Archive for the ‘Shaanxi Travel’ Category

How to Visit Huangdi Mausoleum (Tips, Photos & Map)

Saturday, March 12th, 2022
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Are you planning your Xi’an tour? If time allows, you could have a day trip from Xi’an Huangdi Mausoleum (also known as Mausoleum of the Yellow Emperor), which is located just 200km north of Xian.

ABCs of Mausoleum of the Yellow Emperor

Huangdi, or Yellow Emperor is the legendary ancestor for all Chinese. His ancestral name is Gongsun and his given name Xuanyuan.

It is said that he reigned from 2696–2598 BC. He is considered as the initiator of Chinese civilization – invented weapons, the wells and fields system; upper and lower garments, established palaces and houses, early Chinese astronomy, the Chinese calendar, math calculations, code of sound laws…etc.

How to get to Huangdi Mausoleum

Huangdi Mausoleum is nestled at the foot of Qiaoshan Mountain. Qiaoshan is located, is one thousand meters north of the downtown of Huangling County.

Huangdi Mausolum is located just 200km north of Xian (Bing)

There are many direct and indirect buses either from Xian Long-distance Bus Station or from Yan’an Long-distance Bus Station to Huangling County.

The National Highway 210 passes along the foot of Mt.Qiaoshan where Huangdi’s tomb is nestled, from north, down the south and to the east.

For your long-distance bus ride, if Huangling County is not your bus’s final stop, most probably your bus will not arrive at the Bus Station in Huangling County. Instead, you will be dropped by the roadside of the National Highway 210 close to Huangling County. If that is the case, you have to find a way out, taking a local private car or taxi from the expressway to Huangdi Mausoleum, 5km away.

If your bus’s final stop is Huangling County, then it is very convenient since the Bus Station of Huangling County is just 5 minutes’ walk to the ticket office to the Huangdi Mausoleum.

Entrance Fee
RMB 75 (Mar – Nov)
RMB 50 (Dec – Feb)
Opening hours
08:00 – 17:30
National Offering: each April 5

Address: Qiaoshan Town, Huangling County, Yan ‘an City, Shaanxi Province 陕西省延安市黄陵县桥山镇

Virtual Tour of Mausoleum of the Yellow Emperor

Follow me to visit Yellow Emperor’s Tomb. I take a local private car from the roadside of the National Highway 210 where I have been abandoned by the bus from Yan’an to Xian.

I’m quite lucky to find a car parking for business. The car fare is RMB 15 for the 5km ride. Huangling County used to be a two-horse town, now mainly due to the site of Huangling Mausoleum, the town has been developing fast with many modern buildings. Its main street is quite long along the National Highway 210

Now I’m entering Huangling County along the National Highway 210.

I am entering Huangling County

One section of the street (also used by national highway 210) in the town has been built in the style of the traditional Chinese architecture.

The street is built in the style of the traditional Chinese architecture

I ask my driver to take me to the bus station of Huangling County in order first to get myself familiar with the buses going to Xian. Lots of buses run between Huangling County and Xian, no need for prebooking the bus ticket for Xian.

After depositing my suitcase at the bus station, I walk towards to Mt.Qiaoshan in the north of Huangling County. Huangling County Bus Station

Huangling County Bus Station

Walking from the bus station to the ticket office only takes me 5 minutes. The ticket office in the tourist service building in a traditional style, which also has a toilet and two shops selling well Huangdi Mausoleum related stuff. The tourist service building (ticket).

The service building (ticket)

Xuanyuan Temple

Then I walk from the ticket office up to Xuanyuan Temple which is located at the foot of Mt.Qiaoshan. A concrete bridge spans a man-made lake dug at its front.

Walk across the bridge, continue to climb a dozens of steps before I reach the gate of Xuanyuan Temple. The mausoleum is divided into two parts: the Tomb Area and the Xuanyuan Temple.

In ancient time, to each mausoleum, there was a temple built for it. Huangdi Mausoleum too has a temple in the name of Xuanyuan, Huangdi’s given name.

The Gate of Xuanyuan Temple

The Gate of Xuanyuan Temple

Basically visitors will first visit Xuanyuan Temple, then visit Huangdi’d tomb. Walking from Xuanyuan Temple to the tomb takes over one hour.

