This 3 days tour including Jinci Temple in Taiyuan, Pingyao Ancient Town, Qiao Family Courtyard and Shuanglin Temple in Pingyao, will bring you a true experience of the authentic culture, cuisine as well history in Shanxi Province. Accompanied by the friendly local tour guide and driver, you will find it worthwhile!
- Day 1: Taiyuan Arrival & Taiyuan Tour (Lunch)Jinci Temple
Upon your arrival at Taiyuan Train Station, the local English speaking tour guide and driver waiting for you at the exit gate by holding a welcome board with your name.
Coming to Taiyuan, Jinci Temple is the No.1 attraction that you should not miss. It is the earliest imperial sacrifice garden existing today, dating back to Western Zhou Dynasty, about 11th century B.C. Each Taiyuaner is proud for Jinci Temple where their origin could be traced and for the historical heritage including the grand architecture complex, high-level sculptures, wall paintings and inscriptions. Immerse yourself into the elegant temple to learn the local history and culture with professional commentary from expert guide.
Accommodation: Overnight in Taiyuan
- Day 2: Taiyuan-Pingyao Tour (Lunch)Pingyao Ancient Town
In the morning, drive around 2 hours to Pingyao and start your visit in Pingyao Ancient City. Bearing the history over 2700 years, sharing the title “Four Best Preserved Ancient Chinese Cities” together with Langzhong in Sichuan Province, Lijiang in Yunnan City and Shexian of Anhui Province, this ancient city is one of the only two ancient cities succeeding in applying World Cultural Heritage in China. Pingyao started to be built in Western Zhou Dynasty (827BC-782BC) and extended in 1370 AD, Ming Dynasty. Until today, the basic layout and landscape of Ming and Qing Dynasty is still visible in Pingyao.
The city had ever governed China’s finance in Ming and Qing Dynasty with over 20 exchange shops (it’s like bank in ancient time) headquartered here, about the half of the whole country, gaining the title of “Ancient Chinese Wall Street”. Today, you can still find the basic look of its ever prosperity from the relics.
Like the most city walls, Pingyao City Wall was built in early Ming Dynasty on the purpose of defense against the foreign invasion and get patched 26 times in later generations. The Wall is extremely admirable with its strong character in the lengthy past when you stroll on the wall top and behold the mottled bricks over there. Stretching round the city 6,000 meters in length and up 12 meters in height, the ancient City Wall divided the small city into 2 distinct worlds inside and outside its embrace: the inside was prosperous in trade with the streets lined with shops and people coming and going.
Visit the relics of the famous Rishengchang Exchange Shop to trace the history of Chinese financial industry. Built in 1823 by the general manager Lei Lvtai with fund support from local rich merchant Li Dajin, Rishengchang had even dominated the economic artery of Qing Empire in 19th century.
Setting your feet on the Ming-Qing Street, the one of busiest commercial street in China, you shall have a better idea in mind about how advanced the development in China was in that time. Today, the relics of those ancient shops still are well preserved and visible, including exchange shops, banks, drugstore, butcher, pawnshop… Local snack shops, souvenir shops and things like that inherits the ever prosperity of the street and dominates the major crowds here.
Besides, joining in a Paper Cutting Class in the ancient city would be a big highlight today. Following the local expert and waving the scissors in hands, you will amazingly get a vivid “bird” or “fish”, through which the interesting Chinese culture could be caught a glimpse.
Accommodation: Overnight in Pingyao
- Day 3: Pingyao Tour & Pingyao Departure (Lunch)Qiao Family Courtyard,Shuanglin Temple
In the morning, you will visit Qiao Family Courtyard which could be said as a name card of travel to Shanxi Province, boasting its unparallel value of viewing, scientific and historical research. It’s a typical folk-art museum with strong characteristics of Shanxi merchants’ culture, reflecting the social and economic life in Ming and Qing Dynasties. Different from the tiny and elegant ancient town embraced by streams in southern China, Qiao Family impresses visitors strikingly with its square layout, tall and thick walls, grey bricks and red lanterns as well as classic overhanging eaves, suddenly bringing you back to ancient northern China when you stepping into the yard.
Later, move on to Shuanglin Temple. This temple could be said as a “surprise” among the attractions in Pingyao because it is a lesser-known site but have been collecting incredible artworks in its lengthy past. It’s a Buddhist temple where you will meet many delicate wall paintings, colored statues and beautiful buildings of Tang, Song and Ming Dynasties.
At the end of the tour, you will be dropped off at the train station for departure.