The Essence of Datong and Pingyao

BeijingDatongPingyaoXi'an
Wang's Family CompoundWang's Family Compound in Pingyao Price: Duration: Dates: Tour code: Overview: Ask for a quotation 4 Days As you request TCG-3851 Discover two of China's lesser-known cities over the course of this four-day tour.

Datong is home to some of the country’s most awe-inspiring ancient attractions, such as the Hanging Temple and gorgeous Yungang Buddhist Grottoes.

The walled city of Pingyao is one of the best-preserved ancient towns in China and the birthplace of China's imperial banking system.

What makes this tour special:

Great for history buffs and very educational for children, this tour is a wonderful way to get off the beaten track and explore somewhere completely different.

History fanatics will love the Rishengchang Exchange Shop, considered the first draft bank in China’s history.

Walking along the old city walls is another highlight of the tour; a great chance to get some peace and quiet, and catch a view of Pingyao from above.

day 1
  • Fly to Datong
  • Pick up from the Datong Airport
Pick up from the Datong Airport
Pick up from the Datong Airport
day 2
  • Meals: lunch
Yungang Grottoes
Yungang Grottoes
The Hanging Temple
The Hanging Temple
day 3
  • Meals: lunch
Confucian Temple
Confucian Temple
Temple of the City God
Temple of the City God
Ancient County Government Building
Ancient County Government Building
Old City Wall
Old City Wall
Ancient Tower
Ancient Tower
Rishengchang Bank
Rishengchang Bank
day 4
  • Wang's Family Compound Read more about Wang's Family Compound this huge compound is more of an ancient mini-city
  • Lunch Read more about lunch on a tour Chinese Style Standard
  • Shuanglin Temple Read more about Shuanglin Temple	a Buddhist temple located four miles (6 km) outside of Pingyao old city
  • Drop-off at the Train Station
  • Take the train to Xi'an 2nd class seat
  • Accommodation: Overnight train
  • Meals: lunch
Wang's Family Compound
Wang's Family Compound
Shuanglin Temple
Shuanglin Temple
  • Get a free quote
  • Tour price
  • Our advantages
  • Included
  • Get a free quote
  •  
  • Let us modify the tour's itinerary for free and with no-obligation to suit your needs. We can change the activities, add or change hotel rooms, flights or trains as you wish.

Tour price
Guests Cost per guest
Ask for a free quotation
Tour code: TCG-3851
  • » Your tour day starts and ends at a hotel in the city, which may or may not be included. If a hotel is included it is listed by name on the itinerary for each night.

  • » Discounts for children in China are based on height. Let us know your child's age and height and we can calculate accordingly.

  • Why book a tour with The China Guide?
  • » Flexible schedules and itineraries. Our tour itineraries are just suggestions. Our agents will help you design the perfect trip.
  • » Handpicked guides. Our experienced guides do more than just recite the guidebook.
  • » Meals in quality local restaurants. The best way to experience the local culture is often through the food.
  • » Passion for China, Western-style travel sense. Our multilingual team of native speakers is available 24/7.
  • » Experience working with families. Pick a dedicated family tour or customize an itinerary with family-friendly activities.

  • Read more about why choose The China Guide as your travel agency and meet our travel agents.
  • Included in the tour price
  • » Private English speaking guide (selected/trained by our western staff), experienced Chinese speaking driver and quality, air-conditioned vehicle
  • » Admission tickets to all sights listed on the itinerary - no hidden costs
  • » Free bottled water supplied in your vehicle
  • » Meals as specified in quality local restaurants with unlimited standard drinks (Coke, Sprite, bottled water, Chinese tea)


  • Not included in the tour price
  • » Tips to your guide and driver
  • » We do not provide international travel insurance, however, we are happy to offer advice on where and what kind of travel insurance to purchase. We highly recommend our trusted partner Compass Benefits; read more about their plans here: http://www.compassbenefits.com/client/thechinaguide


  • For tour booking terms & conditions, please review our company policies.

Yungang Grottoes   云岗石窟

The Yungang Grottoes are home to the oldest Buddhist cave art in China. Over 50 caves have been excavated, revealing over 50,000 stone statues carved right into the rock face. Some of the caves are only big enough to duck your head in to, while other caves are big enough to walk into and see large stone statues surrounded by smaller statues carved in intricate detail. The park covers a large area and can take travelers more than half a day to view.

