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Lanzhou + Xian worth it from PEK in November

Lanzhou + Xian worth it from PEK in November

Old Jul 30, 19, 11:58 pm
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Lanzhou + Xian worth it from PEK in November

I've been to Beijing so many times, I want to do something else.
In early November, nice $400 rt fares from California to PEK, but then what?
Most destination from PEK to where-ever in China are $400 rt,
Beijing to Lanzhou is only about $150 rt in November.
High-speed train is only 3 hours Lanzhou to Xian
I have up to the whole first half of November to play with.
Is PEK-Lanzhou rt by air, followed by Lanzhou-Xian by train a reasonable plan?
Are there nearby destination in Gansu Province or near Xian that I'm missing?
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Old Jul 31, 19, 1:12 am
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Domestic flights are way cheaper 10-20 days before the date.
Now they're too expensive (or you have some luck and find a early bird sale)
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Old Jul 31, 19, 1:36 am
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Originally Posted by qpr View Post
Domestic flights are way cheaper 10-20 days before the date.
Now they're too expensive (or you have some luck and find a early bird sale)
$150 RT is actually pretty cheap for PEK-LHW (i.e. closer in fares are running Y700-1000 each way). If I knew I wanted to go to Lanzhou at a specific date in November, I'd actually lock in anything less than Y500 (one way...best to keep the rest of the schedule flexible).

@Bowgie:

There isn't a lot to do in Lanzhou, but I kind of like it. The drive from the airport to the city is longish, but beautiful, the food is nice, and the cityscape reminds me of HK in a strange way.

If you've already been to Xi'an, I'd recommend Dunhuang. LHW-DNH is cheap. DNH-PEK is quite expensive, but is a great use of *A miles. I'm actually not a huge fan of the grottoes (Dunhuang's main attraction), but I love the sand dunes, and the town is pretty cool. Furthermore, the airport is one of the most convenient I know of in all of China (e.g. 10 minutes from everything). If you have more time, you could also slot in Jiayuguan (western end of Great Wall), though it's nothing to write home about (well, the spa near the train station --if it still exists-- defies words, but I digress).
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Old Jul 31, 19, 1:44 am
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Xi'an is certainly worth a visit. Lanzhou is certainly not. But Xiahe not too far away is worth a detour, with a stop midway in very Moslem Linxia recommended. There's also touristy but still nice Pingyao between Beijing and Xi'an, though train tickets out of Pingyao are often a problem. Consider too Huashan very near Xi'an as well as Wutaishan.
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Old Jul 31, 19, 1:51 am
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Xi'an is definitely worth a visit. You could also see Hua Shan just 30 minutes by train from there. Or you could go to Dunhuang. Not wonderful the caves, but Gobi is interesting.
Between Dunhuang and Xi'an is absolutely not to be missed Zhangye. Between Beijing and Xi'an you can visit Pingyao...
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Old Jul 31, 19, 2:18 am
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Upon further reflection, with two full weeks to play with in November (getting a little chilly), neither Lanzhou nor Xi'an would be high on my list.
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Old Jul 31, 19, 6:20 pm
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Near Lanzhou, Bingling Temple is worth visiting. It is a world heritage site.The Labrang Temple of Xiahe is famous.
Danxia Mountain Geological Park in Zhangye is a world heritage site. You can see different colorful mountains.


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Old Jul 31, 19, 10:23 pm
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Thanks for the Help

Originally Posted by moondog View Post
Upon further reflection, with two full weeks to play with in November (getting a little chilly), neither Lanzhou nor Xi'an would be high on my list.
I really appreciate everyone's help. I got plenty of great ideas. True that weather is not ideal in early November in Gansu. Trouble is I've been to some of the warmer great alternatives multiple times already like Kunming (and all over Yunnan), Chengdu (with a long side trip by bus to panda nature reserve), Haikou (once).

(Kunming and Chengdu are also $160-ish on ctrip around November)
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Old Jul 31, 19, 10:57 pm
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Originally Posted by Bowgie View Post
I really appreciate everyone's help. I got plenty of great ideas. True that weather is not ideal in early November in Gansu. Trouble is I've been to some of the warmer great alternatives multiple times already like Kunming (and all over Yunnan), Chengdu (with a long side trip by bus to panda nature reserve), Haikou (once).

(Kunming and Chengdu are also $160-ish on ctrip around November)
Got you. It just so happens that Kunming and Chengdu were the two starting points I had on my mind. But, since they are not in contention, I like all of the ideas that have been offered thus far. For what it's worth, I actually DO prefer Lanzhou (and surrounding areas) to Xi'an, but I'm slightly jaded because I used to spend a great deal of time in Xi'an on business, and had my fill. That having been said, only you can decide what floats your boat. My suggestion is that you read up on some of these places, and then make a rough plan. I stress "rough" because I find that when venturing off to new places in China, I'm often impressed/unimpressed with specific cities (e.g. before first trip to Xinjiang, I had no idea that Turpan would enjoy Turpan as much as I did). I'm sure you know this based on your previous Yunnan adventure; November is a great time to explore because it's not a busy travel season for the most part.
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Old Aug 1, 19, 5:03 am
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Zhangye the city is nothing special and the Danxia formations are a real disappointment if you've seen all those Photoshopped pictures before. Those colors aren't really there. Apparently the colors do seem more intense around sunset, but if travelling by public transport you have to take the last bus back to Zhangye well before then.

However, the train trip between Xining and Zhangye is beautiful, especially after an early light snow, as it passes through the hills. Scenic train rides are pretty rare in China.
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Old Aug 1, 19, 4:40 pm
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Danxia Mountain, the beautiful time is Sunset time, especially after the rain.
There are three Danxia parks here. Zhangye Danxia Mountain Geological Park, Binggou Danxia Park, Pingshan Lake Grand Park.
In Zhangye, there are Dafo Temple and Matisi Temple.Many tourists go to the Badain Jilin Desert.
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Old Aug 3, 19, 12:26 am
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I decided

Thanks again for all the excellent tips.
This is my decison:

Beijing-Lanzhou by air
Lanzhou-Linxia-Xiahe-Lanzhou by bus
Lanzhou-Xian-Lanzhou by train
Lanzhou-Beijing by air

Lots of Lanzhou in there, but it works as a hub. In past experience, I enjoyed "nothing" cities, so who knows?
The more distant suggestions are excellent. Mostly just a matter of personal preference to not hop around too much by air.
Thanks again, you guys are amazing!
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Old Aug 3, 19, 3:29 am
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Why are you returning to Lanzhou after Xi'an? Easy to get back to Beijing by rail or air from Xi'an.

Maijishan between Lanzhou and Xi'an makes an interesting stop.
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Old Aug 3, 19, 5:05 am
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Originally Posted by 889 View Post
Why are you returning to Lanzhou after Xi'an? .
+1. Never backtrack unless absolutely necessary.
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Old Aug 3, 19, 8:08 am
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Certainly much cheaper and much faster to take the train from Xi'An to Beijing than going all the way to Lanzhou.
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