Entrance fee CNY50 per person and we paid another CNY200 in total for an onsite guide to bring 3 of us around and tell us more about the temple.
先有潭柘寺，后有北京城。This temple was built 1,700 years ago, making it older than Beijing itself. It's well hidden by the mountains surrounding it, so it can't be seen from the highways below, adding a mystical holy vibe to it. The temple boasts 2 千年银杏树 (Ginko trees), one is 1,300 years old and the other 1,000. What's unique is that while both trees are side by side just a few meters apart, 1 turns yellow (and wilts) before the other because the sunlight shines from one side. There's a saying the 1,300 year old one on the right side is the 帝皇树，because interestingly, a new trunk grows whenever a new Emperor takes over, and a branch breaks when an Emperor passes. Hence the other is known as 配皇树, symbolising the Empress.
We got to see the huge deep pots used by the monks to cook food and many other interesting facts (like the Dragon and Tiger pavilion where the Emperor played poetic games with the Officials, the holy fish that people were queuing to touch at 龙王殿, the 百事如意 stone etc). We also checked out the 西观音洞to view and pay respects to the 肉身 (mummified body) of one of the monks that lived here once.