So there is a battery cart service center, not far from Xuanyuan Temple for people to use the service for easy access to the tomb itself.

In the temple compound, there is an old cypress which was, according to historical records, planted by Huangdi, the Yellow Emperor. 

An old cypress planted by Huangdi, the Yellow Emperor.

Flanking the temple, there are two rows of tablets and stela from early days in the successive dynasties from Ming and Qing Dynasties, to the present days.

The steles descended from the emperors in Ming and Qing Dynasties.

The steles descended from the emperors in Ming and Qing Dynasties.

These tablets from leaders and nobilities at home and abroad in modern times.

The tablets from leaders and nobilities at home and abroad in modern times.

The hall enshrines the statue of Huangdi. People burn incense and pray before Huangdi’s Hall. The placard hanging above reads “The founding ancestor of human civilization”.

The founding ancestor of human civilization

The founding ancestor of human civilization

Behind Huangdi’s Hall is a 2004 completed huge praying square used for holding a praying ceremony. It is said that the square can accommodate 100,000 people with a construction area of 13200 square meters. Each April 05 will see a huge ceremony going within Xuanyuan Temple.

2004 completed huge praying square

The tomb of Huangdi

To continue to visit the tomb of Huangdi, people have to backtrack at the end of Xuanyuan Temple here and exit from the temple.

Then walk on the right hand. Soon you come to the electric bus terminal. For a small amount of money, RMB20, you will enjoy a round trip battery car ride. It takes you to the so called “second parking lot”, from which you still need to walk about 20 minutes before you get to the tomb of Huangdi. Don’t lose your ticket. At the entrance to the tomb, your ticket will be checked again.

Take an electric car to the second parking lot

Get off the car, you still need to have an over-20 minute’s walk climbing quite some stone steps up to the tomb. The view along the road is just terrific with numerous old cypresses welcoming you coming afar.

The entrance to the Huangdi Mausoleum

climbing quite some stone steps up to the tomb

Climbing quite some stone steps up to the tomb

The stone or the tablet is called “Horse-Dismounting Stone”, in ancient times, everybody must dismount here and walk to the tomb area.

Horse-Dismounting Stone

According to historical records, after Emperor Wu (156 BC – 87 BC )of Han Dynasty was returning from a northern campaign against the Xiongnu, he and his troops stopped at the Mausoleum and made offerings. Emperor Wu (156 BC – 87 BC ) of Han’s offering. 

This is the tomb of Huangdi, the place where the Yellow Emperor attained immortality and flew to heaven, leaving behind his clothing and cap to be entombed here.

In front of the tomb of the Yellow Emperor mausoleum is the sacrificial pavilion, which is 10 meters wide and 6.15 meters deep.

The sacrificial pavilion

In the pavilion, there is a large stone tablet, 4.3 meters high and 1.2 meters wide, inscribed with three Chinese characters “Mausoleum of the Yellow Emperor”.

Inscribed with three Chinese characters “Mausoleum of the Yellow Emperor”.

The Huangdi’s tomb behind the sacrificial pavilion and the large stone tablet is 3.6 meters tall, 48 meters in circumference, and is surrounded by a brick wall. A brick framed tablet at the front is inscribed with the four Chinese characters “桥山龙驭” ( Longyu on Bridge Hill), which means the place where the Yellow Emperor’s dragon ascended to heaven.

The tomb is 3.6 meters tall, 48 meters in circumference
Huangdi Mausoleum

Tip: Hassle-free Xian Guided Tours

If you don’t want to go the do-it-yourself route and prefer the hassle-free escorted tours,  here are some options for Xian guided tours:

Xi’an Tour
Xi’an Day Tour
Xi’an Tour Packages
Beijing Xi’an Tour

Further Readings


Beijing Xian High Speed Train Experience
Best Time to Visit Xian
How to Visit Xian in Two Days?
Xian Airport Transportation
Xian Railway Station Transportation
Xian Taxi: Xian Taxi Fares, Tips and Phones
Xian City Layout

