I’m human, and even though I get annoyed at “listicles” I can’t help but click on any list called “25 Truly Amazing Places You Must Visit Before you Die,” or “27 Surreal Places to Visit Before you Die!” On almost all those lists is the Danxia Rainbow Rocks of Zhangye. So when I found myself in Zhangye, I knew I had to go.
Later in the day is the time to go to see these beauties shine. As the light changes the color changes and it is truly breathtaking. The rocks were formed by periods of erosion, freezing, thawing and desert conditions. Even better the park is well maintained and organized (with shuttle buses driving you around the the four scenic spots) and while there was thousands upon thousands of visitors, the place was clean and orderly.
And pictures don’t quite do the place justice (especially with my 3-year-old cell phone). It was even more breathtaking in person.
The rocks have slowly eroded over time and there are unique shapes like pillars and mounds. One area looks like several monks kowtowing to a sleeping Buddha. Not all the rocks are colorful, but even the plain ones have an immense beauty.
Travel Tips: You need to rent a car to get here from Zhangye (or take a tour) as it is about an hour away from the city. Your admission ticket pays for the shuttle buses between the four viewing areas. At sunset the fourth is the most beautiful but also the most popular with thousands of people jostling to take the best pictures. It’s not worth fighting the crowds as the other locations are incredibly beautiful and less crowded.