Nanchan Temple

Buddhist Site in Wutai Shan

This very quiet temple near Dongye (东冶) contains a strikingly beautiful Great Buddha Hall that dates to 782, making it the most ancient surviving timber-frame building in China. The temple was built in the Tang dynasty, in a clean, graceful style exemplifying the aesthetics of that period, and somehow had the good fortune to elude the 9th-century Buddhist persecution that destroyed many temples. The statues inside the hall are also fine examples of Tang religious sculpture.

It's easiest to come here after visiting Foguang Temple, 45km away. Hop on a bus (¥15, one hour) to Dongye and then take a cab to the temple (¥40 return). Buses (¥40) also run from Dongye to Taiyuan, with the last leaving at around 4pm.