Xian’s Top 7 Iconic Landmarks
Where to Stay in Xian
Top 10 Attractions in Xian
Top Things to Do for Kids in Xian
How to Visit Xian on a Budget
The Starbucks in Xian
Top Markets in Xian
Top 10 Shopping Malls in Xian
Top 10 Best Restaurants in Xian
Top 10 Souvenirs in Xian
Xian Tourist Traps, Xian Tourist Scams

How to Visit Terracotta Warriors in Xi’an
How to Visit Huaqing Hot Springs in Xi’an
How to visit Muslim Quarter in Xi’an
How to Visit Xi’an City Wall
The Ramparts of Quebec City and Xian City
How to Visit Shaanxi History Museum
How to Visit Xi’an Bell Tower
How to Visit Daming Palace National Heritage Park
Top 10 Photography Spots in Xi’an
The Night View of Great Tang All Day Mall
How to Visit Hanyang Tombs Xi’an
The Song of Everlasting Sorrow Show in Xian
How to Visit Big Wild Goose Pagoda
Yaodong Cave Dwellings in Xian
How to Visit Mount Huashan
Mt.Huashan Snow Scenes Photos
How to visit Xiyue Temple
Top 10 Hostels in Xian
Top 10 Xian Luxury & Boutique Hotels
Xi’an: An Exotic City with an Undeniable Historical Depth

Best Places to See Autumn Leaves around Xian
Muslim Streets in Muslim Quarter in Xian
Hua Jue Xiang, Huajue Lane at Xian Muslim Quarter
The Night View of Great Tang All Day Mall
Xian City Wall Night View
What to do in Xian after dark
Xian’s Best Street Food
Xian Muslim Quarter Exotic Food
Xian Bar Street
Spring Festival Lantern Exhibit in Xian
Xian Terracotta Army Pictures

How to Visit Maijishan Grottoes from Xian by Train
How to Visit Hukou Waterfall
How to Visit Huangdi Mausoleum
Xian Lhasa Flight Experience (Tips, Photos & Map)
Beijing Xian Flight Experience
Datong Xian High Speed Train
Reviews on Beijing Xian Luoyang Tour

Visit Xian in January (Weather, Wear, & Tips)
Visit Xian in February
How to Visit Xian in March
Visit Xian in October
How to Visit Xian in November
Visit Xian in December

Any questions, just drop a line.

How to Visit Hukou Waterfall (Tips, Photos & Map)

Wednesday, February 23rd, 2022
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Plan your China tour? Hukou Waterfall of the Yellow River (壶口瀑布) is one of the most beautiful waterfalls in China and the largest yellow waterfalls in the world.

Do you have a fancy idea of visiting this magnificent waterfall? Yes, years ago its awkward location did drive away many travellers since it is located in the middle reaches of Yellow River in the Loess Plateau hinterlands between Shaanxi Province and Shanxi Province.

The location of Hukou Waterfall ( Google)

But after the local governments improved transport and tourist facilities, foreign and domestic tourists coming to Hukou Waterfall have increased greatly year on year. Then how to visit Hukou Waterfall?

Which side to view Hukou Waterfall?

Hukou Waterfall can be viewed either from Shaanxi Province side (Xian as its capital city) or Shanxi Province side ( Taiyuan as its capital city ) since Yellow River is a border river dividing Shaanxi Province and Shanxi Province. The two provinces have the confusingly similar spelling: Shaanxi (陕西) and Shanxi (山西) with one”a” and double “a” in difference.

The visitors viewing on the Hukou Waterfall on the Shaanxi side (陕西) has outnumbered those on the Shanxi side (山西). The viewing place on the Shaanxi side is lower than Shanxi side, which makes the waterfall looks much more magnificent than viewed from the Shanxi side.

Best Time to View Hukou Waterfall

The best time to visit Hukou Waterfalls is May, June, September and October. July and August are a little to hot and humid.

Winter season finds less water volume on the Yellow River, reducing the greatness of the waterfall. The ice and snow at Hukou Waterfall will be melted totally in May.

But visiting Hukou Waterfall in winter has its unique features which you cannot enjoy in the high or best season. You will see ice pendants and a whitened iced river itself.

How to Get to Hukou Waterfall?

Xi’an, Linfeng (or Taiyuan ) and Yan’an are the three most accessible cities to start up your trip to Hukou Waterfall.

