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Zhangye, Zhangjiajie, Zhaoxing - Itinerary Recommendations for this April

Zhangye, Zhangjiajie, Zhaoxing - Itinerary Recommendations for this April

Old Mar 23, 19, 4:50 pm
  #1  
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Zhangye, Zhangjiajie, Zhaoxing - Itinerary Recommendations for this April

Hi FT,

I am looking to visit Zhaoxing (Guizhou), Zhangjiajie, and Zhangye (Gansu) starting in a couple of weeks, roughly as the Qingming Festival comes to a close. Basically, I'd like to start in Zhangye, and leave from Guiyang to Jakarta. Instead of going all the way south to Guizhou, a back-up idea is the Zhengzhou/Luoyang/Kaifeng area. History, food, and bizarrechitecture are priorities.

It would be great to hear your suggestions regarding flights vs. HSR/standard issue trains, and alternatives (e.g. somewhere closer to Guiyang). Chinese language websites will be fine.

Appreciate your help!

BmB
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Old Mar 23, 19, 5:51 pm
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Most train routes in China aren't too scenic, but the line between Zhangye and Xining is well worth taking.

If you're going to Zhangye for the Danxia formations, bear in mind that all those photos you see of a dramatic red landscape have been heavily Photoshopped. I was disappointed.

Are you sure ZJJ has recovered enough from the earthquake to be worth visiting? It's a long trip there, worthwhile only if the park is in top shape.

Kaifeng lost all its charm around 20 years ago.

Zhengzhou never had any.
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Old Mar 24, 19, 2:22 pm
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Originally Posted by 889 View Post
Most train routes in China aren't too scenic, but the line between Zhangye and Xining is well worth taking.

If you're going to Zhangye for the Danxia formations, bear in mind that all those photos you see of a dramatic red landscape have been heavily Photoshopped. I was disappointed.

Are you sure ZJJ has recovered enough from the earthquake to be worth visiting? It's a long trip there, worthwhile only if the park is in top shape.

Kaifeng lost all its charm around 20 years ago.

Zhengzhou never had any.
Fair points, 889. (Where would you recommend checking for ZJJ updates...besides here? Or, did you mean Jiuzhaigou?)

Zhengzhou would be for the wacky buildings and general mainland urban chaos, and Kaifeng for its history. On that note, have you been to Kashgar?

Now, it's looking more like substituting Zhangye for Erlian, with an eventual slog to Ulaanbaator.
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Old Mar 24, 19, 2:42 pm
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Sorry. Of course I misread your post. No earthquake -- that I know of -- at ZJJ. But then ZJJ didn't do much for me either, especially given the time it takes to get there. Huashan near Xi'an is a much nicer bet, and easy to reach. If you can get by in Chinese, Guoliang Cun and surrounds is spectacular, and not too far from Zhengzhou. Or maybe Wutaishan, with a stop at Pingyao.

Kaifeng has been redeveloped and lacks historical presence these days.

If you want awful modern urbanism, then skip Zhengzhou and head straight to Lanzhou. But make the trip worthwhile by dropping down to Xiahe, with a stopover in Linxia.

I've been to Kashgar a couple of times, but not for over a decade. Everything I've read suggests much of interest there has been destroyed and that the situation is tense. Indeed, Xinjiang as a whole is quite a tense place these days. You may have trouble finding a place to stay, at least if you're on a budget, and will always feel you are being watched. Don't take photos and be prepared to have your phone examined on departure. Security and cameras are everywhere. Not a fun place!
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Old Mar 25, 19, 5:22 pm
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Zhangye is a place worth visiting. There are beautiful colorful mountains.There are three colorful mountain parks, Danxia Mountain Geological Park, Binggou Danxia Park and Pingshanhu valley Grand Canyon Park,,, My friend is a guide there.
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Old Mar 28, 19, 8:24 pm
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Originally Posted by BuildingMyBento View Post
Hi FT,

I am looking to visit Zhaoxing (Guizhou), Zhangjiajie, and Zhangye (Gansu) starting in a couple of weeks, roughly as the Qingming Festival comes to a close. Basically, I'd like to start in Zhangye, and leave from Guiyang to Jakarta. Instead of going all the way south to Guizhou, a back-up idea is the Zhengzhou/Luoyang/Kaifeng area. History, food, and bizarrechitecture are priorities.

It would be great to hear your suggestions regarding flights vs. HSR/standard issue trains, and alternatives (e.g. somewhere closer to Guiyang). Chinese language websites will be fine.

Appreciate your help!

You did not mention how much time you have for this trip in China.

I have not been to many of the places you mentioned, except Zhangye (I assume your interest there is in Danxia Geopark & possibly Qinghe). Since you are interested in history, food and architecture and being in Zhangye, I would add Urumqi (distinctly different in every way, I thought I was in the Middle East!) and Lanzhou. Then work your way south by plane or by train. I am sort of a train buff. I did Urumqi to Zhangye and then to Lanzhou by train. Initial landscape were indeed boring (desert like) and it improved half way to Zhangye.
I went to Urumqi to witness the difference in culture, people and food. Fascinating! In this city, I saw “army tank” parked at major intersections with soldiers on board. I had no problem shooting photos (not at them) on the street, the markets, the mosques etc.

I think Danxia Geopark is worth a visit. As a photographer, I did not use Photoshop at all on my images, but I did use Lightroom. Lightroom converted my RAW images to JPG. It earns its ranking as top 5 natural geoparks in the world (by National Geographic, I think). I went there on a day trip from Zhangye.

My travel journal to Zhangye Danxia Geopark can be found below:
https://stefanofoto.smugmug.com/Trav...tional-Geopark

Images from the Geopark
https://stefanofoto.smugmug.com/Asia...ional-Geopark/

Images from Urumqi
https://stefanofoto.smugmug.com/Asia-SWP/China/Urumqi/

Images from Lanzhou
https://stefanofoto.smugmug.com/Asia-SWP/China/Lanzhou/
I also found Lanzhou interesting. The Lanzhou beef noodles lived up to its reputation.

The HSR can take you down to Xi’an, then Chongqing (foodie capital?) to Zhangjiajie; then Guiyang.
Whatever you end up doing, just enjoy and safe travel!

BmB
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Old Mar 31, 19, 12:43 pm
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Thanks again for your replies, everyone!

Now, it's looking like I'll be in Beijing on 8/9 April - if anyone would like to meet up - and then will have to get to Ulaanbaatar by 15 April.

But, these suggestions may be employed at the end of the month.

(BTW @allset2travel, there was no viewing deck 4 in Zhangye because that's an unlucky number in the Sinosphere.)
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Old Apr 29, 19, 6:22 pm
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Hi FT,

I have recently returned from a visit to Zhangjiajie.

The weather was quite nice, figure 7-15C, and the town in the immediate vicinity of the national park’s entrance - the Wulingyuan scenic area - had plenty of lodging and eating options (even if the latter was basically the same menu throughout).

From DYG (Zhangjiajie) airport, I took the 401 bus towards downtown Zhangjiajie city. From there, I walked to the bus station, where I boarded an hourlong minibus (very frequent) to Wulingyuan).

In all, the scenery was great, but the crowds were...typically “local.” If you want to avoid the crowds, just take the steps (that is, leave the most famous photo spots, and start hiking). Drink/snack options appeared just in time.
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