Lanzhou travel guide

Lanzhou Tourism | Lanzhou Guide

You're Going to Love Lanzhou

Lanzhou lies on the Yellow River and was known as the Golden City back when it was a major stop on the Silk Road. Today, it's an exciting vacation destination with unique attractions and great outdoor spaces.

Top 5 Reasons to Visit Lanzhou

1. Gansu Provincial Museum

Learn all about the city's role in the silk trade at this popular museum. Exhibits include relics from the Silk Road and from the Great Wall of China.

2. Five Springs Mountain Park

See ancient Buddhist architecture or look for the five springs - Ganlu, Juyue, Mozi, Hui, and Meng - in this scenic mountain park.

3. It's a Smart Choice for Explorers

If you plan to explore the countryside, Lanzhou is a great base. You'll be within easy reach of lots of exciting places, including Tulugou National Forest Park in Yongdeng County and Labrang Monastery in Xiahe.

4. The Yellow River

See Zhongshan Bridge, the first bridge to span the Yellow River, or visit the Waterwheel Garden and the famous Yellow River Mother sculpture. Alternatively, take a trip across the river on a traditional sheepskin raft.

5. Traditional Markets

Discover the unique pleasure of shopping after dark at Hezheng Lu Night Market from mid-afternoon till late.

What to do in Lanzhou

1. Sheer Buddhist Brilliance

Rising to seven stories and 17 meters in height, the White Pagoda is one of Lanzhou's architectural jewels. Dating from the 13th century, the temple can't be missed as you look across to northern Lanzhou, and getting there is simple via the Zhongshan Bridge. When you enter, you'll be intoxicated by the temple itself, the 8,000 square meter park that surrounds it, and the stunning views to be obtained by scaling the mountain's peak.

2. Fabulous Views From A Landmark Crossing

Wherever you go in Lanzhou, the Yellow River never seems far away, and dominates the geography of the city. This attractive, sturdily built bridge has a pretty good claim to be the heart of the city, connecting the two banks of the river. Built in 1907-09 and stretching 250 meters, it was the very first bridge across the formidable waterway. But aside from history, it's the position of the bridge that really matters. At night, it's an incredible place to view the White Pagoda Temple and the rolling river making its way across Gansu.

3. The City's Most Powerful Park

As the name suggests, this picturesque green space is centered around a series of water wheels. These are not simply ornamental, however. In fact, they are remnants from a time when wheels like this powered the city's mills and workshops. For centuries, the Yellow River poured into their buckets, producing huge amounts of energy. Coal and solar may be in the ascendant now, but the park is a fascinating testament to the power of water. These particular wheels have been restored, but are almost exact replicas of those that would have lined the river's banks 800 years ago.

4. A Mammoth Museum

Lanzhou's pre-eminent museum is a vast reservoir of delights that takes hours (or maybe days) to do it justice. The exhibition halls cover over 18,000 square meters and documents the province's history, from neolithic pottery urns to gorgeous silk fabrics (a reference to Lanzhou's position at the end of the "Silk Road"), and written slips from the Han era. There are artistic masterpieces like the so-called "Flying Horse of Wǔwēi", and natural masterpieces, too, including a 4 meter high mammoth skeleton. All-in-all, an absorbing museum.

5. Put A Spring In Your Step At This Gorgeous Park

Lanzhou's escape valve for family recreation, Five Springs Park can be found on the lower slopes of Gaolan Mountain, not far northwest of the city center. Opened in 1955, the park includes a zoo and amusement park that kids will love. However, as the name suggests, it's also full of natural springs, dotted around the slopes. Exploring them all is possible on foot, and they are all achingly photogenic. And, to top it all off, the park also hosts a cluster of Buddhist temples. Definitely an easy place to spend a day.

1. Sheer Buddhist Brilliance

Rising to seven stories and 17 meters in height, the White Pagoda is one of Lanzhou's architectural jewels. Dating from the 13th century, the temple can't be missed as you look across to northern Lanzhou, and getting there is simple via the Zhongshan Bridge. When you enter, you'll be intoxicated by the temple itself, the 8,000 square meter park that surrounds it, and the stunning views to be obtained by scaling the mountain's peak.

2. Fabulous Views From A Landmark Crossing

Wherever you go in Lanzhou, the Yellow River never seems far away, and dominates the geography of the city. This attractive, sturdily built bridge has a pretty good claim to be the heart of the city, connecting the two banks of the river. Built in 1907-09 and stretching 250 meters, it was the very first bridge across the formidable waterway. But aside from history, it's the position of the bridge that really matters. At night, it's an incredible place to view the White Pagoda Temple and the rolling river making its way across Gansu.

3. The City's Most Powerful Park

As the name suggests, this picturesque green space is centered around a series of water wheels. These are not simply ornamental, however. In fact, they are remnants from a time when wheels like this powered the city's mills and workshops. For centuries, the Yellow River poured into their buckets, producing huge amounts of energy. Coal and solar may be in the ascendant now, but the park is a fascinating testament to the power of water. These particular wheels have been restored, but are almost exact replicas of those that would have lined the river's banks 800 years ago.

