21.09.2010 18 °C
Today we are off early to join the tour to see the Yungang Caves and the Hanging Monastery. It is pouring and we get a late start due to the traffic, all the roads have quickly become flooded.
The Yungang caves are over 1500 years old and contain 51000 statues. There is a total of 252 caves of which we only saw about 30. The most impressive cave contains a 17m high seated Buddha. The caves took over 60 years to build and is pretty spectacular.
Next stop is the Hanging Monastery, which is built into the side of the cliff supported by long stilts. This is really one of those places you have see to believe. We climbed to the very top and looked in the rooms that the monks used to sleep in. Small verandas are at the front of the rooms and the railings are very low, it wouldn't be too hard to fall to your death. As it was such a windy day we didn't go too close to the edge.
The drive home in the mini van was hair raising, about 30km of winding road up and down the mountain with a lunatic for a driver. Countless times the driver would overtake someone on a bend or hill with no idea if anyone was coming in the opposite direction and most of the time someone was. He would then quickly zip back in our own lane with just inches to spare. And this is how everyone was driving, countless time we held our breath as we waited for the car or bus hurtling towards us to get back in their own lane.
Having already checked into our new hotel in the morning it was nice to get back and warm up after a cold and wet day. The Holiday inn was brilliant and very fancy, a lot nicer than the ones at home. And anything we have stayed at in China.