Silk Road China : Gansu – Jiayuguan Hotel & Gansu Souvenir; The Luminous Cup Review – 葡萄美酒夜光杯!

The Most Attractive City in Western China – Jiayuguan

When you are traveling silk road, one of the important stop is Jiayuguan. It boasts many historical relics and one of the important one is Jiayuguan Pass/Tower. During my stay in Jiayuguan, we stayed a night in Jiayuguan Hotel.

China : Gansu - Jiayuguan Hotel Review & Luminous Cup - 葡萄美酒夜光杯!

Great Location

Jiayuguan Hotel is located in the bustling commercial downtown area of Jiayuguan city, so it is very convenient if you want to do some shopping at night.  Just about 200 m away you can find restaurants & shops across the street.

China : Gansu - Jiayuguan Hotel Review & Luminous Cup - 葡萄美酒夜光杯!

Room Review 

We stayed in non smoking room and it is spacious with comfortable beds and clean linen. Warm lighting are used in the room.

China : Gansu - Jiayuguan Hotel Review & Luminous Cup - 葡萄美酒夜光杯!

Square Dancing/Plaza Dancing 广场舞

There is a window for you to look out to the street.  You may find people doing Chinese “Square dancing” at the open space near the plaza.  It is popular with middle-aged and retired women who have been referred to as “dancing grannies”.  I wasn’t lucky enough to see any of the dancing grannies doing their exercise at the open space Plaza, I would love to see their street culture very much.  But be warned that it can be quite loud with the Chinese popular music played.

China : Gansu - Jiayuguan Hotel Review & Luminous Cup - 葡萄美酒夜光杯!

Bring your own coffee!

Bring your own coffee if you are particular about coffee.  The free coffee provided here may not up to your standard and some don’t even provide coffee.  Chinese people drink tea instead of coffee – that is their national drink.  In fact they only started drinking coffee recently.  Coffee is consider a luxury item and expensive in China. I saw the coffee cost up to USD 10 a cup at the airport in Urumqi Xinjiang.  Well, if you travel in big cities like Beijing and Shanghai, the hotel may provide coffee but probably not in Gansu Province which is located north-west of China.  Still, there are particular groups of people or new wealthy people, they and their kids like to flaunt their new-found riches with drinking Starbucks coffee, the  pricey beverage.

China : Gansu - Jiayuguan Hotel Review & Luminous Cup - 葡萄美酒夜光杯!

Bathroom Review

The lighting used in the bathroom is white light.  There is a bathtub and shower head running with hot and cold water.  What I like about the bathroom is; there is a glass door preventing the water from the shower to spill over to the toilet area.

China : Gansu - Jiayuguan Hotel Review & Luminous Cup - 葡萄美酒夜光杯!

Hotel Car Park

China : Gansu - Jiayuguan Hotel Review & Luminous Cup - 葡萄美酒夜光杯!

Hotel Breakfast Review

The buffet breakfast offer a wide variety of choices but most of them are in Chinese style.  Choices here are a lot more compared to other hotels so far.

China : Gansu - Jiayuguan Hotel Review & Luminous Cup - 葡萄美酒夜光杯!

China : Gansu - Jiayuguan Hotel Review & Luminous Cup - 葡萄美酒夜光杯!

China : Gansu - Jiayuguan Hotel Review & Luminous Cup - 葡萄美酒夜光杯!

Huge Restaurant

The restaurant is huge and can sit up to 1000 people. Luckily I was here during off-peak so there is no big crowd of mainland Chinese tourists.  As you know the mainland Chinese people have the reputation for boorish behaviour 🙂 That is why the hotel I went during my Eastern Europe tour (probably Prague or Budapest, I can’t recall well which country), has to separate the mainland Chinese tourists with other tourists when arrange the seating for the morning breakfast.

China : Gansu - Jiayuguan Hotel Review & Luminous Cup - 葡萄美酒夜光杯!

Western food corner has lesser choices as compared to Chinese corner.  Available choices are bread, pastries, bacon, sausages, eggs & bean.

China : Gansu - Jiayuguan Hotel Review & Luminous Cup - 葡萄美酒夜光杯!

Hot Noodle Bar &  omelette 

China : Gansu - Jiayuguan Hotel Review & Luminous Cup - 葡萄美酒夜光杯!

Business Center

The Business Center offers various other services such as booking plane and train tickets , photocopying and fax.  Located at the lobby.

China : Gansu - Jiayuguan Hotel Review & Luminous Cup - 葡萄美酒夜光杯!

 Shopping Store

There are shopping stores at the lobby which offer foot massage & salon facilities.  Several stores are open till late at night.

China : Gansu - Jiayuguan Hotel Review & Luminous Cup - 葡萄美酒夜光杯!

Chinese Salon 

The barber pole outside the barber & beauty salon is not the old fashion red, white & blue lighting but the shape is still the same though 🙂

China : Gansu - Jiayuguan Hotel Review & Luminous Cup - 葡萄美酒夜光杯!

