Archive for the ‘Gansu Travel’ Category

Ruoergai Grassland (Tips, Photos)

Wednesday, September 29th, 2021
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At 8:00am we start for Ruoergai Grassland (our first destination today) from Labrang Civil Aviation Hotel in Xiahe in Gannan Tibet Autonomous Prefecture of Gansu Province. The 280km drive takes about 3 and half hours largely along the National Highway 212.

Ruoergai Grassland is located in the north of Aba Tibetan and Qiang Autonomous Prefecture of Sichuan Province, and borders Maqu, Luqu of Gansu Province. It is on the east edge of Tibet-Qinghai Plateau with an altitude between 3000 and 3600 meters.

Ruoergai Grassland is said to be the fourth largest grasslands in China after Hulun Buir Grassland in Inner Mongolia, Yili Grassland in Xinjiang and Xilinguole Grassland in Inner Mongolia. Ruoergai Grassland belongs to the kind of alpine meadow, also one of the China’s three largest wetlands, covering 10436.58 square kilometers.

This time we don’t enter the heartland or the most beautiful part of Ruoergai Grassland. Instead we just stop its north edge, nearly 30km south of Langmusi. Langmusi a sleepy village sitting between Gansu and Sichuan, inhabitated by Han Chinese, Hui and Amdo Tibetans. So before we get to Ruoergai Grassland, we have to pass by the mysterious and primitive village.

I’ve been to some mesmerising grasslands elsewhere in China, like Narat Grassland, Gegentala Grassland, and Mulan Weichang Grassland.In comparison, Ruoergai Grassland is neither the greenest nor a fertile grassland, but what catches my eyes and makes my excited is its numerous wild flowers. I feel quite shamed to be unable to name most of the flowers, which I have to call them wildflowers of grassland.

The best time to view the wildflowers of Ruoergai Grassland is between July and early September. Below are some of the wildflowers of Ruoergai Grassland I take on our short trip to the edge of this fourth largest grassland in China to feed your eyes. Hoopefully my poor photography will not let you down.

Ruoergai Grassland
Colourful Wildflowers of Grassland
Wildflower 1
Wildflower 2
Wildflower 3
Wildflower 4
Wildflower 5
Wildflower 6
Wildflower 7
Wildflower 8
Wildflower 9
Wildflower 11
Wildflower 14
Wildflower 15
Wildflower 16
Wildflower 17
Wildflower 18
Wildflower 21
Wildflower 23

Hassle-free Chengdu & Sichuan Guided Tours

If you don’t want to go the do-it-yourself route and prefer the hassle-free escorted tours, here are some options for Chengdu and Sichuan guided tours:

Chengdu tour
Chengdu Car Rental with Driver
Create My Chengdu Trip
Jiuzhaigou Tour
Sichuan Tour

Further Readings


Top 10 Attractions in Chengdu
Best Time to Visit Chengdu
Chengdu Airport
Railway stations in Chengdu
Chengdu Taxi
Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding (Tips, Photos & Map)
How to visit Wuhou Shrine
How to visit Du Fu Thatched Cottage
How to visit Jinsha Site Museum
How to visit the tomb of Wang Jian in Chengdu
How to Visit Wangjiang Pavilion Park in Chengdu
How to visit Qingyang Palace in Chengdu (Tips, Photos & Map)
How to Visit Jinli Street
How to visit Kuan Alley and Zhai Alley
Qintai Road, Qintai Gujing Chengdu (Tips, Photos & Map)
Shaoling Road Bar Street Chengdu (Tips, Photos & Map)
Jiuyanqiao Bar Street in Chengdu (Tips, Photos & Map)
The Old Teahouse in Pengzhen Town, Chengdu

Bipenggou, Bipeng Valley (Tips, Photos & Map)
Best time to visit Jiuzhaigou
Best Places to Visit Autumn Leaves in Sichuan
Top 10 Places to Visit in Sichuan
Ruoergai Grassland, my first trip to Ruoergai Grassland

Drive from Hanzhong to Ya’an
Ya’an Night View
Most Beautiful Sky Road in China
Moxi Old Town ( Tips, Photos & Map)
Hailuogou Glacier Camp No.04 (Tips,Photos & Map)
Hailuogou Glacier Camp No.03 (Tips, Photos & Map)
Kangding (Tips, Photos & Map)
Drive from Kangding to Xinduqiao
Drive from Xinduqiao to Danba
Jiarong Tibetan Blockhouses
Jiarong Tibetan Ancient Watchtowers
Drive from Xinduqiao to Yajiang
Drive from Yajiang to Litang
Drive from Litang to Daocheng
Drive from Litang to Batang
Drive from Batang to Mangkang
Drive from Shangri-la to Daocheng
Drive from Daocheng to Yading
Yading Brings You Inner Peace

Langmusi Trip, My Trip to Langmusi

Monday, August 9th, 2021
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Plan your Gansu tour? A side trip from Lanzhou to Langmusi is worth your time going deeper in the southern Gansu. “Langmusi” in Chinese literally “Langmu Temple”. But actually it is the name of the small town bordering Gansu in the north and Sichuan in the south. “Langmu” in Tibetan means “Fairy”. The legend has it that once a fairy was discovered in a cave near the village.