1. Going from Xi’an to Hukou Waterfall

Choice A: Two Daily Buses from Xian directly to Hukou Waterfall
Note: The direct buses are possibly closed in winter due to the lack of tourists.
Bus Station in Xian: Xian Cheng Dong Bus Station ( 西安城东汽车站)
Two Departures: 8:00 am and 1:20 pm ( To)
12:00 and 5:00 pm ( Back )
Bus fare: 114 yuan + 2.5 yuan insurance fee
Drive Time: 5 hours ( 340 km )
Bus Station Add: 103 Mid-Changle Rd, Xian  西安市长乐中路103号
Tel::029-83460000

Choice B: Going from Xian to Yi Chuan by Bus + Local Mini-Bus to Hukou Waterfall
If you miss the direct buses from Xian to Hukou Falls, you may first take the bus from Xian Dong Cheng Bus Station to Yi Chuan (宜川), then connect the local minibus to Hukou Waterfall.  Hukou Waterfall is about 41 km to the east of Yi Chuan County .

There are 8 daily buses running from Xian Dong Cheng Bus Station to Yichuan County and 4 daily buses back. From Xian, first bus at 8:00am and last bus at 3:20pm; back from Yichuan, there are 4 buses starting at 6:00am, 8:30 am; 11:40am and 5:40:pm.

As for the public transport between Yi Chuan and Hukou Waterfall,  you may share the local mini-bus: 30 yuan per person 41 km).

2. Going from Yan’an to  Hukou Waterfall

Hukou Waterfall is located about 140km in the southeast of Yanan (Hukou Waterfall is under the administration of Yan’an City).  Yanan has plentiful trains going to Beijing, Taiyuan and Xian. Yan’an also has a medium-sized airport which has flights for Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou and etc.

Choice A: Two Daily Buses from Yan’an directly to Hukou Falls
Note: The direct buses are possibly closed in winter due to the lack of tourists.
Bus Station in Yan’an: Yan’an South Bus Station ( 延安汽车南站)
Two Departures: 7:30 am and 8:20 am ( To)
12:00 and 2:00 pm ( Back )
Drive Time: 2 and half hours ( 140 km )
Yan’an South Bus Station:  located about 300 meters north of Yan’an Railway Station.
Hotline: 0911-2491167, 0911-2492777

Choice B: Going from Yan’an to Yi Chuan by Bus + Local Mini-Bus to Hukou Falls
If you miss the direct buses from Yan’an to Hukou Falls, you may first take the bus from Yan’an South Bus Station to Yi Chuan (宜川), then connect the local minibus to Hukou Falls.  Hukou Waterfall is about 41 km to the east of Yi Chuan County.

There are 8 daily buses from Yan’an South Bus Station ( 延安南站) to Yi Chuan listed below:
Departures: 6:00, 6:30, 10:05, 12:10, 12:20, 12:40, 17:30, and 18:00
Bus fare: around 44 yuan
Bus Ride: over 2 hours ( 120 km )
Yan’an South Bus Station:  located about 300 meters north of Yan’an Railway Station.
Hoteline: 0911-2491167, 0911-2492777

As for the public transport between Yi Chuan and Hukou Waterfall,  you may share the local mini-bus: 30 yuan per person 41 km).

3. Going from Taiyuan (or Linfeng) to Hukou Waterfall

You may take a bus and drive from Taiyuan to Hukou Waterfall at a distance of about 400km. The Taiyuan-Linfeng-Hukou Waterfall highway is completed.

Virtual Tour of Hukou Waterfall of the Yellow River

Today I make a side trip to Hukou Waterfall from Yan’an. Follow me into the wonderland of Hukou Waterfall!

Yesterday I took the overnight train starting from Beijing Western Railway Station. All the cars in the train offer soft sleepers, clean and comfortable. The train arrives at 5:03 early in the morning.

Beijing Yan’an Overnight Train

Losing no time, I hire a taxi (about 500 yuan for a day trip to Hukou Waterfall)hunting for business at the train station and directly dart for Hukou Waterfall though it is still quite dark outside.

We (me and my taxi driver) take a short cut – a provincial highway No.303 with a length of 140km from Yan’an city center to Hukou Waterfall.

