We took the bullet train to the Luoyang from Xi'an. The trip is about 90 minutes on a sleek, clean train that cruises at 290 kilometres per hour.
The grottos are quite close to the train station. We hired a very impressive guide named Shirley from China Odyssey Tours. Her command of idiomatic English is the best of any guide we have had so far, and she is very knowledgeable about the history of the site, and of the various artistic styles that show the age of the particular Buddha.
While many of the more accessible Buddhas have been defaced by a combination of superstitious villagers, cultural revolutionaries, antique thieves and the weather, the site still awes for its grandeur and beauty. Anyone who decried the destruction of the Buddhas in Afghanistan should be glad the the Chinese government is taking due care to protect this magnificent collection, which is a Unesco World Heritage site. "mainland" Chinese Buddhism (as opposed to Tibetan) began in Luoyang in the first century. The Buddhas themselves are 6th and 7th century, with the largest and most spectacular being commissioned by the Empress Wu (ask the guide about her - she is fascinating in her own right!)
Tip - walk both sides of the river to get the views from as many aspects as possible.
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.