I was in a sleeper train from Beijing when the female train attendant woke me up at 3 am and said something in Chinese. Had no idea what she actually said but I knew it’s time for me to get off at the next station.
Walking on a train platform at 3 am in a subzero winter doesn’t feel that nice. I had to walk slowly, every step I took I could feel the thin slippery layer of ice under my feet. I came to Datong to see some interesting sights but in that early hour there was nothing really I could do. Couldn’t stand the cold so I decided just to get in to the station hall and waited until the sun rises.
After a few hours sitting in there I headed out, standing on the big square at the front of the station for a few seconds thinking which direction I should go when someone suddenly approached and talked to me. “At least he speaks English”, I thought. The guy works in the tourist information office and apparently earns extra money by arranging a city tour for people like me. We walked to his office and I took his offer, to spend the day visiting Yungang Grottoes and The Hanging Monastery by sharing a car+driver with a Canadian guy.
The statues and carvings in Yungang Grottoes are well preserved. The buildings and walkways from the entrance to the grottoes looks clean and new but the mountain-side caves and everything in it feels ancient and original. The area is quite big and it took us two hours to stroll and see everything.
The Hanging Monastery, located at at Hengshan mountain 65 km Southeast of Datong is truly a remarkable sight.