Luoyang, in the Henan province of China, is the site of China's first Buddhist monastery, the Baima (White Horse) Temple. It was built almost 2,000 years ago, though it's been reconstructed many times throughout its history. The temple has an illustrious history that is the stuff of legends, including the story of a pair of white horses that carried the first Buddhist scriptures from India to China.

On the other side of Luoyang, about 8 mi/13 km away, you'll discover the Longmen Grottoes, a UNESCO World Heritage site. The grottoes stretch a little more than half a mile/kilometer along a cliff-face overlooking the Yishui River. The more than 2,300 staggering caves and niches and more than 100,000 Buddhist statues are a stunning sight. The Buddha figures bear expressions that range from mild amusement to broad grins.

Another nearby Buddhist site, the famous Shaolin Temple, home of Chan (or Zen) Buddhism and of Kung Fu, is also a fascinating place to visit.

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