Linxia (临夏; Línxià) is a city in Gansu Province. It is the capital of the Linxia Hui Autonomous Prefecture.
Colorful market town located in the mountains south of Lanzhou. Sometimes called the “Mecca of China,” many consider it a main center of Hui Muslim culture in China. The city is known by locals as one of the most culturally diverse in China, shown visibly by the Tibetan stupas on the hills around the city.
Linxia is only accessible by road.
Most travelers are coming or going to Lanzhou, which is about three hours away. Buses run throughout the day and leave from Lanzhou’s West Bus Station. Alternatively it shouldn’t be too hard to arrange a private taxi to take you out here. Ask any of the people hanging around the bus station for a ride (updated August 2008).
From Lanzhou – Only Lanzhou Nanzhan (Lanzhou South Bus Terminal, near Lanzhou University of Technology shortly Li Gong Da) serves the buses to Linxia, Gannan (including Xiahe, Hezuo and Langmusi, etc.). 2/3 of the road Lanzhou-Linxia is highway, thus trip time shortened now, for about 2.5 hrs. Be careful to the people around you outside the gate of Lanzhou Nanzhan. Frequency: about every 30 minutes serves a bus to Linxia, starting 7am-5pm.
From Linxia – There are 2 bus stations in Linxia. One is called 汽车西站 (West Terminal), which is operated by state-owned trans company. The other is named 汽车南站 (South Terminal), operated by private sectors, i.e., individuals. Fares are almost the same.
From Xiahe – There are buses every hour morning until mid afternoon from Xiahe’s bus station. They take 2 – 3 hours.
Usually, people in China like to take state-owned buses for their travel, maybe for the sake of safety.
The South Bus Station is at Jiefang Road.
Route times, updated 2016:
- Lanzhou – takes about 3 hours
- Menda Tianchi – takes about 4 hours
- Xiahe – takes about 2 hours
- Xining – takes about 5 hours
- Xunhua – takes about 4 hours
Linxia is small enough to walk to most of the attractions. As of 2016, foreigners can only live in two centrally located hotels, making walking even more convenient.
Taxi rides in the downtown area are 5 yuan a short ride (October 2016). Drivers will collect passengers along the way, but all pay individually.
There are short direct route taxis at the West Bus Station which take a fixed fare to visit some of the surrounding villages / sites. They leave when full.
“Red Garden” (红园) – a beautiful park set in Linxia’s cultural downtown. Lovely temples with places to drink tea and have a meal in quiet grounds. The park connects the city square, from which you can follow the minarets of the numerous mosques in town including the beautiful Gong Bei Mausuleum (清真寺拱北）
“Gong Bei Mausoleum” (清真寺拱北）- Probably the largest of the many Mausoleums dotting downtown Linxia. Shares its street with four other mausuleums of a similar style. Try and dive into the side streets behind this mosque to get a feel of local life. Ask for directions from the Red Park.
Emperors Birthday Temple （万寿观）- The exact translation of this mountaintop temples name might not entice, but the views over Linxia are breathtaking. The temple looks down on the Red Park and Gong Bei Mosque with options to walk along the mountain peak for some distance. Standing in front of the West Bus Station (汽车西站）and looking towards the mountains, do not enter through the large and inviting gates but turn left and walk a few hundred meters, taking the first right towards the mountain. The temple stairs start at the end of this road, which for all intends and purposes looks like an access road.
Numerous mosques (qing zhen si) and Islamic mausoleums (gongbei) can be found throughout the city. One of the delights of this town is to experience the diversity – go for a walk!