The easy way for begininers and non-chinese speakers:
If you travel for the first time to China, we recommend to fly to Zhengzhou (the capital of Henan province). There is no bus directly arrive in shaolin. So you should go by taxi. The communication with the taxi-driverr should be no big problem because everyone knows and understands the word "shaolin". The best thing would be to write down the Chinese characters for Shao Lin Si (少林寺） and the price you want to pay. The trip should cost 300 Yuan at minimal. It takes about 1 and a half hours ( about 75 km distance) on expressway to get to shaolin.
The cheap way for chinese-speaking cracks
If you want to save money, by train is an economic way. After your arrival in Beijing you have to look for a taxi to take you to the railway station (Huo Che Zhan).At the railway station in Beijing there is one special ticket counter for foreigers, where English is spoken.There you buy a ticket to zhengzhou.There are two kinds of trains : the express train ( train number started with "D") and the common train. The express train, which surely much more comfortable and expensive, takes only 5 hours to get to Zhengzhou while the others take 8 hours. There is a bus station right opposite to the exit of the railway station. The buses to Dengfeng ( a small city 12 km away from Shaolin) go only by day (from 6:00 am to 19:00 pm) half an hour one shift. There you can buy a ticket for 25 yuan to Dengfeng. It takes 1 and a half hours ( about 80 km distance) on expressway. At the gate of Dengfeng Western Bus Station there is a minibus waiting outside directly to the shaolin temple. The minibus is convenient and takes only 2 Yuan to shaolin. Every ten minutes there is one bus. You can also take a taxi from Dengfeng to Shaolin. The price is 30 Yuan.