China: Zhangye Danxia Landform – Platform #4

When I saw the pictures of this place several years ago, it immediately skyrocketed to top ten of the must see on my list. Similar to red sandstone landscape of Utah and Arizona in America’s southwest, the Danxia Landform is perhaps even more spectacular – an endless landscape of sandstone badlands, hills and cliffs brightly colored with every possible hue of orange, red, and yellow. All of this formed from an ancient sea bed where minerals got deposited layer by layer (a lot of iron) and then later uplifted unevenly when the Himalayas were formed. It is beyond spectacular! Unlike in America, you can’t just explore it on your own, and it’s a strictly Chinese way of boarding buses that take you to designated platforms where designated walkways take you to designated observation viewpoints – the restrictions and limitations are beyond frustrating, especially when you make a step off along the road and they send a cop on a motorcycle to reign you in immediately. There are no foreign tourists, and most Chinese are more preoccupied with selfies then the actual landscape. The most spectacular viewing is at Platform #4, which is usually the last on the bus tour, but I revolted and started my exploration here and then came back to it multiple times during the day to get all possible light variations.