With a population of over 3,000, the town is now mainly inhabited by Tibetans, Han and Hui people. The town of Langmusi is only composed of one main street with a stream known as “White Dragon River” passing along the street. The area of north of the stream belongs to Gansu Province while the south to Sichuan.

The rural town is nestled in a valley between the north and south hills along steep grassy meadows, evergreen forests and snow-capped peaks. Langmusi has two Tibetan Temples and one Muslim Mosque. They are:

Sertri Gompa – The temple is located on northern hill ( on Gansu side ).
Kirti Gompa – The temple is on the southern hill (Sichuan side)
Hui Mosque – located close to the Sichuan side temple near the entrance gate to Kirti Temple.

It is easy to spend a few days here exploring the numerous red and white monastery buildings and hiking around the green mountains. The surrounding mountains reminds people of the rural Austria or Bavaria and ideal for hiking and horsetrek.

We took the chartered coach and drove 230km directly from Xiahe, to Langmusi. We only had a few hours exploring the town of Langmusi. Because Langmusi is very close to the fringe of Rouergau Grasslands, we kindly requested our driver to pass by Langmusi itself and went to further to the grassland first. So we drove another 20km via Langmusi to the edge of Ruoergai Grassland.

Ruoergai Grassland is located in the north of Aba Tibetan and Qiang Autonomous Prefecture of Sichuan Province, and borders Maqu, Luqu of Gansu Province. It is on the east edge of Tibet-Qinghai Plateau with an altitude between 3000 and 3600 meters.

Ruoergai Grassland is said to be the fourth largest grasslands in China after Hulun Buir Grassland in Inner Mongolia, Yili Grassland in Xinjiang and Xilinguole Grassland in Inner Mongolia. Ruoergai Grassland belongs to the kind of alpine meadow, also one of the China’s three largest wetlands, covering 10436.58 square kilometers.

Ruoergai Grassland, a field of wildflowers

Ruoergai Grassland, a field of wildflowers

I’de been to some mesmerizing grasslands elsewhere in China, like Hulunbuir Grasslands, Narat Grassland, Gegentala Grassland Mulan Weichang Grassland.  In comparison, Ruoergai Grassland is neither the greenest nor a fertile grassland, but what catches my eyes and makes my excited is its numerous wild flowers.

I felt quite shamed to be unable to name most of the flowers, which I had to call them wildflowers of grassland.  Then we drove back to the Town of Langmusi for lunch.  Our lunch was arranged at the Chinese restaurant of Langmusi Binguan (Langmusi Hotel), the best hotel in the town (0941 – 6671086). The hotel is located in the middle section of the area between Gansu side and Sichuan side.

Langmusi Binguan ( Langmusi Hotel )

After lunch, I went out of the courtyard of Langmusi Binguan, and saw three monks sitting by the gate leisurely.   I approached them with a sudden idea of taking a photo with them, they were pleased to agree to my request, hence the only photo with my own image during the day trip.  

Posed with three monks by the gate to Langmusi Binguan

Posed with three monks by the gate to Langmusi Binguan

Just outside Langmusi Hotel, on my right side is the main street in the town teemed with restaurants, shops and crowds of tourists.

On my left side is the bumpy road leading up to the Kirti Gompa  – the temple is on the southern hill  (Sichuan side).   Opposite Langmusi Hotel is the ticket office selling the tickets for the entry to the temple on Sichuan side.

Not far from the ticket office is the only Muslim mosque in the town.   The ticket office at the crossroad, a little bit shabby. People inside the house would shout at the visitors and stop them for ticket buying since almost nobody would recognize it was a ticket office!

The ticket office at the crossroad

We had to skip Sertri Gompa  – the temple is located on northern hill ( on Gansu side ) due to our limited time in Langmusi.

We decided first to visit Kirti Temple, then have a look at the mosque, lastly have a walk around the main street in the town.  

By the side of the road, a row of prayer wheels housed for people to spin for peace and prosperity.  On the southern mountain, we saw a few people standing high on the hill with the backdrop of white clouds, green alpine meadows.

people standing high on the hill with the backdrop of white clouds

This scene reminded me of the debating at Sera Temple  in Lhasa, Debates are practiced by the lamas in the monastery every day. In a battle of words, they further their efforts by using a variety of gestures including clapping their hands, pushing their partners for an answer and more gestures.  

