Hexi Corridor ​- the main road to the Western Region in the ancient China

Last Update: 16th October 2020


The Hexi Corridor was once the main thoroughfare for the spreading to the East of Buddhism. There were four counties in the Han Dynasty (202 BC – 8 AD and 23 AD – 220 AD) which were the significant military towns in the northwest China in the dynasty.


Hexi is a long and narrow accumulation plain in the northwest of Gansu. It is located to the east of Qilian Mountain, west of Heli Mountain, north of Wushao Ridge, south of the border of Gansu and Xinjiang. It is about 1000 kilometers long and a few kilometers to nearly 200 kilometers. Nowadays, Hexi Corridor is composed of Jiuquan, Zhangye, Wuwei, Jinchang and Jiayu Pass.

Hexi Corridor ​Fast Facts

  • Chinese Name: Hexi Zoulang (河西走廊)
  • Length: approx.1,000 x kilometers
  • Things to do there: Photography, Ruins, Chinese History and Culture
  • Who visits: Photographers, Adventure Enthusiasts, Chinese History and Culture Lovers
  • Time required: 5 – 8 x days

What to expect at the Hexi Corridor

With countless natural spots and historic sites, the Hexi Corridor has a long history. It is the place where Dunhuang documents and Juyan Bamboo Slips of the Han Dynasty were discovered. Horse Stepping on Flying Swallow was also unearthed at the Heci Corridor.


Start from Lanzhou, and you will cross Wushao Ridge – the boundary between the Loess Plateau. Then, you will enter the Hexi Corridor. From the southeast to the northwest, you will pass by Wuwei, Zhangye, Jiayuguan, Jiuquan, and Dunhuang.


Along the corridor, you can explore a rich collection of cultural relics with high artistic achievements, such as painted pottery, murals, rock paintings, sculptures, ancient city ruins, etc. Each of them has its own characteristics. It is a splendid cultural corridor. Because the corridor was once the main channel for Buddhism’s spreading to the East, there are still a large number of grottoes, including Wuwei Tiantishan Grottoes, Zhangye Horseshoe Temple Grottoes, Guazhou Yulin Grottoes, and Dunhuang Mogao Caves. The large and small grottoes are dotted along the corridor, so Hexi Corridor is also known as the “Art Corridor of Grottoes”.


The Hexi Corridor features stunning nature, such as the Rainbow Mountain in Zhangye, Crescent Spring surrounded by the dessert in Yangguan Desert Forest Park in Dunhuang, and Liaian Old Town in Jinchang. In addition, several ethnic minorities have lived along the Hexi Corridor for hundreds of years. You can experience the local life if interested.

Best time to enjoy the Hexi Corridor

The best months to explore Southern Silk Road Route are from April to October.


How to get to the Hexi Corridor

As many trains and airplanes reach the cities along the Hexi Corridor, you can get to Lanzhou or Xi’ning first by plane. Then, you can go to other cities along the corridor by train, by bus or by air.


Additional Hexi Corridor Travel Advice

  • Generally speaking, the water shortage is common in some of the cities in Gansu.
  • Sometimes, the power supply is cut or limited in Gansu. Please ask the hotel for the supplying time of the power and the water when you check in.
  • In Gansu, some hotels are not qualified to host foreign tourists. Please consult the hotel you are interested to book beforehand.
  • Please check out the weather forecast in advance.

Interested in visiting the Hexi Corridor on a Tour?

Wendy Wei Tours offers a variety of different packaged tours as well as custom tours including the Hexi Corridor, among other attractions and destinations. To find out more, please visit our Tours page or Contact Us directly to find out more.