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8-Day Gansu Photography Tour

The photography tour offers an opportunity to explore the rugged and arid northwest region of China, where you can capture stunning landscapes and immerse yourself in the rich culture of the historic Silk Road.

  • Capture stunning images of the rainbow mountains and Danxia landforms in Zhangye

  • Witness the rugged and untamed Jiayuguan Pass

  • Appreciate the ancient grottoes of Dunhuang

  • Photograph the breathtaking desert landscapes during sunrise and sunset


Lanzhou - Zhangye - Jiayuguan - Dunhuang


8 days, 7 nights

Fitness level

Upper Medium

Drone friendly


Tour type



May to October

A photo escape like no other

The itinerary has been crafted by a photography specialist to inspire your next escape. You have the flexibility to personalize it according to your preferences and style, allowing you to capture the scenery and locals on your own conditions and departing at your convenience.

Photo Tour Itinerary

Day 1: Lanzhou Arrival

Upon your arrival at Lanzhou airport or train station, a local guide will greet you and accompany you to your hotel in a private vehicle.


You will spend the night in Lanzhou.

Day 2: Lanzhou - Zhangye

Embark on a journey to visit the ancient White Pagoda Mountain, a structure that has stood for over 600 years.

Afterwards, delve into the rich history and culture of Gansu by visiting the Gansu Provincial Museum. Be sure not to miss the museum's highlights, the Buddhism Culture Hall and Pottery Culture Hall.

Finally, take a 3-hour high-speed train to Zhangye.

Stay overnight in Zhangye.

Day 3: Zhangye

In the morning, take a visit the Giant Buddha Temple, renowned for housing Asia's largest indoor sleeping Buddha. This temple, which contains many precious Buddhist scriptures and wall paintings, was constructed a millennium ago. The Buddha statue, carved entirely out of wood, measures an impressive 34.5 meters in length.

Later in the day, take a one-hour drive to see the Zhangye Danxia Landform. This breathtaking petrographic geomorphology landscape is composed of red-colored sandstones and conglomerates, forming thousands of mountains and cliffs that resemble a colorful sunset glow.

Afterwards, return to Zhangye.

Day 4: Zhangye - Jiayuguan

Begin your journey with a scenic 3-hour drive to Jiayuguan.

Upon arrival in the afternoon, explore the Jiayuguan Fort and take a leisurely stroll along the ancient city wall. Experience the rich history of the "first pass under heaven" and immerse yourself in the fascinating exhibits at the Great Wall Museum.

While capturing photos of the Jiayuguan Fort, take advantage of the stunning surroundings as your backdrop. The breathtaking views of the snowcapped Qilian Mountains to the north and the black Mazong Mountains to the south provide the perfect setting for your photos.

Day 5: Jiayuguan - Dunhuang

Begin your day with an early morning drive from Jiayuguan to Dunhuang.

En route, take a break to explore the Yulin Grottoes. These forty-two caves are home to over 250 polychrome statues and 4,200 square meters of wall paintings, dating back to the Tang Dynasty through the Yuan Dynasty (seventh to fourteenth centuries).

After your visit to the Yulin Grottoes, continue your drive towards Dunhuang City.

Day 6: Dunhuang

Embark on a full day of cultural and sightseeing activities after breakfast in Dunhuang.

Begin your journey by driving to the Mogao Grottoes, also known as the "Louvre of the East". These grottoes are renowned for their exquisite mural paintings and statues.


Please note that photography is not permitted inside the caves to preserve the relics. However, you can capture some great photos of the serried caves built into the high cliffs from outside.

Next, visit the Echoing Sand Mountains and Crescent Lake. Capture the stunning sunset over the sand dunes and take in the beauty of the area.

Day 7: Dunhuang

Today's main attraction is the Yardang National Geopark, a natural wonder formed by the erosion of soft earth surfaces by wind and rain, leaving behind the hard rocks in the desert.

Start your journey by driving westward from Dunhuang City. Along the way, capture some stunning photos of the Yumenguan Pass and the ruins of the Great Wall of the Han Dynasty.

After exploring the Yardang National Geopark, drive back to Dunhuang City.

Day 8: Dunhuang Departure

Today is a day of leisure for you to plan your own activities until your tour guide sees you off at the Dunhuang Airport/Train Station.


Enjoy the freedom to explore the city at your own pace and immerse yourself in the local culture.

Trip Notes

01. The best time for photography

The best time to visit Zhangye is May to October.

02. Camera and lens suggestions

  • My recommendation to customers is to carry two cameras while photographing, as it saves time in changing lenses, especially during sunrise and sunset when the scenery changes rapidly. This ensures that you don't miss any beautiful moments.

  • For landscape photography, it's best to bring a wide-angle and zoom lens, such as 24-70mm and 70-200mm.

  • Additionally, a tripod is essential in low-light conditions, such as at dawn and dusk.

03. Drone photography

Drone photography in Yangshuo and Longji rice terraces is a must-try experience as the stunning mountain views are best captured from above. A drone can capture breathtaking aerial shots that are otherwise impossible to reach.


Moreover, there are no special restrictions for drone flying in Guilin and its surrounding areas.

What's Included

  • Photography guiding

  • All transportation in the itinerary

  • Accomordation ( 5 star or local best hotels) for 7 nights, breakfast each morning at your hotel

  • Personal processing instructions

  • Fresh Coffee if outdoor in early morning

  • Airport/train station pick up and transfer in Guilin or Yangshuo

  • 24/7 in-destination support from our local office

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Photography Begins Here

All you need to do is provide us with your requirements, and we will connect you with an experienced local photography guide.

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