Tianshui is a Chinese city set on the Wei River, home to ancient temples and sizzling street food. It serves as a gateway to the grottoes of Maijishan, which are carved into the cliffsides of the Gansu mountains.
Things to do
Set on the iconic Silk Road, the Maiii Shan Grottoes are home to some of China's most famous Buddhist rock carvings. There are more than 200 caves hidden away in the verdant mountains, with most connected by teetering walkways clinging to the cliffsides.
Fuxi Temple dates back to the Ming dynasty and has been welcoming worshippers for over 500 years. Don't forget to look up, as the ceilings are decorated with intricate hexagram paintings. You can also stroll around the gardens and admire the 1,000-year-old cypress tree.
Yuquan Temple cascades down a hillside and is surrounded by lush gardens and cypress groves. The Taoist place of worship was built in the Tang dynasty and has been beautifully restored to its former glory. There are plenty of street-food carts outside the temple if you want to try some local delicacies.
At sunset, locals head down to the waterfront promenade. It hugs the banks of the Wei River and is dotted with street-food stalls and open-air restaurants. For the best noodles in town, head to Beidao Qingzhen Laozihao Niurou Mianguan, a quaint restaurant serving fragrant beef noodles infused with spicy chili oil.
Tianshui is well-serviced by a network of local buses and taxis. The trip to Maijishan takes around one hour. Xi'an Xianyang International is the closest airport, located a four-hour drive from Tianshui.