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4-Day Essence of Datong and Pingyao Tour

Essence of Datong and Pingyao

Explore the Buddhism relics - Yungang Grottoes in Datong, combine with the Pingyao Ancient Town and Wang's Family Compound.

Tour Highlights

  • Step onto the Hanging Temple, and enjoy the thrilling but safe experience
  • Visit one of the biggest Buddhism Grottoes in China, the Yungang Grottoes
  • Ramble in Pingyao Ancient Town. Measure the history with your eyes, and see the daylight fade until the lanterns light up
  • Explore the "Forbidden City for Common Folk" - the Wang Family Compound. Trace back life to the Ming and Qing dynasties (1338–1911), and see how a rich family lived

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Suggested Itinerary

Day 1 Datong Arrival, Nine-Dragon Screen Wall, Huayan Temple, Yungang Grottoes

Your private guide will be holding a sign with your name, and waiting for you at the exit of the train station / airport. A comfortable private car (non-smoking), and experienced driver will be ready. You will explore the main attractions in Datong city.

The Datong Nine-Dragon Screen Wall is the oldest and largest glazed screen in China. A screen wall is a traditional Chinese architectural feature, used for block the view from the front gate.

Huayan Temple is not far from the Nine-Dragon Screen Wall. It has the world's second largest wooden pagoda. Under the pagoda there is an underground Thousand Buddha Palace, which is made of pure copper. It is all copper from the ceiling to the floor.

Lunch will be arranged in a local social restaurant, and your tour guide will assist you to make the order, so you can taste the most authentic local food.

In the afternoon you will visit one of the biggest Buddhist grottoes in China - the Yungang Grottoes . We will arrange a battery cart at the attraction, so you can avoid the long walk between grottoes and have more time to see the statues.

After the day trip, have a good rest in your hotel, and prepare for the adventures of the next day. Your guide will be happy to recommend some local restaurants near you hotel for your dinner.

Garden International Hotel (4-star)/ Shanxi World Trade Hotel (5-star)

"Wang's Family Compound and Shuanglin Temple
Day 2 Datong to Pingyao, Hanging Monastery, Yingxian Wooden Pagoda

It takes about 5½ hours by car from Datong to Pingyao, but don't worry: you won't feel boring on the way! After breakfast in your hotel, drive 1½ hours to the Hanging Temple.

True to its name, the Hanging Temple is hanging on a cliff. Ancient people built this temple to store food and water for people who passed by, and accepted three major Chinese religions, so that travelers of those religions could stay there.

Why built so high? It followed a requirement of Taoism: "Do not hear the rooster crow and dog bark." It meant the temple had to be built in a quiet place, far from noisy living.

Lunch will be arranged near the Hanging Temple, and then you will head to the Yingxian Wooden Pagoda. As a UNESCO site, the Yingxian Wooden Pagoda is the oldest and tallest surviving wooden structure in China.

After the pagoda travel by highway directly to Pingyao, and check in at your hotel in Pingyao Ancient Town.

Hongshanyi Inn (4-star)/ Yunjincheng Folk Hotel (5-star)
Most hotels and hostels in the ancient town are in traditional Chinese style, you will see antique courtyard and wooden furniture, and even have a chance to experience sleeping on a "kang"-- heatable brick bed that popular in North China. Extra quilt can be required to soften the bed.

Wang's Family Compound and Shuanglin Temple
Wang's Family Compound and Shuanglin Temple
Day 3 Pingyao, Pingyao Ancient Town, Ancient City Wall, Rishengchang Former Bank, Armed Escort Company, Mingqing Street

Wake up in your traditional-Chinese-style room. It's better to start the day with the Ancient City Wall. If you are a photographer, sunrise at the Ancient City Wall is a great chance to grasp the charm of the ancient town.

The core history of Pingyao Ancient Town is the history of Chinese banking system. Rishengchang Former Bank was the first draft bank in China. There you will learn how the banking system was born, and how it developed until the first bank was defunct.

Lunch will be arranged in a local restaurant.

To protect the tangible currency, armed Escort Companies came into being. The Armed Escort Company Museum shows how this special business was formed and how it was run, and also introduces the top 10 escort companies and top 10 guards - they were all kung fu masters.

