LifestyleChina's Yungang Grottoes put timers above restrooms, and it sparks debate

China's Yungang Grottoes put timers above restrooms, and it sparks debate

One of the more popular attractions in China is visited by millions
One of the more popular attractions in China is visited by millions
Images source: © Adobe Stock

1:01 PM EDT, June 13, 2024

The Yungang Grottoes, a complex of Buddhist rock temples, are one of China's most fascinating attractions, drawing numerous tourists yearly. However, visiting this site can be uncomfortable due to the presence of timers above the restroom entrances.

The temple complex is located near the city of Datong in the Chinese province of Shanxi. The entire site was added to the UNESCO World Heritage list in 2001. It showcases Buddhist cave art from the turn of the 5th and 6th centuries. Like any tourist attraction, there are restrooms available. Recently, photos and recordings of these restrooms have circulated widely on social media.

Timers in the bathrooms

According to CNN, the Chinese authorities decided to install timers in the restrooms at the Yungang Grottoes at the beginning of May. Digital timers were installed above each stall to measure the time spent from the moment the door is closed until the person exits.

The site custodian disclosed in an interview with the "Xiaoxiang Morning Herald" that the purpose of installing the timers is to "manage the increase in the number of visitors." Notably, over three million tourists visited the caves just last year.

The custodian emphasized that it is not about controlling the duration each tourist spends in the stalls but about "enhancing restroom usage efficiency." He also assured me that no limits would be imposed on time spent in the restrooms.

Overflow of comments

The Chinese initiative has sparked a variety of emotional responses. Some consider it an innovative and interesting solution, but many opinions are critical. CNN quoted tourists who described it as "embarrassing" and "uncomfortable," adding that they "feel monitored."

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