Archive for the ‘Pingyao Travel’ Category

Pingyao, Bring you 2700 Years Back

Sunday, July 12th, 2015
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While you are planning either Beijing tour or Xian tour, the two highlights sought after by most of the oversea first-time visitors coming to China, one gem you should not miss, which lies between Beijing (610km to the southwest of Beijing) and Xian (543km to the northeast of Xian) – that’s the ancient city of Pingyao (平遥古城), the most well-preserved ancient city in China. It was listed as a World Heritage Site in 1997, including the outlying Zhenguo Temple and Shuanglin Temple.

The original city construction of Pingyao goes back to Xuanwang in Xizhou Dynasty (827 BC – 782 BC). The present ancient city wall was built during the 3rd year of Hongwu in Ming Dynasty (1370). The ancient city of Pingyao retains the basic layout of a county-level city in the Ming and Qing dynasties (1368-1911), the most well-preserved ancient city built by Han people.

In the late Qing Dynasty (1644 -1911), Pingyao became the financial center of China. There were as many as over 20 financial institutions (Exchange Shops) within the city, making up more than half of total in the whole China. Rishengchang was founded in Qing Dynasty(1824) and well known as the first bank in China, the birthplace of China’s “Wall Street”.

You may be disappointed at the fast pace of urban and rural developments in China. Much of the rural areas have been urbanized with the rapid decrease of arable land; urban areas have been overdeveloped with high-rises booming and influx of rural migrants. Today’s China is probably a world of difference from what you expect. Pingyao is one of the few places where you are able to see, feel and touch the real and authentic China in the past, thus allowing you to understand the present and modern China.

Pingyao is now accessible by high speed trains coming either from Beijing and Xian, making it a hot destination lying between Beijing and Xian. The regional capital city of Taiyuan, 80km north of Pingyao, is a good springboard for those who have a Pingyao tour since Taiyuan is a transportation hub in Shanxi Province.

There are still over 4,000 Ming- and Qing-style residences remaining in the old city. The main streets are rife with storefronts which still largely retain their historical appearance. Strolling along the old streets and looking for a souvenir is feeling like going along the time passage, like paper cuts, shoe soles, combs, and the list could be much longer. If you are a curio expert, maybe you can encounter a “real antique”.

A Paper Cut Vendor

A Paper Cut Vendor

A Paper Cut Vendor

Slab and stone paved streets lined with wooden houses selling numerous souvenirs.

Slab and stone paved streets lined with traditional houses

Slab and stone paved streets lined with traditional houses

Walking along the old streets, you may meet some stuff you like.

Walking along the old streets, you may meet some stuff you like.

Walking along the old streets, you may meet some stuff you like.

Pingyao has a myriad snacks with over 300 kinds of flour-made food. The beef in Pingyao is a big draw, a must-buy local product in Pingyao.

A roadside vegetable vendor

A roadside vegetable vendor

A roadside vegetable vendor

The Ancient City of Ping Yao went through 25 renovations and reconstructions in Ming and Qing dynasties. Now the city wall is square in shape with a perimeter of 6162.7 meters, a height of 10 meters, battlements 2 meters high, 3-5 meters wide on the wall top.

Pingyao Ancient City is favored by foreign tourists who come here to see the real China.

Pingyao Ancient City is favored by foreign tourists who come here to see the real China.

Pingyao Ancient City is favored by foreign tourists who come here to see the real China.

There are 3000 battlements built on the city wall top with 72 watch towers.

There are 3000 battlements built on the city wall top with 72 watch towers.

There are 3000 battlements built on the city wall top with 72 watch towers.

In 1824, Rishengchang, the first China bank was established here in Pingyao. In the late Qing Dynasty (1644 -1911), Pingyao became the financial center of China. There were as many as over 20 financial institutions (Exchange Shops) within the city, making up more than half of total in the whole China.

The through ticket allows you to visit over 20 paid sights inside the ancient Pingyao city including temples, pawns, old bodyguard offices, County Government Office and more.

 

After dark, Pingyao is transformed into a quiet and pretty wonderland

After dark, Pingyao is transformed into a quiet and pretty wonderland

After dark, Pingyao is transformed into a quiet and pretty wonderland

The ancient city at night is a perfect hangout, teemed with bars and pubs.

The ancient city at night is a perfect hangout, teemed with bars and pubs.

The ancient city at night is a perfect hangout, teemed with bars and pubs.

Any questions, just drop a line.

Where to Stay in Pingyao

Sunday, July 6th, 2014
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Plan your Pingyao Tour? With the completion of the Taiyuan Xian highspeed train railway, now  people  can easily reach Pingyao by highspeed trains from Beijing ( 4 hours ) and Xian ( 3 hours ).

With easy access to Pingyao,  people mainly focus where to stay in Pingyao in the process of arranging their individual trips to Pingyao. Unlike other big cities bestowed with big lavish hotels, Pingyao features small guesthouses, hostels and hotels,  most of them offering over 20 some rooms. Almost all hotels are built based on the traditional courtyards, old houses in the northern China.