Average time for this activity (in hrs):
4
Opening hours:
8:00am - 6:00pm

The Hanging Temple   悬空寺

It is almost impossible to believe that this temple has stood the test of time. Suspended in mid-air against the side of a cliff, Xuankong Temple looks like a hanging mural. Built thousands of years ago, this ancient wooden structure is a popular sight for Chinese and foreign travelers alike. It is a bit of a climb to get up to the temple, but worth the hike to see the beautiful Chinese architecture and intricate designs within the many rooms. Many steps along the cliff lead from one prayer hall to another. Even if you are scared of heights, this is one experience that you should not miss.

Average time for this activity (in hrs):
2.5
Opening hours:
8:00am - 6:00pm

Confucian Temple  

The Confucian Temple of Pingyao has traditionally been a school. During the age of testing in China people came here to sit their exams. The temple was restored in the year 1163 and can still be seen in its current structures.

The temple has peaceful gardens, pleasing architecture and makes for a pleasant stroll through its courtyards. You can see the desks where students sat to take their exams.

Average time for this activity (in hrs):
0.5
Opening hours:
8:00am - 6:00pm

Temple of the City God  

This quaint Buddhist Temple feels historic when you walk in. Destroyed and rebuilt many times since its original construction during the Song Dynasty (960 - 1127), it still has the atmosphere of a true Chinese Buddhist temple. Locals come to burn incense and pray. It is colorful, peaceful and makes for a pleasant stop.

Average time for this activity (in hrs):
0.5
Opening hours:
8:00am - 6:00pm

Ancient County Government Building  

The ancient county government office (Gu Xianya in Chinese) is located in the center of Pingyao's old walled city. It was first built the North Wei Dynasty (386-534) and was rebuilt 1346. It is quite well preserved.

County government offices are a local branch of administration in feudal China, and the head of it is called the local magistrate (Fumu Guan), meaning "father and mother" to the local people. The country government functioned as a court.

The county government office is on a north - south axis and occupies more than 26,000 square meters. According to feudal social institutions the left part is for preparing official documents and letters, and the right part is for practicing Wushu.

Average time for this activity (in hrs):
0.5
Opening hours:
8:00am - 6:00pm

Old City Wall  

The old city wall of Pingyao is one of the attractions which makes this UNESCO world heritage site so magnificent. We recommend either a walk or a bike ride on the top of the city wall. Its embankments make it quite safe for this. Its very peaceful up on the city wall, away from the crowds and traffic. It also gives a wonderful birds eye view of Pingyao ancient city and is a great perspective for photographers.

Pingyao is one of the few ancient Chinese cities which still has its protective wall intact. Pingyao's city wall is about 40 feet high (12 meters) and its width varies from 10 to 20 (3 to 6m) feet on the top. It is made from compacted earth and covered with brick and stones. When viewed from outer space the wall resembles a turtle. This is a symbol of longevity.

There are six gates into the walled city, one each in the north and south and two on the east and west sides. The south gate is the...   Read more

Average time for this activity (in hrs):
1
Opening hours:
8:00am - 6:00pm

Ancient Tower  

This tower is located near the center of the old walled city. You go up narrow stairs and end up in a little tower looking down on the scene below. The tower itself is an old wooden structure. The great part of it is to escape the crowds below and linger in the peace and quiet. The view is excellent, you can see the rooftops all around, the old city wall in the distance, and the action on the streets below. Another great place for a photographer to watch with a telephoto lens.

The tower is not included in the city ticket, so if you have not included it in your tour itinerary and go on your own, which is easy to do, then be prepared to pay a small price to get in.

Average time for this activity (in hrs):
0.5
Opening hours:
8:00am - 6:00pm

Rishengchang Bank  

Established in 1823, the bank itself is not a huge space, but is popular because it was instrumental in ancient trade and part of the Silk Road.

During the Qing Dynasty, China's currency was based on silver coins. It was not convenient or safe for traders to move the coins from one location to another in China. The Rishengchang Bank was part of a chain which offered a convenient method to move money through a system of bills. Traders could deposit money in one location and it could be withdrawn in another.

