Journey to the West

by Wu Cheng En


This website is about the Chinese legend and folktale, 'Journey to the West (Xi You Ji)', also known as the legend of the Monkey King. All of the writings by me, Yuen, unless otherwise stated. Please do not use any of the writings in this website without my permission. That said, feel free to explore and enjoy! Feedback and comments are much welcome and can be sent to



Journey to the West is a household legend and myth throughout East Asia, especially China, and among Chinese throughout the world. It is based on the real life monk Xuan Zhuang's (also known as Tripitaka or Tang San Zang) pilgrimage to India, to fetch back some Buddhist scriptures. Nonetheless, this fictional retelling focuses on San Zang's first disciple, the monkey demon, Sun Wu Kong, who captured readers' hearts and imagination with his bold, daring, and mischievous personality. He was also very rebellious. As a matter of fact, Wu Cheng En wrote Journey to the West to criticize China's political system and society.

Basically, Journey to the West is about Tang San Zang's journey to the west (duh) and the difficulties he and his disciples face in between. It is overflowing with magic, demons, gods, immortals, and scrumptious action and adventure! It has lots of humor and some angst as well. Wu Kong and the other disciples, a pig demon Zhu Ba Jie and the river demon Sha Wu Jing, have to battle hordes of demons, who all want their master because his flesh will give immortality to anyone who eats it.

This epic story is a captivating read, with the pilgrims getting into trouble in the most unexpected places, fighting through not only outright confrontation and abduction but also lies and disguises while using trickery of their own. Sun Wu Kong is especially good at this, having mastered the way of transforming himself into anything he likes, including a fly, tree, or a beautiful girl. Xi You Ji spans over a huge area, taking readers for a wild ride to the Heavens, volcanoes, seas, wide rivers, mountain peaks, demon-filled caves, right down to the pits of Hell. The plot is imaginative and full of conflict, either with external enemies or between the pilgrims themselves. The characters are well developed, with distinct, three-dimensional personalities. Well, most of them, at least. There are also underlying spiritual and religious themes. This masterpiece is frequently underestimated as it also portrays a realistic view of the political and social scenarios during the Ming Dynasty. In short, Xi You Ji is definitely worth your time. Grab the chance to experience one of the greatest classics of ancient China!




I deeply apologize for an error on my website. Tripitaka's name is spelt Tang San Zang, not Tang San Zhang as previously stated. I'm really, really sorry, and I apologize for any inconveniences caused.

- Yuen, 1th August 2006




A general summary of the story by sections.


Information about the author of Journey to the West, Wu Cheng En.


The origins of Journey to the West and the true story of Xuan Zhuang (Tang San Zhang).


In-depth info, details, and spoilers on the important characters in Xi You Ji. Also has my personal comments and insights.




Interested in reading Journey to the West? Take your pick from a list of published English translations of Xi You Ji, unabridged and abridged.


Information about films and shows based on Xi You Ji.


Information about animation or manga based on Xi You Ji.


Contains Journey to the West fanfiction.




Contains links to websites about Xi You Ji.


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