We are driving on the loess plateau at the direction of southeast. I hope we can have the luck to enjoy a sunrise over the loess plateau. It seems today the good luck is sure to follow us! Driving on the high loess hills, we hit a red rising sun! Cool!

A sunrise over the loess plateau at 7:30am

A sunrise over the loess plateau

With even a greater expectation to see a sunrise over Yellow River, I elbow my driver to drive a little faster to the edge of the mother river.Oh, my god! We make it! Here is the melting radiant sunrise over Yellow River.

Here is the melting radiant sunrise over Yellow River

When we get to the ticketing office of Hukou Waterfalls on the Shaanxi side, we feel dropped from heaven to hell when we are told that Hukou Waterfall is forbidden to visit due to treacherous ice surface on the river.

Hukou Waterfall Visitor Centre on the Shaanxi side is closed.

Seeing I look so depressed, they show their sympathy and tell us to go to the Shanxi side (their competitor) to view the waterfall.

Heaven never seals off all exits! We continue to drive another 7km crossing a bridge spanning Yellow River and get to the Hukou Waterfall on Shanxi side.

Paying entrance RMB91 enables me to come closer to the waterfall which has been lingering in my heart for many years.

Entrance ticket for Hukou Waterfalls RMB91

The picture below is taken from the bridge when we drive past the bridge to the Shanxi side. You see, most of the river surface is frozen and the flowing water is running under the iced river surface.

The flowing water is running under the iced river surface.

Unlike a normal waterfall hanging high and easy for people to look up. But in the case of Hukou Waterfall, people have to look down! Hukou waterfalls is located in the middle of the over-200m-wide river.

The waterfall’s velocity increases, and then plunges over a narrow opening on a cliff on the river bed, forming a waterfall 15m high and 20m wide, as if water is pouring down from a huge teapot, hence the name Hukou (literally, the mouth of teapot) Waterfall.

I walk across the iced river along the cement bridges to the a narrow opening.

I walk across the iced river along the cement bridges to the a narrow opening on a cliff on the river bed in the middle of the wide river.

The waterfalls stirring up masses of smoke, turning the placid water into rapids
Standing on the Shanxi’s higher side to view the waterfall.

I’m the only visitor on Hukou Waterfall at the moment. A local staff comes to me saying if I pay extra RMB21, I’m able to view the waterfalls from its bottom!

They have dug a tunnel leading to the bottom of the waterfall! Jesus! Sure I’m ready to pay and follow him walk down the tunnel.

Follow him walk down the tunnel

Now I’m almost on the same level of the river bed of the running water under the waterfall. From there, I look up at the waterfall!

From there, I look up at the waterfall!

In the sunshine, the mist is reflected by sunlight to create a rainbow spanning the water like a colorful bridge!

The mist is reflected by sunlight to create a rainbow spanning the water like a colorful bridge!
A local senior attired in traditional clothes

Tip: Hassle-free Xian Guided Tours

If you don’t want to go the do-it-yourself route and prefer the hassle-free escorted tours,  here are some options for Xian guided tours:

Xi’an Tour
Xi’an Day Tour
Xi’an Tour Packages
Beijing Xi’an Tour

Further Readings


Beijing Xian High Speed Train Experience
Best Time to Visit Xian
How to Visit Xian in Two Days?
Xian Airport Transportation
Xian Railway Station Transportation
Xian Taxi: Xian Taxi Fares, Tips and Phones
Xian City Layout

Xian’s Top 7 Iconic Landmarks
Where to Stay in Xian
Top 10 Attractions in Xian
Top Things to Do for Kids in Xian
How to Visit Xian on a Budget
The Starbucks in Xian
Top Markets in Xian
Top 10 Shopping Malls in Xian
Top 10 Best Restaurants in Xian
Top 10 Souvenirs in Xian
Xian Tourist Traps, Xian Tourist Scams

