place.
Magao Grottoe - Unesco site - must reserve a ticket with ID or passport before you go. Only 200 tickets sold for each hour (200 RMB). Regardless of how you get there (15 km), by car, taxi, bus or donkey, you still have to go to the train station and take the Grottoe bus. No cars or other buses allowed, same as Xi Shan in Kunming.
Notes from 2003. Anxi is near Dunhuang & Mogao Caves, on way to Dunhuang:
You'll probably want to stay at the Anxi Bingguan (hotel), if you overnight here.
The Qing fort is right beside the road at a place called Qiaowan, about 2/3 of the way from Jiayuguan to Anxi. It's a big empty thing, no tourists around, it was a lot of fun to walk all around it. There's a tiny, simple museum there that looks like it is not interesting, but it is: there's a mummy inside, a couple of things made out of human skulls and some details of the paintings in the Yulin Buddhist caves.
On the way to Yulin Caves: 40 minutes from Anxi, the remains of a mudbrick fort. Driver says it has some connection w/Suoyang, a large fortress (see below) in the same general area of southern. Anxi County.
The Yulingku Buddhist caves are quite nice. There are 30+ caves that are open, and there are 42 altogether (4 Tang, 8 five-Dynasties, 13 Song, 1 Uighur, 4 Xixia, 3 Yuan, 9 Qing). That isn't very many compared with the Mogao caves at Dunhuang, but Yulinku is still nice because there is NO TOURIST SHIT there - nobody selling postcards, camel rides, etc. - just the government folks who take care of the place.
In addition to these 2 places there is also a Tang Dynasty fort called Suoyangcheng. It is not far from Yulingku, and you can combine make a trip there with the one to Yulinku (I didn't do this, but I think I should have).
Lanzhou la mian hasn't been mentioned, seriously? That's like the real reason to go there.
Silk Road - UNESCO - en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Silk_Road_UNESCO_World_Heritage_Sites
Hexi Corridor in Gansu Province, connecting China Proper and Xinjiang.
1 - Bingling Cave Temple Complex, Yongjing County, Linxia Hui Autonomous Prefecture.
2 - Maijishan Cave Temple Complex, Tianshui.
3a - Yumen Pass, Dunhuang, Jiuquan
3b - Xuanquanzhi Posthouse, Dunhuang, Jiuquan.
3c - Mogao Caves, Dunhuang, Jiuquan.
3d - Suoyang City Ruins, Anxi, Guazhou, Jiuquan.
once again Campo - your info does not match my experience. There is a new 'tourist' train (sleeper) that goes to Dunhuang from Lanzhou. It also stops at Jiayuguan I think, not sure though as I was asleep at the time.
- It also stops at Jiayuguan I think - does it stop or not???
- not sure though as I was asleep at the time? Maybe this is why your expereince does not match. I was awake.
I have no idea what you are talking about - this is what I reported - Train from Jia Yu Guan to Dunhuang = 4 hours - slow and NASTY train - this is the only train that goes there. Can you read? Did I say anything about Lanzhou to Dunhuang? I think you are still asleep.