Please take me to Bank of China
Datong Travel Blog› entry 12 of 27 › view all entries
I arrived with just Y40 in my pocket and a note on which the owner of the Harmony Hostel had written in Chinese; "Please take me to Bank of China". Even at 06:30 am there were tourist touts at the station trying to sell me tours to the grottoes and hanging monestary. Even if I wanted I couldn't because I was out of cash money. So I showed a taxi driver my note but that one was working together with a tout so I ended up with some cash and a taxi tour to the Yungang Caves and the Hanging Monestary. I would have to share the taxi for Y240 with another male tourist. However I had other plans when I saw the three lovely Spanish chicas again. I persuaded them with some boyish charm to join my taxi tour instead of booking the CITS tour and staying a night in Datong.
After some bargaining to keep the price for the four of us at Y240. The tout wanted more money as there were 4 instead of 2 people going with the taxi. We didn't budge and the four of us (Sara, Ana, Paloma and me) set off to the Yungang Caves and the Hanging Monestary.
The taxi driver told us we had only 1.5hrs to see all the caves and that was 1.5hrs well spent as the caves had a huge wow-factor. They were truly amazing and even better yet you were allowed to take photo's and come real close to the budhas and you didn't need a tour guide to accompany you.
I expected the hanging monestary almost to be floating close to heaven like in the ending scene of Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon but it is dangling about 50m above the ground. It's still high enough to really hurt you when you fall off one the very narrow and small corridors that take you from one room to the other. But fortunately we see a some kind of temple that is much higher up the mountain. To get there we must pay Y5, we were warned by a taxi driver not to go up but we heed the warning and pay the entrance fee. When we reach the top we don't see a temple but a dam, you only see a newly built shrine made of concrete that is in view and the dam itself is well hidden and tucked away. You've gotta hand to the Chinese when an oppertunity arises to earn some money they will take it.