"Taiyuan (太原)" Taiyuan by cal6060
Taiyuan Travel Guide: 28 reviews and 183 photos
Taiyuan is the capital city of Shanxi province since Ming and Qing dynasties. It is also the largest city of the province. It has slightly more than 4 million people living in this city with largely depend on the heavy industry including Iron and Steel. Other than that, coal production, chemical industrial, engineering center production are other major contribution to their GDP growth. Due to the heavy industry activities in the City, the city is the fourth worse of air quality in the whole China.
I first arrived at Taiyuan on 8/10/2011 by a speed rail from Beijing West Railway Station. The distant between the two cities is about 510km. It took me around 3 hours and 45 minutes to reach the city. Then, I took a local train to Pingyao. I returned to Taiyuan to catch the sleeper train to Xian on 11/10/11. I took a morning 7am train from Pingyao to City, and spent the day to explore the city before taking a 9pm train to Xian.
When I arrived Taiyuan Railway Station, I left my backpack at the luggage storage. Then I bought a map (Y4) from a newsstand, and read the map at Taiyuan KFC while having breakfast. First thing I wanted to do was visiting the Twin Pagoda, which is located southeast of the Railway Station. I knew there were several religious attractions in the city including a Confucian Temple, Chongshan Temple, and a Mosque in the City. I marked them in my map, but eventually I did not visit them. I realized I had seen too many temples from big to small in Beijing and Pingyao, and would visit more in Xian, Luoyang, and etc. So I did not bother to search for them. I decided to explore their streets, parks, the Fen river, and buildings in the city.
First I walked from the Railway Station to Twin Pagoda. It was an awful experience to walk through the streets to Twin Pagoda. I had to pass through a clothing wholesales district called "Hao Zhuang". The streets were dirty, dusty, and muddy with polluted air. There were many good high-rise shopping malls, street markets, shops, banks, and etc. But I was really curious how they do business in this environment. There were few under construction projects without any fencing in the neighborhood. There were trucks, cars, motorbikes, two-wheels vehicles using the streets without any regulations. I was really stuck in the middle, I could not get a taxi or find any other road to the Twin Pagoda. Eventually I arrived the Twin Pagoda without any physical harm, but it really triggered my allergic of the dusty air.
After visiting the Twin Pagoda, I had to pass through the terrible district again. No choice as I did not see any bus or taxi coming near the Twin Pagoda. I walked back to the Railway station, and was trying to catch a bus to the bridge near Fen River. It was not easy to ride a bus here as too crowded with local residents. I took a bus on Yingze Steet, the main street in front of the Railway Station. Oh! This was totally different than where I was earlier. The main street is so big and wide with proper traffic lights, clean, tall and modern high rise buildings. I stopped at a park near the Fen River, and started to walk toward north to Shanxi Museum. I walked along the river and saw a giant dragon displayed in the middle of the river. Nice dragon, but polluted and dry river. Most of the park facilities are not well maintain, including a beautiful fountain with bronze bird near the Shanxi Museum. After visiting the museum, it started to rain. So, I took a bus cruising around streets. Then, I stopped at the end of Yingze Street, and decided to walk the street all the way to the Railway Station. Along the way, I visited the Bank of China to get more Chinese Yuan, Worker Cultural Palace, Ying Ze Park, and etc. I had dinner nearby the Railway station, and boarded the train to Xian at 9pm.
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