The Birthplace of Kung Fu
Any martial arts aficionado has heard of the Shaolin Temple, and though it does tend to attract crowds of tourists, this home of gongfu is well worth visiting. Choreographed wushu performances at surrounding schools are entertaining for martial arts enthusiasts and general spectators alike. Frequent outside visitors also means Shaolin Temple is an easy choice when it comes to vacation destinations for families. Don’t be surprised if your kids ask for kung fu lessons after your trip!
The Travelers: American couple Jim and Janie Butler, and their sons John (10) and Matthew (9).
Kung Fu Warriors: A highlight for the Butler family was walking through the Pagoda Forest at Shaolin Temple – a peaceful sanctuary of endless pagodas which are actually the tombstones of monks, framed by the beautiful Song Mountains. Janie suggests taking a stroller with smaller kids, as the path to the forest is over 500 meters long.
Fighting Fit: Shaolin Temple is known as the cradle of Chinese Zen Buddhism and has a 1,500-year-old wushu history. Seeing the real Shaolin warriors perform was a remarkable experience, with some students as young as John and Matthew.
Where to Stay: The family chose the Hua Yang Plaza Hotel and thought its spacious rooms were a good value. Adding an extra bed was no problem at all, and the breakfast was great. Right next door was a fabulous local park where kids could run around little streams and climb rocks.