Shanxi TourShanxi is a province with Taiyuan as its capital, located in the North China region. "Shangxi"(山西) sounds possibly unfamiliar to you though you may have learned a lot about Datong and Pingyao, the two most visited historic cities that are actually under the jurisdiction of Shanxi (Province). "Shanxi" literally means "West of the Mountain" since Shanxi Province is located on the west of Taihang Mountain which forms the boundary between Shanxi and Hebei provinces.
Shanxi Province is also on the east of the middle stretches of Yellow River which forms the boundary between Shanxi Province and Shaanxi Province (Xian as its capital). So don't confuse Shanxi Province with Shaanxi Province.
Shanxi is loaden with profound history, splendid culture and mesmerizing landscapes. It boasts three world cultural heritages - Pingyao Ancient City, Yungang Grottoes and Mount Wutai plus plentiful national level intangible cultural heritages including Drums and gongs, Lion Dancing, Zhongyang Paper-cut, etc.
Shanxi Province is in shape of a mulberry leaf: 680km (north-south) and 380km (east-west) which sections the province into three parts - North Shanxi, Mid-Shanxi and South Shanxi. North Shanxi is rife with magnificent monastic culture and architecture featuring Yungang Grottoes, Hanging Temple and Mount Wutai; Mid-Shanxi is world famous for its Shanxi merchant culture with photogenic ancient walled settlements (Qikou Cave Houses, Pingyao Ancient City, Qiao Family Courtyard...); South Shanxi is well known for its traditional Chinese ancestral roots culture and the depth of immigrant culture.
With Shanxi being located somewhat between Beijing and Xian, a rail or road trip to Shanxi often starts from Beijing or Xian. Well, let's start our Shanxi trip now!
Shanxi Tourist Map
Shanxi Top Tours
|» Shanxi Vernacular Dwellings Tour|
| Destinations: Taiyuan Qikou Zhangbi Pingyao
Duration: 5 Days
Tour Type: Private Tour
Tour Code: SHX-01
Price: Starting from US$ 440p/p
|» Shanxi Highlight Cultural Tour|
| Destinations: Datong Pingyao
Duration: 5 Days
Tour Type: Private Tour
Tour Code: SHX-02
Price: Starting from US$ 405p/p
|Just a reminder
People who browse Shanxi Tour are also interested in visiting the pages of Datong Tour and Pingyao Tour.
Shanxi Travel Information
|Top 10 Attractions in Shanxi||Get to Datong from Beijing||Datong Great Wall||Datong Ancient City Wall|
|Where to Stay in Pingyao||Lijiashan Village||Qikou Town||Zhangbi Village|
Shanxi Major Road mileage
|Beijing - Datong: 355km||Beijing Taiyuan: 550km||Changzhi - Jincheng: 110km|
|Datong - Hanging Temple: 84km||Datong - Hanging Temple - Mt Wutai: 240km||Hanging Temple - Yingxian Wooden Pagoda: 57km|
|Jiexiu - Zhangbi Underground Castle: 16km||Jiexiu - Wamg's Family Mansion: 20km||Jincheng - Luoyang: 180km|
|Jincheng - Zhengzhou: 140km||Jincheng - Guoyu Ancient Town: 33km||Lvliang (Lishi): - Jiexiu: 134km|
|Linfen - Hukou Waterfall: 200km||Lvliang (Lishi): - Qikou: 48km||Pingyao - Jiexiu: 40km|
|Pingyao - Jincheng: 296km||Pingyao - Linfen: 163km||Pingyao- - Lvliang (Lishi): 120km|
|Taiyuan - Qikou: 230km||Taiyuan - Pingyao: 110km||Taiyuan -Mount Wutai : 239km|
|Taiyuan - Lvliang (Lishi): 185km||Taiyuan - Jinzhong: 40km||Tianyuan - changzhi: 230km|
|Taiyuan - Xian: 680km||Taiyuan - Yuncheng: 420km||Wang's Family Mansion - Zhangbi Underground Castle: 20km|
|Yuncheng - Xian: 260km||Yuncheng - Luoyang: 230km|
When to VisitGenerally, Shanxi has a dry and cold climate due to its location on the west of Taihang Mountain keeping off the damp marine currents. There is a big temperature drop between day and night. In spring, Shanxi is often pestered by sandstorms.
