The UNESCO certified Longmen Grottoes is the incredible collection of tens of thousands of Buddhas carved in to the limestone cliffs over the Li River. The carvings, differing in size from 2.5cm to a staggering 17 metres (57ft), were all carried out between 493AD to 1127 AD under the auspices of the different dynasties who ruled China from Luoyang.

The ticket office is rather inconveniently located 2km from the entrance and after purchasing your ticket you must walk (it’s a pleasant enough stroll along the river) or take one of the battery operated tourist buggies that go back and forth (10RMB).

Luoyang Longmen Grottoes

It’s also possible to take a river cruise in the summer months and admire the site from a different perspective.

The site runs from north to south with the Longmen Grottoes predominantly located on the west bank of the river and a few over the bridge on the east side. The length of the site is 1km and the round trip is about 5km if you walk the whole thing (2km if you take the buggies).

After getting to the main entrance, the walk takes you along the West side of the river, where wooden steps and elevated walkways enable a closer look at the carved statues.


Guyang Cave

Guyang Cave,Luoyang

The Guyang Cave (Guyangdong or ‘Old Sun Cave’) is the largest and oldest of the Longmen Grottoes, with the first carvings being dated to 478AD. The central Buddha figure is 17 metres (57 feet) tall. To give you a sense of scale, the ears alone are over two metres tall!

As you make your way through the grottoes you will notice that many of the heads are missing or have been vandalized. Unfortunately during the “cultural” revolution these were destroyed by over-zealous communists with no sense of history, much like ISIS desecrating antiquities in Iraq and Syria today.


Tours to Longmen Grottoes

Take the hassle out of visiting the Longmen Grottoes with a tour. Our partners at Get Your Guide can offer tours starting from from Luoyang or Xi’an. Click on the below links for details and price.


Practicalities at Longmen Grottoes

Tickets: The Longmen Grottoes make an excellent day out and the 100RMB entrance ticket includes access to the beautiful hidden gardens as well as the multitude of caves and a small museum.

Facilities: There are toilets, gift shops and refreshment outlets scattered throughout the site.​


How to get to Longmen Grottoes

Getting to Luoyang:

Luoyang benefits from a great location in central China meaning nothing is off limits. There is a small airport a few km north of the city with daily flights to Beijing and a few other Chinese destinations, but Luoyang is best served by its two train stations (central and Longmen).

You can reach Beijing in under four hours by fast rain, Shanghai in five hours and even Hong Kong in eight hours (well, Shenzhen and you will cross the border by bus).

Tickets are cheap (an example fare from Beijing to Luoyang is 300RMB for a 2nd class seat) and the trains are modern and comfortable. If you want to save money on accommodation, simply book the overnight trains and travel in comfort, waking up at your destination.

For more information on train travel, see my in depth article covering all you need to know about taking the train in China.

Getting to the grottoes:

To get to Longmen you can take bus number 60 from Mudan Square or anywhere on Nanchang Road (60 minutes – 1RMB) or take a taxi (30 minutes – don’t pay more than 50RMB).

Other Luoyang Attractions:

See the stunning White Horse Temple with it’s Chinese, Thai, Indian and Burmese temples scattered throughout the grounds. 

Visit the tombs of Emperors and admire thousand-year-old frescoes at the Luoyang Museum of Ancient art. 

Hang out with martial-arts monks at the Shaolin Monestery, the birthplace of Kung-Fu!

Need a VPN for China? Check out which will be the best for you: Best VPN in China.

Looking for more things to do in China? Check out this list of 36 amazing China landmarks!


Steve Rohan

About the author: Steve Rohan, originally from England, has lived in China for over six years. He has lived in the frozen city of Harbin, the ancient capital of Luoyang and now resides in the tropical paradise of Sanya on Hainan Island.

He has travelled extensively across Europe and Asia, mostly by train, and has written about his travels for this blog as well as self-publishing his first book, Siberian Odyssey.


Accommodation

From dorm beds to 5 Star luxury, our partners below provide accommodation for all tastes and budgets.

Booking.com

Hostelworld

Trip.com

Transport

Whether you are looking for flights, ferries or trains, we’ve got you covered!

Japan Rail Pass

Direct Ferries

Trip.com

Insurance

Don’t leave home without good cover (I made this mistake and was left with a hefty hospital bill in Thailand).

World Nomads

Virtual Private Network

Protect your online presence with a VPN while travelling and access banned websites in countries where the internet is restricted like China and Iran.

AstrillVPN

ExpressVPN

NordVPN
shares