Stop by in Datong on the way from Beijing to Xian

Written by Feb 16, 2005 05:02
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Why is Datong worth a visit?

Datong is certainly undervalued and most people pass by without knowing what they just missed!

It is right on the way between Beijing and Xian. By train it takes about 6 hours to get there from Beijing and it costs about 46 Yuan for Hard Seat. The train ticket to Xian was about 130 Yuan for Hard Sleeper.

The highlight are the Yungang Caves, a world heritage with more than 50.000 buddha statues (formerly more than 100.000!!!) from a few centimeters to more than 17 meters of height. It is very close to the city, about 20 minutes by bus. The place was built in the days when China adopted the Buddhism from India. You can see the change from sharp cut faces with long noses and sari clothes of the oldest statues to round faces with short noses, Chinese clothes and typical eyes of the newest statues in these caves.

In the city center I also visited the Shanhua temple, which I enjoyed very much. It is also worth a short visit.

But there is much more to see:
When you get to Datong you have to see the Hanging Monastery(Xuankong Si) . I love it, but you need one day for a visit because it is about 70 km outside of Datong. But it? awesome! Like a little bird nest hanging on the cliffs.
On the way back it started to snow heavily and there are difficult climbs and winding roads through the mountains - the minibus was overloaded with 22 , like always in China, instead of 10 people for which the bus was originally built. Some cars were already stuck or were in the ditches - but for Gods sake, our driver had some snow chains which saved the day!

All these places are great, but Datong, the city itself has a big coal industry. Even though I could not find it in official statistics of air pollution, I am sure it is the winner. The whole city is black because of coal dust. So, the historical sights are fascinating, but as soon as you are done with that, leave the city!

 More Datong Travel Reviews
1. Travel to Datong CHEFINWUHAN from CN Feb 13, 2005 10:02
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