Hanging in Datong

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Flag of China  , Shanxi,
Friday, May 18, 2012

We've spent two days in Datong, a coal mining town six hours North West from Beijing. The main tourist sites in town are the Hanging Monastery and the Yungang Grottoes. After reading some reviews online we decided that we would only visit the Grottoes - the entry fee alone to each of the sites was NZD $30 plus transport with the Hanging Monastery being 65 kms away it didn't seem worth it, especially given the many negative reviews of the monasteries.

The Grottoes were amazing! It was a really nice walk along past them and it wasn't very busy with tourists and tour groups so it was very peaceful.

The Grottoes are a series of caves with Buddha sculptures carved in them. They date from the fifth and sixth centuries and are in remarkably good condition, some even still have paint, although some appear to have been restored at a later date (about 1000 AD).

To cap off a great couple of days, despite not speaking a word of english (go the iPhone lonely plannet translation app!), the hotel staff were amazing. They were so kind and helpful, flagging down a taxi for us and negotiating a price to get to the grottoes and there was an awesome thunderstorm!
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