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Henan Travel Guide

Henan Travel Guide

Named for its location of the south bank of the Yellow River, Henan (abbreviated as “Yu”) is a crucial national transportation hub and a typical large agricultural and population province. It is situated in the hinterland of China’s Central Plains and borders Anhui and Shandong to the east, Hebei and Shanxi to the north, Shaanxi to the west and Hubei to the south.

This province is renowned as one of the cradles of Chinese civilization where the ancient agriculture, animal husbandry and ceramic appeared 7 to 8 millenniums ago, where the Yellow Emperor was born, where China’s the first slavery regime - Xia Dynasty was found, world’s oldest character - Oracle Bones Inscription were invented, etc. Henan, being a political, economic and cultural center for a long term, is often neglected with more famous Beijing and Xian nearby, but it is a formidable land full of profound history and rich culture, such as culture of Shaolin Kung Fu, Buddhism, folk customs, food, fantastic bronze accomplishment of Shang Dynasty and numerous original historical heritages in different dynasties.

Why Visit Henan Province:

  • An Abundance of UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Speaking of quantity, Henan has totally 5 World Cultural Heritages which ranks the second after Beijing and ties with Sichuan and Yunnan. The 5 heritages are Luoyang Longmen Grottoes, Historical Monuments of Dengfeng in “The Center of Heaven and Earth”, Yin Xu (in Anyang), south section of the Grand Canal and part of the “Silk Road”. Each estate presents different and marvelous cultures, e.g. high level of stone carving art and craftsmanship, perfect fusion of religion, science, education to concrete buildings and wild nature, awesome evolution of Zen Buddhism and Kung Fu.
  • The Birthplace of Chinese Nation and Civilization. Massive Chinese cultures were bred in Henan, such as the first Buddhist temple in China - White Horse Temple, three of the Four Great Inventions of Ancient China - compass, papermaking and gunpowder, Chinese ancestor - Yellow Emperor and his early inventions of civilized survival skills, China’s first observatory - Zhougong Sundial Platform and the Dengfeng Observatory. Yet, Henan is a crucial origin of Chinese surnames; about 171 of entire 300 family surnames were rooted in Henan.
  • Four Famous Chinese Ancient Capitals. Served as a national political, economic and cultural hub for over 3,000 years, Henan has witnessed more than 20 dynasties and over 200 emperors and nourished four eminent ancient capitals - Luoyang, Kaifeng, Anyang and Zhengzhou, half number of Eight Great Chinese Ancient Capitals in China. Luoyang, the capital city of nine dynasties, has preserved cultural ruins of Xia, Shang, Eastern Zhou, Han, Wei, Sui and Tang Dynasties, Longmen Grottoes, White Horse Temple and plentiful historical interests. Besides, you can trace back to Yin Dynasty in Anyang, Shang Dynasty in Zhengzhou and Song Dynasty in Kaifeng.
  • Grand National Flower Festivals. In Chinese traditional culture, beautiful flowers are cherished cultural symbols with unique connotations. Luoyang Peony standing for nobility and prosperity of a nation, rich and honor, happiness and good fortune is wildly loved by the Chinese. During early April to May each year, Luoyang holds a grand national Peony Cultural Festival in gardens to display a romantic sea of peony blossom. Moreover, Kaifeng with long history of chrysanthemum planting has annual Kaifeng Chrysanthemum Festival to show chrysanthemum of different varieties and colors.
  • Tremendous Ancient Literati, Ideologist and Talents. Ancient wisdom is a major force of creating and promoting the brilliant history of Henan. Laozi (author of Tao Te Ching & founder of Taoism), Zhuangzi (writer of Zhuangzi - one foundational book of Taoism), Mozi are legendary ancient Chinese philosophers and ideologists. Jiang Ziya, Shang Yang, Sima Yi, Yue Fei are respectable politicians and patriots. Du Fu, Bai Juyi, Hanyu, Li Shangyin are poets with praiseworthy works. There are other countless great giants, like scientists Zhangheng, physician Zhang Zhongjing and Buddhist Xuan Zang.
  • Eye-catching Nature Spectacles. Geographical terrain shapes stunning natural landscape of Henan. The top scenic area is Mount Song in west of Henna, covering 450 square kilometers with 72 peaks. Yuntai Mountain with odd red rocks, Taihang Mountains with steep cliffs, Laojun Mountain with sacred Taoist atmosphere, Xiaolangdi Dam with roaring water of Yellow River are popular spots to encounter natural miracles in Henan.
  • ......

