If you would like to see one of China’s greatest Buddhist sites without the hordes, then turn up at the Longmen caves – 13 kilometers south of Luoyang – in the late afternoon and you’ll have them almost to yourself.
Arriving at around 16.30 is a a good option. This will give you about 2 hours to explore the site before you are chased out by guards anxious to go home.
Take bus number 81 from the train station, or a taxi if you are in a hurry.
Accommodation: We can’t really recommend anywhere to stay in Luoyang. We spent one night at a 7 Day Inn opposite the train station. The place was cheap, but also a bit of agrimy dump. In 2002, when we first visited Luoyang, there seemed to be far better accommodation options. You are probably better off staying in the city centre.
Eating:There are a few decent places to eat around the train station, or you could try the heavily restored old town for traditional snacks.
Arriving: We arrived in Luoyang from Jincheng 晋城市(Shanxi Province). There is some dramatic scenery on the way as you drop down from the Shanxi plateau to the Yellow river plain.
Leaving: We took the high speed train to Xian 西安. Next day tickets were easy to get hold of even in August. However, the high speed train station is quite a long distance from the city center and the old railway station. You’ll need to take a bus or a taxi and allow yourself plenty of time.
Dream of Ding village by Yan Lianke: The book is set in Henan province, central China, around the city of Kaifeng, during the early to mid-1990s.
“They dug me up so they could take me to Kaifeng and bury me next to my dead wife. “ (Page 310).
Kaifeng Outside Jiaozi Guan 开封饺子馆
Kaifeng, situated in China’s Henan province
Kaifeng, situated in China’s Henan province on the banks of the Yellow river, once served as the Song dynasty capital (then known as Bianjing (汴京). It may have been the world’s biggest city between 1013 and 1127. Much of its imperial splendor has been lost to the ravages of war, floods and rebellion. However, it still retains one of the few remaining landmarks from that time, the magnificent Iron Pagoda (铁塔), built in 1049.
Iron Pagaoda 开封的铁塔
the incredible Qingming Scroll
Another of its treasures is the incredible Qingming Scroll, painted by Song dynasty artist Zhang Zeduan (1085 – 1145), which captures the daily life of people from the epoch at the ancient capital, Bianjing; today’s Kaifeng.
Qing Ming Scroll
Modern day Kaifeng is a pleasant city
Modern day Kaifeng is a pleasant city to visit, with lively night markets, interesting temples and pagodas and the added lure of finding traces of China’s tiny Jewish community. Huge skyscrapers, ubiquitous in most Chinese cities, are conspicuous by their absence: due to the wealth of ancient ruins and relics still buried under the ground, the digging of deep foundations is prohibited.
Strolling around sleepy Kaifeng, it is hard to believe that the villages and surrounding counties hide a dark secret that very few visitors will see, or even know about. In fact, any attempt by a foreigner to visit these places will immediately arouse the suspicions of local police and the security bureau. What are they hiding?