Getting there & away
Dàtóng has three bus stations: the main Xinnan Bus Station (; Xīnnán Zhàn), about 5km south of Red Flag Sq on Xinjian Nanlu; the north station (qìchē běizhàn), near the train station; and the regional station (chángtú qìchēzhàn) on Yantong Xilu.
Buses run hourly between Běijīng’s Liuliqiao Station (Y81 to Y92, 4½ hours) and (strangely) Dàtóng’s train station. Traffic is sometimes excruciatingly slow on this route, so it’s safer to take the train. One bus to Hohhot also leaves from in front of the train station at 7am (Y55, four hours). Express buses to Tàiyuán (Y72 to Y87, three hours) leave the Xinnan Bus Station half-hourly from 7am to 8.30pm.
Getting to Wǔtái Shān is trickier. One local bus leaves the north station at 7am (Y52) year-round, taking anywhere from five to seven hours; it may not run on Sundays. Xinnan Bus Station serves Wǔtái Shān from May through September (Y52, five hours, departure 7.30am); in theory this bus is faster than the north station bus. If you’ve overslept, Xinnan Bus Station also has regular buses to Shāhé (; Y32, three hours), where you can catch a taxi (Y70) onwards.
The Běijīng and Inner/Outer Mongolia lines meet in a Y-junction at Dàtóng. It is possible to do Dàtóng as a day trip from Běijīng using night trains coming and going, but you can never be guaranteed of getting a berth back. Trains leave Běijīng’s main station at 7.40am (arriving 2.10pm) and 0.46am (arriving 7.03am); tickets are Y105. Other trains depart from Beijing West.
From Dàtóng, there are several trains to Beijing West (Y70 to Y94); the best leave at 8.50am (arriving 2.20pm), 12.27pm (arriving 6.30pm) and 10.20pm (arriving 6.30am). Other destinations include Tàiyuán (hard seat Y30, 5½ hours), Hohhot (hard seat Y40, 4½ hours) and Lánzhōu (Y330, 22 hours). There’s also an overnight train to Píngyáo (Y70, nine hours) leaving at 11pm. The shortest queues are at the advance booking office (huǒchē shòupiàochù; cnr Nanguan Nanjie & Nanguan Xijie; 8am-6pm), but be aware that sleeper tickets are often booked out. CITS may be able to get you a berth (Y40 commission), but no guarantees.
Dàtóng’s minuscule airport is 20km east of the city, with flights to Běijīng (Y410, daily) and Guǎngzhōu (Y1630, thrice weekly). Tickets are sold at the Aviation Travel Service (Hángkōng Shòupiàochù; Nanguan Xijie).