Gansu Most Popular souvenir – Luminous cup/ 夜光杯

Gansu is famous for it Luminous Cup. It is made of jade and it is named because it sparkles when fill with alcohol and placed under the moonlight. The origin of the Luminous Cup is at Jiuquan. Jiuquan is an ancient town with a 2,000-year history. (It was ashamed that we did not stopover at Jiuguan this time. ) Now Luminous Cup become of the most popular souvenir from Gansu. There is a very famous poem on “Luminous Cup” by Wang Han poet who also created Three Hundred Tang Poems /唐诗三百首.

Luminous Cup Poem by Wang Han / 王翰 (poet) 

葡萄美酒夜光杯, Fine wine in luminous cup,
欲飲琵琶馬上催.  Drinking with Pipa but was summon to fight.
醉臥沙場君莫笑,  Please don’t laugh if we lay drunken in the battlefield!
古來征戰幾人回?  How many warriors ever come back safely?

Translation :

When the soldiers are about to drink fine wine in luxurious cup, they were suddenly being summoned to fight in the battlefield.

The general said: “Please don’t laugh if I am drunk on the battlefield, ”

From past to present,how many people who are going to the battlefield can return safely?

葡萄美酒夜光杯 / Fine wine in luminous cup!

This poem is mainly about the turbulent life and arduous environment in the border, making it difficult for the frontier soldiers to get a banquet. Fortunate enough to have one banquet, it is easy to imagine the scene of drinking and drinking. This poem is a portrayal of battlefield life and feelings. The wine in the poem is the grape wine that is abundant in the Western Region of China; the cup is said to be the wine-cup made in era of Zhou Muwang /周穆王. It is as bright as the “Bright Moon Night”, so it is called “Luminous Cup”; the instrument used by Hu people / 胡人 called pipa / 琵琶. There are also words such as “sand field” and “battle”. All of this shows a rich border color and the flavor of military camp life.

China : Gansu - Jiayuguan Hotel Review & Luminous Cup - 葡萄美酒夜光杯!

Shoes Polish Machine

Guests are free to use the shoes polish machine.  China hotel usually provide shoes polish machine.

China : Gansu - Jiayuguan Hotel Review & Luminous Cup - 葡萄美酒夜光杯!

Chinese Noodles Takeaway Shop

Near the car park hotel, there is a noodle takeaway shop.  Just few steps walk out from the front lobby. Price list were at the menu board beside the ordering window.

China : Gansu - Jiayuguan Hotel Review & Luminous Cup - 葡萄美酒夜光杯!

China : Gansu - Jiayuguan Hotel Review & Luminous Cup - 葡萄美酒夜光杯!

No More Bicycles

Across the street are shops and commercial buildings.  If you notice, there is no more bicycles these day in China compare to few decades ago.  Cars became a status symbol in the 1990s, bikes became associated with the poor. But now public bike share emerged as a popular option especially in big cities such as Shanghai.

China : Gansu - Jiayuguan Hotel Review & Luminous Cup - 葡萄美酒夜光杯!

Final thoughts :

Jiayuguan Hotel Review :

The Jiayuguan Hotel is conveniently located in the downtown of Jiayuguan city.  It is very affordable hotel and the room is up to our standard.  The breakfast buffet has wide-spread of choice.

I didn’t see many western tourists staying in this hotel and the staff here may not be able to speak fluent English.  Probably you need to use google translator if you don’t speak Chinese or may be it is a good chance to practice your Chinese. 🙂

Luminous Cup – Review

Glad to learn about the history of Luminous Cup in Gansu Region China.  I have gotten a set of 4 pieces back home as souvenir. The cups are in mottled dark green colour and flecks of sparkle. This type of jade was found in the Qilian mountains in this region.  Yet to test out the cup under moonlight, I hope it shines as bright as the moon light. 🙂

China : Gansu - Jiayuguan Hotel Review & Luminous Cup - 葡萄美酒夜光杯!

Nearby Attractions :


46 Replies to “Silk Road China : Gansu – Jiayuguan Hotel & Gansu Souvenir; The Luminous Cup Review – 葡萄美酒夜光杯!”

    1. Dear Nick,
      Dancing grannies are usually retiree, meet at dusk and dawn in the Plaza square or park, any open space that they could find and dance like nobody care, with loud music. You would be amazed to see them perform synchronized dance routines with super loud music. Better still they use props and with fancy or tranditional costumes! LOL.

    1. Dear Kat,

      Thank you for your kind comment. Coffee is like a status sysmbol in China so the new generation especially those who work in big cities such as Beijing and Shanghai has started to drink coffee. But many people in the countryside still dislike coffee and prefer tea.

  1. It looks like you’ve spent a good night at this hotel. It does look nice and the room comfortable. I like the bathroom with the shower and tub enclosed in glass, so the water doesn’t spill. I had no idea about China not having coffee. When I visited I wasn’t a coffee drinker so I don’t remember this fact.

