Gansu Province's


Global Mark : 7.65

Ratings by criteria : 

Charm Scenery Parks Culture Minor. Market Relax Fiesta 


2 2 2 2 2 2 1 2



Ratings by backpackers :

Surveyed Liked  Comeback  Recommend Range AVER.
17 41%  (7) 0% 0% 1 to 14 7.29

Description :
The capital of Gansu, the world's most air-polluted city on earth, next to the yellow river...

Comments : This place is a favorite with travelers : busy, ugly, polluted & expensive with insurance scam and  foreigners prices...

What to do : If you did not leave already, you can check out the relatively interesting museum or climb the parks

What you may not like : having to go through this place...

How long ? If you are masochist, a few days...

Where to stay ?
 If you are stuck here, you can check the followings :

Hotels  << Get precise info, book online and save money !

Near the train Station :

  • Lanzhou Mansions (841 7210), opposite the Railway Station / Dorm 26(3) or 33(2) with bath / HW 24 hrs / The best choice in town !

  • Yingbin Hotel (888 6552) / Nice Dbl with big bathroom 120 / HW 24 hrs

  • Heping Hotel (861 1874) / Dorm not for foreigners / Dbl 120 (82 for Chinese) / HW 12 to 24

In town :

  • Lanzhou Hotel (841 6321 ext 8777) / Dorm 40 or 60 in 3 beds' rooms without or with bathroom / OK toilet & shower / HW 24 hrs

  • Jincheng Hotel (841 6638) / In the south building : Dbl & Trpl 102 & 123 / HW 24 hrs / China Daily available

Near the west bus station :

  • Friendship Hotel (233 3051) / East old building : bed 38(2)  in very basic room without bath / New bldg : huge wooden-floor dbl with separate TV room & bath 141 / OK toilet / Common shower / HW 24 hrs / Mini golf /

Backpacker's Tips :   David Bowen, Wales (May 04)
Busses to Xiahe now depat from the south bus station. Take minibus 129 from the opposite side of the road to the west bus station. To get from the bus station take bus 111 down the hill which heads east or bus 129 which drops off outside Youyi Binguan (Friendship Hotel) ask the driver.
Avoid insurance by taking the bus from the street outside the station. There is a bus at 0830am and 1400. If you miss the bus to Xiahe. Take the bus to either Linxia or Hezou and get another bus to Xiahe. There are regular bus services all day from these towns and it works out cheaper but longer.
Roads south are currentlly very bad nut a new super highway to linxia is under construction. Journey time will be shorter and much easier upon completion but the tour busses will also increase.
There is a new hotel IN the train station which offers doubles at 65rmb. They are brand new with mini bar, western toilets ensuite etc. Consider if you want a little affordable luxury. A good place for same day visa extensions.

Backpacker's Tips : Anne Lauritsen og Lars Kyhn Rasmussen, Denmark (July 02)
 Possible to change travelers cheques at the Friendship hotel. Dorm room 15 Y.


Lanzhou Mansions lanzhou dasha

Yingbin Hotel

yingbin fandian

Heping Hotel

heping fandian

Lanzhou Hotel

lanzhou fandian

Jincheng Hotel

jincheng fandian

Friendship Hotel

youyi binguan

Internet  ?  At least, there is a good email service at China Telecom, Jinchang Lu, 5Y for 30mn, a lot of computers, 9 to 22 daily

Bus Schedules :
  Insurance scam (See Gansu for more infos and possible ways to avoid it...)

From Zhangtu Bus Station, near Train station on Pingjiang Lu : prices incl. insurance

To Price Type Duration Time Nb Freq.
Jiayuguan 55/125 ordi/sleep 15 16:30/18 2 na
Zhangye 85 sleep 12 19/20/21 3 na
Dunhuang 83/180 ordi/sleep 24 to 27 17/18 2 na

From East Bus Station (need to buy separate insurance) :

To Price Type Duration Time Nb Freq.
Tianshui 27/40 ordi/sleep 8 6:30/7/8/17/18/19 6 na
Xi'an 107 sleep 15 18:30 1 na
Guyuan 29 ordi 8 6:30 1 na
Yinchuan 37/69 ordi/sleep 9 7/17/19 3 na
Dunhuang 167 sleep 24 to 27 14:30 1 na
Linxia 12 ordi 4 8 1 na
Hezuo 20 ordi 8 7:30 1 na
Xining 18 ordi 5 to 6 8 to 17 ++ hour