Top Travel Destinations in Henan

Henan consists of 18 cities, such as Zhengzhou, Luoyang, Kaifeng, Anyang, etc., and Dengfeng (where Shaolin Temple is located) is under the jurisdiction of Zhengzhou. The Northern Henan along the Yellow River is the core area of ancient Chinese culture and history, which has generated the four ancient capitals. Meanwhile, Henan is embraced by different mountain ranges in the north, west and south, so many astounding natural landscape are hidden there. >> Top Henan Tourist Destinations

Popular Tourist Attractions in Henan

The long and profound history has left Henan wealthy cultural heritages, whose underground antiques occupies the largest amount in China, overground relics ranks the second and museum collection retains nearly one in eight of the whole nations’ total number. Shaolin Temple and Longmen Grottoes are the two brightest pearls in the treasury, which themselves are outstanding ancient architectures, and also reserve traditional culture of Buddhism, art and faith. More origins of Chinese civilizations and legacies can be traced in Henan. Also, the land present unique natural views, like the imposing Mount Song, exotic Yuntai Mountain, impressive Guoliang Village and Tunnel Road on the Taihang Mountains, powerful waters of Yellow River at Xiaolangdi Dam. >> Top Henan Tourist Attractions

Shaolin Temple
Shaolin Temple

The over 1,500-year old temple is a UNESCO World Cultural Heritage site and the birthplace of China’s Zen Buddhism and Chinese Kung Fu, a holy dream land for worldwide Kung Fu fans.

Luoyang Longmen Grottoes
Luoyang Longmen Grottoes

Longmen Grottoes sitting by the river is the world’s biggest stone engraving treasure-house and one of the four main Buddhist grottoes in China with over 111,000 carved Buddhist figures.

White Horse Temple
White Horse Temple

Built in Eastern Han Dynasty in 68 AD, White Horse Temple is the oldest Buddhist temple in China and an important & sacred Buddhist center in Asia.

Henan Museum
Henan Museum

Exhibiting more than 140 thousand cultural relics, the museum is a wonderful platform to catch a glimpse of the brilliant achievements of ancient Henan. You can see many national treasures here.

Mount Song
Mount Song

Known as one of the Five Great Mountains in China, Mount Song is a world geopark and the location of World Cultural Heritage - Historic Monuments of Dengfeng in “The Centre of Heaven and Earth” (including Shaolin Temple...)

Luoyang Museum
Luoyang Museum

Luoyang Museum offers great opportunity to better understand Luoyang in different dynasties and diverse cultural gems, such as pottery figurines of Han & Tang Dynasties, Luoyang Peony, calligraphy and paintings.

Yuntai Mountain
Yuntai Mountain

Yuntai Mountain is a large famed ecotourism scenic spot in north of Henan, which shows distinctive Danxia rocks , verdant forest and water landscape of waterfalls, ponds, streams and springs.

Guoliang Village
Guoliang Village

Hidden deeply in the mountains, it is a mysterious small village standing on the vertical cliff. All visitors will marvel at the twisty and thrilling tunnel road on the driving journey and sharp rock walls.

Yin Dynasty Ruins (Yinxu)
Yin Dynasty Ruins (Yinxu)

This archaeological site is the ruins of the late Shang Dynasty that systematically proves the glorious bronze civilization, interesting ancient Chinese characters (Oracle Bones Inscriptions) and funeral customs.

Top Activities in Henan

Besides sightseeing the ancient sites, there are plenty of local featured activities you can attend to make your Henan tour special and unforgettable. When visiting Shaolin Temple, you can closely watch a wonderful show of Shaolin Kung Fu, or even spend months learning this famous Chinese Martial Arts. Seasonal natural beauties mainly focus on the Luoyang in the spring and Kaifeng in the autumn. Of course, eating popular food and having nightlife are the relaxing parts of your trip and good ways to learn local life and culture.

>> Top Things to Do in Luoyang & Things to Do in Shaolin Temple & Dengfeng & Things to Do in Zhengzhou

Ancient Cultural & Historical Sites Cultural & Historical Sites
See a Henan Opera (Yu Opera) Henan Opera (Yu Opera)
Diverse Henan Food Diverse Henan Food

Henan Weather & Climate - Places to Go in Each Season

Henan Weather and Climate Henan Weather and Climate

The south regions of Henan enjoy a subtropical climate while the central and north areas belong to a Warm Temperate Continental Monsoon Climate. For its elevation decrease from the western mountains and the east plains, there are transitional climate features as well. Generally, Henan has distinct four seasons, hot and humid summer and cold, dry and windy winter. The annual average temperature of Henan is between 10.5℃ to 16.7 ℃, and the annual mean rainfall is around 407.7mm to 1295.8mm. January is the coldest time of a year while July is the hottest period. Rain mostly comes during June to August of summer. You can visit Henan at any time. Warm spring (March to May) and cool autumn (September to November) are the best travel seasons, because temperature at that time is moderate, natural color is beautiful, sky is clear with little rain. In summer, mountains like Mount Song, Yuntai Mountain are good palaces to escape from the heat and strong sunshine.

