Datong and The Hanging Monastery.
Datong is only a short trip from Beijing, but for some strange reason, is it still one of the most overlooked tourist destinations in all of China.
The city offers a Unesco World Heritage Site, The Yungang Grottoes and The Hanging Monastery that was featured in The Time magazine list “Top 10 Precarious Buildings in the world” with other famous buildings as The Leaning tower of Pisa.
“Everyone” that’s been to Asia has heard people say: “If you have been to one temple you’ve seen them all’ I personally use that phrase, but The Hanging Monastery is different from any other temple that I have ever seen, and I have seen quite a few. It’s definitely one of a kind.
The Monastery was originally built without the wooden pillars, that’s supporting the buildings. But they were added later for security measures. The pillars are actually moveable and can be taken away without the Monastery falling off the cliff.
The monastery has 40 halls and cabinets that are connected by a series of corridors, bridges and walkways. The Hanging Monastery is said to be the only temple that has a combination of the three traditional Chinese religions, Buddhism, Taoism and Confucianism.
There’s about 80 statues from those three religions in the Monastery.
Why was the Monastery built this way ? The Monastery was built on the cliff so it could shield from floods. In addition, the mountain peak above protects it from rain and snow.
Additional Information about Datong and The Hanging Monastery.
Datong is becoming more and more famous and tourists should definitely visit the city during their trip to China. When I first visited Datong back in 2010 it was a big problem even finding hotels that were allowed to accommodate foreigners while days these there’s even two youth hotels in the city.
Entrance fee: 130 RMB (Summer) 115 RMB winter. Students half price with student ID.
Opening Times: 8:30-17:30 (winter); 8:00-18:00 (summer)
How to Get There: The Hanging Monastery’s is located 65 Km (40.40 Miles) southeast of Datong city.
A taxi there and back should cost about 150 – 200 RMB for the whole car, with the driver, waiting for you while you’re inside, the trip takes about one and half hour each way.
The cheapest option is to take a local bus from Datong to Hunyuan County. From Hunyuan can you take bus number 8 to The Hanging Monastery.
Is it worth it: 7/10, The Hanging Monastery is one of a kind, there’s nothing like it anywhere else in the world.