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Pingyao, China

Pingyao (平遥; Píngyáo)is a small city whose old town is on the UNESCO World Heritage List.
[edit] Get in

Pingyao has no airport. The closest major city is Taiyuan, two hours by train to the northwest. You can catch a train to here from Wuhan, Chengdu, Zhengzhou, and Beijing. All of these trains are overnight trains.
[edit] Get around

The Old City is small enough that you can do most locations by foot. But if you need to cross town between attractions, or are simply lazy, you can hire golf carts that wander the streets. Pay around Y5 for a ride if a single person, around Y15 for four people.
[edit] See

The main attraction in Pingyao is the Old City. This area is surrounded by a large wall. Admission to any of the 30 attactions inside the city, and the city wall, is a flat fee of Y120. This ticket is good for three days, but only if it is validated in the afternoon the previous day between 4:30-6:30. This can be done at the booth near Yamen Gate.

* Town Building/Bell Tower
* City Walls
* Rishengchang Financial House Museum
* Former Residence of Lei Lutai
* Shuanglin Temple

[edit] Do

* Visit during the Lantern Festival to see the town decked out in red lanterns.

[edit] Buy

Most of the Ancient City, at least the areas near the major attractions and the West Gate, are lined with shops that cater toward tourists. Standard Chinese bric-a-brac is for sale, at relatively high prices. Bargain hard and keep an eye out for stalls that sell handmade crafts right in the places where they make them. The city makes excellent cloth shoes, which you will see the locals wear as they march up and down the dusty streets.
[edit] Money

There's an ATM of the Agricultural Bank of China a few meters out of the south-western gate of the Ancient City. Foreign Maestro cards accepted (checked on August 2006).
[edit] Eat

Pingyao's speciality is Pingyao Beef. It has an acquired, strong taste. Be careful in some of the more touristy restaurants: outrageous bills of Y100 or more are not uncommon for a meal that appeared to be quite cheap. Be sure to ask about the price of any chef's specialities, and take a look at the bill as you are ordering your food.
[edit] Drink

Chinese beer, what else? There aren't too many clubs or bars, but you can sip a brew until midnight at many guesthouse restaurants.
[edit] Sleep

The Ancient City is full of guesthouses with Ming/Qing style beds. These are flat beds with ornate headrests that sit close to the ground. On the main street these beds can go for as much as Y400. Poke around backstreets and this price can easily quarter.

Fancy, Western-style accodmation tends to be located outside the Ancient City Wall.

* Harmony Guesthouse, 165 Nan Dajie (harmonyguesthouse@asia.com). Expect to pay about Y40 for a dorm bed, and between Y80-120 for a private double.

* Yamen Hostel, affilated with Hostelling International, [1]. Expect to pay about Y35 for a dorm bed, and maybe Y80 for a double. Discounts for HI members.

[edit] Get out

Mostly by train, although bus links are available with Taiyuan and other Shanxi locations.

permalink written by  garisti on May 1, 2008 from Pingyao, China
from the travel blog: Viaje por Asia
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