About Luoyang

In this article we will discover 13 of the best things to do in Luoyang (including some great free Luoyang attractions).

Luoyang was once China’s ancient capital and the birthplace of Chinese Buddhism and the martial art of Kung Fu. This small city is packed with history and culture, making it a must-visit place for anyone on a trip to China.

The city is home to some world class tourist sites including the Longmen Grottoes, White Horse Temple and the Shaolin Temple. Luoyang is also famed as the home of China’s national flower, the peony, after Empresss Wu Zetian banished the flower to the city for not blooming when ordered!

Every April Luoyang hosts the Peony Festival in celebration of the national flower. There are special events across the city’s parks, gardens and museums.

So, be sure to check out these things to do in Luoyang if you plan on visiting this wonderful city!


Where is Luoyang?

Luoyang Map

Luoyang is situated in China’s central/northern Henan Province, 30km south of the Yellow River. Xian lies 300km to the west.


Top Things to do in Luoyang in 2021

1. Marvel at the Longmen Grottoes

Luoyang Longmen Grottoes
Longmen Grottoes – One of the top Luoyang attractions

The UNESCO lited Longmen Grottoes are a series of caves carved into the hillside and containing over 10,000 statues of the Buddha. These statues range in size from a couple of centimeters to over 17 metres (57 feet) tall!

The grottoes date back to at least 493AD and were continuously added to up until around 1127AD by differing Dynasties that ruled from Luoyang. The site stretches for 1km along the Li River with fantastic views across to the caves and a nearby temple.

Opening Hours:

  • February and March: 08:00 – 18:00
  • April to October: 08:00 – 18:30
  • November to January: 08:00 – 17:00

Entrance Fee: ¥90 ($14.00)

Time Needed to Visit: two to three hours

Address: 13 Longmen Zhong Jie, Luolong District

How to get to the Longmen Grottoes

  • A taxi from anywhere in the city should cost around ¥50 ($7.70).
  • From Luoyang Railway Station take bus K81 to the last stop.
  • From Longmen Railway Station take bus 71 to Longmen Shiku.
  • From the city take any of buses 53, K53, 60, K60, 81, K81, 99, K99 or 167 to Longmen Shiku.

Guide to Longmen Grottoes


2. Visit White Horse Temple

White Horse Temple, Luoyang
White Horse Temple – one of the top things to do in Luoyang

White Horse Temple is the birthplace of Chinese Buddhism. The temple wass established in AD60 under Emperor Ming of the Eastern Han Dynasty. It is here where monks arrived from India carrying Buddhist scriptures on a fabled white horse.

The temple complex is also home to huge Buddhist temples from India, Myanmar and Thailand made in their native styles. This unique site containing Buddhist architecture fom four countries is one of the top things to do in Luoyang!

In addition to the temples, there are also shaded couryards, trickling pools and a giant pagoda (the oldest in China).

Opening Hours: 07:30 – 19:00

Entrance Fee: ¥35 ($5.40)

Time Needed to Visit: around two hours

Address: 6 Luobei Road, Luolong District

How to get to White Horse Temple

Take bus 56, K56, 58, K58 or 87 to Bai Ma Si

Guide to White Horse Temple


3. Visit the Sui and Tang Dynasty National Heritage Park (Mingtan Scenic Area)

Luoyang
Sui and Tang Dynasty Museum – Luoyang Attractions

The Sui and Tang Dynasty Museum focuses on China’s first and only femal Empress Wu Zetian. The museum is home to many wonderful displays including a very cool interractive diorama. There is an excavation pit with glass walkway above showcasing ancient relics.

Entrance to the museum also includes entry to the next door pagoda which includes a dance performance. It’s also possible to climb to the top for sstunning views across the city to the nearby mountains.

Opening Hours:

  • Apr to Oct: 08:30 – 21:00
  • Nov to Mar: 08:30 – 20:30

Entrance Fee: ¥120 ($18.50)

Time Needed to Visit: one to two hours

Address: Intersection of Zhongzhou Road and Dingding Road, Xigong District

Nearest Metro: Yingtianmen


4. See the famous Peony Festival

Peonies
Luoyang Peonies

Every April Luoyang is awash with colour as the peonies come into full blown. There are many different varieties grown here including pink, red, yellow, blue and purple.