Best Places to Visit in Spring: Luoyang, Shaolin Temple, Kaifeng, Anyang.
Best Place to Visit in Summer: Shaolin Temple, Luoyang, Yuntai Mountain.
Best Places to Visit in Autumn: Shaolin Temple, Luoyang, Kaifeng, Guoliang Village, Anyang.
Best Place to Visit in Winter: Luoyang, Kaifeng, Anyang.

>> Henan Weather & Climate & Dengfeng & Shaolin Temple Weather & Climate

>> Luoyang Weather & Zhengzhou Weather & Kaifeng Weather

How to Get to & around Henan

Fly to Zhengzhou Henan Take High Speed Train to Zhengzhou Henan Take High Speed Train to Luoyang Henan Bus to Dengfeng Shaolin Temple Private Transfer by China Discovery

Get to Henan

By Flight: There are four airports served for civil aviation in Henan, including Zhengzhou Xinzheng International Airport (CGO) and Luoyang Beijiao Airport (LYA) and two less-used airports. Zhengzhou Xinzheng International Airport is the major airport hub & the only international airport in Henan. It operates oer 200 air lines between more than 110 cities at home and abroad. Tourists can fly to Zhengzhou from Beijing (about 2 hours), Shanghai (about 2 hours), Guangzhou (about 2.5 hours), Chengdu (about 2 hours) and major Chinese cities, and Tokyo, Seoul, Bangkok, Kuala Lumpur, Singapore and other overseas cities. Luoyang Beijing Airport mainly serves domestic flights to Luoyang from Beijing, Shanghai, Hangzhou, Kunming, Xining, etc.

>> Zhengzhou Airport & Flights & Luoyang Airport & Flights

By Train: Located on a well-developed rail network for both traditional and high speed railways, such as Beijing Guangzhou High Speed Railway, Henan is a vital rail hub in Central China. It’s every convenient and time-saving to get to Henan by high speed train from nearby provinces, like Shaanxi, Shanxi, Shandong. Zhengzhou and Luoyang are the most popular gateway cities for a train travel to Henan, for they are linked with Beijing and Xian within several hours’ train journey.

>> Zhengzhou Railway Stations & Trains & Luoyang Railway Stations & Trains

Get around Henan

Zhengzhou is the frequently-used transfer center in Henan, for it has many buses and rains to other major tourist destinations in Henan, especially the fast intercity high speed trains to Kaifeng, Jiaozuo and Zhengzhou airport within 1 hour.

Zhengzhou-Luoyang: aabout 140 km, 40~50 minutes by high speed train; 2 hours by private driving; 2.5 hours by bus.

Zhengzhou-Shaolin Temple: about 110 km, 2 hours by private driving; 2.5~3 hours by bus.

Luoyang-Shaolin Temple: about 55 km, 1.5 hours by private driving; 2 hours by bus.

Zhengzhou-Kaifeng: about 60km, 20 ~ 30 minutes by intercity train; 1.5 hours by private driving.

Zhengzhou-Yuntai Mountain: about 95 km, 1.5 hours by private driving; 40 ~ 50 minutes to Jiaozuo by intercity train.

>> How to Get to Zhengzhou & How to Get to Luoyang & Zhengzhou to Luoyang

>> How to Get to Shaolin Temple & How to Get to Longmen Grottoes

>> Zhengzhou to Shaolin Temple & Luoyang to Shaolin Temple

Henan Travel Maps

Below are the most useful maps made and collected by China Discovery to help you better know Henan’s location, top attractions & destinations to visit, best way for arrival and traveling around. When planning your Henan trip, you’re welcome to use and download these maps as you need, which covers the Henan Location Map, Henan Attraction Map, Henan Top Tourist Destinations Map, Travel Maps of Luoyang, Shaolin Temple, Zhengzhou. Here are updated overall Henan Maps 2020.