These old courtyards turned guesthouses and hotels hold a great interest for western travelers, sipping tea or coffee in an elaborated courtyard,  sleeping on stone beds ( Stone Kang Beds),  and immersing themselves in traditional Chinese atmosphere. There are over 20 courtyard turned guesthouses and hotels available for your choose.

If you have no fancy for stone kang beds and prefer to stay in a splurge hotel with modern facilities, Pingyao will not let you down. The Kylin Grand Hotel is a 5 star hotel with spacious rooms equipped with luxury facilities.

So where should I stay in Pingyao? While choosing a hotel in Pingyao, basically people would consider three factors – Location, Service and price. Let’s go one by one and finally I’d like to recommend some of the ideal hotels I know for your reference.

Pingyao Tourist Sketch Map

Pingyao Map

Pingyao Map

Pingyao Ancient City Layout
The ancient city wall of Pingyao is 6km in circumference, like a smaller Xian city wall which has a perimeter of 14 km. The similarity of the two ancient cities also lies in their street grid pattern layout featuring four main streets in the two walled cities, e.g. North Street, East Street, South Street and West Street. Each street is linked to a gate.  One of Pingyao Ancient City’s unique features is that it is not square in shape. Actually the whole city leans to the northwest and  its “North”  is replaced by “Northwest”. So all the lanes and streets slant.

South Street 
The south and west streets in Pingyao ancient city are most important, rife with souvenir stalls, restaurants, hostels, hotels as well as major attractions. The tallest City Building in Ming & Qing Style is situated on the middle of the south street.

On the south street, you find Tong Xing Gong Armed Escort Agency, Chinese Armed Escort Agency Museum, Xie Tong Qing Draft Bank. Some popular hotels are also located on the south street, like Tian Yuan Kui Hotel and Harmony Guesthouse.

West Street
The must see Ri Sheng Chang (the First Draft Bank of China) is on the west street. Yun Jin Cheng Hotel, a five star folk-custom hotel is on the west street too.

Chenghuang Temple Street
This interesting street is not missed. On the street you are able  to visit City God Temple ( Chenghuang Temple ) and Confucius Tempe. The 5 star Kylin Grand Hotel is also on the street.

Yamen Street  West of Chenghuang Temple Street is Yamen Street. Yamen literally means ” the bureaucrat” that refers to the local government. On the street is located the former Pingyao County Government’s office compound, a well-preserved county-level government offices in China. Zhengjia Guesthouse is on Yamen Street.

North Street
Actually the North Street is not directly linked to the South Street.  North Street starts somewhat west from West Street, also a busy and commercial street lined up with some hotels and restaurants.

East Street
A bit less commercial other streets. But still you could find nice cafes and restaurant on the East Street. Of course,  Pingyao Ancient City boasts more these above mentioned streets with numerous lanes radiating  from the main streets, worth your exploring a few hours.

Generally it is preferable to choose a hotel in South Street, West Street, Yaman Street or Chenghuang Temple Street. Now I’d like to recommend one guesthouse ( stone kang beds) , one hotel ( stone kang beds) and one luxury hotel ( modern standard room ).

1. Harmony Hotel 和义昌客栈
A lively 300 year old Qing Dynasty building  with two cozy courtyards inside.  It is located at 165 South Street inside the ancient city of Pingyao. Over a dozen of rooms circle the two courtyards.

All the rooms offer stone kang beds with wooden bed top tea tables. The owners of the guesthouse,  husband and wife speak good English. Tel: 0354 – 5684952

Harmony Hotel Exterior

Harmony Hotel Exterior

 

The cozy lobby of Harmony Guesthouse

The cozy lobby of Harmony Guesthouse

One of the two courtyards in Harmony Guesthouse

One of the two courtyards in Harmony Guesthouse

Kang stone beds with bed-top tea table

Kang stone beds with bed-top tea table

2. Tian Yuan Kui Guesthouse 天元奎客栈
This guesthouse is located on Ming and Qing Street, the core of Pingyao Ancient City, northern part of South Street, next to the attractions in Pingyao such as Tong Xing Gong Armed Escort Agency, Chinese Armed Escort Agency Museum, Xie Tong Qing Draft Bank.   Hotel Tel: 0354 – 5680069

Tian Yuan Kui Guesthouse Exterior

Tian Yuan Kui Guesthouse Exterior

 

The Lobby bar at Tian Yuan Kui Guesthouse1

The Lobby bar at Tian Yuan Kui Guesthouse1

Kang Bed at Tian Yuan Kui Guesthouse1

Kang Bed at Tian Yuan Kui Guesthouse1

3. Kylin Grand Hotel 平遥麒麟阁大饭店
This luxury modern hotel is located at No.76, Chenghuang Temple Street in Pingyao Ancient City, adjacent to the City God Temple and Confucious Temple.  Hotel Tel: (0354)5689988.

It is a boutique Hotel with its theme focused on the local Jin commercial culture in Ming and Qing  dynasties. Its Ming and Qing style building well matches the theme.

