Archive for the ‘Tianshui Travel’ Category

How to Visit Maijishan Grottoes from Xian by Train

Monday, September 22nd, 2014
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Dear Travelers

We’d like to have the following travel guide to be always updated for the benefit of new visitors coming to Tianshui from Xian. If anybody having used the piece finds necessary updates, please leave a message or feedback. Thanks!
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If  you are in the process of planning your Xian tour, you may consider making a day trip to Maijishan Grottoes in Tianshui, oft-lauded as one of the four most famous ancient Buddhist grottoes in China. The other three grottoes are Mogao Caves in Dunhuang, Yungang Caves in Datong and Longmen Grottoes in Luoyang.

The Maijishan Grottoes Scenic Area is located 30 km south of Maiji District (麦积区) of Tianshui City (天水市). As an individual traveler, a good option for you to go to Maijishan Grottoes from Xian is either taking a less-than-two-hour high speed train from Xian North Railway Station or an over-3-hour normal train from Xian Railway Station.

There are plenty of high speed trains ( G or D trains ) from Xian North Railway Station and all the high speed trains arrive at Tianshui South Railway Station; all the normal trains ( Z, T or K trains ) from Xian Railway Station arrive at Tianshui Railway Station.

The newly built Tianshui South Railway Station ( High speed train station ) is about 8 km to the southwest of the old Tianshui Railway Station.

How to Get from Tianshui South Railway Station to Maijishan Grottoes
If you arrive at Tianshui South Railway Station (High speed train station) from Xian by high speed train, you can take the express bus from Tanshui South Railway Station directly to Tianshui Maijishan Grottoes.

The First Bus Leaves at 7:00 and the last bus at 17:00.

How to Get from Tianshui Railway Station to Maijishan Grottoes
When you arrive at Tianshui Railway Station from Xian Railway Station (not high speed train), you will see a signboard pointing to Bus 34, a shuttle bus going from Tianshui Railway Station to the parking lot attached to Maijishan Grottoes. The Bus 34 is on the right side of the square in front of Tianshui Railway Station if you exit from the railway building (about 50 meters away on your right direction).  Bus 34 Bus fare RMB 5, a 50-minutes bus ride.

The first bus leaves at 6:00 and last bus at 9:00pm. Get ready for RMB 5 to be put inside the slot for the 50-minute bus ride from the station to the parking lot of Maijinshan Grottoes. The bus leaves every 13 minutes. Line up at the front door to get a seat on the bus and get off the bus at the middle door at your destination.

The Yellow Colored Bus 34 going to Maijishan

The Yellow Colored Bus 34 going to Maijishan

It is a scenic bus ride from the train station to Maijinshan Grottoes – fresh air, green mountains and typical Chinese villagers.

A scenic bus ride from the train station to Maijishan Grottos

A scenic bus ride from the train station to Maijishan Grottos

Getting from your bus and visit Maijishan Grottoes
Getting off from your bus and walk to the ticketing office by the entrance – Chinese traditional decorated gate. Entrance fee: RMB 70 and RMB 15 for a return electric car which brings you up to the base of Maijishan and back.

It is worth taking the golf cart for the fast and comfortable ride otherwise you need to walk another 3km to get to the base of Maijinshan.

The electric car service saves your time for a 3 km walk.

The electric car service saves your time for a 3 km walk.

Maijishan, or Maiji Mountain is 142 meters high with an altitude of 1742 meters .  The hill is large in the middle part and a bit narrow at the bottom and the flat top, resembling a wheat stack, hence the name of Maiji – a wheat stack in Chinese. One of the glamour Buddhist grottoes areas along the ancient silk road, Maijishan Grottoes were originally built in late Qin ( 384AD and 417AD ) of sixteen states period., developed and expanded through the successive dynasties ranging from North Wei, Zhou, Sui, Tang, Song and Ming dynasties.

The red-looking Maijinshan is a Danxia landform, relatively easier for grottoes carving. Currently there are 221 remaining grottoes, over 7000 statues and 10000 square meters of murals. Carved between 30 meters and 80 meters in the side cliffs of Maijinshan, visitors now need to climb up the cat-walks and spiral stairways to see these caves.

The caves are hewn from the rocks on the side cliffs, but the statues inside these caves are not carved from the same rocks. Instead the statutes are mainly composed of 3 kinds – stone as core covered with clay, clay statutes, clay carving mixed with other materials ( wood ).

What distinguish the grottoes in Maijishan from other same their those in Datong, Mogao and Yungan is  that most of the a Buddhist statues are clay carvings. The clay statues still keep a large mount of pigment.  The clay statues in Maijishan are vivid, personalised with more secular life descriptions. It is worth your 10-hours round trip from Xian.

The Decorated Chinese traditional entrance gate to Maijinshan

The Decorated Chinese traditional entrance gate to Maijinshan

Get off from the electric cart,  you still need to walk up about 500 meters to the bottom of Maijinshan Mountain, passing by along a long string of food  and souvenir stalls. Before starting your climb up to Maijin Hill, you’d better locate a good spot to take a panoramic picture of Maijishan Mountain with grottoes.

The east side cliff of Maiji Hill

The grottoes on the east side of the cliff

The grottoes on the east side of the cliff

The west side cliff of Maiji Mountain

The grottoes on the west side cliff

The grottoes on the west side cliff

Just follow a single trail up to the hill along the zigzag stairways taking you to different caves with good English captions introducing each major cave. Some caves are closed for protections and you have to see through the wire fence windows. The visit on the mountain caves takes about 2 hours.

