The Hanging Temple, also known as Xuankong Temple, is a unique architectural marvel located about 75 meters (246 feet) above the ground, on a cliff face near Datong in Shanxi province, China. The temple’s construction, which dates back to the Northern Wei Dynasty (386-534 AD), defies conventional engineering practices, as it is supported by wooden beams inserted into the cliff, giving it the illusion of being suspended in mid-air. The temple is a remarkable blend of Buddhism, Taoism, and Confucianism, featuring 40 halls and pavilions connected by bridges and corridors, housing statues of Buddha, Confucius, and Lao Tzu, among others. The Hanging Temple is a popular destination for tourists and an unparalleled architectural feat that showcases ancient Chinese ingenuity and craftsmanship.
- Location: At the foot of Hengshan Mountain, about 65 km (40 miles) southeast of Datong City, Shanxi province, China.
- Opening time: 8:00 am to 6:00 pm (April to October); 8:30 am to 5:30 pm (November to March).
- Ticket price: CNY125 per person (April to October); CNY117 per person (November to March).
- Time needed: 2 to 3 hours.
- Best time to visit: Spring and autumn
- Suited to: History and culture lovers, architecture enthusiasts, and photographers.
What to Expect at Hanging Temple
At the Hanging Temple, visitors can marvel at the remarkable architectural feat of a temple built into a cliff face, supported by wooden beams inserted into the rock. The temple’s unique blend of Buddhism, Taoism, and Confucianism is evident in the 40 halls and pavilions, connected by bridges and corridors, housing various statues and artifacts of religious and cultural significance. Visitors can also admire the stunning natural scenery surrounding the temple, including the nearby Jinxia Gorge and the Hengshan Mountains. Additionally, the temple offers a glimpse into ancient Chinese engineering and craftsmanship and provides an opportunity to learn about the history and cultural significance of this impressive site.
Best Time to Visit Hanging Temple
The Hanging Temple is best visited from April to October when the weather is mild and comfortable, and the surroundings are vibrant and diverse. Datong City experiences a temperate continental climate, featuring distinct seasons, low precipitation, a brief summer, and a prolonged, frigid winter that lasts from November to March. Spring and autumn are the ideal seasons to visit, with moderate temperatures, little rainfall, and clear skies
Attractions nearby Hanging Temple
- Yungang Grottoes: A UNESCO World Heritage Site featuring over 51,000 Buddhist statues and carvings dating back to the 5th and 6th centuries. Located 44 km (27 miles) away, accessible by bus or taxi.
- Mount Heng: One of the five sacred mountains of Taoism, offering stunning natural scenery and historical and cultural landmarks, located 15 km (9 miles) southeast of the temple. Accessible by bus, taxi, or tour group.
- Hukou Waterfall: China’s largest waterfall on the Yellow River, located 150 km (93 miles) southwest of the Hanging Temple, with a spectacular view of water plunging down from a narrow opening. Accessible by bus, taxi, or tour group.
- Yingxian Wooden Pagoda: The oldest and tallest wooden pagoda in China, standing at 67 meters (220 feet) high and built without nails or metal in 1056. Located 26 km (16 miles) away, accessible by bus or taxi.
- Nine-Dragon Screen Wall: The largest dragon screen wall in China, built in 1392 during the Ming dynasty and featuring nine dragons playing with pearls among clouds and waves. Located 58 km (36 miles) away, accessible by bus or taxi.
How to Get to Hanging Temple
Bus line 603 from Datong East Coach Station to Hunyuan Bus Station takes approximately 1 hour and costs 15 yuan per person. From Hunyuan Bus Station, take bus line 8 to the Hanging Temple Scenic Area, a 20-minute ride that costs 3 yuan per person.
Taxis are available from Datong city center to the Hanging Temple. The fare ranges from 150 yuan to 200 yuan per car, depending on traffic and the route taken. The journey takes around 1.5 hours.
By private car:
For a comfortable and convenient trip to the Hanging Temple, travelers can opt to book a private car service. This service provides a licensed driver and a comfortable vehicle to pick up visitors from their hotel or any location in Datong and take them directly to the Hanging Temple.