Throughout April each park will have a peony display with Wangcheng Park being the most famous. Although usually free, the parks do charge a ¥20 ($3.00) entrance fee during the festival.

Places to see the best peony displays during the festival:

  • Wangcheng Park
  • Sui and Tang Botanic Gardens
  • National Flower Garden

Entrance Fee:

  • Most of the parks charge a fee of ¥20 ($3.00) during the peony festival

Time Needed to Visit: one to two hours


5. Try a “Water Banquet”

Luoyang is famous across China for its “water banquet”; a selection of 21 dishes mostly consisting of soups (thus the “water”). The water banquet was traditionally served to the emperors and has lasted throughout history unti today.

Many places around the old town serve the water banquet, but one of the best is Lu (Old) Luoyang on Peony Square.


6. Visit the Eastern Zhou Horse and Chariot Museum

Horse and Chariot Museum
Horse and Chariot Museum

The Museum of Luoyang Eastern Zhou Horses and Chariots consists of a large excavation pit in the centr of the old city. Here you can see unearthed horses and chariots dating back over two-thousand years!

Next to the excavation pit is a small room with recovered artifacts including bronze, pottery, musical instruments and weapons.

Opening Hours: 08:30 – 18:30

Entrance Fee: ¥30 ($4.60)

Time Needed to Visit: under one hour

Address: Zhongzhou Road, Xiging District

How to get to the Eastern Zhou Horse and Chariot Museum

  • Take bus 4, K5, 36, K40, 48, K50, 52, K56, 77, 81, 98 or 103 to Wangcheng Guangchang Bus Stop.
  • Nearest Metro: Zhouwangcheng Square

7. Watch a Kung-Fu show at the Shaolin Monestary

The Shaolin Temple
The Shaolin Temple

Not content to being the birthplace of Chinese Buddhism, Luoyang is also the birthplace of Wushu, or Kung-Fu as we know it in the west.

The world-renowned Shaolin Temple is located on the outskirts of Dengfeng near Luoyang. Here you can witness practitioners of this ancient martial art in jaw-dropping displays of strength and courage.

As well as the Kung Fu performances and temples, tickets also allow entry to the pagoda forest and nearby Songshan Mountain (see below).

Opening Hours: 08:00 – 17:30

Entrance Fee: ¥100 ($15.40)

Time Needed to Visit: two to three hours for the temple, performances and pagoda forest. One day if you wish to climb Song Mountain.

Address: Dengfeng Avenue, Dengfeng, Zhengzhou District, Henan

How to get to the Shaolin Temple from Luoyang:

Take the bus from Luoyang Bus Station (next to Luoyang Railway Station). Buses depart when full and cost ¥25 ($4.00)

Guide to the Shaolin Temple


8. Climb Holy Songshan Mountain

Songshan Mountain
Songshan Mountain

Songshan is one of China’s five holy mountains* and is located next to the Shaolin Temple. This beautiful national park area is perfect for hiking and has some impressive sights along the way, such as the small village clinging to the mountainside.

It’s posssible to visit Shaolin and then climb the mountain, but an early start would be advisable. There are also cable cars for those less able or willing to exert themselves on the tough mountain trail.

As you hike up the mountain you will see rivers, streams, pools and an abundance of wildlife. It’s easy to see why Songshan is classed as a holy mountain!

*The five holy mounains are: Huashan (Shaanxi), Taishan (Shandong), Hengshang South (Hunan), Hengshan North (Shanxi) and Songshan (Henan).

Opening Hours: 08:00 – 17:30

Entrance Fee:

  • Pay the ¥100 ($15.40) entrance for Shaolin and this includes Songshan.
  • Songshan Cable Car: ¥70 ($10.75) one way, ¥120 ($18.50) round-trip

Time Needed to Visit: one to two days

Address: Dengfeng Avenue, Dengfeng, Zhengzhou District, Henan

How to get to the Songshan Mountain from Luoyang:

Take the bus from Luoyang Bus Station (next to Luoyang Railway Station). Buses depart when full and cost ¥25 ($4.00)


Top Free Things to do in Luoyang

9. Visit Luoyang’s Old Town

Luoyang Old Town
Luoyang Old Town

Luoyang’s old town consists of one main street lined with craft shops and restaurants and is a great place to pick up souvenirs and sample traditional cuisine (including scorpions on sticks).

