Zhangye Danxia

There are many pleasing outdoor wonders to visit, and most them are closer to your home than the multicolored land formations of China’s Zhangye Danxia, where you’ll find what the Atlas of Wonders calls “perhaps the greatest gathering of different pigments in natural stone in the world.” But if you’re going to China anyway, shouldn’t this be part of your itinerary?


The Atlas points out that the Danxia in Zhangye Danxia refers to “a type of landscape found in China, characterized by prominent boulders and steep cliffs. It is similar to karst rocks, but formed by layers of conglomerate instead of compact blocks of rock.” These are located near the Gansu city of Zhangye, 850 miles due of Beijing.


Visiting Zhangye , a former silk road commercial hub, might not be easy for a novice traveler, but there are multiple tour options. We can’t endorse Silk Road Angel Tours because we haven’t tried them, but they offer an enticing 17-day Gansu-Tibet-Shanghai tour that looks like it would give you spectacular scenery, English-speaking guides and a modicum of comfort. Not cheap ($6700 per person for groups of 2-5) but if you’ve ever tried to make your own way through China’s back country, you might think it’s well worth the cost.


Photo: Silk Road Angel Travel