China is often not the first place that comes to mind when Malaysians think of a vaycay holiday. Many prefer the beautiful yet affordable Southeast Asian getaway or adventurous Europe, but little did you know that China actually has A WHOLE LOT to offer!
If you don’t believe us, you’d be glad to know Aisha Nazar, AirAsia and Sony’s joint photographer cum ambassador recently visited Lanzhou and she got us also itching to visit it!
Check out these spots that will DEFINITELY change your mind. Look at where she’s been!
She said, “I read before that Lanzhou was the first point of entry for Islam. And that’s why I thought Lanzhou was an interesting place to go to learn more about the history and to see the different religions in China.”
Because of that, based on her experience, Lanzhou is:
- Culturally rich and geographically beautiful
- You’ll see all sorts of religions integrating in one community which is really beautiful
- Reading about it does not do it justice and one really has to experience the place for themselves.
Source: Aisha Nazar
Aisha was in the city during the winter season which meant it was off-peak period when most things like entrance tickets were cheaper.
“I was there at the beginning of winter, so it was really cold. Like during the day time it could dip to -1 degrees which can be uncomfortable. But because I went during the off peak period, most of the things like entrance tickets were considerably cheaper,” Aisha said.
“They’re really friendly and they really want to talk to tourists. With most locals only being able to communicate in Mandarin, travelling around this beautiful country becomes their main travel destinations.”
“Hence when they come across foreigners, I can see that they really want to try and talk to you and to understand your culture, but they can’t.”
“But as for those who can speak English, they would approach you and strike up random conversations.”
“As for taxi drivers and restaurants, they’d usually have their translations ready or you can use an app to translate the menu.”
Speaking Mandarin would make it a whole lot easier to travel around Lanzhou city, but if you can’t, don’t worry because translating apps are always available!
Aisha mentioned that finding food in Lanzhou is easy as there are plenty of street snacks in food markets. What’s even better is that you can use QR Pay via Alipay which makes it extremely convenient if you don’t have enough cash on you.
The food is also really affordable! An average meal would cost about 15 yuan (RM9) for food and drinks. It’s also really easy to find Halal food over there!
The most recommended dish that you have to try in Lanzhou is the Mazilu beef noodles which are hand pulled and Halal!
“Definitely have to try the pulled noodles. I tried staying away from the really famous Mazilu beef noodles but on the last day I finally gave it a try and it lived up to its hype. Apart from that, everything else was good,” Aisha said.
“They eat a lot of mutton there and their mutton kebabs are really good. Their food is also quite spicy which is good because I love spicy food.”
Other snacks to try:
- Fried oil cake
- Niu Nai Lao Zhao
- Sanpotai Tea
- Jinyu (golden fish) Facai
- Silk Road Camel Hoof
- Quick Fried Camel Hump
- Lanzhou Roasted Pork
Source: Aisha Nazar
Cost of travel
The most important question you might ask is how much it would cost to travel to Lanzhou city. Well, Aisha shared that RM1,500 would be enough if you’re on a travelling budget.
“For about a week excluding flights, if you’re travelling on a budget, about RM1,500 would be enough because you’ll be spending it mostly on food. It’s about 15 yuan (Rm9) in total for a meal with a drink,” she said.
“As for buses, it could be about 1 yuan (RM0.60) per ride, and there’s a recently launched e-hailing ride that you can split the cost with other travellers or among yourselves.”
If you’re in the area, try visit these spots:
1. White Pagoda Mountain Park
Also known as Baitashan Park, this location holds the magnificent white pagoda built during the Yuan Dynasty. The pagoda stands 17 meters high with seven floors adorned with Buddha statues on its side. The park is located on a mountain that boasts the “three treasures of the town” – the elephant-skin drum, bronze bell and redbub tree.
- You can enjoy an excellent bird-eye view of Lanzhou City if you climb to the top of the pagoda
- An awesome place for postcard-like photos with the White Pagoda Mountain in the background
- Enjoy the artificial waterfall within the park
Opening hours: 6am-6pm
Address: North bank of Yellow River, Chengguan District, Lanzhou 730000, China
2. Waterwheel Expo Park
This park holds two very large waterwheels that were built in 1994 and used flowing or falling water to create power. Located at the west end of Binhe Road along the Yellow River in Lanzhou, the waterwheel tells of the story of the life of the Lanzhou ancestors.
