I saw the movie, Shaolin when I was a kid and since then I've been hooked onto kung-fu. It's commercialized now but with that aside, it's a dream come true. You can see the kids practising wushu on the grounds. Also, Dengfeng's largest wushu school has a large training ground at Shaolin temple entrance. It was just way too cool to watch. Ok, onto the real description of the place...there's a main gate (looks newly built)where you can buy your tickets, a gift shop, general info about the place and tour guides(seems official with ID) soliciting people who want a guide (these type of tour guides seem to be present at most major tourist attractions). Then you walk a bit passing training fields and the kung-fu schools to get to the performance auditorium. It's about 1k walk to get to the actual Shaolin Temple and then more walking to see the Pagoda forest. Apparently, there are shuttles you can pay if you don't feel like walking. The performance was amazing except for the fact that they cheapened the show by selling DVDS (20 RMB) during the performances. Also if you want a pic with the performers, you would also need to pay. There was a brash man yelling at audience members for the money. The actual temple was just oozing with history. For a kung-fu fanatic, the ultimate site was the training hall. Unfortunately, it's sealed to preserve the relics but it's still just awesome to see the concaved floors from their training in the past. I found out that my travel agent, COT, had arranged a 1/2 day training and the other 1/2 day climbing up the mountain to the Darma caves. Too late for us but if you love martial arts, this is a must place to see.
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