While the system of exchange shops eventually closed in bankruptcy, the Rishengchang Exchange Shop had a great influence on the Chinese economy during its 108 years of operation. As everyone likes money, this sight attracts a lot of visitors!

Average time for this activity (in hrs):
0.5
Opening hours:
8:00am - 6:00pm

​Ming & Qing Street  

Wang's Family Compound   王家大院

Built by the Wang family with wealth accumulated in business, this huge compound is more of an ancient mini-city. It has its own protective wall and many structures within.

Wang's Family Compound is located 22 miles (35 km) from Pingyao Ancient City. It was built between 1762 and 1811. As you walk through the labyrinth of buildings you can see example of how people lived in the past. Be sure to take a walk up on the wall surrounding the compound, it gives a good view of the entire scene. You will also notice there are even now people living in caves built into the hillside around the compound.

Average time for this activity (in hrs):
3
Opening hours:
8:00am - 6:00pm

Shuanglin Temple  

Located four miles (6 km) outside of Pingyao old city, the Shuanglin Temple was listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1997. Shuanglin translates as "two trees", referring to the entrance to Nirvana which is said to be found between two trees.

The halls of the temple are filled with beautiful sculptures of Buddhist gods. Four Buddha warrior attendants in the God Hall reach a height of three meters each and are revered for their power and grandeur. Engraved sculptures on the walls of the Amitabha Buddha Hall tell the story of Sakyamuni, the founder of Buddhism.

The Shuanglin Temple is worth a stop for those interested in Buddhism, ancient art or history. Most convenient is to see it on the way to Wang's Family Compound or while arriving or departing Pingyao old city.

Average time for this activity (in hrs):
1
Opening hours:
8:00am - 7:00pm

Beijing 北京

Beijing is an enormous municipality abundant in culture, history, beautiful landscapes, and fine cuisine.

The first sight is one of a sprawling city, dotted with towering buildings with only the giant, red Chinese characters atop to show visitors they have arrived in China. This is when it becomes important to look a little closer in order to find out what Beijing has to offer. The real gems in this city are the low-rise, narrow alleyways known as hutongs, which give you an exciting glimpse into the local culture and history. Strolling into a hutong, with its grey brick walls and upturned ‘artichoke-leaf’ roofs, you disappear into the Beijing of old. The noisy city melts away and is replaced by sleepy seniors sitting and watching the world go by, people going about their daily business, and the curious and delicious smells of truly authentic restaurants. It is a view of old Beijing before modernization, and represents...   Read more

Datong 大同

Datong is famous for two things: its coal mines and its magnificent historical relics. It is a center of economic importance due to its abundance of coal and its modern industrialization. The city was the capital of the Northern Wei and Jurchen Jin dynasties, revealing its long history of strategic importance.

This long history has blessed the city with some great attractions, the principle being the Hanging Monastery. Located at the base of Mount Heng, the monastery is a remarkable feat of engineering, perched 50 meters above the ground on a sheer cliff face. Bridges and boardwalks link the six main halls of the monastery, allowing visitors to soak up the view from high up the cliff face. The monastery is also unique in that it combines three of China’s great scholarly and philosophical traditions: Buddhism, Taoism and Confucianism.

Not far from the Hanging Monastery (65 kilometers south of Datong...   Read more

Pingyao 平遥

There is no better place than Pingyao to experience a remarkably well-preserved Ming city, with its original walls and urban plan still intact. Made a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1997, many locals still inhabit the city. The city was the financial center of the Qing Dynasty and is home to what is considered China’s first draft bank, the Rishengchang Exchange Shop.

Pingyao is very atmospheric. Walking along the high city walls and looking down on the traditional urban architecture feels like you are peering into the past. Climbing down to the pedestrianized streets and alleys gives a sense of going back in time, treading paths that have been used for centuries, the surrounding buildings having not changed much over all those years.

