The first major city along the Yellow River (Huáng Hé), Gānsù’s capital has been an important garrison town since ancient times. Following the communist victory and the city’s integration into the expanding rail network, Lánzhōu developed quickly, perhaps too quickly – for a time in the late 1990s it was considered the world’s most polluted city.
Lánzhōu is a major transport hub, and the beginning of some epic overland journeys into Xīnjiāng, Sìchuān and Tibet. While there are a number of great destinations surrounding the capital, there’s little reason to linger here any longer than it takes to extend your visa or book your train ticket.
Lánzhōu destination guides
China Silk Road
Trace the Silk Road through China
Xi'an to Kashgar
Discover China away from the tourist trail. From the home of the famed Terracotta Warriors in Xi'an we make our way up to the Tibetan Plateau and the pilgrimage site of Xiahe. From here we journey to Jiayuguan and the end of the Great Wall, some 3,000 miles from Beijing.