The Yungang Grottoes got added in the UNESCO world heritage list in 2001, and it is the largest among the four most famous ancient Buddhist grotto complexes in China.
The other 3 Buddhist Grottoes being: Mogao Grottoes, Maijishan Grottoes in Gansu Province, and the Longmen Grottoes outside Luoyang City in Henan Province.
I have been lucky enough to visit 3 out the 4, with now only missing Longmen.
From my experience with visiting historical sites in China, Yungang Grottoes is one of the best -maintained sites in the whole country.
The entrance to the site is actually more than 10 -15 minutes walk away from the caves.
The Yungang Grottoes consist of 251 man-made caves and more than 51.000 Buddhist statues, yes you read correctly FIFTY ONE THOUSAND. With the smallest statue only being 2-centimer (0.78 Inches) tall while the biggest one being 17 meter (669 inches) tall.
It’s said that the project that started in year 453 and took 50 years to complete had a workforce of 40.000 people with some of the Buddhist working on the site that were coming all the way from what is now Sri Lanka.
All main caves in Yungang are named with No. 1 to 20. With No.16, 17, 18, 19, and 20 being the most impressive ones, and nr 5 having the biggest Buddha statue.
Most of the statues are very well preserved inside the caves, and you’re allowed to take photos inside most of them, but strictly no flash.
Additional Information about Yungang Grottoes.
Entrance Fee: 150 RMB, Half price for students, with student ID.
Opening Hours: 8.30 – 17.00. (15. April – 31. October)
8.30 – 16.30. (1. November – 14. April)
Getting There: The Yungang Grottoes is located about 16km (9.94 miles) Southwest of Datong City.
A taxi will cost you about 40 RMB,
Or you can take public bus nr, 3-1, 3-2, 10 or 12 for 1 RMB.
Is it worth a visit? 6/10. You can´t leave Datong without visiting Yungang Grottoes if your already in Datong, but it’s not worth coming all the way just to see the caves.