This would be a great time to try the local specialty, thinly sliced cold beef with soy sauce. The cuisine makes plentiful use of Chinese vinegar and salt, a very addictive...   Read more

Xi'an 西安

Xi’an, the first imperial capital of China, is considered a must-see for people the world over. The large wall that encloses the city dates to the Ming dynasty and is thoroughly well preserved, allowing visitors to stroll or cycle around its entirety. Within the walls, the city has a special atmosphere

The city has hosted a human settlement for at least 6,000 years. The preserved settlement of Banpo east of the walled city provides an interesting look into the Neolithic Yangshao Culture. Since then, people have come and gone and left their mark on the city. This is most obvious in the Muslim Quarter, an area with distinct Chinese Islamic architecture and cuisine. Make sure you come to this area with an empty stomach, as the food is superb, especially if you love spices and cooked lamb. Highlights are mutton dumplings; roujiamo, a slow-cooked, pulled-beef sandwich; and paomo, a delicious mutton and bread soup. Don’t...   Read more

Breakfast

Most hotels come with breakfast, or if not it can be added at a cost. Four and five star hotels will generally offer a good western and Chinese buffet breakfast. Three star hotels may only have a Chinese breakfast, or a Chinese interpretation of a western breakfast. Anyway a Chinese breakfast is not bad - rice porridge, eggs, Chinese style breads and vegetables.

Drinking Water

Most of our tours offer unlimited bottled water in the vehicle so you can keep hydrated and healthy all day long. Grab a couple bottles to take to your room for the night. Tap water in big cities in China is not going to make you sick, it is chlorinated. Fine for brushing your teeth but best to stick to bottled water as you don't want to upset your system on your big trip.

Children and Special Diets

Our guides are accustomed to handling special diets or the selective eating of children. Let us know in advance if you have food allergies or other special requests and we can plan for you. Children often find they like certain Chinese dishes, such as noodles, fried rice or sweet and sour pork. If a stop at McDonalds or KFC is required your guide can do this on the go.

Lunch on Tour

We consider experiencing good Chinese cuisine to be an important part of the tour experience. When on a tour, lunch is generally Chinese style and normally included in the price. Our guides will help you order according to your taste. Mild, spicy, meat, vegetables, rice and/or noodles. Dishes are served family style and shared by the guests. The driver may eat on his own but the guide will join you if you like.

Food in Beijing is quite good quality and we take our guests to genuine local restaurants, not tourist traps. We consider it distasteful to ask you for small amounts of money during the tour, so we offer unlimited standard drinks including Coke, Sprite, local bottled water and Chinese tea. You also won't leave the table hungry, if you need more to eat just let your guide know.

We don't have fixed restaurants we must use, it depends on where you are at the time you are hungry. When traveling around China we normally have the same arrangements outside Beijing but this may vary depending on your exact itinerary.

Drinking Water

Most of our tours offer unlimited bottled water in the vehicle so you can keep hydrated and healthy all day long. Grab a couple bottles to take to your room for the night. Tap water in big cities in China is not going to make you sick, it is chlorinated. Fine for brushing your teeth but best to stick to bottled water as you don't want to upset your system on your big trip.

Children and Special Diets

Our guides are accustomed to handling special diets or the selective eating of children. Let us know in advance if you have food allergies or other special requests and we can plan for you. Children often find they like certain Chinese dishes, such as noodles, fried rice or sweet and sour pork. If a stop at McDonalds or KFC is required your guide can do this on the go.

Dinner on Tour

Unless there is a special activity planned or you prefer to have all your meals catered, guests often prefer to relax after a day tour and arrange their own dinner. This gives you flexibility in time and cuisine. Having all your meals catered every day can be tiresome. Handling your own dinner allows you to have some control and also strike out on you own. Your guide can give you restaurant suggestions and in big cities you can find lots of options for fine dining, fast food, both western or Chinese. Hotel staff can often make restaurant recommendations within walking distance.

If you get the taste for a burger or pizza after a lot of Chinese food, this is easily found in Beijing, Shanghai and many other cities around China. Many hotel restaurants offer nice food. China also has its share of McDonald's, KFC and Subway sandwich chains if you need a fix.

Drinking Water

Most of our tours offer unlimited bottled water in the vehicle so you can keep hydrated and healthy all day long. Grab a couple bottles to take to your room for the night. Tap water in big cities in China is not going to make you sick, it is chlorinated. Fine for brushing your teeth but best to stick to bottled water as you don't want to upset your system on your big trip.

Children and Special Diets

Our guides are accustomed to handling special diets or the selective eating of children. Let us know in advance if you have food allergies or other special requests and we can plan for you. Children often find they like certain Chinese dishes, such as noodles, fried rice or sweet and sour pork. If a stop at McDonalds or KFC is required your guide can do this on the go.

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