The gateway to central China
As one of China’s eight ancient cities, Zhengzhou is the provincial capital of Henan Province, an area known for being the birthplace of Chinese civilisation. With a rich history of more than three thousand years, Zhengzhou was the capital of the Shang Dynasty (1600–1027 BC), the second dynasty recorded in Chinese history.
Located in central China, Zhengzhou has a prime position amidst famous Chinese landmarks including Mount Song – the central mountain of the Five Great Mountains of China – and the Yellow River, which passes through its centre. Now with a population of more than six million and a major railway stop on the Beijing–Guangzhou line, Zhengzhou is also achieving prominence as a launching pad to nearby famous attractions, including the Shaolin temple and Longmen Grottoes.
Things to do
Shaolin Temple and its Pagoda Forest is a UNESCO World Heritage site located approximately 90 minutes from Zhengzhou. The temple itself is beautiful, and includes many smaller attractions, including its Hall of Heavenly Kings and Dharma Cave. Known for being both the cradle of Chinese Zen Buddhism and Shaolin Martial Arts, to this day it is still considered the main temple of Shaolin Buddhism.
An easy day trip from Zhengzhou, the UNESCO-listed Longmen Grottoes are considered the foremost example of Chinese stone carving. Intricately carved into a one-kilometre stretch of steep limestone cliffs are more than 2300 grottoes and niches dating from the late Northern Wei and Tang Dynasties (316–907). The stunning collection includes more than 110,000 Buddhist stone statues, over 60 stupas (shrines) and thousands of blocks with carved inscriptions (steles).
Built in 1927, the Henan National Museum opens in new window is one of the oldest and largest museums in China, containing more than 130,000 cultural relics including bronzeware from the Shang and Zhou dynasties, jadeware and an assortment of antiques from the famous Ming and Qing dynasties. The museum is equally known for its distinctive pyramidal structure.
The Yellow River Scenic Area is an ideal spot to view many of Zhengzhou’s most well known attractions. From a high vantage point, it’s possible to see the famous Yellow River, as well as the Five Dragons Peak, Camel Mountain Range and the Yuesham Temple. Also viewable from here are the famous stone figures of Yandhi and Huangdi, who stand more than 106 metres tall.
Built during the Ming Dynasty (1368–1644), the City God Temple is the largest example of ancient architecture in the Henan Province. Aside from the group of buildings that make up the complex, including the Mountain Gate, Main Temple Hall and the Emperor’s Resting Place, the site also includes sculptures and artwork.
Zhengzhou Xinzheng International Airport (CGO)
Distance to city centre 40km
Taxi A taxi to central Zheng Zhou takes around 50 minutes and costs CNY 90-120.
Bus Buses opens in new window leave every 30 minutes for destinations around Zheng Zhou; fares are around CNY 20.Back to top
When to go
Zhengzhou has four distinct climates. Summer temperatures can reach as high as 43°C, while its coldest month, January, can sometimes drop to as low as -17°C. Autumn and spring are peak tourist seasons, with milder temperatures.
Autumn, especially from late August to October, is the best time to visit; with generally warm weather and dry days it’s also the ideal time to climb nearby Mount Songshan. This time period also includes some big trade fairs and the International Shaolin Kung Fu Festival.Back to top
Zhengzhou’s metro system includes three subway lines, running from 6am to midnight daily, with tickets from CNY 2. The Zhengzhou City Bus service has 238 city bus routes, running every 3-5 minutes from 6am to 9.30pm daily, with fares from CNY 1. Taxi fares start at a flag-down rate of CNY8 for the first 2km.
As a major intersection of the Beijing–Guangzhou and Lianyungang–Lanzhou railway lines, Zhengzhou has train five stations, providing long-distance railway options to other parts of Central China.Back to top