When you speak about China, one of the things that comes to mind is Kung Fu! Journey with us to Zhengzhou--the birthplace of Shaolin Kung Fu--as we get to know the cradle of Zen Buddhism and the ancient Chinese martial arts.
Dengfeng Shaolin Temple was once hidden thousands of years ago (459 AD) inside the dense jungle of the Songshan mountain. The reconstructed World Cultural & Natural Heritage site is now a destination where people come to visit the temple and where young students and tourists alike come to train in martial arts.
Here's what to expect inside the Shaolin capital...
Kung Fu has been practiced by Shaolin monks for over 1,500 years. It was introduced by Dharma who taught the monks how to defend themselves.
The style of Buddhism that developed here is centered on martial arts training and Zen meditation.
You can see students practicing in the courtyard.
The Shaolin temple has two popular structures, the Hall of Heavenly Kings and the Mahavira Hall. We didn't have time to visit the Pagoda Forest, but I heard it's a must when in the area.
You can find thousand-year-old gingko trees with poke marks left by monks practicing finger punching on the trunks.
You can even see the sunken floor of the hall from all those years of practice.
What you shouldn't miss is the amazing martial arts performance by the Shaolin students.
Make sure to go early to get a nice seat near the stage.
The theater might look commercialized but the performance is very authentic.
Tip: I strongly urge you volunteer up on stage! No spoilers here. :)
We heard Shaolin medicine is quite effective as the students are often prone to injury. You can get an herbal patch (80 Rmb/box) or a spray (100 Rmb for 3 bottles) at the medicinal hall, which are both good for aching joints and muscle pains. I can't wait to test these healing benefits after my next CrossFit class.
Visit the DengFeng Shaolin Temple website here: http://www.shaolin.org.cn/
The Shaolin Zen Music Ritual is one of the highlights you should also experience when visiting Dengfeng.
It's just a 2km car ride away from the Dengfeng Shaolin Temple.
The world-class performance is set outdoors in a natural valley in Songshan. It has the biggest stage setup covering 5 square kilometers of space. It was visually stunning, incorporating the waterfalls, trees, mountains, and all the natural scenery as part of the stage production.
The show depicts multiple stories of how Zen Buddhism was brought to China, with live background music, a beautiful light setup, and amazing, hair-raising performances.
My favorite part was when real Shaolin kids performed spectacular acrobatic tricks and martial arts movements...
...and when hundreds of monks chanted in this deep harmonic overtone.
Though the show is in Chinese, you can still appreciate the music and the beauty of the play. The show is reserved seating and starts at 8.15pm till 9:30pm every day.
President ticket: 980 RMB, VIP ticket: 428 RMB, A District ticket: 248 RMB, B District ticket: 198 RMB, C District ticket: 168 yuan RMB
Shaolin Zen Music Ritual website: http://www.czslyydd.com
I could definitely say that a trip to Zhengzhou wouldn't be complete without having to visit the Dengfeng Shaolin Temple!
I recommend blocking off a whole day for exploring Songshan with a visit to the Shaolin Temple, Pagoda Forest, Monk's courtyard, and watching the live exhibition. A real treat for martial art lovers.
The Shaolin Zen Music Ritual is also a must. Tickets were quite pricey but worth it!
Zhengzhou Blogpost Series:
- ZHENGZHOU: 8 Awesome Places You Should Visit in Zhengzhou! @TigerAirSG
- ZHENGZHOU Food Trip: 10 Henan Dishes You Should Try in Zhengzhou! @TigerAirSG
- ZHENGZHOU: Dengfeng Shaolin Temple @TigerAirSG
- ZHENGZHOU: Yellow River Hovercraft Experience! @TigerAirSG
- YUNTAI MOUNTAIN: First Timer's Guide to Yuntai Mountain (Photo Essay) @TigerAirSG
- ZHENGZHOU: The City of Kaifeng (Memorial Temple, Qingming River Park, and Drum Tower Night Market) @TigerAirSG
Live an Awesome Life,
Abi of Team Our Awesome Planet
P.S. Explore historical Zhengzhou and Henan province with Tigerair's latest flights from Singapore-Zhengzhou. Our flight from the Philippines to Zhengzhou was made convenient with the Tiger Connect transfer service within Singapore Changi Airport's transit area without the need to clear on arrival.
Service is weekly and operates every Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday.