My visit was in August 2018. Summer.
Extremely hot with thunderstorm or light rain. Pack umbrella or poncho and wear light clothing. Locals are wearing Bermuda, singlet and t-shirts.
Yungang Grotto is not too far from datong city. There are public buses that can bring you to the attraction. But I would recommend hiring a cab. The trip should cost no more than rmb 80 from the city. 30 min ride, depending on traffic. I chartered a taxi and the cab driver waited at the public carpark for me. Saved me the hassle. Price list above. You can bargain a bit if you want. The prices are similar to my research on Chinese local traveller blog, so I know the rates are reasonable.
You have to walk a short distance to get to the ticketing counter, which is in a building.
Queue for tickets.
There but not there. Local just try to beat the queue by pretending not to know. Then other local might scold the queue jumper. Just enjoy the commotion. I always wondered what happened to the great culture of ancient China. Ancient Scholars from Japan and Korea used to study etiquette 礼 in China so that they can teach it to their fellow country man. Japan did a great job preserving it.
Crowd and local.
Local tourist are everywhere. They don’t care if you are taking pictures and will constantly walk in front of your camera while you are trying to get your best shots. Take it in your stride and be patient. Include them into your pictures. Part of the experience.
There are no camera and photo signage inside the grotto. But hey, the local don’t care and you can see the security guards had given up. So I just followed the local and snap away. For me, the caves are really a wonder. 9 meters caves carved with beautiful sculptures and painted with ancient murals. The eyes of the Buddha statue sparkle literally. Very life like.
But the monks in the temple are strict in enforcing the No Pictures policy. It is believed that the statue in the temple are consecrated and therefore disrespectful for one to take pictures of them. Please respect their belief. I used a zoom lenses to take a sneak picture above.
The grotto is surrounded by a park. Designed to highlight certain attractions. Like the lotus avenue above. Good for pictures I think.
Take your time to appreciate the grotto. I keep to a corner to soak in the great artistry. I think, it will be wise to set aside 3 hours at least. I kind of lost track of time in the grotto, so 3 hours won’t be enough for me.
Hope you enjoy your visit too.