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6-Day Silk Road Photography Tour in Zhangye and Dunhuang

Silk Road Photography Tour

Zhangye has become a new star destination for photography in recent years, with people traveling there from all over the world to see its marvelous landscapes and colors. In this photography tour, you will have sufficient time to take photos of the Rainbow Mountains, rocky landscapes, desert wonders, and cultural relics.


  • Take photos of the Rainbow Mountains, one of world's 25 dream travel destinations as described by many well-known websites.
  • Grasp the opportunity to see the Mogao Caves, which might disappear in 50 years.
  • Witness the desert wonder — Crescent Moon Spring — and shoot the desert sunset.
  • Visit the unique Devil City to capture the shapes and shadows of the Yadan landforms.
  • Take photos on the Rainbow Mountains, one of world's 25 dream travel destinations by many well-known websites in the world in 2015.

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Suggested Itinerary

Day 1Zhangye Arrival

When you arrive in Zhangye, your private tour guide will be waiting for you at the airport/ train station. A comfortable vehicle will be ready to transfer you to your hotel.

Hotel options:
Tianyu International Hotel (4-star)
Zhangye Hotel (5-star)

Day 2Zhangye Danxia National Geological Park (Rainbow Mountains)

breakfast and lunch

After breakfast, start your photography tour at the most popular site — the Rainbow Mountains. As the name suggests, the Rainbow Mountains have several belts of color. It looks as though colors have been spilled over the mountains, hence its nickname: 'Color Palette Overturned by God'.

You will spend the whole day there so try different angles at different times of the day. In the morning, the weather is cool and the coloring tends to be blue, whereas in the afternoon the coloring tends to be red under the sun.

Tip to Tailor-Make Your Tour:

If you like, you can stay in the Rainbow Mountains area from the time it opens until the time it closes (7am–6pm in summer, 7:30am–5pm in winter). If you don't get satisfactory photos while you're there, you can add another day!

Danxia National Geological Park Danxia National Geological Park
Day 3Zhangye Binggou Danxia Landforms and Train to Dunhuang

breakfast, lunch and dinner

People go to the Rainbow Mountains for their colors and visit Binggou Danxia Landforms area for its rock formations. You will spend the whole day in the Binggou Danxia Landforms area, which is also part of Zhangye Danxia National Geological Park. Different from the colorful Rainbow Mountains, the Binggou Danxia Landforms display more normal colors but more peculiar shapes.

After you have seen the landforms, you will be driven back to the city to enjoy a local dinner.

Afterward, your guide and driver will take you to the station for your train to Dunhuang. You Dunhuang guide will pick you up at the train station and send you to the hotel.

Hotel options:
Dunhuang Hotel (4-star)
The Silk Road Dunhuang Hotel (5-star)

Optional evening ideas:

Ganzhou Market is the busiest place in the evening in Zhangye. You can enjoy trying various types of local food there. People love to gather there to enjoy barbecues, sweetmeats, noodles, and beer.

Tip to Tailor-Make Your Tour:

We know that photography needs suitable weather. If the weather is poor, we can help you to revise the itinerary at the last minute.

Danxia LandformsDanxia Landforms
Day 4Dunhuang's Mogao Caves and Desert Scenery

breakfast & lunch

Your Dunhuang tour guide will be waiting for you at the train station, ready to transfer you to your hotel.

After breakfast in your hotel, you will visit the Mogao Caves , which were built at the edge of the desert between the 4th and 14th centuries. Although you can't take photos in the caves, it's good to have the opportunity to see the original items inside them, and you will have the chance to take photos of murals in another location the following day.

After lunch, go to the Singing Sand Mountains and Crescent Moon Spring . Climb to the top of a sand dune to enjoy the marvelous spectacle of the crescent moon-shaped spring lying in the desert. Ride a camel in the desert and imagine how caravans crossed the desert over 1,000 years ago. You can also take photos of a desert sunset.

Tip to Tailor-Make Your Tour:

The ticket for the Singing Sand Mountains and Crescent Moon Spring allows for a second entry into the area. Therefore, if you want to, you can go back to this site again the following day.

Mogao CavesMogao Caves
Day 5Dunhuang Museum and Geological Park

breakfast & lunch

In the morning, you will visit Dunhuang Museum, where you can take photos of exquisite murals copied from those in the Mogao Caves.

After lunch, you will be driven to Devil City — Yadan National Geological Park. Devil City is famous for its nighttime sounds and vivid rocks in various shapes that look like animals or world-famous attractions. If you want to, you can stay there until sunset.

Tip to Tailor-Make Your Tour:

The sunset in the Devil City is highly recommended, witness the sun going down above the vast Gobi Desert, you might feel like you are on another planet.

When you are in the Devil City, you can rent a jeep instead of the official shuttle bus, which will give you more flexibility to explore the corners.

Yadan National Geological ParkYadan National Geological Park
Day 6Dunhuang Departure


Your guide and driver will take you to the airport to catch your flight and will make sure that your check-in goes smoothly.

Trip Notes

Transportation to and from Zhangye and Dunhuang

Domestic airlines and trains can access Zhangye and Dunhuang easily. There are daily flights between Zhangye/Dunhuang and the main cities in China, such as Xi'an, Shanghai, Chengdu, and Lanzhou. Please tell us your previous/next destination, and we will help you to arrange the transportation.

Overnight Train

This tour includes an overnight train experience. We have arranged a deluxe soft sleeper for you, which means you will have a private compartment with a door and two soft sleepers (bunks) in it. The bunks are each equipped with a pillow and a blanket. All the bedding is clean and sterilized.

If you are traveling in a group with more than two people, we can also arrange normal soft sleepers for you. This is a compartment with four soft sleepers (bunks) to make sure that your group is in one compartment.

Tour Price

FromUS 929 p/p Based on a private tour for 2 people. Price varies depending on program, travel date, number of people and chosen hotel

Price includes:

  • Private air-conditioned business car with big windows and ample space
  • English speaking local guide
  • Activities, hotels, and meals listed in the itinerary
  • 24/7 helpline for while you are traveling

Your 1:1 travel consultant will reply within 1 working day.

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