Datong Travel Guide
大同Datong 大同, in Shanxi Province is a coal rich industrial city with not much to recommend it to visitors. However, the city is blessed with some truly exceptional attractions within close proximity.
The principle attraction for visitors to Datong is the Hanging Monastery (悬空寺Xuánkōng Sì). Located at the base of Mount Heng, the monastery is a remarkable feat of engineering, perched 50 m from the ground on a sheer cliff face. Bridges and boardwalks link the 6 main halls of the monastery, this allows visitors to soak up the view from the height of the monastery. Not for those that suffer vertigo! The monastery is also unique in that it pays tribute to Buddhism, Taoism and Confucianism. With statues of Lao tzu and Confucius along side one of Buddha.
Another must-see attraction near Datong is the Yungang Grottoes (云冈石窟Yúngāng Shíkū). A UNESCO world heritage site, the grottoes are over 1,500 years old and are considered masterpieces of early Buddhist art. The complex stretches over 1km and consists of hundreds of remarkable sculptures and paintings.
Datong is conveniently reached for those visiting Beijing. It is an hour from Beijing by plane and around six hours by train.
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