We especially enjoyed the opportunities we had to go off the beaten path ... and look forward to sharing even more authentic experiences.
A Massachusetts family

Datong to Pingyao

Enjoy a magnificent journey through traditional Chinese art, customs and monumental sites that will leave you with unforgettable memories and experiences. The Datong - Pingyao itinerary will take you across the Shanxi province, where you will visit UNESCO World Heritage sites, the Yungang Grottoes and courtyard estates in Pingyao. Ancient opera stages and the classic Nine Dragon Wall in Datong will immerse you in the long and colorful history of the region. A beautiful, scenic route and an adventurous walk along the top of 15th-century ramparts will make this trip truly unforgettable. 

Highlights   Pricing
  • Explore the wondrous ancient Buddhist grottoes at the World Heritage Site of Yungang
  • Gain a unique view of Pingyao as you climb a 15th-century wall to walk along the top of incredible ramparts 
  • Witness the beauty of Chinese art and culture with tours of traditional temples
  • Visit the impressive Nine Dragon Screen, depicting images of nine dragons
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Day by Day Itinerary

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Day 1

Originating in the capital Beijing, catch a flight to the beautiful city of Datong, located in the Shanxi province of China, and start an action-packed three-day journey. Your trip will begin with a visit to the incredible World Heritage Site of Yungang, where over 252 ancient Buddhist grottoes house over 51,000 Buddhist statues and Chinese stone carvings dating back to the 5th century. You will then be taken on an informative tour of the well-preserved Huayan-Si Temple from the Liao and Jin dynasties. Enjoy a delightful lunch before admiring the intricately-carved Jin dynasty statues scattered within the Shanhua Monastery. Complete your day at the historical Nine Dragon Screen, where a 600-year-old glazed screen, the oldest in the country, depicts nine flying dragons, as well as images of oxen, dogs, deer, rabbits and other animals. Head to the Holiday Inn Datong, where you will spend a comfortable first night in a relaxing environment, located within walking distance from the hub of the city. Dine at one of the three on-site restaurants that offer either Korean BBQ, Western delicacies or traditional Chinese seafood.

Day 2

Gather your belongings to make an early start towards the south-west region of Pingyao, a 4-hour drive away. Before settling in to the traditionally-designed 14th-century mansion of Jing’s Residence, where you will retire for the evening, explore the incredible wooden Hanging Temple perched on the sacred Hengshan mountain. Connect with traditional Chinese art and culture at the Jinci Temple complex and explore Qiao’s Compound, an 18th-century courtyard estate comprising over 300 rooms and an ancestral temple. Located north-west of Pingyao, the site is most famous for its appearance in the film 'Raise the Red Lantern' and will provide perfect picture taking opportunities.

Day 3

A day spent in the nostalgic, Ming-era town will be much more adventurous than your usual form of sightseeing. It will offer remarkable insight into the cultural, social and religious development in one of the most influential periods in Chinese history. Start your day with a short climb up the 15th-century city wall and walk along the impressive ramparts, where you will be able to get a great view of the city below. Visit some of the city’s temples, renowned for hosting opera events during special holidays, including the Cheng Huan Miao, the oldest stage in the area. After a short break, visit a local home to get a close view of the complex and detailed Ming architecture. A traditional lunch will energize you for an unforgettable tour around the exquisite Taoist Temple, before roaming the passages of the busy market. Purchase some unique Chinese souvenirs to take home and make the most out of a relaxing last night’s stay at Jing’s Residence, where you can share your experiences among other guests before your onward journey tomorrow.

Day 4

With incredible memories and photographic evidence, take your time to pack your bags as an airport transfer awaits you. Take in the last moments in this beautiful part of China as you complete your farewell and fly on to Shanghai.


Suggested Accommodations

Holiday Inn Datong

Holiday Inn Datong

Holiday in Datong is centrally located, approximately 30 minutes from Datong Yungang Airport and only 15 minutes from the city's rail station. All rooms come with complimentary wireless internet access. Amenities include an indoor heated swimming pool and a spa. Dining options include three restaurants, which offer Chinese, Korean, and Western dishes. If you would like, you can enjoy cocktails in either the Lobby Lounge or the Executive Lounge.

Jing's Residence

Jing's Residence

This small, boutique hotel is nestled among the rambling alleyways and crowded shops of Pingyao’s old, walled city. Set in a renovated, restored mansion, Jing’s Residence features eighteen rooms built around four courtyards in the manner of northern China, and each room features plush beds, authentic, handcrafted Chinese furniture, and bright, cheery spaces. Tables and chairs are located outside each pavilion, allowing guests to relax outside, much as mandarins and merchants did in bygone days. The Residence also contains a dining room where guests can enjoy regional and international favorites; one standout experience is hot pot, wherein ingredients like thin slices of meat, noodles, and raw vegetables are placed into a pot of boiling soup and cooked at a table prepared in one of Jing’s courtyards. Amenities include a spa, exclusive meeting space, a cozy library, and a bar.

Meet An Asia Expert
From Travelogues
Our co-founder & CEO Catherine Heald lived in China for 7 years and returns often. She loves trekking in the rice terraces of Ping An, and hugging baby pandas in Chengdu!
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