A group of monks debating in front of the main temple in the monastery.

A group of monks debating in front of the main temple in the monastery.

In a battle of words, they further their efforts by using a variety of gestures.

In a battle of words, they further their efforts by using a variety of gestures.

Inside the hall, we also found a group of monks sitting on the ground and debating. It is not easy to be a monk!

a group of monks sitting on the ground and debating

Three monks after debating

There are more temples of various sizes in the Kirti monastery.

More temples in the Kirti Gompa

One temple in Kirti Gompa

One temple in Kirti Gompa

Standing on the high place in the compound of the Kirti Gompa, we had a clear view of the Sertri Gompa in the northern hill on Gansu side.

It was a pity that this time we had no time visiting the Gansu side temple in Langmusi.   Sertri Gompa  – the temple is located on northern hill ( on Gansu side ).

Sertri Gompa – the temple is located on northern hill ( on Gansu side ).

From Kirti Gompa here on the southern hill, we overlooked the narrow town bound by the hills in the north and south.

Langmusi Town is bound by the mountains in the north and south.

Langmusi Town is bound by the mountains in the north and south.

The green hills are a perfect place for hiking treks and horse riding. All these activities would be my next trip.

The green hills are a perfect place for hiking treks and horse riding

Below the monastery was the living quarters of Tibetans with simple and shabby houses.

the living quarters of Tibetans

the living quarters of Tibetans 1

the living quarters of Tibetans

the living quarters of Tibetans 2

the living quarters of Tibetans 2

A young monk

A young monk

A monk and his car

A monk and his car

The White Dragon River coming from the south hill and passing through the Tibetan living area down to the street in the town.  

The White Dragon River coming from the south hill

The White Dragon River coming from the south hill

I walked along the White Dragon River on the bumpy road back to the main street in the town.  

At the ticket office, I turned right for a glimpse of the only mosque in the town.

The mosque was built 1943 by the descendants of ethic groups of Hui, Dongxiang who came here on business.   The mosque was built 1943

The mosque was built 1943.

The street of Langmusi Town was dusty. The narrow street was riddled with stores, restaurants and inns.

The street of Langmusi Town was dusty

This was the famous Amdo Coffee on the main road in Langmusi.

Amdo Coffee

Leisha’s Reasturant ( 0941 – 6671179) is a wonderful place offering fresh apple pies, yak burgers and Yunnanese coffee.

Leisha’s Resturant

Tip:  Hassle-free Guansu Guided Tours

If you don’t want to go the do-it-yourself route and prefer the hassle-free escorted tours, here are some options for Gansu Guided Tours:

Lanzhou Bingling Labrang 5 Day Tour
Lanzhou Hezheng Linxia Labrang 4 Day Tour
Lanzhou Langmusi Labrang 5 Day Tour
Lanzhou Dunhuang Jiyuaguan 5 Day Tour

Further Readings

Top 10 Places in Gansu
Best Places to See Autumn Leaves in Gansu
How to Visit Labrang Monastery
Dunhuang Trip, My Trip to Dunhuang
Jiayuguan Trip
How to Visit Maijishan Grottoes from Xian by Train
Top 10 Attractions in Lanzhou
Langmusi Trip, My Trip to Langmusi
Ruoergai Grassland, my first trip to Ruoergai Grassland

Any questions, just drop a line.

Jiayuguan Trip

Sunday, July 25th, 2021
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After dinner, we went to Lanzhou Railaway Station for a 11-hour train trip from Lanzhou to Jiayuguan. Lanazhou Railway Station is the only passenger railway station in Lanzhou. It is located below the Gaolan Mountain in the south of Chengguan District of Lanzhou, Gansu Province.

We were arranged to take the overnight Train K9661 starting at 08:38pm and arriving at Jiayuguan at 7:46 the next morning covering the total railway length of 770km. Now it was the tourism peak season here in Gansu Province, there were over a dozen of through or passing by trains linking the two important cities on the ancient Silk Road.

The orange coloured train looked much safer and more reliable.

The orange coloured train looked much safer and more reliable

I was waked up by the early morning sunlight creeping into our cabin. What caught my eyes were the passing by Qilian Mountain with snow capped peaks.    Yes, the famous mountain would accompany us throughout the trip paralleling the the whole Hexi Corridor.  

Qilian Mountain with snow capped peaks

Qilian Mountain with snow capped peaks

We arrived at Jiayuguan on time. Jiayuguan Railway Station was located 5km south of the city center.  

