Silk Road : UNESCO World Heritage Site – Zhangye Danxia Mountain

Silk Road : UNESCO World Heritage Site - Zhangye Danxia Mountain

UNESCO World Heritage site

Zhangye Dania is famous for its rainbow-colored mountains located in Zhangye, Gansu China.  Zangye was an important city on the ancient Silk Road and one of four counties in Hexi Corridor.

This unique geological formation has been listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site since 2010.  We traveled 40 km away from Zhangye City early morning to reach the best spot to see the rainbow mountains.  We arrived in the late morning, about 10 am and the crowd was still manageable.

Silk Road : UNESCO World Heritage Site - Zhangye Danxia Mountain

Souvenirs Stalls

Before approaching the visitor center for the ticket, there are plenty of stalls selling scarfs, hats and other souvenirs.  We don’t have enough time to shop  at the stalls here as we are rushing in to get the tickets and trying to avoid more crowds coming in later.  Things sold here aren’t that expensive, so if you need a hat or a scarf, you can get it here.

Silk Road : UNESCO World Heritage Site - Zhangye Danxia Mountain

Silk Road : UNESCO World Heritage Site - Zhangye Danxia Mountain

Visitor Center for Tickets

Use the clean toilets at the visitor center before exploring Danxia is the right move.

Silk Road : UNESCO World Heritage Site - Zhangye Danxia Mountain

  • Location: Nantaizi Village, Nijiaying County, Zhangye Prefecture
  • Opening hours: 5:30am–8:30pm in summer time, 8am–6pm in winter time.
  • Ticket price: 60¥ (SGD 12)

Silk Road : UNESCO World Heritage Site - Zhangye Danxia Mountain

Danxia Internal Bus

Once you gotten your ticket, the Danxia bus will bring you in to the scenic points. No private vehicle can drive in this area. There are in total 4 viewing points.

Silk Road : UNESCO World Heritage Site - Zhangye Danxia Mountain

Total 4 Scenic Point

  • The first scenic point is the nearest and best viewing platform, just 10 minutes’ walk from the entrance.  Don’t walk, use the bus.  You cannot walk on the street for buses, only designated wooden path by pedestrian.  You get “scream” from the security guard if you walk at the wrong path.  You will get a shock from their scream I can assure you that 🙂
  • The second scenic point takes a lot of effort to get to the top. It has the highest viewing platform, with 666 steps, a minimum of 30 mins of climbing to check out the panorama view of the multicoloured danxia.
  • The third scenic point allow a view of the famous “seven color fan”.
  • The fourth scenic point is the largest viewing point. It is also the prefect place for catching pictures of sunrise or sunset. You will see the ‘Seven-Color Mountain’ here.

Silk Road : UNESCO World Heritage Site - Zhangye Danxia Mountain

Silk Road : UNESCO World Heritage Site - Zhangye Danxia Mountain

Best Time to Visit

Best time to visit Zhangye Danxia is sunrise or sunset, that way the multi-colored can be seen even better.

Silk Road : UNESCO World Heritage Site - Zhangye Danxia Mountain

Best Month To Visit 

The best month to visit is from June to September when the weather is not as harsh compared to winter.  The rest of the timing is very dry & cold and not suitable for visit. The bright sunshine will bring out the multi-color of the mountains so if it is cloudy or raining day, you won’t be able to see the colors.

Silk Road : UNESCO World Heritage Site - Zhangye Danxia Mountain

Plenty of walking & Climbing

Be prepared to walk and climb the stairs. It took us about 2 hours to finish all the climbing.  A pair of good comfy shoes is vital.

When you are at the top, you can feel the strong wind and hear the strong breeze.  I stay a little at the top to enjoy the panorama view of Danxia and see the multi-color mountains and listen to the breeze.  It is the good opportunities to notice differences in environments and climates. Also one of the reason why we travel.

Silk Road : UNESCO World Heritage Site - Zhangye Danxia Mountain

What to Wear to Danxi Zhangye

Even in summer, the wind can be very strong when you climb to the top.  Bring along a scarf or a jacket.  Apply sunscreen, wear a sunglasses and a hat.

Silk Road : UNESCO World Heritage Site - Zhangye Danxia Mountain

Some other formation

Silk Road : UNESCO World Heritage Site - Zhangye Danxia Mountain

A Turtle Look Up The Sky

Silk Road : UNESCO World Heritage Site - Zhangye Danxia Mountain

Rest Area

There are sheltered in each scenic point.  People who are not able to make it to the top or can’t walk that well, stay at the shelter to enjoy Danxia.

