It is no exaggeration to admit that the Zhangye Danxia are one of the most incredible rock formations that you will ever have a chance to see in your time on Earth. Located in the geopark of the same name in the Ganzu region, the only reason that this place hasn't become a hive of tourism is its off-the-beaten-path location. This means that you'll not be jostling for position at any of the four viewing areas for a chance to the see these vibrantly colorful striations of rock created by millions of years of sandstone and minerals being crushed together and then exposed by plate shifting. It also means that there won't be much else of adventurous or cultural value in this part of the world.
Seeing the technicolor brilliance of these rock formations is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity and it's not as hard to get to as it may seem. Catch a flight into Lanzhou (the nearest city at about 500 km/310 miles away) from most other large domestic destinations and then take the train north from Lanzhou to Zhangye, where you can book a chance to see the Zhangye Danxia at most local hotels. The bad news is that this incredible piece of land is beginning to draw a lot of international attention from the array of gorgeous pictures being scattered about the Internet, which will inspire many others to add this to their China itineraries. Give yourself a chance to see it before it's swarmed with tourists!
Note:The map position is approximate. Also, the best time to see the landform is early morning or late evening, when the sun isn't as direct and the colors of the mountains get a chance to stand out. Recent rain also brings out the fantastic range of colors.