How to Visit Terracotta Warriors in Xi’an
How to Visit Huaqing Hot Springs in Xi’an
How to visit Muslim Quarter in Xi’an
How to Visit Xi’an City Wall
The Ramparts of Quebec City and Xian City
How to Visit Shaanxi History Museum
How to Visit Xi’an Bell Tower
How to Visit Daming Palace National Heritage Park
Top 10 Photography Spots in Xi’an
The Night View of Great Tang All Day Mall
How to Visit Hanyang Tombs Xi’an
The Song of Everlasting Sorrow Show in Xian
How to Visit Big Wild Goose Pagoda
Yaodong Cave Dwellings in Xian
How to Visit Mount Huashan
Mt.Huashan Snow Scenes Photos
How to visit Xiyue Temple
Top 10 Hostels in Xian
Top 10 Xian Luxury & Boutique Hotels
Xi’an: An Exotic City with an Undeniable Historical Depth

Best Places to See Autumn Leaves around Xian
Muslim Streets in Muslim Quarter in Xian
Hua Jue Xiang, Huajue Lane at Xian Muslim Quarter
The Night View of Great Tang All Day Mall
Xian City Wall Night View
What to do in Xian after dark
Xian’s Best Street Food
Xian Muslim Quarter Exotic Food
Xian Bar Street
Spring Festival Lantern Exhibit in Xian
Xian Terracotta Army Pictures

How to Visit Maijishan Grottoes from Xian by Train
How to Visit Hukou Waterfall
How to Visit Huangdi Mausoleum
Xian Lhasa Flight Experience (Tips, Photos & Map)
Beijing Xian Flight Experience
Datong Xian High Speed Train
Reviews on Beijing Xian Luoyang Tour

Visit Xian in January (Weather, Wear, & Tips)
Visit Xian in February
How to Visit Xian in March
Visit Xian in October
How to Visit Xian in November
Visit Xian in December

Any questions, just drop a line.

How to Visit Maijishan Grottoes from Xi’an by Train

Tuesday, February 22nd, 2022
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Dear Travelers

We’d like to have the following travel guide to be always updated for the benefit of new visitors coming to Tianshui from Xi’an. If anybody having used the piece finds necessary updates, please leave a message or feedback. Thanks!

If  you are in the process of planning your Xian tour, you may consider making a day trip to Maijishan Grottoes in Tianshui, oft-lauded as one of the four most famous ancient Buddhist grottoes in China. The other three grottoes are Mogao Caves in Dunhuang, Yungang Caves in Datong and Longmen Grottoes in Luoyang.

Take train from Xi’an to Tianshui City

The Maijishan Grottoes Scenic Area is located 30 km south of Maiji District (麦积区) of Tianshui City (天水市). As an individual traveler, a good option for you to go to Maijishan Grottoes from Xian is first to goto Tianshui City either taking a less-than-two-hour high speed train from Xian North Railway Station or an over-3-hour normal train from Xian Railway Station.

Xi’an-Tianshui-Maijishan Grottoes Road Map (Bing)

There are plenty of high speed trains ( G or D trains ) from Xian North Railway Station and all the high speed trains arrive at Tianshui South Railway Station; all the normal trains ( Z, T or K trains ) from Xian Railway Station arrive at Tianshui Railway Station.

The newly built Tianshui South Railway Station ( High speed train station ) is about 8 km to the southwest of the old Tianshui Railway Station.

How to Get from Tianshui South Railway Station to Maijishan Grottoes

If you arrive at Tianshui South Railway Station (High speed train station) from Xian by high speed train, basically you have two  choices to get to Tianshui Maijishan Grottoes:

 1. Taking the Bus No.60:
Bus Fare: 7 yuan ( Be ready for the money in advance)
Distance: 33 km
Bus Ride: almost two hours ( so very slow )

2. Taxi
Taxi fare: about 100 yuan ( no meters and you have to bargain)
Taxi ride: about one hour

How to Get from Tianshui Railway Station to Maijishan Grottoes

When you arrive at Tianshui Railway Station from Xian Railway Station (not high speed train), you will see a signboard pointing to Bus 34, a shuttle bus going from Tianshui Railway Station to the parking lot attached to Maijishan Grottoes.

The Bus 34 is on the right side of the square in front of Tianshui Railway Station if you exit from the railway building (about 50 meters away on your right direction).  Bus 34 Bus fare RMB 5, a 50-minutes bus ride.

