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Jiayu Pass

Jiayuguan city is a true treasure from the past. Here, Chinese ancestors took care of building passes of the Great Wall to protect themselves and have a better life. Without realizing it, they ended up creating cultural phenomena on the mountains with their effort, something that has been conserved until today. In fact, it remains in the memories of both locals and tourists.

In the mild autumn weather, Jiayu Pass, Xuanbi Wall and Diyidun exhibit their magnificence along with the best views of the environment on the observation decks.  And, surrounded by night lights, local restaurants open their doors to you so you can try authentic Chinese Northwest´s barbeque.

Things to do +

Explore Jiayu Pass (嘉峪关)

Description: Jiayuguan Pass is the first pass at the western end of the Great Wall of China. It´s part of Hexi´s corridor and also one of the essential points of the Silk Road. It was built next to an oasis in between of two hills. With a trapezoidal shape, the pass was built in 1372 to essentially protect people and the country from the Turkish invasion.

Jiayuguan has two different entrances. One of them is free, where you´ll be able to see Jiayu Pass’ fortress and part of the wall in the distance; while to enter to the other you´ll have to pay the ticket and they´d show you more points of the scenic area.

Before starting the visit, related personnel will give you some basic explanations about this place. Then, once the free visit starts, you can go up to the observation decks and see the landscape in the distance. This last is formed by army barracks, the wall and the pass itself.  If you are lucky and the weather is nice, you can even see the snowy Qilian Mountains in the distance.

Here you can also enjoy your day doing other activities such as go karting, buggy riding or horseback riding.

If you are curious and want to know more about the history of this interesting place, you can rent a self-guide at the entrance, which will explain each point of Jiayu Pass in detail. It is a fairly large attraction, so we recommend you look at the map at the entrance before starting the tour, as it is easy to get lost.

 

Experience Xuanbi (悬臂长城)

Description: Xuanbi Wall, also called the Cantilever Great Wall, consists of a northward extension of Jiayu Pass, being an important part of the ancient Jiayuguan military system. It is named like this due to its location on a 45º crest, and it was built with materials such as stone and clay, which make it unbreakable.

Up on the mountain, you’ll see how the sun goes down slowly in the distance, while at the foot of the mountain, you’ll witness camels walking and statues of renowned people who made the Silk Road, such as Marco Polo, Qubing Huo or Chao Ban.

 

Visit Diyidun (第一墩, the first pier)

Description: Diyidun, also known as Taolaihe Pier, is the pier located at the westernmost end of the Great Wall of China and it’s on a cliff almost 56 meters high from Taolai River.

Although it is a fairly simple destination, many people decide to go there to see Taolai River (讨赖河) and the valley that contains it. It is as if the Earth has cracked and formed a hole out of nowhere, giving tourists an impressive feeling. In addition, there is a slide that runs through the valley, through which you can see the surrounding landscape more clearly.

 

Try the typical local dishes

Description: Go to Datang Street (大唐路) to try the best dishes of this city, such as a hot noodle soup with some roasted lamb skewers, something that will definitely be a pleasure for your palate.

How to get +

By train: highly recommended to go to Jiayuguan city due to its affordable price and fast speed. There is a tourist train line that runs from Lanzhou to Dunhuang, with stops in Zhangye and Jiayuguan. This is a good option for those who want to visit various destinations on Xibei route, since the connection between cities is usually very fast and convenient.

By plane: this is definitely another option that can take less travel time. There are direct flights to the Jiayuguan airport, otherwise, a stopover would be made at airports such as Lanzhou, where you can take a train (if you prefer it) to go to Jiayuguan and see the landscapes along the way.

By car: for those who decide to travel in a group or prefer to have a more intimate space, this is a good choice. Above all, as mentioned above, if you want to tour the northwest of China and visit other cities such as Dunhuang, it is highly advisable to rent a vehicle with driver or bring your own.

Tickets and prices +

Jiayu Pass + Xuanbi Wall + Diyidun (it is better to buy it as a pack):  The price is ¥110-120 per person, it can be purchased at the moment and has a duration of 3 days. This is more recommended since, in case it is purchased separately (ask about the availability of this option), it would be more expensive because the entrance for Jiayu Pass itself already costs ¥110, while Xuanbi and Diyidun are ¥21 each.

Self-guide Jiayuguan: 20¥.

Hourseback riding, buggy riding or karting: ¥60, ¥60 y ¥120 respectively.

Travel tips +

Transport:

Being a place with few places to visit, and with no public transport between different points, we especially recommend renting a car with a driver for a day and doing the tour the same day.

Renting can be done directly online in tourist intermediaries or always official and credible pages. In case you want to do it offline, if you have come by train, you can ask the train station drivers to hire one directly. The cost will be around ¥150-350 per day.

Also, if Jiayu Pass is only one of the many destinations you want to go to and are open, for example, to do the Xibei route, then this option is highly recommended.

You can also get around by public transport. For example, to get to Jiayu Pass, you can take a bus from the center of the city (lines 4 and 6) and get off at Guanchengjing stop.

 

Time of the year:

Our advice is traveling here in autumn, because temperatures are very extreme throughout the northwest region of China. Therefore, hydration is very important at any time, not only physically, but also by drinking plenty of water every moment you can.

Gastronomy +

Jiayuguan’s barbecue is one of the greatest prides of the locals for being recognized as one of the tastiest in the northwest of China. Roast lamb and some beers are the perfect and indispensable combination. Almost all parts of this animal’s body are used and exclusive lamb dishes and tapas are created. In addition, the beer they offer as a complement is also unique, as it is a local specialty with a great pineapple flavor. As in the case of Dunhuang, being the two destinations on Xibei route, the apricot soda is really renowned. Made with dried apricot, hawthorn and medlar meat, it is very famous and at the same time refreshing.

Accommodation +

Herdsman Youth Hostel 2:  It is a juvenile and modern hostel located in the central area of ​​the city.

 Price per night: ¥45-50 per person.

Address: Building B, He Xi Business Mansion, South Yu Quan Road, 735100, Gansu, China.

You can make the reservation through intermediaries such as Booking.

 

Ibis Jiayuguan Railway Station Hotel:  Ibis chain hotel, located in the central area of ​​Jiayuguan which also offers excursion organization.

a)       Price per night: ¥130-150 each person.

b)       Address: Yinbin Road Nº 1, 735100, Jiayuguan, China.

c)       You can make the reservation through intermediaries such as Booking.

d)       Contact: 0181-9373-5920.

Useful contacts +

Jiayuguan Tourism Office: 0937-632-6068.

Gansu Tourist Website: 0931-887-3901.

Jiayuguan Central Hospital: 0937-631-1120.