Pingyao, the Birthplace of Chinese Commerce

Pingyao, the Birthplace of Chinese Commerce

Pingyao Ancient City is situated in the central of Shanxi province, 94 km away from Taiyuan, (the provincial capital of Shanxi) and is the only ancient county level city in China that has successfully applied for World Cultural Heritage as a whole city in 1997.

With a history of over 2700 years, Pingyao is an outstanding example of a Han Chinese city that has retained all its features to an exceptional degree. It is also the birthplace of the Jin Businessmen (Shanxi merchant). It was famous in the economic development of China during the Ming (1368-1644) and Qing (1644-1911) dynasties. To a certain extent, the city played a role to China during the eighteenth century what Wall Street is to the US.

Pingyao connecting Beijing (600 km) Datong (385 km) and Xi’an (500 km) is a very hot destination for tourists who want to experience ancient city tours in China.

Pingyao Top Attractions

There are plenty of places to explore in Pingyao, you can arrange a one-day tour or a few-day tour according to the distance of the destination.

• One-day tour (inside the ancient city): The old town is full of narrow streets with old magnificent residences in ancient traditional styles. You can start from the City Wall with over 600 years to get a birds-eye view of the old city, then wandering along the ancient Ming and Qing Street which pass through rows of residences. Hundreds of shops sell food, snacks, specialties, paintings, furniture, calligraphy, and souvenirs line this busy street, with the City Tower in the center. More than 20 attractions inside the ancient city can use your ticket(three days usage) just to scan the digital bar code to visit them, such as the City God temple (a Taoist temple consists of several courtyards and halls as a palace for the god of the whole city), Confucian Temple (used distributed almost in every city but only several survived today in the whole country), Ancient Government Office (A large complex houses for the mayor handle official business and habitat in the past) offers you special performances during certain times for the mayor judge affairs wearing 100 years ago costumes, Rishengchang Bank (the first “exchange house”, “draft bank,” or “remittance shop” opened in 1823 in China with the function provide remittance services, accept deposits, and make loans ).

• Two-day tour: Spending one night in Pingyao, these tourist spots outside the ancient city, such as Shuanglin Temple, Zhenguo Temple, Wang’s Family Courtyard and Zhangbi Ancient Fortress are also your better choice.

How To Get To Pingyao?

By Train
Pingyao has two stations in use:

One is Pingyao Gu Cheng Station (平遥古城站), the high-speed rail station. It is located in the southwest, 12 km from the ancient city. Bullet trains from Beijing, Taiyuan, Datong , and Xi’an can reach here. 

The other is Pingyao Railway Station (平遥站). It is located in the northwest, 1km from Pingyao Ancient City. It is also the oldest railway station in Pingyao. If you want to take the sleepers, you can choose it.

By Air
Pingyao has  no designated airport, but you can choose Taiyuan as the transfer station because it is the provincial capital of Shanxi and has many routes in Taiyuan Wusu Airport, then  take a private vehicle, which directly transfers to pingyao, just 1 hour’s drive.

Pingyao Weather and Best Time to Visit

Situated in the southwest of Taiyuan basin, Pingyao has four distinctive seasons and pleasant climate. From March to early November is the best period for travelers to visit beyond the public holidays (the first week of May, the summer vacation of July and August , the first week of October), because it is the time with the most comfortable weather and no much rain. In addition, you should avoid the International Photographic Exhibition from September 15th to 25th every year because of crowds everywhere, unless you are a shutterbug. After October since less domestic tourists visit, Pingyao is getting less crowded, you can indulge in every corner of the city. February is also recommended for the traditional Chinese New Year celebration hold in the city, you will not feel regret with that kind of atmosphere in winter.

Temperatures and precipitation of Pingyao

Temperature of Pingyao

A Little History of Pingyao

The magnificent architecture of the ancient city of Pingyao dates back to the Ming and Qing dynasties, but the history of Pingyao is much longer than these buildings and can date back to West Zhou Dynasty, 2700 years ago.

Pingyao is a historical and cultural ancient city. Emperor Yao was first granted to Si, where Emperor Shun used to make pottery and farm crops. Qin Shihuang named “Pingtao” and later changed its name to Pingyao to avoid the taboo of emperor Taiwu of Northern Wei. Pingyao ancient city is the most completely preserved ancient county in China, with an urban area of 2.25 square kilometres. Now it has 6162.68 meters of ancient city walls, 199 streets and lanes, 3798 traditional houses of the Ming and Qing Dynasties, There are a large number of cultural relics and high quality, Among the county-level cities in China. Pingyao has a long history and a wealth of talents. It has nurtured historical celebrities.The original, authentic and authentic ancient city of Pingyao is integrated with modern life, with unique charm,and constantly deduces a wonderful picture of an example of Han nationality city in the Ming and Qing Dynasties.

As the birthplace of Chinese Commerce, it played an important role in the economic development of China during the Ming (1368-1644) and Qing (1644-1911) dynasties. To a certain extent, the city played a role to China during the eighteenth century what Wall Street is to the US.

What to Do in Pingyao?

●  Massage shops

Many massage shops in town, especially along South and West street. 30-100¥ depending on if full/facial/feet/etc.

● Paper-cutting Experience

Paper-cutting began in ancient times, people began to paste paper-cutting on windows to show their happiness.The paper-cutting in Pingyao has a long history and enjoys high reputation.

● Nightlife and Local Shows

Folk cultural performances here and there. There are late opening bars with live music and fancy light shows which are quite nice.

The Best Things to Eat in Pingyao

Wheat based food is the main local staple. Different kinds of noodles and snacks are served in the old town. Wantuo (碗托) and Kao Laolao (栲栳栳) are popular snacks. Beef and yam are served in almost all restaurants.

Some famous restaurant we recommend:

1. Tian Yuan Kui Guesthouse 天元奎

Located in Ming-Qing Street, where wine and rice are tasted. It has a great sense of historical crossing. The food is authentic Shanxi flavor, you can taste Pingyao beef, honey yam, vinegar egg, eggplant and others.
ADD: 南大街73号
TEL: (0354)5680069
OPENING HOURS: 08:00-23:30

2. Sakura Western food bar 樱花屋

It is located in Ming-Qing Street with simple and warm decoration. At night, it is more emotional, fully showing the modern and fashionable side of the ancient city.
ADD: 西大街6号
OPENING HOURS: 08:00-23:30

Choose a Comfortable Hotel

Local hotels in Pingyao presented unique experiences. Most of them are decorated as a sign of Ming and Qing style, and it’s wonderful for visitors who wants to go back at that time. Most Folk Hotels with courtyards inside the Pingyao Ancient City have rating stars evaluated by Pingyao Tourism Bureau. They supply traditional Kang (Chinese heated brick bed) some are big enough for the whole family to stay.

All the hotels we recommend are inside the ancient because it’s more convenient for you to have a better experience in Pingyao. These hotels Yunjincheng Folk Hotel and Xinglongyi are situated in the busy west street, and you can feel the prosperous commercial atmosphere. While Yide Hotel and Pingyao Yiguan are in the quiet street, and you can be also in a daze here.