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Newer Page 243 of 968 Older Full Trip Report
China Dengfeng Shaolin Kung Fu Rain

21 April 2018

Everybody was kung fu fighting the rain

Getting to Shaolin from Zhengzhou by bus

Apparently the main attraction 'near' Zhengzhou is the Shaolin Monastery / Temple / Amusement Park / Tourist Trap.
I say near because it was 2 hours in each direction to get there. I had pre purchased a bus ticket, because today is Saturday and I knew anything tourist related would be busy, this ticket would get me most of the way there, but would not get me home again, pre purchasing a return ticket was not possible, at least thats what we agreed at the bus station last night. The bus took ages to leave the central Zhengzhou region where I am staying, the traffic light free region! After an hour of walking speed, we rejoined civilization and made good progress, soon after we went on a very nice modern smooth freeway, and soon after that, we arrived in Dengfeng. The journey was filled with fog and rain, but from what I could see, the scenery looked spectacular. There were heavy forested areas, lots of blossoms in orchards, wineries with wine bottle shaped buildings and then every now and then a deep ravine. All the ravines seemed to be a park of some sorts with paths running through them.

Dengfeng itself is apparently a historic town (more like a medium sized city) with a lot of things to see, it is right by historic / sacred / culturally significant Mount Song - birth place of the Song dynasty, which I would love to climb but cant due to time restrictions. Today I would see none of that, not even a glimpse of the huge mountain, because by now it was pouring with rain!

The next challenge was to find a bus from Dengfeng new station to the Shaolin whatever it is. ALL information on the internet is wrong. The bus from Zhengzhou central no longer seems to go to the old bus depot which is closer to the temple, instead it terminates at the new bus station. Every review on the internet I read said DO NOT GET OFF AT THE NEW BUS STATION! But I had no choice today. I was ready to take a taxi as per the dire warnings, but to my surprise there were a lot of shuttle buses there to meet me all charging about $1 to go the last 20km to the temple entrance.

I will describe the temple park in the pics, but I think it was a waste of time going! Not much to see, huge crowds, some things not operating due to the rain, and holy crap did it rain, there was basically a flood as the whole place is filled with little creeks criss crossing. My feet are saturated.

The return journey turned out to be pretty easy, I left earlier than the crowds so I could get a seat on every bus required, but it took forever, even within site of the Zhengzhou bus station, so close that I could have walked there in 5 minutes if they only opened the door, it still took another hour! I regretted drinking the big bottle of water I had been saving until I thought we were getting close!

China-Dengfeng-Shaolin-Kung Fu-Rain - The wet modern entrance area to the Shaolin temple, home of the kung fu panda movie, and apparently home of all kung fu and related activities.

The wet modern entrance area to the Shaolin temple, home of the kung fu panda movie, and apparently home of all kung fu and related activities.


China-Dengfeng-Shaolin-Kung Fu-Rain - Despite the rain, so many people! They seemed to be having an amazing time splashing about. Seemingly like they had waited their whole lives to be her

Despite the rain, so many people! They seemed to be having an amazing time splashing about. Seemingly like they had waited their whole lives to be here. The entrance fee was exorbitant, over $20 Australian dollars! I did notice that the parking lots in the area where the monks live were filled with Range Rovers, Audi's and a Rolls Royce!


China-Dengfeng-Shaolin-Kung Fu-Rain - You can buy the fighting baby figures everywhere in Asia, not just in China, I guess they originate from here?

You can buy the fighting baby figures everywhere in Asia, not just in China, I guess they originate from here?


China-Dengfeng-Shaolin-Kung Fu-Rain - Not everything is sparkling and new, I wandered off the path to this abandoned area with no other people. I went closer to climb over the back of this

Not everything is sparkling and new, I wandered off the path to this abandoned area with no other people. I went closer to climb over the back of this but I was concerned it might collapse.


China-Dengfeng-Shaolin-Kung Fu-Rain - If you dont take the shuttle buses that run along a parallel road, you can get a decent walk here up a tree lined road. This is pre massive downpour,

If you dont take the shuttle buses that run along a parallel road, you can get a decent walk here up a tree lined road. This is pre massive downpour, later this was a river.


China-Dengfeng-Shaolin-Kung Fu-Rain - I entered one of the temple areas. Most of it looked new, but apparently the trees are sacred and ancient, most people seemed very interested in the t

I entered one of the temple areas. Most of it looked new, but apparently the trees are sacred and ancient, most people seemed very interested in the trees.


China-Dengfeng-Shaolin-Kung Fu-Rain - The temples here were stacked together with lots of trees, hard to get a clear shot, I couldnt tell if they were old or new, some of the things inside

The temples here were stacked together with lots of trees, hard to get a clear shot, I couldnt tell if they were old or new, some of the things inside looked old but they kept it so dark you couldnt really tell what you were looking at. There were plenty of oohs and ahhs from the locals.


