Destinations Magazine

Travel Guide: Pingyao, China

By Wanderingjoshua

Pingyao has an old town that is centuries old; I decided to visit it and do some time traveling. The walled city was a mix of old and new. Fortunately, it was low season during my visit as I saw parts of the town that barely had any people in it.

Travel Guide: Pingyao, China

Travel Guide: Pingyao, China

Visitors will get a glimpse of how prosperous Shanxi was when they visit Pingyao. The latter's old town dates back to the Western Zhou Dynasty from 1046-771 BC. You won't see mountains or lakes surrounding it. What makes it stand out is how well preserved most of the structures are; the old houses, shops and towers just to name a few are vestige's of the region's illustrious past.

Travel Guide: Pingyao, China

Travel Guide: Pingyao, China

Travel Guide: Pingyao, China

I took my time walking around, entering alleys and narrow streets to get away from the crowds building up in some parts of the old city. It was also quit lovely at night as the lanterns emitted a bright red light.

Travel Guide: Pingyao, China

Here's a short video of the old town:

The combo ticket for the tourist destinations inside the walled city costs CNY130 and covers:

  • Ancient City Wall
  • Ancient Government Office
  • Rishengchang Exchange Shop
  • Qingxu Taoist Temple
  • Temple of the City God
  • Temple of Confucius
  • Tianjixiang Museum
  • Huiwulin Military Arts House
  • Ancient Security Guard Company Museum
  • Tongxinggong Security Guard Company
  • Weitaihou Exchange Shop
  • Weishengchang Exchange Shop
  • Former Residence of Lei Lvtai
  • Baichuangtong Exchange Shop
  • No. 1 Ancient Security Guard Company in North China
  • Xietongqing Exchange Shop
  • Museum of Chinese Chamber of Commerce
  • Pingyao Ancient Residence Museum
  • China Rare Newspaper Museum
  • Museum of Ancient Weapons
  • Temple of Erlang God
  • Ma's Compound

Walking around the old town is FREE.

Best Time to Go
The months of September to November are ideal because the coldness is just at the right temperature and it doesn't rain as much. October 1 to 7 is super peak season because of the Chinese holiday. Pants, sneakers and a jacket are ok to wear during this time.
Where to Stay

Travel Guide: Pingyao, China

Travel Guide: Pingyao, China

I stayed a few minutes outside the walled city at Jiaxin Guesthouse; the latter is also within walking distance from Pingyao Station (FYI: this is not the same as the north station). Dorm beds are cheap and comfortable. The hangout area resembles and old courtyard, giving it a distinct atmosphere.

Travel Guide: Pingyao, China

Travel Guide: Pingyao, China

Travel Guide: Pingyao, China

Travel Guide: Pingyao, China

The actual old town is easy to explore on foot, just get a good map (digital or physical) to avoid getting lost.

Travel Guide: Pingyao, China

Travel Guide: Pingyao, China

There are plenty of taxis and other types of transportation you can hire if you don't want to walk.

How to Get to Pingyao
It's easy to get to Pingyao from Xi'an and Beijing. There are regular overnight and bullet trains traveling to and from the three locations mentioned. You can check schedules, prices and seat types here:

Here's a breakdown of my expenses during my short stay in Pingyao.

*Everything's in Chinese Yuan unless otherwise stated.

15 - Transportation
25 - 1 night dorm bed Jiaxin Guesthouse
105.2 - Food and drinks
102 - Train ticket overnight (hard seat) to Beijing
247.2 - Total

I only spent 2 full days and one night in Pingyao. I didn't do much other than walk around the old; there were paid attractions and a couple of day trips but I didn't do them. I was at the tail end of my trip and wanted to save some money.

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