Shanxi is a mysterious place full of history, culture, religions, traditions, etc. In order to make your visit here memorable, we designed this 5 days tour to offer all the highlights in Shanxi. Start from Datong, you will be guided to visit three UNESCO World Heritage Sites: Yungang Grottoes in Datong, Ancient City of Pingyao, and sacred Mount Wutai. You will also be treated to the incredible Hanging Temple, Qiao Family Residential Compounds, enduring Shanhua Temple, and enchanting Nine Dragon Screen Wall. Get ready to encounter a series of wonders survived the test of time.
*Clings to a sheer cliff, the Hanging Temple will offer you a thrilling but exciting experience.
*Stroll in Pingyao Ancient Town, be attracted by exquisite architectures of Ming and Ding Dynasties, and snatch a glimpse into the life of wealthy merchants in Qiao Family Courtyard.
*Deeply experience Mountain Wutai which is not only rich in Buddhist culture but also in nature landscape.
- Day 1: Taiyuan Arrival - Qiao Family CourtyardQiao Family Courtyard
Upon your arrival at Taiyuan airport (please arrive before 1pm), the local English speaking guide and driver will pick you up from the exit gate by holding a welcome board with your name.
After lunch in a local restaurant, you will start the visit with Qiao Family Courtyard. The filming spot of the movie Raise The Red Lantern by director Zhang Yimou, Qiao Family Compound is the mansion of a famous merchant family in Qing Dynasty. The compound is comprised of four halls and one garden with all the houses lined by corridors, showing visitors the former glory of Shanxi merchants and the architecture style of ancient dwellings.
Hotel: overnight in Pingyao ancient town
- Day 2: Pingyao Ancient CityPingyao Ancient City: Pingyao Ancient City Wall, Rishengchang Draft Bank & Ming and Qing Dynasties Street
Visit Pingyao Ancient City which was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1997. Once the financial center of China in the late Qing Dynasty, Pingyao Ancient City is known as one of the “Four Best Preserved Ancient Chinese Cities”. In the layout of classic cities in Ming and Qing Dynasties, Pingyao Ancient City is proud of its many historic architectures and merchant culture. You will be lead to visit Pingyao’s Ancient City Wall, Rishengchang Draft Bank, and Ming-Qing Street.
Pingyao Ancient City Wall - One of the best-preserved city walls in China, the 10-meter-high wall stretches for over 6,1000 meters, and shares many similarities with the walls in Xian. You will step onto the wall to get a panoramic view of the whole ancient city and take some amazing photos.
Rishengchang Draft Bank - The first bank chain in China, Rishengchang is now a museum where you can see the ancient bank 150 years ago. Historical materials displayed here include account books, abacuses, bank operating procedures, and underground vault used to store gold and silver.
Ming and Qing Dynasties Street - A well-preserved pedestrian street with the buildings are completely in Ming and Qing architecture style, a stroll here will take you to scores of ancient shops from Ming and Qing Dynasties, including exchange shops, drugstores, grocery stores, pawnshops, etc.
Hotel: overnight in Pingyao ancient town
- Day 3: Pingyao-Mt. WutaiMount Wutai: Pusa-Ding Temple, Xiantong Temple & Tayuan Temple
After hotel breakfast, drive around 3 hours to Mount Wutai. One of China’s Four Sacred Buddhist Mountains, Mount Wutai is home to over 53 monasteries and temples which has been included in the UNESCO World Heritage list since 2009. Below are the highlights of Mount Wutai we will visit today.
Pusa-Ding Temple (The Summit of Bodhisattva) - the largest Tibetan Monastery in Mount Wutai, it once gave lodging to Emperors of Qing Dynasty when they get here for pilgrimages. Many handwritten scripts of Emperor Kangxi and Emperor Qianlong in Qing Dynasty are available here.
Xiantong Temple - Being built during the Han Dynasty (AD25-220), Xiantong Temple boasts its large scale and long history. You can expect ingenious architectural designs and many precious cultural relics when wandering among the over 400 buildings here.
Tayuan Temple - It got its name because of the big white pagoda in the courtyard which rising high in to the sky is a main symbol of Wutai Mountain. It is a holy relic that draws many Buddhists and pilgrims to walking around and worship.
Stay overnight near the mountain.
Hotel: overnight in Wutaishan
- Day 4: Mt. Wutai - DatongMount Wutai: Dailuoding Dailuoding: Hanging Temple
In the morning, continue to visit Mount Wutai, climbing up the 1080 stairs to Dailuoding. A Buddhist Temple sitting on the summit of a snail-shaped peak, Dailuoding assembles five Manjusri Bodhisattvas statues in one palace and will offer you some magnificent natural views.
In the afternoon, drive around 3 hrs to Datong, and visit Hanging Temple - an incredible temple clinging to a sheer cliff above the Jinlong Valley. Thanks to its precarious location, the temple was listed as one of the top 10 unique and precipitous architectures by Times in 2010. Boasting a history of more than 1500 years, the temple is the only existing one integrating Buddhism, Taoism, and Confucianism.
After the visit, check into a local hotel in Datong.
- Day 5: Datong Tour & Datong DepartureDatong: Yungang Grottoes, Shanhua Temple & Nine-Dragon Screen Wall
Today you will spend the full day to explore the splendid Datong! Firstly, drive westwards to Yungang Grottoes (Yungang Caves) which has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2001. Located about 18 km from Datong, Yungang Grottoes are a complex among one of the earliest and finest specimen of rock-carved cave-temples in China. With about 51000 Buddha statues scattered among over 45 caves and 250 niches, it is the place you can gain an insight into the Buddhist art achievement of China in 5th and 6th century.
Later, continue your visit to Shanhua Temple - a 1000 years old temple in the style of combining Han culture of Song Dynasty and northern ethnic culture of Jin and Liao Dynasties. It is the best-preserved and the largest one in comparison to the ones of the same period.
Discover more Chinese architecture art at the Nine-Dragon Screen Wall. With nine writhing dragons, sun, moon, mountains, rivers, trees, clouds and so forth carved in a lifelike manner, the Nine-Dragon Screen Wall is a display of the superb carving skills of ancient China. The wall in Datong is the largest and most enchanting one compared with the other two in Beijing.
After the tour finished, you will head to Datong airport for departure flight.
Note: you are suggested to depart after 7pm