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“This is a must see” 5 of 5 bubbles
Review of Maiji Shan Caves

Maiji Shan Caves
Washington DC, District of Columbia
Level Contributor
39 reviews
17 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 72 helpful votes
“This is a must see”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 13 January 2014

I was blown away. These caves are fantastic. The paint is in beautiful condition, and so bright. The downer was that there are thick screens over most of the caves, so it is difficult to view and take photos. I did see some folks that had a guide that actually took them into off limit places, and had I known would definitely had paid for that.

Visited December 2013
3 Thank Cassondra H
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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96 reviews from our community

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English first
Singapore, Singapore
Level Contributor
206 reviews
89 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 108 helpful votes
“Awesome experience!”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 23 November 2013

A series of 194 caves with more than 7,200 Buddhist sculptures and murals built by a monk, Tanhung, and his followers who had fled from Chang’an (Xian) when attacked by the Sung army circa 420CE. Compared with the Shanxi Hanging Temple (Xuankongsi) which is kept in place with oak crossbeams fitted into holes chiseled into the cliffs, these have catwalks and steep stairs built into the cliff’s face after earthquakes and fire destroyed their wooden structures. If you are in Xian, do visit the grottoes. It takes a 3-4 hours car ride and overnight stay at Tianshui. Climb will do you good!

Visited October 2013
1 Thank Kathleenlim
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Richmond Hill, Canada
Level Contributor
15 reviews
10 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 21 helpful votes
“Highlight of our China trip”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 5 October 2013

Maiji Shan Grottoes is the highlight of our China trip. We're happy that we changed our itinerary to accommodate it. We visited three grottoes during our trip (Yungang, Maiji Shan and Binglingsi) and Maiji Shan was the best. It was more impressive than Yungang Grottoes. The scenery was so spectacular once we were up on the cliff. It was so mystical and peaceful. We spent hours just admiring the scenery and carvings. The rickety metal staircases were not for the faint of heart though. We were there during the downpour and warned by the guards there to hold on our son really tight (he's 8). It was misty and the stairs became quite slippery at some point. Another plus point for Maiji Shan was it was not well known to either local or foreign tourists yet. Please go there before it becomes too popular.

Visited July 2013
3 Thank YorkEL
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Newmarket, Ontario Canada
Level Contributor
92 reviews
35 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 64 helpful votes
“breathtaking experience”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 21 June 2013

This was one of the highlights of our trip to China. Before we arrived my wife emphisized that there was no way she was going to climb up the sheer face of a cliff!
we started up the walkways with the intention of turning around when it became a little hairy but as we went, facinated by the sculptures and the view we kept saying we can do one more level and before we knew it we were at the highest point. Spectacular views looking out at the countryside and down vertically below, it was worth the effort, dont miss going up if you go there. We had our lunch at the restaurant below which was OK and bought fans hand painted while we waited, It was great fun.

Visited June 2013
1 Thank Reece V
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
San Francisco, California
Level Contributor
235 reviews
101 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 368 helpful votes
“Spectacular, ancient, uncrowded”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 6 October 2012

This is one of China's 3 major ancient Buddhist grottoes. It's every bit as ancient as the Yungang Grottoes, and I found it even more spectacular because of the setting, high up on a vertical cliff face, connected by a latticework of staircases attached to the cliff wall. And you won't find it on the itinerary of any organized tour that I know of. All the better, I say. You won't exactly have it to yourself (this is China after all), but it's not overrun either. Actually, up high on the cliff, I pretty much did have the place to myself for much of the time. And not a single western tourist in sight.

The views are amazing; I was a little bummed about the light rain when I was there, and the fog partially obscuring the views. But the mist just made it even more beautiful and mysterious. You could still see that it was a very long way down to the ground if you happen to slip. Not that it was likely, because there are actually railings on the stairs here.

There are also opportunities for hiking, and a visit to a nearby monastery. But I had to skip that because I only had one day. Most people will tell you that you shouldn't attempt to do MaijiShan as a day trip from Xi'an, but if you plan carefully, it can be done. I only had one day, so I needed to make sure it worked, because I didn't want to be in Xi'an, so close to a place this spectacular, and not see it. Here's what I did to make it fit into one comfortable day trip:

Plan ahead with train connections from Xi'an. Buy those tickets 10 or 12 days out, whatever it allows. Buy them on line and have them delivered. Or just get them in China as I did, but don't wait till the last few days. You're going to want your pick of trains, because some take 3 hours and some take 4-5 to make that trip. And you want to get an early start. A 3 hr train that leaves before 8AM is ideal. And don't fall asleep too much, because on the way, the train passes through tunnel after tunnel, in between views of valleys and villages.

When you get to the train station it's the usual Chinese zoo -a bit intimidating if you can't speak a word of Chinese. The Guidebook says there's a minibus #34 that takes you almost to MaijiShan, from where you take a local cab, yadda yadda. I figured, this is the point where you don't want to waste time or quibble about a few bucks -not when you have to do it in a day. Using a calculator and notepad, I negotiated for one of the many predatory taxi drivers to take me there, wait a couple hours, and take me back. I just wrote the times I wanted to be in each location -here(Tianshui), MaijiShan, back to here (Tianshui), and it was understood. Price: I overpaid at 180 Y. I could probably have gotten it for 120, but whatever.

He drove me right up to the entrance. From the ticket entrance, they also run a shuttle to save you a couple kilometers walk. Well worth it. It's cheap and the walk would have been boring. Once at the site, however, it's anything but boring. You only need a couple hours, but this two hours was well worth the whole day for this.

Now getting back is a bit of an issue by train. See, trains out of Xi'an are easy to come by (relatively -still plan ahead), but trains back -especially from a minor village of half a million people like Tianshui -it's pretty next to impossible to snag a seat. There are also busses. They take 5-6 hrs, and the station is in a completely different part of town than the train.

Fortunately, there are flights back to Xi'an, even from a place like this. Not every day, though, so I did the trip on a day when there was a good 1 hr, 5PM flight back to Xi'an. Perfect. Faster than the train and back in Xi'an for dinner! Or at least that was the plan when I booked it. Trains in China generally run on time, but domestic flights may not. As it happened, the delay was only about an hour, and it still wound up being faster than the train.

Total price for the entire day including all transport costs and admission fees: less than 100 USD. Well worth it!

Visited September 2012
8 Thank gregsf11
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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