Travel Blog for Fredrik and Gunnhild


Datong sightseeing

After a small taste of the huge breakfast buffet we were picked up by our taxi for the day at 8 am. For the first time so far in China the taxi driver actually spoke some English and tried to tell us a bit about the things we saw on the way to the Hanging Monastery. We also stopped to visit an old man living in an even older cave. Last year he even got electricity and a TV.

Kitchen to old man in cave

We arrived at the Buddhist Hanging Monastery at 0930, before the big crowds. The Monastery is more than 1400 years old and is built hanging off the cliffs about 50 meters above ground supported by long stilts. It was very impressive from below, but walking on the catwalks was a bit sceary since they were narrow and the fences were built for small Chinese and not tall Norwegians.

Datong - China - 2009

Our next stop was the 5th century Yungang Caves containing 51000 ancient statues. The carving of the caves has combined the Indian Buddhism and the Chinese traditional art. The statues are from a few centimeters high to 17 meters and they are all very impressive! They were renovating the area around the caves and building a huge park, so this will probably be an even better tourist destination in the future.

Yungang Grottoes

Back in Datong our taxi driver dropped us off at his favorite noodle restaurant, and we managed to order even if the menu was in Chinese and the staff hardly knew an English word. Great lunch! In the afternoon we stopped by some of the downtown sights like the Drum Tower and the Nine Dragon Wall – a 45 meter long glazed tile wall built in 1392.

Datong - China - 2009

Tomorrow we had planned to go to Beijing by train, but we decided that it was a lot easier to book a flight online than to try to get train tickets. Also we pretty much get an extra day in Beijing since we’re taking a morning flight.

Shanghai – Datong

We didn’t get the best start to the day since Fredrik woke up with a flu. In the pharmacy a point to the nose started an impressive mime show behind the counter and we could pick the exact medicine we needed. We took it slow with a nice breakfast at Monica’s second home – Costa. We went to the airport early, but everything went smooth. We were the only “white people” at the flight and got used to being stared at before take off. After a 3 hour flight we arrived at the very small airport in Datong, and took a taxi to the hotel. We felt a bit crazy when booking, and paid 11 NOK extra to get a deluxe room. Luxury!

When we arrived we booked a taxi for the whole day tomorrow to take us to Yungang Caves and the Hanging Monastery (250 NOK. Nice!). We’re being picked up at 8 am, so we decided to take a slow evening and had dinner in the fancy, Chinese restaurant in the hotel. When the food was served the entire table next to us turned around to watch us eat. 🙂

Diner on Garden hotel