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Sanmenxia Travel Guide

Last updated by fabiowzgogo at 2015/11/16

Sanmenxia Overview

Sanmenxia may be seldom visited by tourists, but it only means they’re missing a lot of things. The city is a natural beauty. The Yellow River, the gorgeous mountains, and landmarks that talk so much of history and religion make it charming and noteworthy.

The Prefecture of Sanmenxia is a city that forms part of Henan. It has a total land area of around 10,500 square kilometers but a small population of less than 3 million as of 2010. It is located close to the Yellow River, which helps maintain the agriculture of the city. It is also surrounded by mountains.


The weather in Sanmenxia can be very extreme as it’s dependent on the monsoon. During summer, the temperatures can get really hot and the surroundings very arid. Visitors are often advised to wear light clothing and carry something to drink at all times.

The area, on the other hand, snows during winter, but despite the coldness, the wind is actually quite dry. The rains fall heavily during the months of July until September, so the best time to visit the area is around October and November.


We could not find enough information on the native dishes in Sanmenxia. However, we presume that they are heavily influenced by Henan way of cooking. Also called Yu cuisine, Henan dishes make use of a lot of onions. The ingredients used, especially vegetables, are also based on what grow during a certain season.

Sanmenxia City

Sanmenxia City

Like a lot of the provinces in China, though pork and poultry are eaten, these types of meat are normally excluded when making soups as they give more preference to either lamb or mutton. They also like to eat rice that is cooked in oil derived from the fat of an animal.


Yawu Mountain

The Yawu Mountain is one of the most scenic areas in Sanmenxia. Located in Lingo City within Yuling Town, the mountain has the highest peak in the entire region. There are a lot of things to do there, including visiting the Tiayi Palace and Yuhuang Hall. Every June, more people climb up the mountain to participate in the temple fair. The mountain is considered a center of Taoism.

Hangu Pass

Around 45 minutes away from Lingbao is the country’s famous Hangu Pass. This man-made structure has played a huge role in both religion and politics not only in the province but in the entire country. Built around 770 BC, the pass created a considerable gap between the central plains and the Qin State.

This then explained why the pass had witnessed a lot of battles in the past. The pass is also essential for those who practice Taoism as it is believed that the founder of the philosophy, Lao Zi, wrong the Tao Te Cheng in here. His work basically outlines the guidig principles that have to be followed by those who believe in the philosophy.

Some of the parts of the Hangu Pass that you should not miss are the Old Path, East Gate, Pass Castle, Storehouse for Arrows, Residence of Yin Xi, and Taichu Palace. The pass is open from 8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. during winter. The gates open earlier during the summer and closes 30 minutes past 6:00 p.m. The current entrance fee is around 30 yuan.

Baolun Temple Pagoda

If you happen to be in Shanzhou Scenic Area, then you should never miss the Baolun Temple. It was built twice, but in less than a century, the actual temple disappeared, and what remained until today is actually its pagoda. It currently stands at more than 25 meters and is composed of 13 stories.

Yellow River Dam in Sanmenxia

Yellow River Dam in Sanmenxia

The pagoda is composed of bricks with a defined pedestal. All levels have even distances. From afar, it looks like a connected parabola. Visitors can climb up the stairs so they can get a much better view of the surroundings. It is also referred to as a Toad Tower because of its nearness to an area populated by toads. It is open anytime.

Sanmenxia Dam

The Sanmenxia Dam is a fine example of a gravity dam. Made of concrete, it is more than 700 meters in length and 106 meters tall. It was built during the late 1950s.

It was a hallmark achievement for the country since they were able to find good use of the Yellow River. The dam is also helpful in controlling ice.

Other Information

•  Before you can get to Xian from either Luoyang or Zhengzhou, you’re going to make a stop at Sanmenxia.

•  There are two known hotels in the area: Sanmenxia Mingzhu Hotel and Royal Hotel International Sanmenxia. These accommodation options offer various kinds of rooms from standard to suites. They are also great venues for banquets and meetings.

•  One of the well-known items in Sanmenxia in Guozhou County is the Chengni mud ink stone. It is one of the less than five that have withstood the test of time. Aside from its beautiful design, it’s been said that it never runs off. The stone is very smooth to touch.

•  If you’re looking for a great souvenir, you can opt for the local delicacies such as the walnuts and Chinese dates. These are normally grown in the mountains. You can also take home a special pair of chopsticks called holly pyrographic chopsticks. They are made from hollies, which are green. However, once the chopsticks are soaked in water, they then turn into ivory yellow. They also emit great smell.