The first bus leaves at 6:00 and last bus at 9:00pm. Get ready for RMB 5 to be put inside the slot for the 50-minute bus ride from the station to the parking lot of Maijinshan Grottoes. The bus leaves every 13 minutes. Line up at the front door to get a seat on the bus and get off the bus at the middle door at your destination.

The Yellow Colored Bus 34 going to Maijishan
The Yellow Colored Bus 34 going to Maijishan

It is a scenic bus ride from the train station to Maijinshan Grottoes – fresh air, green mountains and typical Chinese villagers.

A scenic bus ride from the train station to Maijishan Grottos
A scenic bus ride from the train station to Maijishan Grottos

Getting from your bus and visit Maijishan Grottoes

Getting off from your bus and walk to the ticketing office by the entrance – Chinese traditional decorated gate.

Entrance fee: RMB 70 and RMB 15 for a return electric car which brings you up to the base of Maijishan and back.

It is worth taking the golf cart for the fast and comfortable ride otherwise you need to walk another 3km to get to the base of Maijinshan.

The electric car service saves your time for a 3 km walk.
The electric car service saves your time for a 3 km walk.

Maijishan, or Maiji Mountain is 142 meters high with an altitude of 1742 meters .  The hill is large in the middle part and a bit narrow at the bottom and the flat top, resembling a wheat stack, hence the name of Maiji – a wheat stack in Chinese. One of the glamour Buddhist grottoes areas along the ancient silk road, Maijishan Grottoes were originally built in late Qin ( 384AD and 417AD ) of sixteen states period., developed and expanded through the successive dynasties ranging from North Wei, Zhou, Sui, Tang, Song and Ming dynasties.

The red-looking Maijinshan is a Danxia landform, relatively easier for grottoes carving. Currently there are 221 remaining grottoes, over 7000 statues and 10000 square meters of murals. Carved between 30 meters and 80 meters in the side cliffs of Maijinshan, visitors now need to climb up the cat-walks and spiral stairways to see these caves.

The caves are hewn from the rocks on the side cliffs, but the statues inside these caves are not carved from the same rocks. Instead the statutes are mainly composed of 3 kinds – stone as core covered with clay, clay statutes, clay carving mixed with other materials ( wood ).

What distinguish the grottoes in Maijishan from other same their those in Datong, Mogao and Yungan is  that most of the a Buddhist statues are clay carvings. The clay statues still keep a large mount of pigment.  The clay statues in Maijishan are vivid, personalised with more secular life descriptions. It is worth your 10-hours round trip from Xian.

The Decorated Chinese traditional entrance gate to Maijinshan
The Decorated Chinese traditional entrance gate to Maijinshan

Get off from the electric cart,  you still need to walk up about 500 meters to the bottom of Maijinshan Mountain, passing by along a long string of food  and souvenir stalls. Before starting your climb up to Maijin Hill, you’d better locate a good spot to take a panoramic picture of Maijishan Mountain with grottoes.

The east side cliff of Maiji Hill

The grottoes on the east side of the cliff
The grottoes on the east side of the cliff
The grottoes on the west side cliff
The grottoes on the west side cliff

Just follow a single trail up to the hill along the zigzag stairways taking you to different caves with good English captions introducing each major cave. Some caves are closed for protections and you have to see through the wire fence windows. The visit on the mountain caves takes about 2 hours.

Spiral Catwalks
Spiral Catwalks

The zigzag stairway leading to the caves caved on the cliffs.Walking up toward to the Grotto No. 013. Built in Sui Dynasty ( 518AD-618AD), and later rebuilt in Song Dynasty.

The grotto contains a huge high-relief stone frame clay sculptures of the Buddha in the middle and flanked by two Bodhisattva, 15.70  meters high, the largest  statues in the Maiji Mountain.

Walking up along the zigzag catwalk.
Walking up along the zigzag catwalk.

Have a close look at the trinity of Buddha and two Bodhisattva.

A close look at the giant statues
A close look at the giant statues
The Seven Buddha Pavilion
The Seven Buddha Pavilion

Zoom in one of the seven niches with a clear picture of the clay statue with vivid facial expressions.

