The next trip was to the Binglíngsì Caves (炳灵寺) in southern Gansu Province.
Binglíngsì is one of the few Buddhist grottoes in China to have survived the tumultuous 20th century unscathed. Right next to the yellow river, you can see Buddhist sculptures, up to 1600 year old, carved in 183 niches. Only few tourists visit this sight and so we found ourselves in a small speedboat with a few Chinese travelers from Beijing, Jiangsu and north-east China. The 90 minutes speedboat trip on the yellow river to the caves was already super beautiful and fun.
When we arrived at the cave, we noticed that there were super few visitors indeed. That made the experience even better.
The Star is the 27m high seated statue of Maitreya, the future Buddha:
We also found a small temple, containing lots of colorful decorations, playing some Buddhist praying music and flooded from the sweet smell of incense sticks.
On the way back home with the speed boat, I took a short video of the scenery:
The same day we took the bus back north to Lanzhou (兰州) and the train from Lanzhou even more north to Wuwei (武威).