I spent a total of 10 days in China last vacation in the autumn of 2013. When arranging my itinerary in the months before going, I recognized that 10 days isn't much time for exploring one of the big countries such as China. So I wanted to see as much of it as possible, especially for the first visitors like me. Come to China, actually for me Beijing is my main destination that we (my family and I) could not miss. So we spent several days there visited some landmarks, famous historical attractions such as Great Wall, Forbidden City, etc.
One Corner of Yungang Grottoes
After Beijing, we decided to make a trip to Datong, an old city (remote place) located several hundred kilometers from Beijing, 6 hours from the capital by train. While the city proper may be described as a highly polluted and uninteresting industrial metropolis, visitors will finds two incredible sites that will take breath away on its surrounding. We spent 2 days Datong tour which was memorable and priceless. The highlights are Yungang Grottoes and Hanging Monastery.
Speak of Yungang Grottoes in Datong, it is a really old and incredible ancient Buddhist temple carvings within caves. These grottoes are not only a UNESCO site but one of the three most famous ancient Buddhist sculptures in China. Besides Yungang Grottoes, a trip to Hanging Monastery becomes the best for me. The Hanging Monestery, or Hanging Temple, literally hangs on the edge of a mountain cliff. It sits on stilts more than 50 meters above the ground and was built in 491 AD, it has survived more than 1500 years. It is truly an architectural masterpiece.
The Masterpiece Hanging Monastery
Same like other travelers, we also could climb up to the temple above the ground which seems to be supported dangerously by a few lanky wooden poles jabbed vertically into the already near-vertical cliff side. Here, you can see at the picture above, so dangerous and creepy. The sites within it are incredible, as well. There are artifacts from earlier centuries. From our visit to Hanging Monastery, I could not imagine how ancient people could build this site without modern equipment or technology. Such an impressive, unbelievable architecture! I could make a conclusion that our trip to Datong, it was truly a religious experience.