I got to know about the Shaolin Temple from martial arts movies I've seen which happens to be my favourite action movies. Jackie Chan, Jet Li, Bruce Lee...I love watching their lithe moves :) I've set my priority of not missing the chance to visit this place once I set foot in China. It's a 'must visit' place on my list. The fact that it was started by a Buddhist monk from India named Buddhabhadra, or Ba Tuo in Chinese, made it more special for me.
We went for a walk after supper. That was the first time I came to know about the 'Pink lighted hair salons'....ummmm....a variant to the red-light zone. During our stay, we also came across shops that sells things I've never seen before. I just couldn't figure it out until I was told the ultimate truth....it turns out to be sex-toy shops! It was rather shocking for me to see it so publicly displayed. I reckon that's the reason I just couldn't figure it out in the first place. But I haven't seen the like again in any other cities I've been to in China.
The third area is the Pagoda Forest, about half a kilometer west of the Shaolin Temple. There are more than 250 stone and brick pagodas from various dynasties. These pagodas are tombs for eminent monks, abbots and ranking monks at the temple. We took the whole day wandering around the complex. It takes quite a while and taking photos without people in it was next to impossible with so many people around us. And majority of the visitors were Chinese.