One of the streets is lined with red lanterns and foodstalls and is a popular place for locals in the evening.

At the very end of the pedestrian road is a new cultural area with a recreated old city which includes drum and dance performances. It’s a little kitsch, but pleasant enough.

Opening Hours: 24 hours a day

Entrance Fee: free.

There is a charge of ¥25 ($4.00) to climb the city wall for great views over the old town)

Time Needed to Visit: one to two hours

Address: West Street, Laochung District

Nearest Metro: Yingtianmen


10. See the Ancient Art and Tomb Museum

Luoyang Ancient Art and Tomb Museum
Luoyang Ancient Art and Tomb Museum

The Luoyang Ancient Art and Tomb museum is the burial site for from the Wei to the Sui and Tang Dynasties. The site contains 25 tombs with burial objects and a unique display of ancient frescoes and wall art.

There is also a large garden which has a burial mound and a series of statues representing the zodiac.

Opening Hours: 09:00 – 17:00 Tuesday to Sunday

Entrance Fee: free

Time Needed to Visit: one to two hours

Address: 45 Airport Road, Laocheng District

Buses: 27, K27, 83, K82


11. Visit Wangcheng Park

Wangcheng Park
Wangcheng Park, one of Luoyang’s top attractions

Wangcheng Park is a wonderful recreation area bursting with colour and life from spring to late autumn. It houses one of the best displays of peonies in the city during April.

There is a boating lake and river, amusement park and many interesting areas to explore.

Opening Hours: 05:00 – 21:30

Entrance Fee: free (¥20/$3.00 during the peony festival in April)

Time Needed to Visit: one to two hours

Address: Wangcheng Park, Zhengzhou Road, Xigong District

Nearest Metro: Wangcheng Park


12. Luoyang Museum

Luoyang Museum
Luoyang Museum

The imposing looking Luoyang Museum is a great choice for a rainy day. Inside the large, utilitarian building are countless displays and exhibitions fom the neolithic period to pressent day.

  • Opening Hours: 09:00 to 16:30 Tuesday to Sunday
  • Entrance Fee: free
  • Time Needed to Visit: one to two hours
  • Address: Neitai Road, Luolong District

13. Luopu Park

Luopu Park, Luoyang
Luopu Park, Luoyang

Luopo Park stretches across both sides of the Luo River for almost 20km making it the longest park in all of China.

  • Opening Hours: 24 hours
  • Entrance Fee: free
  • Time Needed to Visit: one to two hours

Getting to the city from Luoyang International Airport

The airport is just 10km from central Luoyang making it easy to get into the city. A taxi should cost around ¥50 ($7.70).

There are airport shuttle buses from terminals 2 and 3. Journey time is around an hour and and a ticket costs ¥25 ($4.00).

Luoyang’s metro opened in early 2021, however the airport line is still under construction. It is due to open some time in 2022.

Getting to Luoyang from the rest of China


Getting around Luoyang

Luoyang City
Luoyang City

Luoyang’s brand new metro has just opened line 1 in April of 2021. Some of the stops for Luoyang’s tourist destinations include Peony Square, Wangcheng Park and the old town.

Taxis are ubiquitous and make a cheap and easy way to get around.

Local buses, although cheap at only ¥1 or ¥2 are best avoided for non-Mandarin speakers or unless you know the exact route. The timetables are not in English and buses tend to get very crowded.

Another great way to get around is by making use of the shared bikes. You will need the Alipay or Wechat apps for this and be able to (or have a friend that) speaks Mandarin.


Best Time to Visit Luoyang

Without a doubt April is the best month to visit Luoyang to witness the beautiful peonies in bloom acrosss the city. The weather is warm and sunny making it the perfect time to visit Luoyang’s attractions. Spring, summer and autumn (fall) are all good times to visit.


Other City Guides

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7 Fantastic things to do in Dunhuang

11 Amazing things to do in Chengdu

11 Amazing things to do in Harbin

11 Incredible things to do in Xian



Steve Rohan

About this author: Steve Rohan has lived in China for six years. He has lived in the frozen city of Harbin, ancient capital of Luoyang and tropical paradise that is Sanya.

After teaching English for a number of years, he now blogs full time for this site and adventure travel blog thetripgoeson.com.