Photography Tour of Northwest China

Photography Tour of Northwest China

CETPH-08: 6 Days Zhangye and Dunhuang Photography Tour

The geographical environment in northwestern China has created the unique features of Zhangye and Dunhuang. Start from Zhangye, where you can photograph the unique rainbow mountains, Binggou Danxia landform, and Kangle grassland. Dunhuang is a typical warm temperate arid climate. The scenery of the desert and Yardang are impressive. Besides all this, the great Buddhist art treasures and the Han Great Wall have been preserved there. Our professional photo guide will lead the way to each perfect camera point.

Trip Highlights

  • Photograph the geological wonders at the best timing
  • Shoot the brilliant desert sunset in Dunhuang
  • Take pictures of camels marching in formation in the desert
  • Appreciate the world famous grottoes and frescoes
  • Professional photography guides speaking your language
Suitable For: Photographers, Photo Lovers

Full itinerary for Photography Tour of Northwest China

Day 1
Zhangye Arrival

Arrive at Zhangye airport or train station; you will meet your guide who will accompany you to your hotel. Have a good rest at the hotel.

Day 2
Zhangye: Photograph The Geological Landscape (breakfast & lunch)

Binggou Danxia Park, a masterpiece of nature, is like red flowers blooming on the stones of the Silk Road. One of scenic areas – Daxitian – is also called Belphégor – Le fantôme du Louvre, and is even more figurative than the artificial one. The formations which were once in the ocean 65.5 million years ago have become strange isolated rocks after a long period of weathering and water erosion. They look like ice sculptures melting, and it is definitely a must-go place for photographers.

Binggou Danxia Park

You can stop by the vast Kangle Grassland nearby. It is famous for its naturally formed nine rows of pines.

Kangle Grassland

Zhangye Danxia landform was named as one of the "World's top 10 Geographical Wonders" by National Geographic magazine in 2011. Dozens of kilometers of rolling mountains and thousands of cliffs present bright red and reddish brown, rendering a unique sense of rhythm and layering. The most beautiful sights can be captured after rain or at sunrise and sunset.

Danxia landform
Day 3
Zhangye – Dunhuang by Speed Train: The Temple of Xixia Buddhism (breakfast & lunch)

Before heading to Dunhuang, you will visit the Giant Buddha Temple. Asia’s largest indoor wooden fetal clay reclining Buddha, palace-style architecture layout, frescoes, and sculptures could be your shooting subjects. Get on the speed train to Dunhuang.

reclining Buddha

On arrival, our guide will pick you up at the train station and transfer you to your hotel.

Day 4
Dunhuang: Buddhist Art and Desert Landscape (breakfast & lunch)

As a World Cultural Heritage, Mogao Grottoes is the world’s largest and most abundant Buddhist art site. You will be taken back to each period through the exquisite mural paintings and statues in different stages. Even though no photos are allowed inside, it is still worth seeing. Keep the images of its outside look, iconic memorial archway, and the Nine-story Temple as souvenir pictures.


The Nine-story Temple


After lunch, you will spend a half day in the Echoing Sand Mountains. Many award-winning photos were taken there, such as The Way Home, The Desert Raider, and Rejoin The Unit, which recorded the status of the camel team. Ride on a camel up to the mountains; you can have a perfect spot to capture a panorama of Crescent Lake. It is in the shape of a new moon, coexisting with the sand for thousands of years.

camel team
a lady sitting on the Echoing Sand Mountains
Day 5
Dunhuang: Yardang Landform and Historical Site (breakfast & lunch)

After breakfast, we will drive you to the Ruins of the Great Wall of the Han Dynasty. The Han Great Wall still stands in the Gobi sand after wind and rain erosion over 2,000 years. Against the backdrop of distant mountains in the north, the Great Wall stretches intermittently in a direction that is faintly visible on the southeastern horizon of Yumenguan Pass.

the Han Great Wall

After a lunch break, you will shoot the sunset in Yardang National Geopark. 77 geological ruins in this vast park are in thousands of postures under the action of wind erosion after about 100,000 years. The most famous is “The Fleet Going to the Sea”. The magnificent view is that of rows of ‘ships’ in order which are heading to the sea in one direction.

Yardang landform
Day 6
Dunhuang Departure (breakfast)

Your photography tour ends today. The guide will take you to the airport / train station for your next destination.

Featured Hotel

  Comfortable Deluxe
Zhangye Tianyu International Hotel Zhangye Hotel
Dunhuang Dunhuang Fuguo Hotel The Silk Road Dunhuang Hotel

What's Included in the Tour Price?

  • Comfortable private vehicle with a licensed driver
  • Professional English speaking photography guide
  • Hotel accommodation with daily breakfast
  • Lunches mentioned in the itinerary
  • All entrance fees to mentioned attractions
  • The speed train ticket from Zhangye to Dunhuang
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