Kylin Grand Hotel Exterior

Kylin Grand Hotel Exterior

King-size bed room at Kylin Grand Hotel

King-size bed room at Kylin Grand Hotel

 

ashing room at Kylin Grand Hotel

ashing room at Kylin Grand Hotel

 

Tip:  Hassle-free Pingyao Guided Tours
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If you don’t want to go the do-it-yourself route and prefer the hassle-free escorted tours,  here are some options for Pingyao Guided Tours:

Pingyao 3 Day Tour   from US$190 p/p
Pingyao Qikou 2 day Side Trip  from US$ 130 p/p
Pingyao Car Rental with Driver

Beijing Pingyao 2 Day Highspeed Train Tour   from US$ 195  p/p
Beijing Pingyao 3 Day Highspeed Train Tour  from US$ 280  p/p
Beijing Pingyao 4 Day Overnight Train Tour     from US$ 270 p/p

 

Further Readings


Top  10 Attractions in Pingyao
Best Time to Visit Pingyao
Where to Stay in Pingyao
Beijing Pingyao High Speed Train
Pingyao Bus Station
Pingyao Railway Station

Zhangbi Village
Wang Family Courtyard
Zhenguo Temple
Shuanglin Temple
Lijiashan Travel Tips
Qikou Town Travel Guide
Pingyao Taxi

Any questions, just drop a line.

Beijing Pingyao High Speed Train

Thursday, March 13th, 2014
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Plan your Pingyao tour? Starting from July 01, 2014,  you are able to get to Pingyao Ancient City by high speed train directly from Beijing!

Taiyuan Xian High Speed Railway ( Part of Datong Xian High Speed Railway ) are opened to the public, significantly shortening the present Beijing and Pingyao train travel time from 10 – 14 hours  to 4 hours.

 

Beijing Pingyao High Speed Train

Beijing Pingyao High Speed Train

Now if you are going to visit Pingyao from Beijing by trains, basically you have three choices – By bullet trains, by normal overnight trains and transiting at Taiyuan.

1.  Beijing – Pingyao by bullet trains
At the time of my writing, there are two daily bullet trains available going between Beijing and Pingyao.

Beijing West Railway Station – Pingyao Ancient City Railway Station:  D2001 ( 7:58 – 12:09)
Beijing West Railway Station – Pingyao Ancient City Railway Station:  D2005 ( 15: 29 – 19:39)

Pingyao Ancient City Railway Station – Beijing West Railway Station  :  D2002 ( 8: 41 – 12:55)
Pingyao Ancient City Railway Station  – Beijing West Railway Station :  D2006 ( 16: 11 – 20:40)

2. Beijing Pingyao Overnight Train Timetable
Some traveler still prefer to take an overnight train from Beijing to Pingyao and vice versa.

K603 Beijing – Pingyao ( 17:17 – 05 18)
2603 Beijing – Pingyao (23:42 – 14:05)
K609 Beijing – Pingyao (23:51 – 09:35)

K604 Pingyao – Beijing ( 17:03 – 05 37)
2604 Pingyao  – Beijing  (13:11 – 03:36)
K610 Pingyao – Beijing  (20:32 – 06:09)

3.  Transit at Taiyuan
Take the 3 hours high speed trains  from Beijing to Taiyuan where you connect for buses or hiring a private car to van for 1 hour driving from Taiyuan to Pingyao.  Pingyao is located about 80km southeast of Taiyuan’s city center.

Beijing Taiyuan High Speed Train Timetable
Nine Beijing West – Taiyuan high speed trains.
G601     (7:35 – 12:02)
G91       (08:30 – 11:00)
G603    (9:15 – 12:18 )
G605 (10:05 – 13:07)
G607  (11:32 – 14:17 )
G609  (15:08 – 18:03 )
G611  (17:08 – 18:06)
G613  (17:56 – 20:43)
G615 (20:21 – 23:13 )

Note:
You may take the train back to Beijing or extend your trip further to Xian, well known for its Terracotta Warriors.

Tip:  Hassle-free Pingyao Guided Tours
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If you don’t want to go the do-it-yourself route and prefer the hassle-free escorted tours,  here are some options for Pingyao Guided Tours:

Pingyao 3 Day Tour   from US$190 p/p
Pingyao Qikou 2 day Side Trip  from US$ 130 p/p
Pingyao Car Rental with Driver

Beijing Pingyao 2 Day Highspeed Train Tour   from US$ 195  p/p
Beijing Pingyao 3 Day Highspeed Train Tour  from US$ 280  p/p
Beijing Pingyao 4 Day Overnight Train Tour     from US$ 270 p/p

 

Further Readings


Top  10 Attractions in Pingyao
Best Time to Visit Pingyao
Where to Stay in Pingyao
Beijing Pingyao High Speed Train
Pingyao Bus Station
Pingyao Railway Station

Zhangbi Village
Wang Family Courtyard
Zhenguo Temple
Shuanglin Temple
Lijiashan Travel Tips
Qikou Town Travel Guide
Pingyao Taxi

Any questions, just drop a line.