Saturday, 14 October 2017

Silk Road: Zhangye Danxia Geological Park

Minerals and sandstone helped create these colourful rock formations
One of the highlights of the Silk Road tour was visiting Zhangye Danxia Geopark. It took a while to get there, and once we arrived, we had to board the park's own buses to tour around the place in a kind of hop on, hop off style to four different spots.

Located in the county of Zhangye, in the foothills of the Qilian mountains, the park covers 322 square kilometres and it's very impressive -- the hill formations look "rainbow" coloured, with layers of colours formed due to deposits of sandstone and other minerals over a 24 million year period.

Each spot in the geopark looked amazing
And the colours and the rock formations really are cool -- it's kind of like the Chinese version of the Grand Canyon, but with brightly coloured hills in layers of red, orange, white, green that seem to go on and on.

Each location seemed more amazing than the one before, providing dramatic backdrops for people interested in selfies and group pictures. It was quite hot that day, not scorching, but enough to warrant a hat and some sunscreen.

For the most part people were respectful of the environment, though a few did go out of bounds to get what they felt was a better shot. Our tour guide quickly reprimanded them and they complied. One more step and they could have fallen down the hill...

Some areas allowed visitors to have a good overview
There was a sign that said no aerial cameras, probably meaning drones, but there were lots of selfie sticks...

We were so lucky to come just before Golden Week so there weren't that many tourists. And since the park is so spread out, there was lots of room to move around freely and take good shots. Somehow I feel like the pictures I took didn't even capture this awe-inspiring place properly...

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