Luo Yang LongMen Grottoes,洛陽龍門石窟。
Luo Yang, situated in central China Henan province. A city located in the confluence are of Luo River and Yellow river in Central China.
From Xi An to Luo Yang is 4hr 30mins -6 hr by train.
From Xi An North to Luo Yang Longmen is 1 hr 30 mins to 2 hr by SPEED TRAIN.
I will share the differences of taking these 2 different trains from Xi An at the end of the post.
We took the fastest route from Xi An North straight to LuoYang Longmen instead of Luo Yang. Because visiting Longmen Grottoes was the main point for us to go Luo Yang. There is no speed train can reach LuoYang also. So you will have to plan your trip either to Longmen Grottoes first or to explore LuoYang city first.
The speed train to LuoYang Longmen will stop at a few stations including Hua Shan North. You will have to take note which station you are alighting. Because Luoyang Longmen is not the final destination for the train. You will not want to end up in Tian Jing!
Our first speed train experience in China!
It is really clean and comfortable. There are crew pushing carts selling snacks and drinks like the trains in Japan and Taiwan.
We finally arrived Luoyang Longmen after 1 hr 40 mins!!!
We took a private car to Longmen Grottoes from Luoyang Speed train station.
We wanted to wait for the public bus to Longmen Grottoes. This driver knew that we are going to the Longmen Grottoes and started to target us, offering price to bring us there. At first, we refused because we were worried that it is a fraud.
When there were more visitors coming to wait for the public bus, we told him if you able to find another passengers then we might consider to take it since we have extra people to share the cost.
He charged us RMB 10 per person. The driver is a nice guy. He told us the tricks to save time and money when in Longmen Grottoes and places to visit in Luoyang and how to take the buses from station to station.
Because we are trained to beware of strangers that is our natural behaviour huh!
So here are the Top 5 places you must visit in Luo Yang!
1. Longmen Grottoes
Panorama of FengXian Temple with The Big Vairocana of Longmen Buddha Grottoes
Sorry for the photos which look very 'magical' here. I didn't know I accidentally adjust to the effect shot. HAHA!
From the tourist center to main get of Longmen Grottoes is 800m (15 mins) walk.
There is no shelter AT ALL throughout this 800m walk! We were so burned especially my partner became red lobster after the 4 hours visit here. So you must really prepare your sun screen, hats and sunglasses!
Longmen Grottoes has been conferred the title of UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2000.
Longmen Grottoes was first carved when Emperor Xiaowen of Northern Wei moved the capital to Luoyang, and was further built in the Eastern Wei, Western Wei, Northern Qi, Sui, Tang, Five Dynasty, and Song Dynasty for more than 400 years. 1 km long North to South having 2,345 carves and niches, more than 100,000 statues and over 2,800 inscriptions, it has made a significant contribution to the innovation and development of Chinese grotto art.
Along the side of The Yi River.
Longmen Grottoes is separated into two sides but everyone can only visit in ONE WAY direction. So you will visit the Caves of the West Hill first then cross the Manshui Bridge to Caves of East Hill, XiangShan Temple and China famous poet, Bai Juyi's Tomb.
It looks scary right!!!
I have Trypophobia (fear of holes or small dots). When we were doing our research for the trip, my partner showed me this place. I straightaway said NO!!!
I also don't know why I ended up here and to be honest, it was so amazing to look at all the grottoes! But I still cannot take it by looking it from far.
The giant Buddha statue in Longmen Grottoes, Vairocana.
Panorama view of Caves of East Hill from Feng Xian Temple (from Caves of West Hill).
The Yi River
Another challenge under the big hot sun, staircases! We purposely climbed up to find a grotto of Guan Yin. But we were so disappointed because the grotto is very old and can't even see a single figure.
But the view worth the sweats and muscle aches.
Jiang Song Apartment was built as a summer residence for Chiang Khai Shek (Jiang Jieshi) and Song Meiling.
Great view of FengXiang Temple from XiangShan Temple.
Famous poet, Bai Juyi used to lived here in his later years.
The famous poet in Tang Dynasty, Bai Ju Yi.
Bai Ju Yi's tomb is quite a big section. But you can choose to visit the place he used to live and his tomb. The rest of the places are like garden and ponds you can skip if you have limited time.
And also the poem corridor at the last section of Bai Juyi's tomb.
The view of Longmen Grottoes and The Yi River from the Longmen Bridge.
The entrance ticket is also a postcard! How cool is that!