If you’re, in any way, a kung fu/martial arts enthusiast, I know just the place for you. Shaolin Kung Fu training is abundant in Dengfeng, China… home to the World famous Shaolin Temple – birthplace of the original Chinese Kungfu.
Getting to DengFeng
The best way to get to Dengfeng is to either fly, or take a train, to Zhengzhou. Once in Zhengzhou, you can then make your way to the Central bus station and get a direct bus from there. Buses leave every 30minutes between 06:00 – 20:00 and the journey should take around 2hours. The tourist buses stop in a bunch of other spots on the way and are much more expensive than the direct buses.
Be warned – if you are a backpacker, there are no hostels in Zhengzhou – so if you get a late flight, you’ll have to stay in a more expensive hotel!!
Kung Fu Training
There are many different varieties of packages available if you wish to learn some Kung Fu in Dengfeng… I, personally, was limited on time for this part of my trip, so I just did a half day session at the school. Whilst I was there, however, I was training with another couple of English men who’d decided to go for the full training experience of 1 or 2 months.
Once you arrive in Dengfeng, there are a number of schools offering Kung Fu lessons/training experiences fairly cheaply – so I’d recommend heading to the city and organising it once you’re there in order to avoid paying ridiculous middle man/agent charges for pre-booked trips. If you’re struggling to find any schools, just head to one of the hostels and ask if they can direct you to any that may offer what you’re looking for.
Be aware, if you go for one of the full experiences, you will, more than likely, be living a completely immersive experience – the schools are often genuine monasteries where the students have dedicated their entire lives to martial arts and are living as monks. The accommodation is likely to be very minimalist, the food – traditional Chinese (potentially 3 rice meals/day) and you’ll be training all day. A typical schedule could end up looking something like this:
06:00 – 07:00 Tai Chi
07:30 – 08:00 Breakfast
08:30 – 11:00 Shaolin Kung fu training
11:30 – 12:30 lunch
14:30 – 17:30 Afternoon training
18:00 – 19:00 dinner
19:30 – 20:30 Tai Chi
Shaolin Temple and Other Attractions
If you’re not bothered about actually training, but still wish to see the Shaolin Temple, there’s still plenty to keep you entertained. Inside the monastery grounds, you will find the main Shaolin temple – alongside numerous sub-temples, practising monks, a charitable orphanage and some incredible shows of supernatural agility and power by some of the martial artists themselves. The ticket costs 110元 and it’s open from 8:00 – 17:30… martial arts performances are on the hour.
In the area, there is also plenty of hiking that can be done, on or around Mount Song (Song Shan) – one of the “most sacred mountains in China”.
Dengfeng is known as a particularly spiritual city, due to its location by Mount Song… along with its Buddhist, Taoist and Confucian; Temples, pagodas and academies.
Where to Stay
If you’re a backpacker, I can genuinely recommend Shaolin Traveller’s Youth Hostel, the staff were extremely helpful… they helped me figure out how to get the local bus to the Shaolin Temple, find a school for my Kung Fu lesson and they can even provide tips on how to climb Song Mountain without paying the entrance fee!! 😉
…you can even leave your mark by painting on the walls!!! —>
Do you train any Kung Fu styles? Ever been to the Shaolin temple? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!!
Love, Magic and Fairy Dust 😉