Datong daytrip nr. 2


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February 10th 2008
Published: February 18th 2008
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Day two was reserved for the famous hanging monastry, located some 65 km's south east of Datong, and build into the Heng Shan sacred mountain. It's a pretty impressive sight, although very touristy.
The weather on this day was absolutely freezing, so my enjoyment of the monastry was tampered a bit by not being able to feel my hands and face. Taking photo's becomes slightly difficult as well, but luckily I didn't drop my camera for a second time.
To get to the site, we took a bus from Datong to the town of Hunyuan, where a short taxi drive takes you to the sight.

Although it was stiflingly cold, I managed to walk around for what was probably more than an hour.
Even walked back a bit along the road to take a shot of Hunyuan town, seen through the gap in the mountains.
The whole thing is supported by stilts that are somehow connected to the rock wall. Narrow staircases carved from the rock,
lead behind the temple to the other wooden structures, of which each had its own function back in the days, I pressume.

Inside there are still some little statues to which you can
Hanging monastry.Hanging monastry.Hanging monastry.

It's hanging allright!
pray and offer some paper money. Also, the woodwork as everywhere else, is beautifully painted and carved into dragon heads, and type of masks that were meant to look a bit scary I think.
These are also for sale at the bottom of the temple, at one of the touristy souvenir shops.

In the same valley as where the temple is located, at the end, you'll find a large dam, which looks a bit worn.
Once there must've been large volumes of water though, my guidebook tells me that the temple was actually located lower to the ground. But because of reccuring floods in the Jinlong canyon, over the years they moved it higher up.
I liked the ice falls coming from the rock walls, they gave the place a very ''siberian'' look.

Well, so much for the Datong trip, the city itself is not one where I'd like to live, but the things around it are definitely worth seeing.
To give Datong some credit; Although taxi drivers don't put their meter down, they are in general better drivers and more courtious than the ones in Hohhot.
See you back in the capital of Inner Mongolia!


Additional photos below
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Snowy mountains.Snowy mountains.
Snowy mountains.

Ice-cold desert landscape of Shanxi province.
The hanging monastry.The hanging monastry.
The hanging monastry.

Looing up from the ground, it seems a bit unreal.


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