Top ChoiceArea in Song Shan & Dengfeng

Shaolin Scenic Area

The largely rebuilt Shaolin Temple is a commercialised victim of its own incredible success. A frequent target of war, the ancestral home of wǔshù was last torched in 1928, and the surviving halls – many of...

Top ChoiceBuddhist Site in Luoyang

Longmen Grottoes

The ravaged grottoes at Longmen constitute one of China’s handful of surviving masterpieces of Buddhist rock carving. A sutra in stone, the epic achievement of the Longmen Grottoes was commenced by chisellers...

Top ChoiceBuddhist Temple in Kaifeng

Temple of the Chief Minister

First founded in AD 555, this frequently rebuilt temple vanished along with Kaifeng in the early 1640s, when rebels breached the Yellow River’s dykes. During the Northern Song, the temple covered a massive 34...

Top ChoiceMuseum in Luoyang

Ancient Tombs Museum

This superb but little-visited museum has three main exhibits: 20 reconstructed tombs (spanning five main dynasties, or over 1000 years), re-created using original building materials; original tomb murals; and a...

Top ChoiceViewpoint in Guoliang

Long Corridor in the Cliffs

This tunnel on the cusp of Guoliang village offers a closer perspective on the plunging cliffs, with dramatic views carved through the rock. The tunnel was built between 1972 and 1978 by a local man called Shen...

Buddhist Monastery in Luoyang

White Horse Temple

Although its original structures have all been replaced and older Buddhist shrines may have vanished, this vast, active monastery outside Luoyang is regarded as China’s first surviving Buddhist temple, originally...

Mountain in Song Shan & Dengfeng

Taishi Shan

Arguably the best hike in the area, Taishi Shan serves as a much quieter counterpoint to Shaolin Temple. It's not for slackers, however; like all Chinese mountains, the steps go straight up, and these ascend a...

Park in Kaifeng

Iron Pagoda Park

Kaifeng's most iconic landmark is a magnificent 11th-century Iron Pagoda (55m tall) at the centre of a pleasant park. The gorgeous, glazed-brick edifice, named for its rust-coloured tiles, is the oldest and...

Buddhist Temple in Song Shan & Dengfeng

Shaolin Temple

Shaolin Temple

The largely rebuilt Shaolin Temple is a commercialised victim of its own incredible success. A frequent target of war, the ancestral home of wǔshù was last torched in 1928, and the surviving halls – many of...

Taoist Temple in Song Shan & Dengfeng

Zhongyue Temple

A few kilometres east of Dengfeng, the ancient and hoary Zhongyue Temple is a colossal active Taoist monastery complex that originally dates back to the 2nd century BC. Embedded in a mountainous background, with...

Buddhist Pagoda in Kaifeng

Po Pagoda

This stumpy pagoda from 974 is the oldest Buddhist structure in Kaifeng and was originally a nine-storey hexagonal building, typical of the Northern Song style. The pagoda is clad in tiles decorated with 108...

Historic Building in Kaifeng

Shanshangan Guild Hall

This tiny, elaborately styled guild hall was built as a lodging and meeting place during the Qing dynasty by an association of merchants from Shanxi (山西), Shaanxi (陕西) and Gansu (甘肃) provinces. You can delve into...

Museum in Luoyang

Luoyang Museum

This huge museum, situated out of the action south of the river, has fascinating displays across two huge floors and is one of the few places where you can get any kind of perspective on ancient Luoyang. There’s...

Historic Site in Kaifeng

Kāifēng Fǔ

This reconstructed site of the government offices of the Northern Song has daily theatricals commencing outside the gates – the doors are thrown open and costumed actors play period scenes, complete with cracking...

Museum in Kaifeng

Kaifeng Museum

Housed in a colossal fortress 10km west of town, the Kaifeng Museum contains a modest collection of archaeological finds, woodblock prints and historical objects, along with a sizeable exhibition on Zhang...

Area in Luoyang

Luoyang Old Town

Any Chinese city worth its rice has an Old Town. Within Luoyang’s is this scenic area comprising a plethora of water-banquet restaurants, costume shops and the occasional creaking monument, namely the lovely...

Square in Luoyang

Wangcheng Square

This square is the cacophonous meeting place for locals who come to play chess and cards, practise calligraphy, stroll with grandchildren, play instruments and work on their dance moves. Catch the square at its...

Square in Nanjiecun

East Is Red Square

In this square, guards maintain a 24-hour vigil at the foot of a statue of Chairman Mao, and portraits of Marx, Engels, Stalin and Lenin (the original ‘Gang of Four’) rise up on all four sides. Behind the...

Mosque in Zhuxian Zhen

Zhuxian Mosque

Originally founded in the Northern Song dynasty, this mosque is housed in a traditional Chinese temple compound with a pretty rose garden. Examine the elaborately carved lintels and the examples of Chinese/Arabic...

Museum in Luoyang

Eastern Zhou Royal Horse & Chariot Pits

A huge statue of six rearing horses marks this two-hall underground museum, where the principal draw is the in-situ remains of a Zhou emperor’s royal horses – that were buried alive when the emperor passed on.