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Guides / Itineraries

6 day Chinese civilization tour in Henan

By Minjun Xu

September 30

As the birthplace of Chinese civilization, Henan was a political, economic and cultural center for over 5,000 years in the ancient world.

As the birthplace of Chinese civilization, Henan was a political, economic and cultural center for over 5,000 years in the ancient world.

Henan in China’s historical center witnessed the birth of the compass, gunpowder, papermaking, as well as the spread of Buddhism and Shaolin martial arts. Besides its rich cultural heritage, the distinctive northern karst landscapes around Yuntai Mountain also await your visit.

1. Longmen Grottoes 龙门石窟

Longmen Grottoes [Image Credit: photostock.china.com.cn/Han Bo]
Longmen Grottoes [Image Credit: photostock.china.com.cn/Han Bo]
As one of the three most notable Buddhist sculptures in China, the Longmen Grottoes have approximately 1,400 caves with over 100,000 exquisite statues. The grottoes were firstly excavated and carved during the Northern Wei Dynasty due to the heyday of Buddhism. Representing the high point of Chinese stone-carving, the Longmen Grottoes are listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Opening hours: 08:00 a.m. – 05:00 p.m. (Feb. 1st to March 31st); 07:30 a.m. – 05:30 p.m. (April 1st to Oct. 7th)

Entry: 100 yuan/person

2. Yuntai Mountain 云台山

Yuntai Mountain [Image Credit: photostock.china.com.cn/Feng Jun]
Yuntai Mountain [Image Credit: photostock.china.com.cn/Feng Jun]
30km from Jiaozuo City in Henan, Yuntai Mountain is famous for its distinctive karst landscapes with imposing mountains and waterways. Among the 11 scenic areas in Yuntai Mountain, the Red Stone Gorge and Cornel Peak are the most renowned.

Opening hours: 06:00 a.m. – 06:00 p.m. (summer); 07:00 a.m. – 05:00 p.m.

Entry: 150 yuan/person (March 1st to Nov. 30th); 60 yuan/person (Dec. 1st to Feb. 28/29th)

3. Shaolin Temple 少林寺

Shaolin Temple [Image Credit: photostock.china.com.cn/Wang Zirui]
Shaolin Temple [Image Credit: photostock.china.com.cn/Wang Zirui]
The Shaolin Temple gets its name from the forests around Shaoshi Mountain, one of the seven peaks in the Song Mountain in Dengfeng, Henan. Built by Emperor Xiaowen during the Northern Wei Dynasty, the Zen Buddhist (禅宗) temple is known around the world  for its martial arts — revered and studied by people from around the globe.

Opening hours: 08:00 a.m. – 05:00 p.m.

Entry: 100 yuan/person

4. White Horse Temple 白马寺

White Horse Temple [Image Credit: photostock.china.com.cn/Pan Wenjun]
White Horse Temple [Image Credit: photostock.china.com.cn/Pan Wenjun]
Originally established under Emperor Ming during the Eastern Han Dynasty, White Horse Temple is the first officially-built temple in China after the introduction of Buddhism. As the cradle of Chinese Buddhism, it holds a vast collection of Buddhist statues and classic sutras. The temple is also famous for interior architecture inspired by the Buddhist styles of Thailand, India, and Burma.

Opening hours: 07:30 a.m. – 07:00 p.m.

Entry: 50 yuan/person

5. Millennium City Park 清明上河园

Millennium City Park [Image Credit: photostock.china.com.cn/Sun Meng]
Millennium City Park [Image Credit: photostock.china.com.cn/Sun Meng]
The Millennium City Park in Kaifeng is a large-scale historical and cultural theme park which replicates scenes from the famous ancient scroll painting Along the River During the Qingming Festival (《清明上河图》). Visitors can watch folklore performances like those of the Song Dynasty and see reconstructions of grand imperial halls and gardens.

Opening hours: 08:30 a.m. – 06:00 p.m. (winter); 08:30 a.m. – 10:00 p.m.

Entry: 120 yuan/person (March 1st to Nov. 30th); 90 yuan/person (Dec. 1st to Feb. 28/29th)

6. Kaifeng Prefecture 开封府

Kaifeng Prefecture [Image Credit: photostock.china.com.cn/Zhang Xu]
Kaifeng Prefecture [Image Credit: photostock.china.com.cn/Zhang Xu]
Kaifeng Prefecture, or Kaifeng Fu (开封府) in Chinese, was once the country’s political, economic and cultural center as well as one of the most flourishing cities in the world during the Northern Song Dynasty (960 – 1127). Today, the rebuilt Kaifeng Prefecture is a scenic area built according to the Building Standard canon from the Song Dynasty. Visitors can peruse historical documents and watch performances mimicking those from 1,000 years ago.

Opening hours: 07:30 a.m. – 05:30 p.m. (winter); 07:00 a.m. – 07:00 p.m.

Entry: 60 yuan/person

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