Silk Road : UNESCO World Heritage Site - Zhangye Danxia Mountain

Good Luck Charm

Good luck charm were seen hanging at the sheltered.  It can be purchased at the nearby stall.  Inside Danxia Geopark, there are not many stalls selling souvenirs for the tourists.

Silk Road : UNESCO World Heritage Site - Zhangye Danxia Mountain

The stones here look more like pork belly to me, rather than Danxia Geopark.

Silk Road : UNESCO World Heritage Site - Zhangye Danxia Mountain

Final thoughts :

The several hundred meters tall Danxi in Zhangye are the result of deposits of sandstone and other minerals that occurred over many thousand years ago. The wind, rain and time has sculpted these incredible shape, pillars and ravines with different colors, pattern and sizes.  The sand and silt was deposited with iron and trace minerals that provided it with the key ingredient to form the colors we see today.

I am glad to have make it up to the top of the viewing point as the view at the top is totally different.  You get a better view and able to see the mountain ranges with multi-colored.  A good 2 hours is enough to see this amazing landscape.

Silk Road : UNESCO World Heritage Site - Zhangye Danxia Mountain

Nearby Attraction Along Silk Road 

34 Replies to “Silk Road : UNESCO World Heritage Site – Zhangye Danxia Mountain”

    1. Dear Nancie,
      Sunrise and sunset is the perfect timing to see the multi color in Danxi rainbow mountain. Too bad I was not able to be there during these perfect timing. Luckily the sunshine is bright enough to see the colorful mountain.

    1. Dear Gigi,
      This is one of the must stop when you do Silk Road China. Located at Zhangye, just 40 km away from Zhangye City in Gansu province. Don’t miss out this magnificient Unesco Heritage Site.

  1. The photos you took on your day trip are absolutely incredible! If we ever make it to this area of the world we will definitely make this trip. Amazing!

    1. Dear Nicole,
      Thanks for your comment. I am glad you like the pictures, the colorful mountains are really stunning if you go early morning during sunrise or late evening, at sunset, that way the multi-colored can be seen even better.

  2. Just wow! I love all the little trinkets. I’d surely buy them all 🙂 This looks like it would be an incredible experience!

    1. Dear Monice,
      Thanks for your comment. The Danxia mountain is really a wonderful experience. Yes, you can get those little trinkets at the souveniers stalls 🙂

    1. Dear Nina,
      Thanks for your comment. Yes, plenty of walking and climbing so a good pair of shoes is needed. The weather at the top is also quite windy so a light jacket is needed even in summer. In winter the weather in Danxia would be more harsh with cold wind, so thicker Jacket to combat the cold wind.

    1. Dear Hillcitybride,
      To be included on the World Heritage List, Danxia Zhange sites must be of outstanding universal value and meet at least one out of ten selection criteria. It suits all four natural criteria in Unesco world heritage list, so Danxia Zhangye China is full of tourist and I am not surprise to know why.

    1. Dear Holly,

      The unusual colours of the rocks are the result of red sandstone and mineral deposits being laid down over 24 million years. So really an increadible place to visit.

  3. UNESCO World Heritage Site is now one of my top of the list place that I need to visit. The place and those natural landscape are so beautiful!

    1. Dear Geraline,
      Thanks for your comment. Zhangye Danxia is very famous among tourists, and it has been listed among the ‘most beautiful’ places in China and the world, numerous times.

    1. Dear Nicole,

      The Zhangye Danxia landform is known as “the eye candy of Zhangye”. Many artists admire this masterpiece as it is unbelievably colorful, like an imaginative oil painting. It consisting of large formations of distinctly rainbow coloured rock which make it so amazing.

  4. I feel like I would probably spend more than a couple of hours at this amazing place. I’ve always known silk roads as something you describe in general but I think this is THE Silk Road people have been talking about. Just wow!

    1. Dear Jojo,
      Thanks for your comment. You can also combine visiting both Binggou and Danxia Scenic areas in one day. Visit Binggou first, which is about one hour from Zhangye City.

    1. Dear Jenn,
      You are absolutely right, it look similar to Grand canyon as I just visited Grand Canyon last winter, except Danxia landform is smaller compared to Grand Canyon.

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