You will stay overnight in the 1800 years old Bailin Zen Monastery, the only active Zen temple in China that accepts foreign guests and allows you to stay with the monks. However, don't be put off by the idea that you'd have to live like a monk--the dormitories have soft beds, hot water for bathing, and Western toilets.
Spend a weekend in the temple: learn about "the art of life" from the monks themselves, join the monks for daily meals (lots of fresh fruit, steamed bread, fried vegetables and rice congee) and sleep in the comfortable dormitory equipped with all the basics. Participate in actual prayer ceremonies and meditation with the monks inside the temple, have a discussion with monks on Zen and life, and attend a meditation workshop. The experience will open your eyes and your mind.
Then we will drive to the Yu Family Stone Village (Yujia Shitou Village), one of the least touristy villages of north China. Located in Jing Jing County, 80 kilometers from Shijiazhuang, it is the best example of stone architecture, the only national-level protected ancient village in Hebei. Yujia Village is nick-named stone city because it owns 4000 stone houses, 3700 meters long stone slab paved street, over 1000 stone well and pool, and 200 stone stelas. The local villagers' life haven't been changed so much as in other villages near the big cities.
* Bailin Temple is the only active Zen temple in China that accepts foreign guests and allows you to stay with the monks (but you have soft beds, hot water and western toilets)
* The Stone Village is typical vilage of old northern China, one of the least touristy villages of north China, and the best example of stone architecture.
* Local villagers still live their life like it was several decades ago.
* The peaceful and secluded temple is an ideal retreat in the journey "to know one' s self".
* Note: Our visit with the Zen monks requires special observance to the dignity and sanctity of their routine. As such, we regret that young children are not eligible for inclusion in this activity.