Notes : To Tianshui, sleeper at 19 only / To Yinchuan, sleeper at 19 only / Bus to Hezuo also stop at Linxia / No bus to Zhongwei

From West Bus Station (need to buy separate insurance) :

To Price Type Duration Time Nb Freq.
Linxia 12 ordi 4 7:30 to 21 ++ 30mn
Xiahe 19 ordi 6 7:30 1 na
Hezuo 20 ordi 8 ? ++ ?
Xining 17 ordi 5 to 6 7:30 to 14:30 ++ 30mn
Goldmud 150 sleep 28 17 1 na
Dunhuang 83/160 ordi/sleep 24 to 27 16:30/15 2 na

Notes : Buses to Dunhuang via Zhangye (38/76Y) & Jiayuguan (55/110Y)

Backpacker's Tips : Alice, Australia (Nov 07)
Maijishan Grottoes at Tianshui (Gansu) - interesting short stop between Xi'an and Lanzhou. The grottoes are great fun to roam about on your own. Visitors should either take a torch or get a guide as each little grotto has a wire mesh door on the front, sometimes making it quite difficult to get inside. Buses run regularly out to the Grottoes from the train station. This could be done as a quick day excursion on a through train trip. The town also has a great rambling Yuquan Daoist temple, as well as the more famous Fuxi Buddhist temple.  

Backpacker's Tips : Blaise Fiedler, France (July 05)
Tianshui: Maiji Shan Shiku: This is a great cliff full of buddha carvings. Photos are forbidden there so and the guard at the entrance of the cliff will ask you to put the camera in provided lockers. If you want to take pictures simply hide the camera in your pocket - once you're past the guard you'll be OK. The price is now Y70 / Y35 for students and includes the entrance to everything included the botanical garden. The minibus from Tianshui will drop you at the ticket entrance. you'll have to walk on the road for another 1-2km the reach the grotto area - do NOT take the gate on the left 200m after the bus stop: this would bring you after 2km to the botanical gardens. In tianshui you can stayat Hotel Yingdu - a very comfortable hotel in front of the train station. It will cost you Y60 for a double with shared WC.  

Backpacker's Tips :  Wim Veldhuizen, Dutch (July 04)
There is a 8:30 bus from Lanzhou to Xiahe. If you get out of the train station, take bus n 137 to West Lake, which is, unlike the name, close to the Southern Bus station. It will take you at least an hour.
If you don't want to buy the insurance i think it is wise to enter the busstation from the back. The insurance desk is right in front of you when you enter the office the normal way. It is a small office, so they will see you and hook you on to it. I bought an insurance, as i didnt want to stay in Lanzhou (40 yuan, 20 days). It was checked 3 times. First time when i bought the bus ticket, second time leaving the office to the parking lot, third time on the bus. So i guess you have to be lucky to get around it without buying it. It is a small Iveco bus, so i am not sure how big your chances are on getting on, as soon as it leaves the station. It filled up (24 to 26 people) quite quickly.
If you get the 8:30 bus in the morning, then try to avoid seatnumber 12 and 14, because that is right above the wheels. If you are over 1.80 mtrs, that leaves you with very little leg space. On the left hand side of the car is where the sun is, so a bit hot. The views are nice on the right and left, so that doesnt matter.

Backpacker's Tips : Wang Xiaocong, China (September 03)
  There are also three buses from Lanzhou to Xiahe: Departure from the west bus station 7:30,8:30 and 14:00, duration 5h,price Y44.5. In addition, Lanzhou now has a third bus station:The south bus station was almost complete when I was there,and I wonder whether buses to Xiahe, Linxia and Hezuo will depart from there in the future. Sadly,I don't know the exact address of that bus station and the way to get there yet!

Backpacker's Tips : Wang Xiaocong, China (Oct 01)
Lanzhou to Xiahe bus now costs Y32.5 and may travel as much as 8 hours. There is another luxury bus to Xiahe that leaves at 8:30am. This bus is said to guarantee 6 hour travel time and costs Y44.

Trains  << Click there

The trip to Xi'an :
Train / Night / Y153 / 14 hours

The schedule was convenient but the train was unfortunately new which means air conditioned and expensive. The top sleeper, next to the strong ventilation,  proved too cold and noisy and the heavy blankets too unpractical to dream in comfort.  I therefore decided to go down one floor and, using my bad mood and Chinese skills, managed to skip the surcharge...

See also Trip from Urumqi to Lanzhou...