I can honestly say that the Dengfeng Climb Youth Hostel has the most uncomfortable bed I’ve ever slept in. The dad from the hostel is also super annoying: he smokes inside and lurks over my shoulder constantly (including standing behind me and telling me in Chinese how to properly wash the dishes, every time I cook) and coming into my room drunk at 4:30am and yelling at some guy in my dorm room. It’s cheap, but the hostel sucks. They also refuse to give you a key to the outside door (only to your room), so I got locked out for an hour at one point. Cool.
The hike started with probably 1,000 steps going upward. This isn’t a joke. My thighs and butt were burning. After this, it was mostly a well-developed stone path with railings around the edges of the mountain, including some really awesome views. There aren’t very good signs, so I was glad I had someone who spoke Chinese to decipher the minuscule signage and ask other people for directions. I would’ve made wrong turns on my own, that’s for sure.
It’s also no secret that I am not a fan of religions, but I had always hated Buddhism a little less than most others, because it encourages people to not eat meat and be peaceful. That free pass is gone, because the monks at the Shaolin Temple are allowed to eat meat now. I couldn’t believe that I not only saw monks eating meat but that stores inside the temple complex were allowed to sell meat. This was always a huge deal for Buddhists (look at the signs at most temples), but I guess they’ve tried to modernize. Sad.