Luoyang in 2 Days: Essential Sights and Tasty Treats

Luoyang In 2 Days

Nestled in the heart of China, Luoyang is a city steeped in history and culture, offering travelers a glimpse into ancient dynasties and timeless traditions. This 2-day itinerary will take you on a journey through some of Luoyang’s most significant historical landmarks and vibrant local attractions. From the solemn reverence of Guanlin Temple to the breathtaking Longmen Grottoes, and from the grand halls of Ming Tang to the serene White Horse Temple, you will uncover the rich tapestry of Luoyang’s past. Along the way, indulge in local culinary delights and experience the lively atmosphere of bustling markets and serene temples.

Day 1: Guanlin Temple → Longmen Grottoes → Luoyang Musical Fountain

Start your exploration of Luoyang with a visit to Guanlin Temple, a significant historical and cultural site. According to legend, this temple is where the head of the revered general Guan Yu is buried. It is the only place in China that combines a temple, a forest, and a tomb in one location. As the leading temple among the three major Guan Yu temples in China, it holds immense historical and cultural value.

From Guanlin Temple, take the 81 or 60 bus westwards, and within 20 minutes, you will arrive at the world-renowned Longmen Grottoes. A UNESCO World Heritage site, the Longmen Grottoes are an essential destination for any visitor to Luoyang. Divided into the West Hill Grottoes and the East Hill Grottoes, these impressive rock carvings are spread across both sides of the Yi River. The West Hill, also known as Longmen Mountain, and the East Hill, or Xiangshan, together house over 90,000 Buddha statues ranging from 2 centimeters to over 17 meters tall, making for a breathtaking sight.

Consider visiting Longmen Grottoes in the evening when the site is less crowded and cooler. At around 7:00 PM, the grand Luoshan Buddha is illuminated with colorful projections, recreating the original colors of the carvings, offering a stunning visual experience.

If you prefer not to visit the grottoes at night, head to the Luoyang Musical Fountain instead. Located on Kaiyuan Avenue, adjacent to the Luoyang Government Building, this is Asia’s largest integrated musical fountain. The fountain features a design inspired by the peony flower, blending straight and curved lines harmoniously.


Lunch: After your visit to Guanlin Temple, head to Old Luoyang Wonton (老洛阳馄饨) on Guanlin Street to try the local delicacy, Tang Mian Jiao (烫面角). This traditional snack consists of dumplings made from finely chopped pork, seasoned with various spices, and wrapped in a dough made with hot water. The dumplings are steamed for 10 minutes, resulting in a soft, translucent skin and a juicy filling.

Dinner: If you finish your visit to the Longmen Grottoes in the late afternoon, head to Baolong City Square (宝龙城市广场) on Kaiyuan Avenue. This modern shopping complex offers a variety of dining options, including fast food and chain restaurants, providing a comfortable place to relax and dine.

Day 2: Ming Tang → White Horse Temple → Lijing Gate

Begin your second day with a visit to Ming Tang, the grand hall of the Tang Dynasty’s imperial palace during Empress Wu Zetian’s reign. Also known as Wanxiang Shrine, this site was where significant state ceremonies, rituals, and selections of officials were held. If the weather is good, arrive early to see locals practicing morning exercises on the plaza in front of Ming Tang. You might even join them for a refreshing start to your day.

In the afternoon, head to the White Horse Temple, often referred to as “China’s First Ancient Temple.” As the first state-established Buddhist temple in China, it is revered in the Buddhist community as the “Source of Buddhism” and the “Cradle of Buddhism.” The temple complex, with its well-preserved ancient architecture and serene atmosphere, offers a glimpse into the deep-rooted Buddhist traditions and history.

As evening approaches, make your way to Lijing Gate, one of the most iconic and well-preserved city gates from ancient China. Originally built during the Sui Dynasty, Lijing Gate was one of the west gates of the Eastern Capital’s imperial city. Here, you can immerse yourself in the rich cultural heritage of old Luoyang, experiencing both its historical architecture and vibrant local life. The area around Lijing Gate is also a food lover’s paradise, with numerous stalls and restaurants offering a variety of traditional Luoyang snacks and dishes.


Lunch: After exploring Ming Tang, you don’t need to venture far for lunch. Enjoy a meal at one of the nearby local eateries, offering a quick and satisfying break before continuing your journey.

Dinner: At Lijing Gate, you’ll find a variety of local specialties. Be sure to try Luoyang’s famous Water Banquet at Zhenbutong Water Banquet Restaurant (真不同水席园), or sample the various soups such as Tofu Soup, Bu Fan Soup, Beef Soup, and Lamb Soup.

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