"Pingyao (平遥)" Pingyao by cal6060
Pingyao Travel Guide: 189 reviews and 824 photos
Pingyao is located in the central of Shanxi Province. Due to its historical background and preservation of the ancient city, it was declared as UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1997. This ancient city has existed since Spring and Autumn period, and retained its Ming and Qing Dynasty's streets and ancient buildings. During Qing Dynasty, Pingyao was the financial center of China with 20 financial institutions, which had more than half of the total in the whole China.
The streets of Pingyao are well planned. I have included a basic street map in my travelogue. Basically, there are six main streets with attractions that required a master-ticket (Y150) with bar-codes to get in, except the Market Tower requires a separate ticket (Y5). I used one day to visit most of the attractions, except I missed the important site " Rishengchang Exchange Shop". I could not recall whether I did not find the site or it was simply closed on that particular day. It is just next to Wei Tai Hou Draft Bank, so don't miss it. Based on a local guide, there are four attractions with 4 stars ratings that we should not miss; Rishengchang Exchange Shop, Temple of City God, Temple of Confucius, and County Government, which I agree. Attractions that I had visited including:
1) Gongji Gate (拱极门)
2) Temple of Erlang (二郎庙)
3) Wei Tai Hou Draft Bank (蔚泰厚博物馆)
4) Ancient Residency Expo Garden (古民居博物馆)
5) Hui Wu Lin Museum (汇武林博物馆)
6) Museum of Chinese Chamber of Commerce (中国商会博物馆)
7) First Armed Escort of North China ( 华北第一镖局)
8) Tian Ji Xiang Museum (天吉祥博物馆)
9) Market Tower (市楼)
10) Xie Tong Qing Exchange Shop (协同庆钱庄)
11) Armed Escort of China (中国镖局博物馆)
12) Tong Xing Gong Armed Escort (同兴公镖局)
13) Bai Chuan Tong Exchange Shop (百川通)
14) Temple pf City God (城隍庙)
15) Temple of Confucius (文庙)
16) Big Theater/Nine-Dragon Wall ( 大戏堂/ 九龙壁)
17) Taihe Gate ( 太和门)
18) Ying Xun Gate (迎薰门)
19) County Government Office (县政署)
20) Fengshui Tower (观风楼)
21) Fengxi Gate (风仪门)
It was a rainy day. So, you will see some of my pictures with rain and misty weather. Hope you will enjoy it!!
Pingyao was my top priority place to visit during my China 2011. It was not difficult to get here from Beijing as speed rails reach Taiyuan within 3 hours (715km), then take a train to Pingyao for another 1.5 hours. I took the morning train from Beijing West at 8:10am, arrived Pingyao at 3:30pm. It was a comfortable ride between Beijing West to Taiyuan. Unfortunately, the train between Taiyuan to Pingyao was a horrible experience. It was a holiday weekends, a lot of the locals went out of town to Taiyuan for shopping and sightseeing. The Railway Company could sell stand tickets to unlimited passengers. It was an unspeakable situation, but to squash into the train with my 7kg backpack. I could have just skipped the train, and got a taxi to the bus station. Well, I did not do that. After the train had stopped for few stations, the situation got better as people got off the train for their stop.
I realized that people were staring at me as I had my big backpack. The guy stood next to me was sympathetic about me having a heavy backpack, saying I should have laid it down. So, I did and started to have conversation with him. In fact, he was heading home to Pingyao. Sure, he was asking me where I came from. He was a bite surprise as I am from Malaysia and I spoke good Mandarin. He told me that many of his friends and colleagues love traveling to Sing, Ma, and Tai, means (Singapore, Malaysia, and Thailand). That was how he knows Malaysia from friends. Typical Chinese, he asked me whether I made a good income in Malaysia. I told him I was just an average income earner, and had average life in Malaysia. Then he said China's currency was still very weak, and their incomes could hardly cover their expenses. I told him China is growing very fast comparing to other countries, and slowly things would be different especially for the next generation. He agreed and told me that actually he was excited to go home to see his new born baby girl today.
As a tourist, of course I took the chance to ask him some local customs, other languages, and any interesting places to visit. He basically found Pingyao uninteresting as he stayed here his entire life with dirty streets, old buildings, polluted air, and etc. He asked me why I came to Pingyao. I told him about the ancient town with City Wall as UNESCO site. Then, he told me he had not been to Pingyao ancient town for very long time. Then, I asked where he lived. His hometown is actually 30km away from the City. I also learn that the locals have their own dialect. He speaks local dialect with his parents, and mandarin with his wife as his wife is from other province.
When I arrived at the Pingyao Railway Station, he directed me to the City wall entrance. So, I walked to the City Wall and found my way to the Hotel. I was overjoyed passing by those alleys with original ancient courtyards, the walls, doors, windows, houses, etc. The hotel that I booked through elong.com is an ancient guesthouse with tradition Ming Dynasty architecture buildings. Mr. Lee, the owner of the hotel, was very helpful and friendly. It was such a bargain to pay Y99 per night for this hotel. I took a shower and could not wait to see this ancient city!!
Also, visit my Taiyuan Page as I transited here to Xi'an.
Fengyi Gate is located west side of the wall, on west street. This is the nearest gate to the Railway Station. Outside... more travel advice
I passed through a narrow ally to the East of County Government Office. Basically, it is a garden with Chest Pavilion,... more travel advice
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