Gannan Mysterious Land 2024
Explore Gannan's enchanting "Little Tibet," a vibrant and untouched realm lauded by Chinese National Geographic as a must-see destination in a lifetime's wanderings. Immerse yourself in the exquisite blend of Tibetan traditions and breathtaking highland vistas. Embark on this indelible expedition with us!
The tour starts and finishes in Lanzhou.
- Destinations Lanzhou, Xiahe, Zhagana, Aba, Maqu
- Duration 9 days, 8 nights
- Group size Less than 6
- Date August 15-23, 2024
- Fitness level Medium
- Drone friendly Yes
A taste of what to expect…
Day 1: Lanzhou Arrival
When you arrive at Lanzhou airport or train station, we will be ready to take you to your hotel.
Here are some free ideas for day trips:
- Visit the Gansu Provincial Museum to see ancient objects from the northwest area.
- Try the famous local dish - beef noodles, and watch how they make a bowl of noodles super fast.
- Take beautiful sunset pictures and enjoy the lively nighttime scene by the Yellow River.
Day 2: Lanzhou - Labrang Monastery - Langmusi
Set out on a morning trip to Xiahe, a Tibetan region.
Discover the famous Labrang Monastery, one of the six main temples of the Gelug Sect of Tibetan Buddhism. Be amazed by the longest row of prayer wheels in the world and take photos of Tibetan followers as they turn the wheels with devotion.
As you continue your journey, head to Langmusi town. On the route, seize enchanting moments of Tibetan life on the beautiful grasslands. Watch smoke rise from cooking fires and see traditional tents scattered across the landscape, offering a glimpse into their vibrant cultural legacy.
Day 3: Langmusi - Zhagana
Set off early to Langmusi and catch the beautiful sunrise on the pagodas and monasteries.
Then, keep going to Zhagana, where you can take pictures of the pretty grasslands and traditional Tibetan houses.
Zhagana, also called "The Stone Town," sits among the mountains and shows the real Tibetan culture in a peaceful way. It's like a magical place.
Later in the day, don't forget to take photos of the stunning sunset over Zhagana, making your experience even more special.
Day 4: Zhagana - Ruoergai Grand Prairie - Bends of the Yellow River
Enjoy the stunning sunrise from a beautiful spot in Zhagana, where ancient houses are surrounded by mystical clouds and mist.
Dive into the local culture by visiting a Tibetan family, getting a feel for their daily life, and taking personal indoor photos.
Keep going to the Huahu Scenery Area, where you can take pictures of the fascinating dance of light and shadow on the lake's surface as the sun shines on it.
When you reach Tangke before sunset, take the chance to photograph the enchanting First Bend of the Yellow River from a charming viewpoint. As the sun goes down, the whole valley will glow in golden hues, creating a truly magical feeling.
Day 5: Tangke - Aba
Start your journey on the Ruoergai Grand Prairie highway to reach the captivating Manzhatang Wetland.
Manzha Lake Wetland gives you a wide and open view with gentle slopes. From May to October, the wetland is filled with wildflowers, making it lively and picturesque. You'll see grazing cattle and sheep, along with tents of herders, creating a peaceful and calm feeling like a paradise away from the busy world.
In the afternoon, get to Aba and visit Gemo Monastery. Take pictures of the detailed architecture, like the Hall of Great Buddha, and the unique Siamese twin temple design that will surely impress you.
Day 6: Full day photograph in Lianbaoyeze
Early morning, we drove to the Lianbao Yezhe scenic area to shoot photos. Using soft lighting and a neutral density filter, we captured the flowing waters of Lianbao Yezhe Shenshan in the foreground.
After the shoot, we took a short break before starting a light hiking photography journey. Carrying minimal equipment, we reached the lesser-known "Hidden Lake" to capture the natural beauty of Lianbao Yezhe.
From there, we went to the "Summit Viewing Platform" for an excellent scenic view. Next stop was the iconic "Zhaga'er Cuo" lake, capturing the unique mountain landscape along the way.
Before sunset, we made it to "Baita Lake" to shoot. The lake in the foreground and the rugged peaks of Lianbao Yezhe in the background created a perfect blend of serenity and strength.
Day 7: Aba - Langyisi - Yellow River Wetland - Maqu
Get up early and head to Langyi Temple Viewing Platform for a breathtaking sunrise shot. As the sun rises, it bathes the temple in a gradual, warm glow, and if you're fortunate, you might catch the temple surrounded by morning mist.