Mingqing Street area, which is the most prosperous area in the ancient town. The lanterns are all on at night, and it is very lively there in the evening.

Hongshanyi Inn (4-star)/ Yunjincheng Folk Hotel (5-star)

Wang's Family Compound and Shuanglin Temple
Wang's Family Compound and Shuanglin Temple
Day 4 Pingyao Departure, Shuanglin Temple, Wang Family Compound

After breakfast in your hotel, your guide will be waiting for you in the lobby on time. You will explore the rich culture outside of the ancient city wall.

Driving for 10 minutes, you will visit the Shuanglin Temple first. The Shuanglin Temple is considered to be the "unrestored glory" of Pingyao, and it has over 2,000 colored mud sculptures preserved under its humble-looking roofs. Every sculpture has its own face and expression, and each of them is a rare treasure.

Then you will drive in a southerly direction for one hour to the Wang Family Courtyard. Lunch will be arranged in a local restaurant on the way - your tour guide will assist you with reading the menu and ordering the dishes, and you will taste the most authentic local food.
Lunch will be arranged in a local restaurant.

The Wang Family Compound is about 1½ hours from the ancient town. It is the former residence of the Wang family - a reputable official's family that lived there for over 300 years. Its total area is about 25 ha. (62 ac.), with 123 courtyards and 1,118 rooms. The structure of the compound embodied the different status of men and women, masters and servants.

After your trip, your guide and driver will drive you to the train station and say goodbye.

Wang's Family Compound and Shuanglin Temple
Wang's Family Compound and Shuanglin Temple

Trip Notes

1. Pingyao Vicinity Map

Pingyao Vicinity Map

2. Hanging Temple Tips:

Comfortable shoes and a light backpack are suggested, as for all excursions.

The stairs to the Hanging Temple are narrow, only allowing one person to pass, and the rail is short, so be careful. It is 60 to 90 meters above the ground, so people who fear heights should consider this before going up.

Continuing heavy rain might cause rock falls, so for safety the temple will be closed in bad weather.

The viewing platform that under the mountain and opposite the river is a great place to have a full view of the Hanging Temple. People can take pictures from the square if they don't plan to go up, or when the temple was closed due to bad weather.

Note: Due to the continuing rain and large area rock falls, tourists are not allowed to climb the mountain and go into the Hanging Temple since 13th Oct. 2015. People can still have a full view of the Hanging Temple at the viewing platform that under the mountain and opposite the river. We will continue to watch the situation and update the information.

3. Photography

If you are a photographer, taking a shot of the sunrise at the ancient city wall is a great opportunity to grasp the charm of the ancient town. The sun rises at around 6am. As the morning fog fades away, people start to come out and prepare for the new day. If you want to wait for the right moment, it is suggested that you take a photo first, and then go back to your hotel and have breakfast.

Another good time to take photos on the ancient city wall is at 4pm, because the sunlight slants on the tall wall and you can capture a sense of the historical vicissitudes. Many great photos have come from this moment.

Aerial photography with a drone is currently allowed in Datong and Pingyao, and it is a good way to have a bird's-eye view of the ancient town. Our package tour provides the most flexibility for you to stop and fly a drone, and your private tour guide will help you to avoid the curious crowds. Be aware of electric wires and inconspicuous trees in the ancient town when flying a drone.

4. Easy Trip Planning

Our 1 to 1 private travel advisors will give you professional suggestions, you can alter the itinerary, extend or shorten it to suit your price, interest and schedule. Feel free to tell us your requirements, and we are happy to help you arrange with our professional knowledge and experience.

5. Payment Methods

We now offer 3 payment methods: PayPal, credit card authorization via fax and wire transfer. PayPal is recommended for its safety and efficiency. You can pay USA dollars, Australian dollars, European dollars and Great Britain Pound directly with your credit card or debit card, even if you don't have PayPal account.

Tour Price

FromUSD 869 p/p Based on a private tour for 2 people. Price varies depending on program, travel date, number of people and chosen hotel

Price includes:

  • Private air-conditioned business car with big windows and ample space
  • English speaking local guide
  • Activities, hotels, and meals listed in the itinerary
  • 24/7 helpline for while you are traveling

Your 1:1 travel consultant will reply within 1 working day.

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