Jiayuguan Railway Station

Jiayuguan Railway Station

After disembarking at Jiayuguan Railway Station, going through the city center, we went directly to Jiayuguan Hotel (嘉峪关宾馆) for a familiarization trip. It is a 4 star hotel with 177 rooms modernly equipped and elegantly furnished.

Add: No.01 Xinhua Road, Jiayuguan Tel: 0937 – 6201588 Fax: 0937 – 6227174. We were transferred to Jiayuguan Hotel (嘉峪关宾馆) for a fam trip.

A huge painted Jiayuguan Tourism Map hanging on the wall in the lobby of the hotel aroused my interest. The map clearly showed the layout of Jiayuguan City with the mapping of its rich tourist attractions.

Jiayuguan Downtown – Jiayuguan Airport ( 13km )
Jiayuguan Railway Station ( 5km )
Long Distance Bus Station ( 1.5km )
Jiayuguan Pass ( 4km )
Overhanging Great Wall (Suspension Great Wall ) 12km
The First Beacon Tower of the Great Wall ( 15km )
Wei Jin Underground Brisk Murals ( 18km )
July First Glacier ( 120km )

The Tourist Map of Jiayuguan City

The Tourist Map of Jiayuguan City

The next activity was the highlight of our fam trip in Jiayuguan, visiting the Jiayuguan Pass. Jiayu Pass ( Jiayuguan Fort ) was the first pass at the west end of the Great Wall of China. Built 1372,  Jiayuguan Fort was was christened as the first and greatest Pass under the Heaven. The pass consisted of three defense lines – an inner city, an outer city and a moat.

The fort was located at the narrowest point of the western section in Hexi Corridor ( 15km wide ) bound by Qilian Mountains and Hei Shan ( Black Mountains ). The fort had a perimeter of 733 meters with an area of more than 33,500 square meters. The total length of the city wall was 733 meters and 11 meters high.

Jiayuguan pass had two gates – East side ( Gate of Enlightenment ) and West side ( Gate of Conciliation ). On each gate there was a building with an inscription of “Jiayuguan” in Chinese written. Each gate had 17 m-high towers with double gates that had been used to trapping invading  armies. The south and north sides of the pass were linked to the Great Wall. There was a turret on each corner of the fort.

The West Gate of Conciliation

The West Gate of Conciliation

The unrepaired turret of the fort.

The unrepaired turret of the fort

The city wall of the pass.

The city wall of the pass.

The horse course way up to the pass

The horse course way up to the pass

Outside the wall of the pass.

Outside the wall of the pass

After finishing the tour of Jianyuguan, we moved on to the south of the pass and got to the first beacon tower of Great Wall of China. The first beacon tower was built 1539 by an local military officer stationed in Hexi Corridor.

People were taking photos of the First Beacon.

Now we were driving along the highway from Jiayuguan to Dunhuang at the driving distance of 385km.

Tip 10: Hassle-free Great Wall Guided Tours

Don’t want to go the do-it-yourself route? No worries, We at Tour Beijing have some options for guided tours to Great wall Tours:

Mutianyu Great Wall Group Day Tour
Mutianyu Great Wall Half  Day Private Tour
Hike from Jiankou to Mutianyu Great Wall Tour
Hike from Gubeikou to Jinshanling Great Wall Tour
Hike from Jinshanling to Simatai Great Wall West Tour
Badaling Great Wall + Mutianyu Great Wall Day Tour
Badaling Great Wall and Underground Palace Day Tour
Badaling Great Wall + Forbidden City + Tiananmen Square Day Tour

Visit Badaling Great Wall by Train
Visit Mutianyu Great Wall by Bus

Hike from Jiankou to Mutianyu Great Wall Tour
Hike from Gubeikou to Jinshanling Great Wall Tour
Hike from Jinshanling to Simatai Great Wall West Tour
Badaling Great Wall + Mutianyu Great Wall Day Tour
Badaling Great Wall and Underground Palace Day Tour
Badaling Great Wall + Forbidden City + Tiananmen Square Day Tour

Further Readings


How to Plan a Trip to Beijing
Top 10 Attractions in Beijing
Top 10 Tourist Scams Beijing
How to Visit Tiananmen Square
How to Visit Forbidden City
How to Visit Temple of Heaven
How to Visit Summer Palace
How to Visit Ming Tombs
How to Visit the Great Wall of China
How to Visit Hutongs
How to Visit Olympic Sites

Top 10 Markets in Beijing
Top 10 Shopping Malls in Beijing
Beijing Shopping

Wangfujing Snack Street
Qianmen Commercial Street
Beijing Huguosi Street

Any questions, just drop a line.