    1. Most people in China’s rural areas are still unfamiliar with coffee. However big cities – Beijing & Shanghai, Guangzhuo & Shenzhen and other hot tourist spots such as Guilin and Lijiang, coffee can be seen widely sold. The Gansu Region is considered rural area. So if someone who needs coffee in the morning, it is best to prepare packets of coffee in advance.

  2. Very nice digs! I agree with your coffee advise. I often find that Asian hotels don’t provide the best in-room coffee. I usually end up drinking the tea.

    1. Dear Nancie,

      Thank you for your kind compliment. I guess you are very familiar with Asian culture since you have been traveling and living here for many years. Finding a great cup of coffee is not easy in China. Starbucks in Beijing Airport cost a bomb! LOL

    1. Dear Gigi,

      There are a huge variety of local choices for the morning buffet. The taste are very different from South east asia, I guess it is a good chance to try all sort of local dish!

  3. The Jiayuguan Hotel looks nice and is in a great location and even offers so many excellent amenities! The buffet bar is really impressive and has so many different types of cuisines.

  4. THat buffet looks tasty! Did you know that the reason chinese people seem ‘boorish’ while eating is becausebin their culture eating as loudly as possible is considered a compliment to the chef and is how they express their enjoyment of their meal 🙂

    1. Dear Ranelle,

      There are several reason why Mainland Chinese people (Mainland Chinese refer to Chinese from China and not Chinese from other part such as Hong Kong, Taiwan, Macao, Singapore or etc) behaving such way when they travel. As you know China is a big country with huge population of 1.4 billion so being fiercely competitive is necessary for survival. For example you see them squeeze their way and cut queue on the line in their country or traveling abroad.

      The eating loudly as possible is not Chinese culture but Japanese culture instead. And only to “slurping noodles”! Noisy eating is not ok elsewhere in Japan except in the soba/udon/ramen noodles bar. Slurping noodles loudly is to developed as a way to better savor the aroma of soba and also compliment to the chef (just like what you mentioned) that it is very delicious. I was living in Japan for several years so I learn that during my stay in Japan – how to slurp noodle 🙂 can be tough and it make a whole mess on my face.

      Japanese culture and Chinese culture are very different. One of the difference is Chinese people can often be seen talking loudly at public places. But in Japan, talking or laughing loudly in public places, such as train or shopping center is considered as rude and a ‘No! No!’. You don’t even see Japanese talking in the phone while commuting in the train, they usually mute it.

  5. I would love to visit here someday. Myself being a coffee person, the coffee tip will really be helpful someday. And being a foodie, I wold love a big restaurant. Didn’t know about boorish behaviour, thanks for pointing that out.

    1. Dear Monidipa,
      The coffee culture only get into China recently and to be frank, they are very new to coffee. All they know is coffee is the rich status symbol – ie you look rich drinking coffee in China! In many places especially countryside, coffee are not available at all. It is wise if you bring along your own coffee if you need that drink in the morning.

  6. I have never been in that place but that hotel really looks like a nice a place to stay and the food in the buffet area looks really delicious.

    1. Dear Emma,
      Jiayuguan city is famous due to the Jiayuguan pass/tower, it is an important pass on the ancient Silk Road. Jiayuguan is located in the northwest of Gansu province, west of the Hexi Corridor in Gobi desert. Jiayuguan possesses a desert climate and the best time to visit is from May to October. From March to May you may experience sandstorms and strong wind and not ideal for travel.

    1. Dear Stephanie,

      Square dancing in China first started to gain popularity in the 1990s. It was a casual activity took place across the parks & Plaza square. It is now considered as a sport and even held competitions across the country 🙂

  7. I love looking at hotels in other countries. It looks like the rooms are similar to the ones in America. The breakfast food is where we part ways. You all have totally different things to eat. Well, everyone eats eggs.

    1. Dear Julie,

      The Hotel setting in China is pretty much the same as America. However the buffet breakfast in China usually has more variety as compared to the standard Bacan, sausage & eggs in America. But you are right about the eggs, every country serves eggs – be it hard boiled or scrambled eggs.

  8. The hotel looks great with cozy room and nice buffet. ‘Dancing Grannies’ sounds interesting. It’s great to know the street culture of a place. I love the beautiful luminous cups and the fascinating history associated with them. I would love to see them sparkling under the moonlight.

    1. Dear Shaily,
      There are factory tour to visit the making of “luminous cups” in the origin place of this souvenirs at Jiuquan. The manufacture of Jiuquan Luminous Cups has long history since ancient time. Jiuquan is also an important city along Silk Road, about half an hour to Jiayuguan.

  9. This looks like a great hotel. I like the advice to bring your own coffee too, thats a great idea when you like a specific brand too.

  10. This hotel looks amazing! i have never been to China before, but it is on my bucket list to go one day. I’ll have to keeo this hotel in mind, thanks for sharing!

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