- You can view ponds, flowers, sculptures and other landscapes which makes the location a scenic area for beautiful photos
- You can also ride along the Yellow River on sheepskin rafts that the ancient Chinese used to travel across the river
Entrance fee: FREE
Opening hours : 8am-6pm
Address: 524 Nanbinhe E Rd, Chengguan, Lanzhou, Gansu, China
3. Bingling Temple
“Bingling” means “ten thousand Buddhas” in the Tibetan language. Located on the Small Jishi Hill in Lanzhou City, the Bingling Temple holds various kinds of Buddhist sculptures that have been carved into natural caves and caverns in a canyon along the Yellow River.
With a 27-meter-tall sitting Buddha that is about 1,200 years old, this temple is one of the best ancient sites in China if you’re interested in Buddhism or ancient construction.
- The location is about 1.5 hours drive from Lanzhou City, but totally accessible for a day trip
- You’d have to take a boat ride to cross the Liújiāxiá Resevoir which could be a fun activity that you and your friends or family can do together
- You can also have the option to stay overnight in Liújiāxiá if you want the overnight experience.
Opening hours: 8.30am-4pm
Address: China, Gansu, Tianshui, Qinzhou, 316国道
And if you’d like to take a road trip outside of Lanzhou City, there are many amazing places that you can visit in Gansu province as well! Not to mention absolutely breath-taking!
4. The Rainbow Mountains of China
The Rainbow Mountains of China are exactly what the name describes! These mountains in the Zhangye Danxia Landform Geological Park are a geological wonder that display an array of colours that look just like a watercolour painting.
Located in Zhangye City in Gansu province, the mountains are formed from cretaceous sandstones and siltstones that were deposited with iron and trace minerals which all contribute to the reds, greens, blues and yellows you can see on the mountains.
- The park has up to nine viewing platforms where you can admire the scenery and take pictures from
- There is also a sightseeing bus that can take you to each of them. Or, you could just walk! (but be warned that there are a lot of steps to climb)
- The best months to visit this park are June to September when the weather is comfortable and the colours of the mountain are deeper
Ticket price: 74 yuan (about RM44)
Address: Nijiaying Nantaizi village, Linze County, Zhangye City 734200, China 张掖市临泽县倪家营南台子村
Source: Aisha Nazar
5. The Overhanging Great Wall
Not to be mistaken with the Great Wall of China, the Overhanging Great Wall is located in Jiayuguan City in Gansu province. It played an important part to strengthen the defense system during the Ming Dynasty in the Jiayuguan area.
Built on the eastern slope of Black Mountain, the Overhanging Great Wall is named for its position on the mountain ridge of 45 degrees, resembling hanging upside down in the sky.
- You can climb the 400 steps built on the wall and witness a breath-taking view of the Gobi desert extending into the horizon. It will be worth it!
- You can then descend along a footpath where you can enjoy some interesting sculptures such as a camel team and some historical figures.
- There also cliff paintings of the Black Mountain, Huguo Temple and Haihui Pagoda nearby for you to visit.
Admission fee: 31 yuan (about RM18)
Opening hours: 8.30am-8pm (summer/autumn) & 8.30am-6pm (winter/spring)
Location: Southwest of Jiayuguan, Jiayuguan 735100, China
6. Crescent Moon Spring
Located in Dunhuang City in the Gansu province, the Crescent Lake, also known as Crescent Moon Spring or Yueya Spring, is one of the natural wonders of the Gobi Desert. Like its name, the lake looks like a crescent moon with crystal clear waters and turquoise hues.
- Entry to the area can be by using either the shuttle buses or by walking along the main path to the lake
- Another option is to ride on a camel and have fun sliding down the slope of the sand dune before walking to the lake
- Visitors can witness amazing scenes of the lake from early sunrise to sunset where the lake reflects the rosy clouds and golden dunes surrounding it
- The area is open until late evening, which gives visitors the opportunity to see the lake glow from the blue neon light encircling the lake
- They can also enjoy the starry night which is any photographer’s paradise as tickets to the area is valid for three days
Entrance free: CNY 110 (RM64) from May to October & CNY 55 (RM32) from November to April
Opening hours: 5am to 8.30pm
Location: 6 km south of Dunhuang city
Coordinates: 40°5′12″N 94°40′10″E
Don’t these places look amazing? Considering Lanzhou city as your next holiday destination? Well, if this article has piqued your interest, you’ll be glad to know that AirAsia is always giving out promos and for Lanzhou, you can find their most recent promo here:
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