Thousand Buddhas in Longmen

At the end we enjoyed the surroundings of the little town of Yangshuo so much that we didn’t want to leave. Unfortunately we couldn’t stay any longer because we have already bought our train tickets for the next day. We were told to buy the tickets in advance because they are usually sold out. The high-speed train was 3 times more expensive than “hard-sleeper“ train but we had many kilometers ahead to get to Beijing. That’s why we decided to divide that long journey into two parts and we made a stop to visit Longmen Caves and Shaolin Temple.

We had to get up very early not to miss our high-speed train from Guilin. Already at 6 am we were waiting for a local bus to take us to bus station in Yangshuo but the bus never came. It was weekend and the buses probably didn’t go so early. During the time we were waiting for the bus some small carts stopped next to us and we were offered a ride. They asked really high price for relatively short distance but fortunately there were two Chinese girls waiting with us and they negotiated very good price for all of us. It was a bit hard to get into that small cart in 4 people with our luggage. Thank god Chinese girls are so tiny :-) When we arrived to bus station we literally fell out of the cart. We collected all our things and jumped into a bus going to Guilin.

We were right on the time to catch our train and we were ready for our 1500 km trip which takes about 20 hours by regular train. Going by high-speed train we were supposed to be there in only 6 hours. The train started on 200 km/h and was maintaining that speed when passing through cities or villages. Out of the cities the speed went up to 300 km/h. In the train we were able to watch our speed during the whole trip. The views from our window were unfortunately not really great because of never-ending fog which was maybe covering all China.

After 6 hours we arrived to Zhengzhou where we went to buy other train tickets to a neighboring town called Luoyang which was around 100 km far. Everything in China is just too far! That time there was nobody speaking English in the ticket office. We hoped that we bought the right tickets because we didn’t understand a word. We took the train and we were very happy when after 45 min we heard “Luoyang!” We got off the train and we were looking for our hostel. “What now? Where is our hostel?” After a while of gesticulation with locals we found out that we were on wrong train station. That station was only for high-speed trains and it was still around 30 km far from the center of Luoyang and our hostel. We luckily caught the last bus which was going there. We were totally exhausted but we also found something interesting there. On a big square in front of the train station there were many people dancing and exercising on music in the dark and a little bit further there were strongmen practicing whipping with a whip and iron chains.

When we finally got to our hostel in Luoyang it was already very late night. The hostel was completely empty and we had a room for 8 people only for us. Next morning we went to see Longmen Caves that are considered to be one of three most famous archeological sites in China and the whole area is also UNESCO heritage. There can be found more than 100 000 Buddha statues from 2,5 cm to over 17 m high. “We have never seen so many Buddhas in our lives!” The caves full of Buddha statues were really stunning. The only thing disturbing the impression was again the ever-present air pollution.

After the trip we got back to our hostel to pick up the backpacks and on the same day we took a bus to Shaolin Temple. We were wondering how the most famous place of Kung-Fu looks nowadays. Is someone still practicing Kung-Fu there or did it become only tourist attraction? Read soon in our next article about Shaolin Temple.


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