Look at one of the seven niches
Look at one of the seven niches

Continue to move on to Grotto No.003. Also originally built in the Northern Zhou Dynasty. It is a long corridor pavilion, 36.5 meters, a representative art of early wood structures. The upper and lower rows of Buddha, hence the name of One Thousand Buddha Corridor.

The One Thousand Buddha Corridor
The One Thousand Buddha Corridor

The statues at the long corridor are seen through the mesh grills.

The statues are seen through the mesh grills.
The statues are seen through the mesh grills.

Continue to walk up to the Grotto No.004, also built in the Northern Zhou Dynasty ( 518AD – 618AD). It is known as Upper Seven Buddha Pavilion.

The Seven Buhhda Pavilion
The Seven Buhhda Pavilion

Have a close look at the statues inside the Upper Seven Buddha Pavilion.

Look at the statues inside the Upper Seven Buddha Pavilion
Look at the statues inside the Upper Seven Buddha Pavilion

Narrow catwalk support numerous visitors. High on the catwalk with a panoramic view of the surrounding lush mountains.

Standing on the spiral
Standing on the spiral catwalk

Some caves are closed for repair.

Some caves are closed
Some caves are closed

After the 2-hour visit of the Maijin Mountain, walk down to the parking lot for the bus returning to Tianshui railway Station for a 3-hour train back to Xian.

Tip: Hassle-free Xian Guided Tours

If you don’t want to go the do-it-yourself route and prefer the hassle-free escorted tours,  here are some options for Xian guided tours:

Xi’an Tour
Xi’an Day Tour
Xi’an Tour Packages
Beijing Xi’an Tour

Further Readings


Beijing Xian High Speed Train Experience
Best Time to Visit Xian
How to Visit Xian in Two Days?
Xian Airport Transportation
Xian Railway Station Transportation
Xian Taxi: Xian Taxi Fares, Tips and Phones
Xian City Layout

Xian’s Top 7 Iconic Landmarks
Where to Stay in Xian
Top 10 Attractions in Xian
Top Things to Do for Kids in Xian
How to Visit Xian on a Budget
The Starbucks in Xian
Top Markets in Xian
Top 10 Shopping Malls in Xian
Top 10 Best Restaurants in Xian
Top 10 Souvenirs in Xian
Xian Tourist Traps, Xian Tourist Scams

How to Visit Terracotta Warriors in Xi’an
How to Visit Huaqing Hot Springs in Xi’an
How to visit Muslim Quarter in Xi’an
How to Visit Xi’an City Wall
The Ramparts of Quebec City and Xian City
How to Visit Shaanxi History Museum
How to Visit Xi’an Bell Tower
How to Visit Daming Palace National Heritage Park
Top 10 Photography Spots in Xi’an
The Night View of Great Tang All Day Mall
How to Visit Hanyang Tombs Xi’an
The Song of Everlasting Sorrow Show in Xian
How to Visit Big Wild Goose Pagoda
Yaodong Cave Dwellings in Xian
How to Visit Mount Huashan
Mt.Huashan Snow Scenes Photos
How to visit Xiyue Temple
Top 10 Hostels in Xian
Top 10 Xian Luxury & Boutique Hotels
Xi’an: An Exotic City with an Undeniable Historical Depth

Best Places to See Autumn Leaves around Xian
Muslim Streets in Muslim Quarter in Xian
Hua Jue Xiang, Huajue Lane at Xian Muslim Quarter
The Night View of Great Tang All Day Mall
Xian City Wall Night View
What to do in Xian after dark
Xian’s Best Street Food
Xian Muslim Quarter Exotic Food
Xian Bar Street
Spring Festival Lantern Exhibit in Xian
Xian Terracotta Army Pictures

How to Visit Maijishan Grottoes from Xian by Train
How to Visit Hukou Waterfall
How to Visit Huangdi Mausoleum
Xian Lhasa Flight Experience (Tips, Photos & Map)
Beijing Xian Flight Experience
Datong Xian High Speed Train
Reviews on Beijing Xian Luoyang Tour

Visit Xian in January (Weather, Wear, & Tips)
Visit Xian in February
How to Visit Xian in March
Visit Xian in October
How to Visit Xian in November
Visit Xian in December

Any questions, just drop a line.