Henan China Map

Henan China Map

Shanxi Travel Map

Henan Travel Map

Shaolin Temple Tourist Map

Shaolin Temple Tourist Map

2023 Special Theme Tours for Henan Travel

3 Days Essence of Luoyang Tour
(Travel Luoyang & Shaolin Temple at a Leisurely Pace)
2 Days Luoyang Longmen Grottoes Tour
(Signature Sights of Luoyang with Shaolin Temple)
3 Days Shaolin Kung Fu Tour including Luoyang Highlights
(Authentic Shaolin Kung Fu plus Luoyang Essence)
2 Days Shaolin Temple Tour from Zhengzhou
(Shaolin Kung Fu Dream)
3 Days In-depth Shaolin Kung Fu Class Tour
(Customized Shaolin Kung Fu Training Experience)
3 Days Luoyang Peony Cultural Festival Tour
(Encounter with Beautiful Peonies)
6 Days Henan Highlights Tour
(Discovery China 3 Millennium Ago)
5 Days Henan Cultural Tour to Luoyang and Kaifeng
(Trace Back to Ancient Capitals)

Other Popular Destinations in China

China is vast and diverse. You can choose your favorite destinations among more than 70 tourist destination and regions, like Beijing, Shanghai, Xian, Chengdu, etc. Following are 4 popular destinations you may get interested in. Check all destinations in China.

Henan China Map

Chinese Name: 河南

Chinese Pinyin: hé nán

English IPA: /'hə'næn/

Capital: Zhengzhou

Population: 109.52 million

Ethnic Minorities: Han, Hui, Mongolian, Manchu...

Language: Henan Dialect, Mandarin & Other Ethnic Languages

Climate: Warm Temperate & Subtropical Continental Monsoon Climate

Area: 167,000 Square Kilometers

Rivers: Yellow River, Huai River...

Mountains: Mount Song, Yuntai Mountain, Baiyun Mountain, Laojun Mountain...

Highest Point: Laoyacha Mountain in Sanmenxia City (2,413.8m)

Time Zone: (UTC+8)

Plan your Henan Tour

Henan is an incredible treasury house rich in cultural heritages. Usually, tourists spend 3 days visiting the two most popular destinations - Luoyang and Dengfeng, viewing leading World Cultural Heritages of Longmen Grottoes and Shaolin Temple. If you have 1 more day, you can visit more sites in Luoyang or taking a short Shaolin Kung Fu training class. If you have 5 to 6 days, you can have an in-depth tour with more highlights, travel to Kaifeng and Anyang for your cultural exploration. If you like themed tour to other popular attractions, like the Yuntai Mountain, Guoliang Village, day trips can be arranged from Zhengzhou. If time allows, it's popular to travel Henan with Beijing, Xian, Shanghai, Chengdu, Datong, Pingyao, Shandong and other places in China to experience fruitful cultures and landscape of China.China Discovery offers hot tour packages and one-to-one customized service for you! >> Read More about How to Plan a Henan Tour

Travel with China Discovery

We have helped many global travelers enjoy their memorable wonderful trips to Henan for the past few years. Among them, a couple from the UK traveled with us and spent 21 Happy Days in Luoyang, Dengfeng, Beijing, Xi'an and 5 Other Cities in Northern China, and shared us their special travel story!

Moreover, we got more than 1,570+ good reviews on TripAdvisor.com, and over 3,270+ China travel reviews from our customers. Travel with China Discovery to create your great China trip memories!

Top Henan Tours

White Horse Temple in Suny Days
3 Days Essence of Luoyang Tour

Luoyang / Dengfeng / Zhengzhou

Archway gate of Shaolin Temple
2 Days Shaolin Temple Tour from Zhengzhou

Zhengzhou / Dengfeng / Shaolin Temple / Zhengzhou

Shaolin Kung Fu Class
3 Days In-depth Shaolin Kung Fu Class Tour

Zhengzhou / Dengfeng / Zhengzhou

Our customer from Italy visit Longmen Grottoes
3 Days Shaolin Temple Longmen Grottoes Tour from Zhengzhou

Zhengzhou / Shaolin Temple / Luoyang

Fengxian Temple in Longmen Grottoes
2 Days Luoyang Longmen Grottoes Tour

Luoyang / Dengfeng / Luoyang

Guoliangcun Tunnel
5 Days Hidden Guoliangcun Village Tour from Luoyang

Luoyang / Shaolin Temple / Guoliangcun / Zhengzhou

Grandiose ancient temples in Shaolin Temple
6 Days Henan Highlights Tour

Zhengzhou / Anyang / Kaifeng / Dengfeng / Luoyang

Millennium City Park in Kaifeng
5 Days Henan Cultural Tour to Luoyang and Kaifeng

Zhengzhou / Kaifeng / Dengfeng / Luoyang


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