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Shaolin Temple (Shaolin Monastery)
Shaolin Temple (Shaolin Monastery)

Shaolin Temple (Shaolin Monastery)

Zhengzhou, Dengfeng, Henan, China, 207

The Basics

The Dengfeng Shaolin Temple (also Shaolin Monastery or Shaolin Si) is home to the Shaolin practice, which dates back more than 1,500 years. Visit to see the tile-roofed halls, temple guardians, and Pagoda Forest, home to the pagoda-shaped tombs of long-dead monks. Don't miss one of the frequent kung fu shows, which highlight the monks’ flexibility and strength. A few foreigners commit to lengthy study courses, focused on kung fu and/or meditation.

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Luoyang Highlights Day Trip of Longmen Grottoes and Shaolin Temple
Luoyang Highlights Day Trip of Longmen Grottoes and Shaolin Temple
$251.33 per adult
Traveler Favorite
Loved the KungFu show at the...
Loved the KungFu show at the temple... lots and lots of walking but very interesting at both the temple and the grottoes. Definitely pay the extra for battery cart at both sites.... it's worth the small expense and even so I did 14K steps. Guide had excellent English skills and was good at her job.
Todd T, Jul 2018

Recent reviews from experiences in Luoyang

Excellent Guide and Driver
Naomi L, Aug 2019
Private Luoyang Longmen Grottoes & Shaolin Temple Day Tour from Luoyang
This tour was absolutely fantastic - the guide was lovely, great English and very knowledgeable. The driver was professional and went above and beyond. Despite the terrible weather, we had a wonderful day. Please note: that though this is quite an expense tour it DOES NOT include entry fee for the attractions which we thought should have been noted.
Outstanding Shaolin Temple Experience!
Gordon_M, Jan 2020
Zhengzhou Private Tour to Shaolin Temple including Kungfu Lesson and Activities
Hidden in the Song Shan mountains this beautiful temple complex and other areas of interest (Forest of the Pagodas, and the 2nd Patriarch Temple via cable car) is a must see tour and worth every dollar. I would highly recommend the tour guide option as I chose as Jimmy, my tour guide made the whole experience very rich and informative - he was absolutely excellent! We saw the Shaolin Monk demonstration as we arrived and I was fortunate to be selected to go on stage to learn some Tiger Boxing techniques from one of the monks. This is a must see! Open hand techniques, weapons techniques, and the amazing Shaolin hard Qi Gong demonstration. As a kung fu martial artist for 45 years, it has been a life long dream to visit Shaolin and the origin of the martial arts. Arriving at the Mountain Gate was breathtaking. As we walked through the temple grounds and courtyards we stepped back 1500 years in time. The buildings are restored and immaculate. Each courtyard, new pavilion or "Shaolin Treasure" offered interesting stories and great perspective on the rich history of Shaolin. There are too many details to add here - one must experience it directly. The Forest of the Pagodas contains about 240 stone monuments to abbots and senior monks throughout the long history of Shaolin. The more levels to the pagoda, the more important the individual was to the Temple. The last area I visited was the 2nd Patriarch Temple that can be reached by cable car. There is a small fee (but I received a free pass for participating in the Shaolin Monk show) and this is a must see. The ride was about 15 or 20 mins and you get a great aerial view of the Temple complex, Forest of the Pagodas and the whole Song Shan mountain ranges and valley. On the opposite mountain range you can see an enormous stone statue of the 1st Patriarch Boddhidharma on the crest of the mountain looking down on the temple grounds. As you approach the end of the ride up the mountain the air starts to warm up and a lush bamboo forrest appears. Making your way to the 2nd Patriarch Temple it is again noticably warmer and a beautiful oasis halfway up Song Mountain. The temple is very large and is famous for its 4 natural wells one at each corner of the courtyard. By donation you can extract samples of the water - each well has a different flavor: sweet, bitter, spicy and sour. Sweet and bitter were my favorites. When we finished our tour of Shaolin I still had a 2 hour private kung fu lesson at the International Shaolin Kung Fu Training Centre. As I have several years of Kung Fu training, Master Wang was able to teach me an open hand set and a Shaolin cudgle (staff) set. Jimmy was kind enough to video parts of my lesson and take photos (as he did throughout the entire day). We were even able to exchange techniques on broadswords and tiger hook swords. It was a full day, and exceptional day, and a day that I will never forget! I highly recommend this tour especially with the tour guide option and the kung fu lesson, it is well worth the money! Gordon M. Canada
Shaolin Kung Fu
Andy_J, Oct 2019
Luoyang Private Tour to Shaolin Temple including Kungfu Lesson with Master
Wonderful experience! My guide Shane (pronounced Xian), was terrific. She really new her history about both the Longmen Grottoes, Buddhism and Shaolin temple. I learned so much from her like how Shaolin temple became truly famous after the first Tang emperor, Lee Shi Min, was rescued by the Shaolin monks at that time (this is the story in the original Shaolin movie with Jet Li). Also, most of the temple was rebuilt after a warlord destroyed most of it in the early 1900s (similar to the stort in Andy Lau's Shaolin film from 2011). Although it is not part of this tour, I highly recommend people to hike up Song Mountain and Damo cave near the temple. The views are stunning and absolutely worth the blisters on your feet haha. The kungfu experience was cool too. You get a glimpse into the lives of some of the boys living in the nearby Kung Fu schools and see how hard they train everyday. Overall, a great experience especially if you love wushu/kung fu.

Things to Know Before You Go

  • Home of the Shaolin Monks, the Shaolin Temple is a must for fans of martial arts and Chinese culture.

  • There is a charge to enter the Shaolin Temple Scenic Area, which includes the temple, Pagoda Forest, and much of Mt. Song.

  • Parts of the Shaolin Temple are accessible to travelers who use wheelchairs and some bathrooms are adapted.

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How to Get There

The Shaolin Temple sits in Dengfeng, Henan Province, about 35 miles (57 kilometers) east of Luoyang and 55 miles (89 kilometers) west of Zhengzhou. Many travelers visit from Luoyang, as a side trip from Xian, which is about 90 minutes from Luoyang by bullet train or four hours by road. Both Luoyang and Zhengzhou have airports with connections across China.

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When to Get There

The Shaolin Temple is open from morning until late afternoon, seven days a week, with regular kung fu performances throughout the day. It’s a popular choice with Chinese tour groups, so expect crowds around Lunar New Year, the first week in October, and on weekends. Buddha’s Birthday (generally in April or May) sees displays, rituals, and crowds to match.

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Life in the Shaolin Temple

While there are plenty of tourists wandering around the Shaolin Temple, it remains a working Zen Buddhist monastery, and boys from poor backgrounds come from across China to seek their fortune here. (There are also a few Shaolin nuns.) Life is strict, with early mornings, a meat-free diet, and training and meditation sessions even when it snows.

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