With bags packed ready for the next stage of our journey we set off for the Hanging Temple which if is translated literally means ‘Temple Hanging in the Void’. It’s buildings sit on large wooden pegs set in the rock, high above the valley. Visiting the the temple itself is definitely not for those of a vertiginous disposition! However Keith was not willing to stay at ground level and did amazingly well.
Once you reach the building entrance there are narrow stairs and planks to get you between the six halls dedicated to Confucianism, Buddhism and Taoism. This would all be very well, but add to the mix that on one side you look out onto the valley below and add hundreds of other tourists – you find yourself shuffling along the narrow passageways with no way of moving on if you do feel a bit wobbly! In fact it was difficult to decide if you would suffer more from claustrophobia than vertigo in some places.
It is certainly an incredible location hanging as it does on the cliff face. Apparently it got moved further and further up the cliff because of flooding in the valley that kept washing the temple away. However it is an interesting approach to resolving the situation! It seemed to me you would do better to move to a new location altogether but no, some people are just determined.
From the Hanging Temple it was quite a long drive to Pingyau, a very attractive walled town – original this time. The truck had to be parked outside the city wall so we walked in to be greeted with the smell of meat and vegetables being barbecued in front of the restaurants that lined the street. Our accommodation is in a small wooden balconied courtyard behind the Split Noodle restaurant. It is delightful.
The rooms are interesting quite small – perhaps 12 or 14 foot square. Two thirds of the room is taken up by a raised wooden platform that forms the bed. There is a step to get you up to it and a curtain to close it off. The pillows are interesting – they seem to be stuffed with peas!
The room has a wooden ceiling and a Chinese lantern provides the light. It is very hot and humid here so the air conditioning was an unexpected bonus.
We are here for three nights. It looks an interesting place to explore….