China-Dengfeng-Shaolin-Kung Fu-Rain - Incense burning was a popular fun activity. I think you are supposed to light it here and carry it somewhere else. This idea was not going too well fo

Incense burning was a popular fun activity. I think you are supposed to light it here and carry it somewhere else. This idea was not going too well for many people in the rain. It was also damn slippery, I saw 3 people slip over trying to walk down stairs in the rain carrying their incense stick in one hand and photographing it with the other.


China-Dengfeng-Shaolin-Kung Fu-Rain - That all looks new to me!

That all looks new to me!


China-Dengfeng-Shaolin-Kung Fu-Rain - This is the final temple, where you get to fight Lord Raiden.

This is the final temple, where you get to fight Lord Raiden.


China-Dengfeng-Shaolin-Kung Fu-Rain - I found another secluded area, with steps leading to it, which meant I had it to myself to look at the statue, and soak up some mud.

I found another secluded area, with steps leading to it, which meant I had it to myself to look at the statue, and soak up some mud.


China-Dengfeng-Shaolin-Kung Fu-Rain - I bought a coat, despite buying the coat from an unofficial vendor inside the park, it was less than $1. It did the job. When I left later on, despite

I bought a coat, despite buying the coat from an unofficial vendor inside the park, it was less than $1. It did the job. When I left later on, despite being among the first to leave, there were already 3 metric tonnes of discarded coats.


China-Dengfeng-Shaolin-Kung Fu-Rain - This was the best part of the experience for me, the pagoda forest. I think the photos were actually improved because of the rain and fog.

This was the best part of the experience for me, the pagoda forest. I think the photos were actually improved because of the rain and fog.


China-Dengfeng-Shaolin-Kung Fu-Rain - I enjoyed the pagodas enough to take two photos of them.

I enjoyed the pagodas enough to take two photos of them.


China-Dengfeng-Shaolin-Kung Fu-Rain - This is the area where you can see the live show. I did not get to see it. There were waaaaaay too many people for the 11:30 show and the next wasnt u

This is the area where you can see the live show. I did not get to see it. There were waaaaaay too many people for the 11:30 show and the next wasnt until 2pm, this was right around the time of the torrential downpour. I suspect this is the main attraction, it has lasers. I have also seen news stories about amazing feats of lifting weights attached to monks scrotums and breaking planks on a guys erect penis! Really, apparently they do that here in the show!
It was raining way too much to wait in a line for 3 hours to find out.


China-Dengfeng-Shaolin-Kung Fu-Rain - Instead I beat a path to the exit, a number of small Chinese children seemed to want to fight me. Only me. Like fighting invading westerners was part

Instead I beat a path to the exit, a number of small Chinese children seemed to want to fight me. Only me. Like fighting invading westerners was part of their training? Also, I did not see a single monk all day in the orange robes. I did see a bunch of kids guarding the living quarters in red tracksuits, I presume they are pre-monk.


China-Dengfeng-Shaolin-Kung Fu-Rain - A plastic coated family. Note the bootie things on their feet, you can buy them too. Everyone slipping over had bought those booties. I have no idea h

A plastic coated family. Note the bootie things on their feet, you can buy them too. Everyone slipping over had bought those booties. I have no idea how to spell bootie.


China-Dengfeng-Shaolin-Kung Fu-Rain - Through this heavily guarded compound is where the monks live and train.

Through this heavily guarded compound is where the monks live and train.


China-Dengfeng-Shaolin-Kung Fu-Rain - After sitting on a shuttle bus until it filled, I was relieved when it arrived back at Dengfeng new bus station - yes this is the new station. Here I

After sitting on a shuttle bus until it filled, I was relieved when it arrived back at Dengfeng new bus station - yes this is the new station. Here I was able to buy a return ticket to Zhengzhou departing almost immediately! I was thrilled with this.


China-Dengfeng-Shaolin-Kung Fu-Rain - I had just enough time to take a photo of a street in Dengfeng out the front of the bus station. Some parts we went through on the bus looked really n

I had just enough time to take a photo of a street in Dengfeng out the front of the bus station. Some parts we went through on the bus looked really nice with gardens and monuments, this was not one of those places.


China-Dengfeng-Shaolin-Kung Fu-Rain - After arriving back in Zhengzhou, I decided to go through the tunnels back to my hotel rather than cross the damp streets. This is what I saw, miles o

After arriving back in Zhengzhou, I decided to go through the tunnels back to my hotel rather than cross the damp streets. This is what I saw, miles of this. Progress was slow! Luckily I only had to go a few hundred metres, but maps on the wall suggest the tunnels of people with cardboard boxes of polyester baby clothes are extensive. There are also two underground levels of this! The worst fire in modern history could happen here.


I probably was harsh on the Shaolin temple. It was raining, hard to get to, and I didnt get to see the performances. I suspect the scenery nearby with the Song mountain is great, there were paths I could have walked along on a better day. It does seem very expensive and quite fake, especially compared to much cheaper easier to get to places I have already been to on my trip so far. Also worth noting, I did not see a single foreign tourist, even though this place is quite well known, there were none today. Some people make a day trip from Beijing just to go to the temple, that is madness!

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