Danxia (/dan-sshyaa/) means'rosy cloud' and is a type of sandstone landform, which is often reddish. Taining's Danxia features red cliffs, towering peaks, and dramatic caves. Visitors from all over the world come to this area to marvel at the impressive results of millions of years of geological activity, elegantly framed with gorgeous lakes and winding rivers.
Taining's Danxia area is home to some of the most spectacular caves in the world, and is one of the six UNESCO World Heritage China Danxia Landform sites.
- Chinese: 泰宁丹霞地貌 Tàiníng Dānxiá Dìmào/teye-ning dan-sshyaa dee-maow/
- Total area: 235 sq km (91 sq. mi.)-core area: 111 sq km (43 sq. mi.) +buffer area
- Age: Formed about 80 million years ago, itbecame a UNESCO World Heritage site in 2010.
- Main attractions: Dajin Lake, Zhaixia Grand Canyon, Shangqing Stream
- Suited to: nature lovers, geologists
- Time needed: 1 day
Why Taining Danxia is Special - Geologically-speaking…
- Non-geologists are recommended to skip this section.
Taining Danxia Landform is the only example of gorge-style, adolescent Danxia landform in China's subtropical zone, therefore it's indispensable for charting the geomorphic evolution of China's Danxia landforms. It has been described as "where the story of China's Danxia landform begins ".
Tainingplays an irreplaceable role in the study of China's Danxia, as it has the most intact prehistoric planation surfaces, the most intense network of valleys, the most mature cliff caves, the richest cave diversity, and the most significant Danxia on water.
For a billion years Taining has recorded the formation and development of the West Pacific plate margin, and retained complete and remarkable prehistoric planation surfaces, consisting of mountain shear planes, netted valleys, and other Danxia landforms.
"The Taining Landscape"
Intricate canyon complexes, together with the grand Danxia cliff sand unique incised meanders and cavern groups, form "the Taining landscape". Some 70 line valleys, 130 lane valleys, and more than 220 gorges are arranged in a crisscross pattern by plate margin processes. This wonder is rare among China's Danxia landforms.
Taining's Danxia ideally combines with lakes, streams, ponds, and waterfalls, forming a rare watery Danxia wonderland in China and abroad.
The Main Attractions
- Chinese: 大金湖 Dàjīn Hú /daa-jin hoo/'Big Gold Lake'
- Distance: about 20 minutes from Taining Town
- Ticket: 165 yuan (includes entry and cruise)
- Open: summer 7am–3:30pm; winter 7:30am–3pm
- Time needed: 4 hours
You can take a cruise on Dajin Lake to appreciate the stunning Danxia landforms. This scenic area is famous for "Danxia on Water". You can also see waterfalls and temples.
Zhaixia Grand Canyon
- Chinese: 寨下大峡谷Zhàixià Dàxiágǔ /jeye-sshyaa daa-sshyaa-goo/
- Distance: about 35 minutes from Taining Town
- Ticket: 55 yuan
- Open: 8am – 5pm
- Time needed: 3–4 hours
Zhaixia Grand Canyon is one of the main routes for Danxia landform expeditions, popular with scientists, geologists, and ecologists. Take a 3-hourhike, and the fresh air will clear your lungs.
- Chinese: 上清溪 Shàngqīng Xī /shung-ching sshee/
- Distance: about 45 minutes from Taining Town
- Ticket: 95 yuan (includes entry and rafting)
- Open: summer 7:30am–4pm; winter 8:30am–3pm
- Time needed: 2–3 hours
Shangqing Stream is one of the feeder streams of Dajin Lake. It remains a wild environment. The water is very clean without any pollution. The popular tourist route is to take a bamboo raft to get close to nature.
Cave Complexes and Cave Culture
The Danxia caves in Taining consist of over 60 large single caves and over 100 niche-like caves. These tens of thousands of caves, in different shapes and sizes, constitute a unique Danxia micro-landscape. They win Taining the title of'Danxia Cave Museum'. Visitors can explore both small caves and enormous subterranean worlds, as well as marvel at the unique geological strata on view.
Exploring caves can be a strenuous activity, so visitors with limited mobility or claustrophobic tendencies may feel more comfortable remaining on open ground.
Taining cave culture: Danxia landforms in Taining are integrated with traditional Chinese religions, like Confucianism, Buddhism, and Taoism. It is a model of harmonious coexistence between man and nature, with special cliff temples, discipleship, housing, and cave funeral practices. Visitors can see important temples from early Chinese dynasties. Some of which are amongst the oldest in the country.
The Best Times for a Visit
- Tourism high season: May–October
Because the prime attraction of the area is the unique geological aspects of the cliffs and canyons, any time of year is good for a visit.
If you're interested in hiking or more in-depth explorations of the region then the timing of your visit will be more dependent on the weather conditions. The rainy season runs from May to early August. The winter scenery is also beautiful, but very cold in the mountainous area.
Temperatures are lower than in the city, so bring warm clothes.
Location and Transport
Taining County (泰宁县) is in the prefecture of Sanming (三明市) in western Fujian Province. Most Danxia tours begin from Taining County Town.
Nearby airports are in the cities of Wuyishan, Fuzhou, and Xiamen. Driving from these three cities takes2–4 hours, with Wuyishan being much closer than the other two.
- Wuyi Mountains - gorgeous national park
- South Putuo Temple - popular Buddhist temple in Xiamen
- Gulangyu Island - beautiful island in Xiamen
See Taining'sDanxia Landforms with China Highlights
If you want to see the Danxia landforms, see our popular tour of Fujian highlights below, including beautiful island scenery and earthen buildings called tulou.
- 5–Day Xiamen, Tulou, and Wuyi Mountains Tour-cultural and scenic tour
Our tours can be customized, if you want to visit the Danxia at Taining as a day trip. Just tell us your interests and requirements, and China Highlights will create a Taining Danxia tour for you!
Other Recommended Danxia Locations in China
- Zhangye Danxia National Geological Park, Gansu
- Lang Mountains, Hunan
- Danxia Mountain, Guangzhou
- Jianglang Mountains, Zhejiang
- Chishui, Guizhou
- Longhu Mountains (dragon and tiger mountains), Jiangxi
- Bajiaozhai Geology Park, Guilin
See our article on the Top Danxia Landscapes in China.