Shanxi is long and narrow with varibale climates. In winter Mount Wutai and Datong are extremely cold while Taiyuan has a comparatively tamed and mild climate in a year. In general, the best time to visit Shanxi is between May and October. Avoid traveling Shanxi during Chinese public holidays ( especially on the week-long Chinese National Day October 01 -07 ).
Get There & AroundShanxi is accessible mainly through Datong (for North Shanxi), Taiyuan (for Mid-Shanxi) and Yuncheng (for South Shanxi). At present Shanxi only has two airports - Taiyuan Wusu Airport and Datong Airport. Taiyuan Wusu Airport connects Shanxi with the major cities in China including Beijing, Shanghai, Xian and Chongqing as well as some international flights from Hong Kong, Singapore, Japan and Russia. Datong Airport is relatively small in scale linking Datong with several domestic cities like Beijing.
Taking train is a popular way of entering Shanxi from other cities like Beijing, Shanghai, Xian and Hohhot. The railway and bus network connects the major cities and counties within Shanxi Provinces. It is said that Datong-Taiyuan-Xian highspeed train line is under construction further enhancing the travel convenience in the province.
Top 10 Places in Shanxi1. Yungang Grottoes
The Yungang Grottoes are ancient Chinese Buddhist temple grottoes. They are excellent examples of rock-cut architecture and a famous ancient Buddhist sculptural sites of China. World Cultural Heritage.
2. Hanging Temple
Hanging Monastery, located at the foot of the Mt. Hengshan, is the only existed temple hosting worship for the Taoists, Confucians and Buddhists. Built in 491, Hanging Monastery is an architectural wonder because it hangs on the west cliff of Jinxia Gorge more than 50 meters above the ground.
3. Yingxian Wooden Pagoda
Yingxian Wooden Pagoda's real name is the Sakyamuni Pagoda of Fogong Temple of Ying County, 70 kilometers away from Datong. It is the oldest and largest wooden Buddhist pagoda in existence in the world. The pagoda is 67 meters high the pagoda wih a 9 story octagonal building. It was was buit without using any nails. It is admired as one of the Three Wonders of Pagoda in the world" together with Eiffel Tower in France and leaning Tower of Pisa in Italy.
4. Mount Wutai
Mount Wutai ( or Wutaishan ) is one of the Four Sacred Mountains in Chinese Buddhism. Each of the four mountains are regarded as the earthly home of the four great bodhisattvas. Wutai Mountain is the abode of the Bodhisattva of wisdom, Manjusri or Wenshu (文殊) in Chinese. World Cultural Heritage.
5. Qikou Ancient Town
Qikou ancient town is situated along the west edge of Yellow River. For its special port situation, Qikou ancient town attracted many merchants centuries ago. Houses in the style of Ming and Qing Dynasty stand along the streets, which are granted as the first views in Qikou Ancient Town. Lijiashan Village and Xiwan Village are the two villages well known for their cave houses hugging the hillsides with terraces of crops, a great charm for travelers who want to experience the vernacular dwellings in Shanxi.
6. Pingyao Ancient City
Pingyao is one of the best preserved ancient walled cities in China. It is still inhabited by 50,000 residents and is renowned for its well-preserved ancient city wall. UNESCO World Heritage Site.
7. Hukou Waterfall
Hukou Falls at Yellow River is one of the most beautiful wayerfalls in China and the largest yellow waterfalls in the world.
8. Zhangbi Underground Castle
This is a 1400-year-old network of ancient defence tunnels in Zhangbi Village not far from Jiexiu County south of Pingyao. The tunnels were used for military purposes over several hundred years with three levels of underground tunnels. The ancient city above contains old temples and houses.
Lijiashan is a still-inhabited ancient caved village, where hundreds of caves scale nine different levels of a hillside, it's possible to find whole communities made up entirely of cave dwellers. People have been living in caves in Shanxi for around 5000 years.
Guoyu is an ancient walled village not far from the city of Jincheng. It is a still-inhabited Ming-dynasty settlement with a genuine histoirc charm.