Afterward, return to the hotel for breakfast and some rest. Then, hop in a car and head to the Awancang Yellow River Wetland for more photography opportunities. On the way, you'll pass by Ningma Temple, home to the world's largest prayer wheel.
Once you reach Awancang Town, hike up to a mountaintop viewpoint and take in the stunning expanse of the Yellow River Wetland. The meandering Yellow River creates mesmerizing patterns across the land, and you'll have the chance to witness cattle and sheep grazing on the lush grasslands. It's a truly tranquil and awe-inspiring experience, allowing you to appreciate the ever-changing beauty of the landscape.
Day 8: Maqu - Ganjia Mandala Reality
After breakfast, we headed to the enchanting Ganjia Secret Realm. With its 1300-meter vertical drop and unique geological features, it offered diverse landscapes like cliffs, grasslands, lakes, and canyons.
We started by ascending to an observation deck, capturing the panoramic view of Bajiao Ancient City, once a bustling hub and military fortress, using a drone.
Next, we explored the temples built along the white cliffs at the foot of Bai Shiya Mountain.
A short hike led us to the serene Bai Shiya Grand Canyon.
Finally, we captured the beautiful scene of Ganjia Secret Realm in the evening light near the campsite, with the golden hues bathing Bai Shiya Mountain and Ganjia Grassland.
We spent the night in this hidden paradise of Gannan.
Day 9: Ganjia - Lanzhou Departure
The ideal time to capture the enchanting Ganjia Secret Realm is early morning. In this secluded paradise, the chances of witnessing the magical morning mist are high. The Bai Shiya Mountain takes on an ethereal beauty, while the grasslands, temples, rivers, cliffs, and ancient city harmoniously combine, creating a dreamy and captivating ambiance.
Once we've enjoyed breakfast, it's time to bid farewell to this delightful journey and head back to Lanzhou.
- Photography guide + local professional
- Private van transportation
- 8-night accommodation (5-star or best in local)
- Inclusive entrance fees to photography locations
- Personalized processing instructions
- Complimentary Fresh Coffee for Early Morning Outdoor Shoots
- Lanzhou Railway Station/Airport pick-up & transfer
- Arrival and departure flight/train
- Travel insurance
- Meals (lunch & dinner)
- Gratuity for guide and driver if satisfied
Max. number of participants: 8 | Min. number: 3.
- Participants will be accommodated in the best local hotels, with single occupancy provided.
- The price per participant – USD $3,100 for single occupancy | USD $2,750 for shared occupancy
To ensure a smooth photography experience, it is recommended to bring two cameras, one full frame body with a regular lens and one half frame for a zoom lens, to avoid time spent on lens changes.
A 24-70 and 70-200 lens are necessary for sunrise, while a 70-200 lens is more useful for sunset photography. Additionally, a primary lens with a big aperture (1.4 or 1.8) is recommended for low-light indoor photography.
Tripod and head light/torch light are necessary. It would also be great if you could bring a mini tripod for your mobile phone to capture time-lapse footage during sunrise and sunset.
Polarizer filters and ND filters are optional.
- Deposit: To reserve your spot, a non-refundable deposit of USD 900 is required.
- Full Payment: is due 40 days before the tour begins and can be made via PayPal, Alipay, or Wechat.
- Refund Policy:
- If you are able to find a replacement, a full refund will be issued.
- Cancelling under 30 days before departure grants a 50% balance refund.
- For cancellations between 30 and 15 days before departure, a 25% refund will be given.
- Cancellations made less than 15 days before departure are subject to a 10% refund
- Please note that the initial deposit will be retained
Having years of experience, Mercier Zeng has designed the itinerary for the workshop and will personally lead it.
Mercier has earned over 100 excellent reviews on Trip Advisor after guiding more than 300 photographers from various parts of the world. He has even accompanied some photographers on multiple occasions to Guilin, guiding them since 2014 and helping them capture portfolio-worthy shots, regardless of their level of expertise.
In order to better understand the needs of photographers, Mercier has also traveled to several photography destinations overseas, including Myanmar, Vietnam, Thailand, and New Zealand.
I'm glad to meet you in Xiapu
Come join the tour custom-designed by Mercier Zeng and bring great shots home together!