what to expect at the Confucian Temple in Nanjing, China
Temple experiences in China have been the complete opposite to temple experiences in Laos and quite different from those I've visited in Thailand, Vietnam, and Cambodia. Now a veteran of Chinese temple visits, I've compiled this guide so that your expectations can be set appropriately for the Confucian Temple in Nanjing. Whether you're visiting or living in the city, you've probably heard of or been advised to visit the Confucian Temple near Laomendong.
Here's what to expect...
HOW TO GET THERE //
It's easy to get to the Confucian Temple by way of the Nanjing Metro. Take Line 3 to Fuzimao station and leave out Exit 2.
ENTRANCE COSTS MONEY //
Like every other temple I've visited in China, you're required to purchase a ticket to enter. The Confucian Temple costs ¥30 per person. It's not much in terms of money but considering what awaits inside...I guess what I'm saying is I wouldn't pay more than what I did, especially when there are such spectacular temples you can see for free in other parts of the world.
WHAT YOU'LL SEE //
Tripadvisor gives the Confucian Temple a 4-star rating. I think that's being incredibly generous given what you see and experience. The surrounding area itself is filled with souvenir shopping, fast food chains, and restored architecture more for tourists than cultural preservation. It's maybe less a cultural experience and more a tiny, peek at the past marked with money grabs.
Inside the wall, you'll see a giant bronze statue of Confucius, a renowned philosopher and educator. It is also known as Fuzimiao in Chinese, thus the name of the metro station.
It's important to know that the Confucian Temple was completely destroyed at one time, then used as army barracks in the 30s. Finally, in 1985, the temple was fully reconstructed. Basically, what you are seeing isn't the original and the reconstruction and modernization of the place is probably what makes it seem a little lackluster.
My advice? Enjoy a sunny day exploring the back alleys in the surrounding area, take a slow boat down the Qin Huai River, and stop by Motu Burger in the nearby Laomendong area for dinner and a beer.