Where to Stay Shanxi1.Hotels in Datong
Garden Hotel: 59 Da Nanjie, Datong Tel:0352-5865888
Jiahe Hotel: 1 Zhanqian Street, Datong Tel: 0352-5559555
Datong Youth Hostel: 2 Huayan Street, Datong Tel: 0352-2427788
Holiday Inn Datong City Centre Add: 37 Yingbin Road, Datong Tel: 0352-2118888
Yungang Jianguo Hotel Add: No.21 East Road, Datong Yingbin Tel: 0352 5066666
Howard Johnson Jindi Plaza Datong Add: No. 88 Pingcheng Street, Datong Tel: 0352 603 9999
Datong Hotel Add: No1 Yuhe North Road, Datong Tel: 0352-6082999
2.Hotels in Mount Wutai
Foguo Hotel: Yingfang Street, Wutai Mountain Tel: 0350-6545962
Chaoyang Hotel: Wayao Street, Wutai Mountain Tel: 0350-3786766
Wutai Mountain Yangfo Shanzhuang: Yangbaiyu Village, Taihuai Town Wutai County
Hui Bin Lou Hotel: Mingqing Street, Wutai County
3.Hotels in Taiyuan
World Trade Hotel: 69 Fuxi Street, Taiyuan Tel: 0351-8688888
Taiyuan Wanming Hotel: 23 Wuyi East Street, Taiyuan Tel: 0351-4948888
Shanxi Jinci Hotel: No.669 Jinci Tourism Resort, Jinyuan District, Taiyuan
Taiyuan Wanda Vista Hotel: No.169 Jiefang Road, Taiyuan
Lihua Grand Hotel: No.1 Chanfeng West Street, Taiyuan
4.Hotels in Pingyao
Dejuyuan Guesthouse: 43 West Street, Pingyao Tel: 0354-5685266
Harmony Guesthouse: 165 South Street, Pingyao Tel: 0354-5684952
Jing's Residence: 16 East Street, Pingyao Tel: 0354-5841000
Zheng Family Inn: 68 Yamen Street, Pingyao Tel: 0354-5684466
Cui Chenghai Hotel: 178 South Street, Pingyao Tel: 0354-5777888
Yamen Youth Hostel: 69 Yamen Street, Pingyao Tel: 0354-5683539
5.Hotels in Qikou (Lijiashan)
Qikou Hotel: Good location overlooking the Yellow River, a cave house style hotel Tel: 0358-4466188
6.Hotels in Jincheng (Guoyu)
Jinnian Hotel: No.888 Zezhou South Road, Downtown, Jincheng
Jincheng Grand Hotel: No.88 West Fengtai Street, Downtown, Jincheng
Lanhua Hotel: No.2288 Fengtai East Street, Jincheng
Shanxi FoodShanxi food is famed for its noodles and other flour-related food like its fried flatbread. Shanxi is also well known for its sour taste while the people in Shanxi like to utilise its locally produced vinegar.
Apart from the use of pork and chicken, Shanxi also uses lamb as its main meat source due to its traditonal cultural connections with early Mongolian nomads in the northwest. It has developed a unique and blended way of cooking of both Northwest Chinese minorities and the Han Chinese.
It is convenient for travelers to find eateries in the major places in Shanxi like Datong, Mount Wutai, Taiyuan, Pingyao. etc. No matter street foods or decent restaurants will not let you down while you are searching for local cuisines. Notable dishes include Tou-nao Lamb Soup, Sweet-sour meatballs, Crispy duck and Soy cheese steamed pork.
What to BuyIf you'd like to do shopping in a large department store, Taiyuan is the best place in Shanxi as it is the capital city of Shanxi with many shopping centers and arge supermarkets. But what these departments or shopping centers sell are not quite different from othe cities like Beijing, Xian and Sghangai. What makes Shanxi shopping unique are the local special products found in the small cities like Pinyao or free markets in the cities of Tainyuan, Datong and more.
The streets and lanes in Pingyao old city are lined with shops and markets where you could find many special products and craftworks for sale. Pingyao is known for lacquer wares, silk slippers, paper cuttings and cloth shoes etc. Try to bargain with them!
Shanxi is well known for its vinegar, the best in China with a long history of vinegar making.
Nightlife in ShanxiShanxi doesn't have many worthwhile bars, but many courtyard hotels and hostels offer bar-like service, virtually meeting all your need: bottles of chilled beer, drinks and more. Pingyao and Datong are the two places frequented by foreign visitors with many western tourist-oriented hostles, courtyard hotels and inns. So you will feel very much comfortable when you travel the two areas.
Mount Wutai is a buddhist mecca, as you know, without any hotels providing beers and other alcoholic drinks.
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