Climb up the catwalk with guard rails

Spiral Catwalks

Spiral Catwalks

The zigzag stairway leading to the caves caved on the cliffs.Walking up toward to the Grotto No. 013. Built in Sui Dynasty ( 518AD-618AD), and later rebuilt in Song Dynasty.

The grotto contains a huge high-relief stone frame clay sculptures of the Buddha in the middle and flanked by two Bodhisattva, 15.70  meters high, the largest  statues in the Maiji Mountain.

Walking up along the zigzag catwalk.

Walking up along the zigzag catwalk.

Have a close look at the trinity of Buddha and two Bodhisattva.

A close look at the giant statues

A close look at the giant statues

This is the Grotto No. 009, known as Middle Seven Buddha Pavilion.  A large pavilion is perched in front of the seven niches housing the seven buddhist statues. The grotto was built in the Northern Zhou Dynasty (557 – 581) and rebuilt in Song, Ming and Qin dynasties.

The Seven Buddha Pavilion

The Seven Buddha Pavilion

Zoom in one of the seven niches with a clear picture of the clay statue with vivid facial expressions.

Look at one of the seven niches

Look at one of the seven niches

Continue to move on to Grotto No.003. Also originally built in the Northern Zhou Dynasty. It is a long corridor pavilion, 36.5 meters, a representative art of early wood structures. The upper and lower rows of Buddha, hence the name of One Thousand Buddha Corridor.

The One Thousand Buddha Corridor

The One Thousand Buddha Corridor

The statues at the long corridor are seen through the mesh grills.

The statues are seen through the mesh grills.

The statues are seen through the mesh grills.

Continue to walk up to the Grotto No.004, also built in the Northern Zhou Dynasty ( 518AD – 618AD). It is known as Upper Seven Buddha Pavilion.

The Seven Buhhda Pavilion

The Seven Buhhda Pavilion

Have a close look at the statues inside the Upper Seven Buddha Pavilion.

Look at the statues inside the Upper Seven Buddha Pavilion

Look at the statues inside the Upper Seven Buddha Pavilion

Narrow catwalk support numerous visitors. High on the catwalk with a panoramic view of the surrounding lush mountains.

Standing on the spiral

Standing on the spiral catwalk

Some caves are closed for repair.

Some caves are closed

Some caves are closed

After the 2-hour visit of the Maijin Mountain, walk down to the parking lot for the bus returning to Tianshui railway Station for a 3-hour train back to Xian.

If you have any questions, just drop a line.

Tianshui Taxi: Tianshui Taxi Fares, Tips and Phones

Friday, February 11th, 2011
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The city of Tianshui is located in the northeastern part of Gansu province. It is the second largest city in the province, and it is about 338 kilometers from Lanzhou City, Gansu’s capital and 366km from Xian.

 Tianshui Taxi Quantity
At the present time, the quantity of taxi in 
Tianshui has increased to 1,500 (mainly in Maiji District and Qinzhou District) in order to meet the need of the market, which has been offered by some companies in al shapes and sizes.
 
Taxi Models in Tianshui
In 
Tianshui street you can see taxies of Fukang, Lingyang, Citroen, as well as Maxima
 
Tianshui Taxi Fares:
• RMB 5 for the flat-down fare
•RMB 1 for the extra kilometer
 
Tianshui Taxi Company Bookings
If you need to book a taxi, please make the call as following which are the companies with the longest history in
Tianshui.
Tianshui Silver Bridge Taxi Company             Tel:0938-8283787
•TianshuiXiangdaTaxi Company                  Tel: 0938-8389909
•Tianshui Yintong Taxi Company.                 Add: Minshan Road, Tianshui city
 
Hailing a Tianshui City Taxi
•The best places to hail a taxi is near the Station, the Airport, Bus stop, Scenic Spots, and Hotel
 
Tianshui Taxi rider’s rights
As a taxi rider, you have the rights below:
Direct drive to your destination and no compulsory car pooling
Go to any destination in and beyond Tianshui
Your car driver knows the streets in Tianshui and the way to major destinations in
Tianshui;
Your driver should know and abide by all traffic laws;
Air-conditioning on demand;
A radio-free trip;
No Smoking
A clean passenger seat area;
A clean trunk
A driver uses the horn only when necessary to warn of danger;
No Tip
 
Tianshui Taxi Stands
There is no taxi stands in Tianshui. People always hail a taxi along the street anywhere they feel it is convenient and safe.
 
Tianshui Taxi Complaints
If you have any problem with a taxi in
Tianshui, please contact the following:
•Tianshui Price Bureau.: 0938-8213752
 
Tianshui Taxi Useful Information
•Using a meter instead of bargaining with the cab driver
•Tianshui Railway Station –Tianshui City Center: RMB40
•Tianshui Airport – Tianshui City Center: RMB25
•Tianshui Maiji District – Qinzhou District: RMB20
  
Tianshui Tour Travel
Xian Tianshui Lanzhou Xiahe 4-Day Tour    from US$380 p/p
Silk Road Travel Tips
Xian Travel Guide
Tianshui Travel Guide
Lanzhou Travel Guide
Xiahe Travel Guide
Wuwei Travel Guide
Zhangye Travel Guide
Jiayuguan Travel Guide