This is part five of my adventures in Henan Province, when I spent 10 days in Luoyang. Click here to read about my day in Zhengzhou, click here to read about Anyang, click here to read about Kaifeng, and click here to read about Dengfeng.
Luoyang is a very cool city. It’s in between Beijing and Xi’an (where the Terracotta Warriors are) and I think it’s definitely worth a visit. Luoyang is another ancient capital, of the Tang Dynasty (618-907 CE) and it’s also where the Silk Road began.
I spent most of my time working in Luoyang at a Discovery camp hosted at the No. 2 Foreign Language School. This is a boarding school on the south side of the city for middle school students. I stayed in the foreign teacher’s dormitory with a South African woman who was also working in the camp. We had a two-bedroom apartment, complete with a washing machine – very important, because I had already sweat through all my clothes.
We had two days off on the weekend in Luoyang, which I used to explore the city.
Friday night, my fellow counselors and I went to the Iron Horse Bar for some beer, pizza, and burgers. The bar brewed their own beer and also had bottled beer from other breweries. The bar also showed World Cup games, and we had a great time there.
I had a big Saturday. First, I spent the day at Luoyang’s UNESCO World Heratige Site, the Luoyang Grottos. There are hundreds, if not thousands of Buddhas carved into caves lining the river. Tickets are 100 RMB and an extra 10-20 RMB to take a bus from the ticket office to the entrance.
Tickets include entrance to the caves on the right and the left side of the river, as well as a garden and ancient house. I spent several hours in the morning there and only saw the two sets of caves.
After finishing at the Grottos, I took a Didi to the Tomb Museum. This museum had lots of great artifacts, but it also had reproductions of several different types of tombs that visitors could walk in. There were also a couple burial mounds in the hotel property.
For dinner, I went to Luoyang Old Town, which has lots of food stalls and shops. One of my friends compared it to an Old West town in the US. The buildings are new, but it’s designed to feel old.
One of the booths was really fun – you could buy a glass of wine in a porcelain bowl and then once you finished drinking, you threw the bowl into a pit and they played a gong while you drank.
Sunday, I took a Didi out to the White Horse Temple. It was a bit far, but definitely worth it. This is the oldest Buddhist Temple in China and is probably the only place I’ve been in the world that I remember feeling was holy.
In addition to the traditional Chinese temples, there are three temples in other country’s architecture.
There was also an Indian Temple but I didn’t get any pictures.
After finishing at the White Horse Temple, I took a bus back towards the center of town. I visited the Folk Museum, which was a really interesting display showing traditional Tang style weddings and homes. They had ancient clothing in one wing that I enjoyed looking at.
My first pass through, I saw what looked like little bags that look like change purses with draw strings, like young girls use. Then, I went to the gift shop and saw embroidered shoes in a case. These were shoes that probably could have fit my American Girl doll and been slightly too big, but not by much. I looked at them and thought, pretty. Then the shop keeper, who knew some English told me “ladies’ shoes. Very beautiful.” I took a closer look, and pointed to my feet, in my flipflops, that were bigger than normal because they swell when I spend a lot of time on them. She nodded and said again “ladies’ shoes.” I’ll have to admit, I felt a little nauseated at the thought of having my feet bound from the time I was a child to fit into dainty little shoes that were about the size of my palm. I went back to the exhibit to look again for the tiny shoes, and realized that these little bags were, in fact, shoes.
I didn’t get any pictures of this site (my phone was being funky that day), and if you want to do a google image search, make sure you have a strong stomach. Ugh.
For all my pictures from Luoyang, visit the Luoyang Photo Gallery.
Other things you can do in Luoyang
One night after camp ended, I went up to the Botanic Gardens. Supposedly, there were ancient ruins there but I couldn’t find them. The Gardens were really cool to wander through, especially at night when it was slightly foggy.
Camp ended at lunch time on the last day, so I spent an hour at the Luoyang Museum, which had some ancient Tang dynasty art.
I had a ton of fun at camp. My kids were 9-11 years old, and were absolutely adorable. They taught me some Chinese and I taught them English lessons on injuries (we played bingo, it was adorable), transportation, and actions. The last day of camp, we had performances. My group performed “The Very Hungry Caterpillar,” and it was adorable. We had spent a few days making costumes, and all the kids wanted to use pipe cleaners to make antennae. ADORABLE!
Check out some videos of my kids and subscribe to my Youtube Channel!
Getting in and around Luoyang
Although Luoyang has an airport, it’s more common to fly into Zhengzhou, then take a high speed train to Luoyang.
Luoyang is putting in a subway, but for the time being you’ll need to rely on buses, didis, and Mobikes or Hello bikes (dockless bikes)