Hanging Temple

Trip Start Jan 22, 2010
Trip End Apr 30, 2010

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Where I stayed
TaiJia Hotel, Datong

Flag of China  , Shanxi,
Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Mr Wang accosted us off the night train and we hired his taxi for the day for 300 yuan (about 30 pounds). We checked into the TaiJia Hotel next to the station, which had clean sheets and an en suite. The toilet only flushed if you dismantled the cistern, but it did work. The water got hot eventually and the electric sockets worked if you pressed the button marked DO NOT DISTURB on the console next to the bed.

Silly me didn't work out the last bit and I had to go and get help from the front desk. I must have padded up to the girls manning the desk really quietly, because both were totally engrossed in playing games on their mobile phones and completely unaware of my presence. I watched them for a minute or two before saying "Ni hao" and making them jump out of their skins guiltily.

Anyway, Mr Wang took us out to see the Hanging Temple, some 40 miles away. It nestles in a mountain range, which from a distance looks remarkably like a sleeping Buddha. The monastery is built high on a cliff face, balanced on wooden poles. The monks had apparently been fed up of their home getting regularly washed away in floods, so had decided to take measures to avoid this.

The Hanging Temple was the result. It is set at the same height as a four or five storey building, and clings to the rock in a gravity defying state. The whole structure consists of narrow wooden rooms, many of which contain statues of the Buddha and his Arhats. Mum managed to get up and down the narrow staircases on her knees. The balconies overlooking the long drop were just a couple of feet tall. It felt very precarious looking out over the valley.
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rachelkw on

If you want to hire Mr Wang (Wang Qian Wen), you can contact him on
0086 (0) 13700528513 or 0352-2512191.
email: Friend of DaTong@163.com or dtyataxi@163.com
(don't ask me how the spaces work in the email address, I'm just copying what's on his card.) :o)

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