4. A Mammoth Museum

Lanzhou's pre-eminent museum is a vast reservoir of delights that takes hours (or maybe days) to do it justice. The exhibition halls cover over 18,000 square meters and documents the province's history, from neolithic pottery urns to gorgeous silk fabrics (a reference to Lanzhou's position at the end of the "Silk Road"), and written slips from the Han era. There are artistic masterpieces like the so-called "Flying Horse of Wǔwēi", and natural masterpieces, too, including a 4 meter high mammoth skeleton. All-in-all, an absorbing museum.

5. Put A Spring In Your Step At This Gorgeous Park

Lanzhou's escape valve for family recreation, Five Springs Park can be found on the lower slopes of Gaolan Mountain, not far northwest of the city center. Opened in 1955, the park includes a zoo and amusement park that kids will love. However, as the name suggests, it's also full of natural springs, dotted around the slopes. Exploring them all is possible on foot, and they are all achingly photogenic. And, to top it all off, the park also hosts a cluster of Buddhist temples. Definitely an easy place to spend a day.

Where to Eat in Lanzhou

Noodle dishes are a local staple and you can try some of the best at Mo GouYan LaoZiHao Beef Noddle or JinQiang Beef Noddle. An inexpensive meal costs ¥52 and dinner for two at an upscale restaurant is ¥343.

When to visit Lanzhou

Lanzhou in April
Estimated hotel price
$32
1 night at 3-star hotel
Lanzhou in April
Estimated hotel price
$32
1 night at 3-star hotel

Summer is hot and humid while winters can be cold. Visit in spring from March to May, or plan a fall getaway from September to October.

Data provided by weatherbase
Temperatures
Temperatures
Average
Celcius (°C)
Data provided by weatherbase

How to Get to Lanzhou

Plane

Lanzhou Zhongchuan Airport (LHW) is 43.5 miles from the city. Take the airport shuttle bus to your hotel for ¥30 or get a taxi for ¥140.

Train

Take the train from major cities like Shanghai, Beijing, and Nanjing to Lanzhou Railway Station. The station is just south of the downtown district and taxis and buses are readily available.

Car

Several major highways converge on the city. However, you'll need a current Chinese license if you wish to drive to Lanzhou.

Bus

Lanzhou is a transportation hub for Gansu Province and buses from over 450 destinations arrive and depart daily. The two main stations are East Bus Station and West Bus Station and both are well served by local buses.

Airports near Lanzhou

Airlines serving Lanzhou

United Airlines
Good (2,459 reviews)
KLM
Good (290 reviews)
Delta
Excellent (2,656 reviews)
Air New Zealand
Excellent (35 reviews)
China Eastern
Excellent (10 reviews)
China Southern
Excellent (7 reviews)
Air China
Okay (3 reviews)
Shanghai Airlines
Excellent (2 reviews)
Hainan Airlines
Excellent (3 reviews)
Show more

Where to stay in Lanzhou

Mid-range hotels like the Crowne Plaza Lanzhou, the Grand Soluxe Hotel Gansu, and the Lanzhou Legend Hotel are ideal for couples or families. Inexpensive alternatives include Home Inn and Hotel Ibis Lanzhou.

Popular neighbourhoods in Lanzhou

Chengguan District - the downtown district and the city's commercial hub, it's noted for its good hotels and restaurants and Lanzhou Railway Station.

Anning District - this northwestern neighborhood has a high student population and is home to Lanzhou Jiaotong University and Northwest Normal University.

Qilihe District - lies on the southern bank of the Yellow River. Attractions include Xihu Park and the Yellow River Mother statue, which is the symbol of Lanzhou.

Where to stay in popular areas of Lanzhou

Most booked hotels in Lanzhou

Crowne Plaza Lanzhou
Excellent (8.9, Excellent reviews)
$132+
Wanda Vista Lanzhou
Excellent (8.5, Excellent reviews)
$163+

How to Get Around Lanzhou

Public Transportation

Buses are frequent and convenient with over 110 routes covering the city. The standard fare is ¥2.

Taxi

Over 8,000 taxis operate in the city and they charge a starting rate of ¥10 plus ¥1.40 for each additional 1.9 miles up to 10 miles. After 10 miles the rate is ¥2.10 per 1.9 miles.

Car

Rent a car with a Chinese driver and explore the region at your leisure. Rates are from ¥200-400 per day, depending on the destination.

The Cost of Living in Lanzhou

Shopping Streets

Buy local arts and crafts like engraved pebbles, carved gourds, Tao River inkstone, or traditional clay terrines at Haifu Market or Hezheng Lu Night Market. Visit the Dongfang Underground Shopping Mall or Lanzhou Xidan Mall for clothes and accessories.

Groceries and Other

Try Beijing Hualian Supermarket or Dongfanghong Square Supermarket for food and basics. You'll pay ¥13 for a quart of milk or ¥50 for 16oz of local cheese.